Active Board of Director: Marcie Ellison Outerbridge

Marcie Ellison Outerbridge

Vice President, Ellison Travel & Tours Ltd.
Watch candidate interview.

Please describe your experience as a volunteer within or outside the travel community.

I have volunteered for various committees within SYTA including the conference committee and international committee. Due to my experience organizing volunteers with the Vancouver Chapter of the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of BC, I was the co-coordinator of volunteers for the SYTA Annual Conference in Whistler. I have also volunteered at the annual conference on a regular basis. In my local community I was involved in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bid committee and also acted in the role of President for the Vancouver Chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. In the past I was a mentor for Junior Achievement with the YWCA. In recent years, where time allows I assist at my daughter’s school – for field trips of course!

Please describe your professional experience in the student travel industry.

I have been in the student travel industry officially since 2004 when I joined my family business and started our West Coast operations for Ellison Tours. That being said, since 1980 when my Father Doug Ellison started the business, discussions about the industry were only the next dinner conversation away! Since joining Ellison, I have been involved in all facets of our business which focuses on the student travel industry. This includes everything from leading our team and strategic planning to tour managing, business development, negotiating vendor agreements and developing risk management procedures. We also act as a receptive tour operator for Canada, so I have experience on that side of the business as well. Finally, a high percentage of our business is dedicated to performing and festival tours. I also oversee and work closely with our festival partner in Western Canada, so I have a solid understanding of this side of the student travel industry as well.

Please describe other professional or personal experience that would benefit you as a Board member.

Prior to working at Ellison, I spent 10 years in the human resources field. I was trained to assist organizations to attract and retain top talent and build effective teams. Although it has been over 10 years since I worked in that field, I still apply these skills daily to communicate, motivate and drive myself and my team toward success and happiness. I believe this will assist the board and benefit other committees as well.

Please describe why you would like to serve as a Board of Director (Active).

I would like to serve as a Board of Director as I feel that after 16 years of experience with Ellison, the student travel industry and SYTA, I have the knowledge and experience to be an effective member of the board. I also feel passionate about SYTA as an organization and perhaps now more than ever (post-COVID-19), the importance of the student and youth travel industry. I am confident that I can represent the needs and interests of SYTA tour operators/active members and also listen, learn from and share my knowledge with the associate members. Finally, as a Canadian active member I will be able to provide a unique perspective. I think that SYTA would benefit from my experience and knowledge.

What do you see as the challenges facing the student travel industry? What can SYTA do to meet those challenges?

I believe that many of the challenges facing the student travel industry are similar to those facing the industry in general. As travel has become more and more accessible to people of all ages and stages, challenges have arisen in terms of health and safety, border control and social and environmental hurdles. This has been magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic and I anticipate it will impact the youth market possibly more than any other in the industry.

The result will be changes to the way SYTA actives and associates promote travel, plan tours with safety and security (even more top of mind) and how we respond to the needs or challenges that arise for travelers while on tour. Insurance needs of youth travelers are also going to be a challenge facing our industry.

I believe SYTA can be of assistance by providing opportunities for active and associate members to learn from each other to work with and overcome these challenges. This is through education and also advocacy within the membership, schools, boards and governments. The CSTO program may be more important than ever to help provide confidence for student travelers.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Nominating Committee?

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of people and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime”. -Mark Twain. This quote is a favorite of mine and describes why I am passionate about and committed to the student traveler, the student and youth travel industry and SYTA. I want to be a part of educating our industry to broaden the views of students and our future generation. I can’t think of a better way to do that than joining with other SYTA members and staff that are also professional, passionate, driven and committed to students. Being a candidate from Canada, I believe I can also bring a unique and fresh perspective from “one little corner of the earth”.