How Tamara Moore turned a love of travel into a lifelong career and a TV gig
Tamara Moore is no stranger to bold moves. She started her luxury travel company, Ascent Behave, in the middle of a recession. She successfully brought the boutique Gansevoort Hotel Group from NYC to Turks and Caicos Islands when there were limited female leaders. She has turned her passion for travel into a lifelong career, most recently landing the CEO role in Slice’s reality TV show, Après Ski. We sat down with Tamara to learn more about her entrepreneurial success story.
As told to Meghan Jeffery
Tell me how you got into the luxury travel industry. Did you set out to achieve it or did it arise organically?
I do have a love of travel from my father, who was quite an adventurer and involved in the hotel industry. Subconsciously I think he definitely influenced me. I also have a BA in English, and I wanted to be a writer. I did some writing for a travel magazine, which introduced me to the travel and luxury hotel market in the United States, but there wasn’t a big enough market in Canada to employ me full time. They still wanted to work with me, and were interested in doing some contracts together. The industry found me, and to be honest, I was slightly intimidated when they asked me to do their contracts because it was something new for me.
You started your career working for professional sport franchises in sales and marketing. Have you ever felt your gender has helped, or held you back, during your career?
I’ve experienced both. In a positive way, I think there’s a lot of men and women that are trying to help women succeed and break that glass ceiling and take that C-Suite. And then to be candid, although I’ve worked with some amazing men, there have been times in my career where someone may appear to be interested in a business opportunity but really there’s another agenda. It’s important to set clear lines between business and pleasure, and it’s important to be strong and firm in your resolution.
Why did you decide to be an entrepreneur?
I have to give credit to my father. He was an entrepreneur and I watched him do so many exciting and different things in his career. I love being in control of my own destiny. I’m ambitious and self motivated and that’s what drove me.
What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Love yourself. Love how you are as a person, how you look, how you feel, and enjoy every moment.
What was your dream job as a child?
I wanted to be an actress and win an Academy Award.
Finish this sentence. Traveling the world is…
Eye-opening, adventurous, educational, and wonderful.
What was your boldest move to date?
Bringing the Gansevoort Hotel brand from New York to Turks & Caicos Islands. That was a huge win for me and it’s still a highlight. It’s the first modern boutique hotel brand to come to Turks & Caicos Islands. I wasn’t a hotelier at the time and was very new to that part of the industry. To bring a brand from NYC into an island and launch the hotel was a big challenge. There were very few females in power positions on the island at the time, and it was inspiring and something that I am very proud of.
What surprises people about you?
How soft I am. I’m not an aggressive CEO, for better or worse.
What is your best advice to women starting out in business?
Commit to doing the work. Women typically have to juggle so many things whether they’re mothers, wives, sisters, etc. Men traditionally have been able to put in those extra hours and have the support system at home. If you want to be successful in business, you can have it all with help, but you need to put in the hours and the work.
What was your best advice from a mentor?
I’ve been fortunate that I have had several mentors in my career, and I think mentors are very important. One thing that really resonates with me is to believe in yourself, believe you can do it, and stay true to your convictions.
Did you actively pursue a mentor?
I have made a commitment to stay in touch with those that have inspired me throughout my career and education.
What was your biggest setback?
Launching my own company in the middle of a recession. At that time, luxury travel wasn’t a necessity.
How did you overcome it?
I had to become innovative, but I did it!
How did you get involved with Après Ski?
The founder, Joey Gibbons, found me because he knew I had a similar company in Ontario. It was unexpected and flattering.
What was the most exciting part of being involved with a brand new company in Whistler?
What fascinated me was going out West. Most of my hotel clients are Caribbean based, I’m a bit of a beach girl, so Whistler was unknown territory. It was exciting to conquer a new horizon.
How do you balance work and life?
I’m not going to lie, it was really hard starting out and still is today. My son is always going to be my first priority, and I am honest about that. I have learned the older I get to take less guilt on. You do the best you can do, but there are going to be times where you may slag a bit at work or you may let someone down in your personal life. It’s ok to slip up once in awhile, you just don’t want to fail.
What is your biggest passion?
My family and the pursuit of excellence. Travel and making the world a better place is another huge passion. You want to leave this world knowing you’ve done something good, even if it’s something small.
If we googled you, what would we still not know?
You know what, I’ve never googled myself! I am a competitive slalom waterskier. I came first in my first competition this past summer.
Finish this sentence. A good leader…
Has to be strong but empathetic.
Why does the future excite you?
Every day is a gift and each day holds a new possibility.
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