Written By Arezoo Aliperti
She believes it is her passion for what she does that drives her.
As we board the flight to Kelowna for a scheduled photo shoot at Predator Ridge resort, I have an opportunity to converse with Claire Newell. It was heartwarming to see after all the years of being in the travel business and flying constantly for work, the last text she sends are to her husband and her children before switching off her phone. As the flight gets ready for take off, we start talking about what drives her and why she chose travel business.
She explains that her path from high school was very different; in fact, upon graduation, she knew she wanted to become lawyer. After completing her degree, her parents took her on trip as a graduation gift. Even though she had travelled with her family often, this particular trip changed the course of
It was on that trip she discovered a passion for travel and educating others about what to expect. Upon their return, she approached her parents and with their support opened her own travel business, launching Travel Best Bets.
The first four years were toughest, she says. It was no easy task to start a business right out of university and in a totally different field. But working seven days a week as a one-woman show didn’t discourage her — it made her more hungry.
She began hiring staff, making sure she had the right people in place to grow and move her business forward. Those people are still with her to this day. This year marks the 25th anniversary of her business and it is a testament to her passion and her fairness that her staff has stayed with her all these years.
When the tragedy of 9/11 happened, travelling was put on the back burner for many people. Fear of flying prevented regular travellers from booking flights, and as a result many travel agencies couldn’t survive and had to close their doors. But Claire was even more determined to educate the public about travelling safely, and her regular TV spot — which continues to this day — gave her a platform to do so.
But of course this wasn’t the only obstacle she faced. In the age of technology and the internet, online booking has started pulling people away from travel agencies. Once again, Claire needed to reinvent herself by coming up with the best travel options for her clients with any budget. She was taught by her parents to give her best, work hard and never give up, things she has, in turn, conveyed to her children.
These days she wears many hats — wife, mother, daughter, friend, president of her own travel company, a business woman in a man’s world for 25 years and counting. She makes sure none of her roles suffer and it shows in her marriage of 22 years and friendships of over 30 years. She believes in treating people the way she wants to be treated. She is humble, giving and yet complex.
Since she was a child, she was told to help others and be mindful of people in need. She continues helping multiple charities and non profit organizations without looking for recognition or the spotlight. She is proud of the fact that her company is owned by a woman in BC and employees many other women. This remains a rarity. Claire credits her great team for her longevity in business and her family for her success in life.
She believes it is her passion for what she does that drives her and doesn’t feel it is “work.” She is regular contributor to many magazines, television, radio stations and has written a couple of travel books. Juggling all these activities and having a personal life is quite astonishing, but she manages to do it all.
And she’s giving us a whole day to do a photo shoot at Predator Ridge.
It isn’t until the announcement that we were about to land in Kelowna’s airport, we realize 50 minutes has quickly gone by. We touch down and as soon as we able to turn our phones back on the first text is to her husband and children, letting them know she has arrived.
A small glimpse into Claire Newell’s life makes you respect and admire her for what she has achieved. She has remained humble and practices “paying it forward” at every opportunity. As we drive from Kelowna’s airport towards the breathtaking grounds of Predator Ridge, I realize we can all take a page from Claire’s success.
Hair and Make-up