For Chris, a Tour Consultant for EF Educational Tours in Boston, the first international trip he took was one to remember. “When I was in high school, I went on a trip to London and Paris with EF Education First. I made a promise with two friends of mine that we would go on it together. I recently found my journal and read through all the memories from my first experience out of the country!”
Even without the journal, Chris’s memories of the trip are vivid. “I remember being in Bath and absolutely falling in love with it. At the time, Vanity Fair was one of my favorite movies and it was filmed there for the old London feel. Being transported back like that on tour was a bit surreal for me at the time.”
Chris kept his travel memories—and his journal—in the background as he went on to major in fashion and theater in college while also studying to become a teacher. “My third grade teacher inspired me,” Chris explained. “I wanted to do for students what he did for me. He was one of those teachers who just wanted every student to succeed. He had a quote on the wall from Henry Ford which said, ‘if you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.’ I still live by this quote.”
Chris lived for some time in Manhattan to explore the fashion industry, even trying out for the reality show Project Runway, before landing in Boston to stay. “I had visited Boston in the past, and really liked the personality of the city. It was much more low-key than New York City. You can actually stop and enjoy Boston, and I felt like I couldn’t do that when I was in New York.”
After arriving in Boston, Chris found himself working on the admissions team at a local college. “While working in higher education, I could see that I was making a change and having an impact with the students. I told myself, ‘this is the kind of work I need to be doing.’” After almost three years, Chris was ready for something new, so he started looking for other opportunities in Boston.
Chris says that he never expected to be in sales, but that when he found EF, he was inspired to apply for a Tour Consultant role. “It’s everything I wanted,” he said. “I was nervous to come back to a large office setting, but EF creates a supportive environment where you can be yourself, share ideas, and be innovative. Here, everyone wants to learn from everyone—whether you’re entry-level or a Vice President—and no idea is a bad idea.” As a Tour Consultant, Chris helps teachers prepare to take their students on educational trips—everywhere from Washington D.C. to Paris, France—just like his teacher did when he was in high school.
It’s the opportunities he’s been given from mentors and managers to contribute positively to his team that keep him excited to come to work every day. “Change is consistent, it’s challenging, and its measurable, so I can see my success,” he said.
Chris remembers meeting with a Vice President on his team to discuss a recent challenge the team was facing. “My manager asked me to create a solution. The fall season had started, and I came up with a way to motivate and inspire the team, but it was different than the standard approach we were used to. I used our guiding principles at EF and called them the ‘core values of sales.’ Each one represented an initiative to refocus and refresh our business while giving us the chance to share and implement each other’s ideas.” The idea was a hit, and gave Chris the opportunity to expand on that initiative. “I’ll get to launch a communication strategy that allows our Tour Consultants to share best practices across teams,” he said.
Those best practices help get more teachers and students traveling, which is at the heart of what Chris believes is important. “I went to school to be a teacher. And in my other pursuits, fashion and sales, I’ve found that there is this common thread of wanting to change, impact and inspire people. In my opinion, that’s at the core of what a teacher does. It’s not surprising to me that teachers want to take their students on an educational tour, and that leading and providing learning opportunities is one of the reasons that they go into the profession.”
Chris saw this impact firsthand on a recent tour to Rome with teachers and students. “Getting close with the students and seeing them change is so moving,” he said. “I brought them to my favorite gelato place, Giolitti—it was so exciting! It made the job feel real. And it reminded me of when I was in high school on my first EF tour.”
You can see what Chris is up to (and indulging in) on his Instagram account, Eat Your Globe Out.