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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Checking in with Norma Lansing

From Reporter to CEO

When Lansing first joined the workforce, she never dreamed she would one day lead groups along the Great Wall of China.

“There are few people that start out life thinking that they are going to work for the chamber of commerce,” said Lansing. “I was a newspaper reporter. Part of my beat was the city hall, and the chamber was located in city hall.”

With frequent trips to city hall, Lansing developed a friendship with the receptionist and started volunteering with the chamber during her free time. After having children, she took a part-time job at the chamber, in part because it offered a lot of flexibility.

“Sometimes I could bring my little boy to work with me,” said Lansing. “That was a great benefit. Then I became a full-time employee and replaced the receptionist I had gotten to know.”

Eventually, Lansing transitioned to administrative assistant and then, finally, to president and CEO in 1988. All told, Lansing has worked for the chamber for 42 years, with 2018 her 30th year as president and CEO.

Though the chamber’s travel program started recently, Lansing has long loved to travel with her family, including on frequent trips to Mexico during the winter. Since Lansing’s husband, Ken, is retired from the grocery business, he accompanies Lansing and the chamber on all their adventures.

“My husband and I love to travel, personally,” said Lansing. “This gave us an opportunity to travel with people we know and meet new friends. We’ve developed a core group of people that travel with us multiple times.”

Birthday in Peru

Since her inspiring trip to China, Lansing has accompanied the chamber on all but one of its trips. The chamber offers a mixture of domestic and international trips; past destinations have included Ireland, Germany, Alaska, New England, Southern California and Peru.

“I celebrated my birthday in Peru last year,” said Lansing. “There were three different times they had a birthday cake for me. That was such a fun trip. There is something special about every trip that always stands out.”

When choosing destinations, Lansing selects trips based on traveler surveys and tour operator suggestions, as well as her own interests.

“We planned a trip to Iceland this fall, which is one I never would have had on my radar,” said Lansing. “I had a couple of people tell me they wanted to see the northern lights. Tour companies were also telling me about the popularity of Iceland.

“Comparing trips with various companies and pricing is the hardest part of the travel program. Now, I have so many more companies to choose from after going to the Select Traveler Conference this year. There are a lot of great tour companies out there.”