Fabulous People: Michelle Glass

Michelle Glass is the vice president of Travel Services AAA Washington. (Click here for Glass’ take on romantic travel in Washington.) Learn about Michelle Glass…

Hometown? Salem, OR

First job? I had a paper route as a kid, but my first “real” job was in 9th grade washing dishes at a local restaurant – what a hard job that is I have total respect for anyone in the dish pit!

What are your favorite ways to spend your free time in WA? I’m the mother of a high school junior so any time we can spend together before he goes off to college is how I want to spend my free time. We like hiking, road-tripping, biking and kayaking. Just being outside and enjoying nature (including gardening and yardwork which I love but it’s not his favorite). 

What is your biggest accomplishment and why? I’d have to say that one of my proudest career moments was when I was first selected for Condé Nast Traveler’s top travel specialist list for Alaska. I felt like I had received my Alaska PhD.! It is a place that I love deeply, and I could talk ad nauseam about all the great places to go, things to see and do! 

What is the biggest obstacle you overcame? A few years back, I had an accident at a skateboard park on a razor scooter…#NotAGreatIdea. I destroyed my tibial plateau, broke my lower leg in three places–four plates and 14 pins later I couldn’t walk for six months. My goal was to recover to the best of my legs ability, and I can say eight years later I can walk and hike and do most of the things I did before all without a limp.

Who is someone who inspires you and why? I recently read My Life in Full by Indra Nooyi. I was so inspired by her story of hard work and success and her seeming ability to realize “you can’t do it all” but you can still try–and you can be a good human being along the way. 

What is advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do? I actually started out my career as a high school geography teacher. I chose that field. Mostly because I liked kids and I found the world to be an interesting place, physically and culturally. It was a natural transition to working in travel because curiosity begets curiosity, the more you travel the more you’re intrigued, and I think that for someone who really wants to get into the world to travel it is important to have lived experiences. So much more authority and confidence come when you, as a travel advisor, can speak from experience. And you have to commit to working hard–the travel industry has changed so much in the last 30 years–a lot of people want to DIY it, but they’re still looking for that planning partner they can trust, who has insider knowledge and generally cares about their well-being. Be that person.

What is your favorite quote? “Among those whom I like, or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh.” –W.H. Auden

What is something someone would be surprised to learn about you? It sounds pretty silly but whenever I mention it to people, they are completely aghast, and I’m embarrassed since I am a travel professional after all…but I do not have TSA pre-check clearance! I didn’t feel that I needed it because I rode on the coattails of elite status with Alaska and Delta airlines but I’m getting it done soon in May at the AAA Alderwood store.

What makes someone fabulous: That is such a great question. I think what makes someone fabulous is the ability to be determined and focused and get stuff done! But to not take themselves too seriously and be self-important. And, of course, to always be kind and gracious, and their interactions with others and if they have a chocolate chip cookie to give me that’s a bonus as well! 

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