Jaclyn manages Collette’s day-to-day operations, working with our global offices, teams on the road and all over the company. She collaborates with the strategic leadership and executive teams to drive Collette’s growth. She directly oversees product development and tour management operations; and works closely with the sales and marketing teams. Jaclyn started with Collette in 2005 and has held numerous positions within the company. Jaclyn spent many years designing product and managing tours in regions including in the United States and Australia. She has also guided tours and worked in the customer care center as an inside sales representative. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rhode Island and an MBA from Babson College.
Jaclyn is an avid supporter of many nonprofit organizations and holds positions on different boards. She loves traveling and if she had to pick a favorite destination it would probably be New Zealand, a hidden gem with beautiful scenery and great people. Her favorite role in life is mother to three wonderful children – twin boys and a little girl. She enjoys taking trips with her family, bringing her two greatest passions together.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Hi, Jaclyn. How are you today?
Jaclyn Leibl-Cote (JLC): Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me! It’s been a whirlwind year, celebrating our centennial anniversary.
TRO: It seems you’ve done just about everything at Collette, even starting in the most classic, baseline position of ‘mail room’. How has this given you an eye for how to run the daily operations of the company?
JLC: Well, I have to admit that it’s been a long time since I was in the mail room as a teenager! I love designing product and really listening to the needs and desires of our guests. Product is constantly changing and it’s really important to keep a pulse on the changes in the market landscape.
TRO: In previous interviews you’ve done, travel agents are considered a vital resource for Collette, and travel in general. Have your previously held positions in the company given you an insight into what travel agents are looking for in a supplier?
JLC: On the product side, we’re constantly listening to our guests – as well as our travel agents. We want to design tours that will really resonate with both of them. Our travel agents are our biggest supporters, and we want to make sure that the tours we’re putting out in the market are ones that they can sell with confidence.
TRO: You are in line to be the third CEO of Collette from the same family, working and learning about the position alongside your father (Dan Sullivan, Jr.). Do you find a certain pride in carrying on your predecessors’ work?
JLC: It’s truly an honor and a blessing to work in the travel industry and alongside my family each day. From the time that I was a little girl, I knew that I wanted to join the family business. I met my husband while working at Collette, and now, we’re raising our three children in the hopes that someday they too will share in our love for travel.
TRO: Do you share your father’s love for Springsteen?
JLC: I don’t really have a choice most of the time! I have to admit that I’m a bit of a country fan, but I will join my father and sister for a Springsteen concert once in a while!
TRO: You sit on the board of advisors for the Collette Foundation, which heads humanitarian projects around the world: an orphanage in Peru, food banks in the USA, education centers in Kenya, and many more. How do these projects mesh with Collette’s philosophy on travel and tourism?
JLC: Collette is focused on corporate social responsibility, specifically in the areas of hunger and education. We encourage employees to take advantage of our paid volunteer program, offering each employee up to four hours per month to give back. In the same sense, we want to protect and sustain the areas in which we travel by supporting projects in other countries.
TRO: You consider New Zealand to be one of your favorite destinations to travel. Can you give us a brief story of your favorite time there?
JLC: New Zealand will always hold a special place in my heart as it’s the first territory that I developed while working on the product side. The scenery and people there are just incredible. On one of our early visits, we were able to meet a local family that would eventually become a homestay host. The family invited our guests into their own (home) to enjoy lunch and a local visit. It was incredible to see.
TRO: Can you share any upcoming projects or news in the works from Collette?
JLC: We recently launched our Explorations brand which offers immersive experiences in a small group setting of no more than 19 travelers. Our goal in designing these tours has been to offer the guest a cultural insight into the region. We stay in unique accommodations, including boutique hotels and really delve into meeting the locals during our stays!
TRO: Thank you for talking with us today.
JLC: I look forward to chatting with you again soon!
More more information on Collette, you can visit their website at www.gocollette.com