Travelwise President Laura Asilis started her business in 2005 after 13 years in the travel industry and grew her company from a staff of two to 42 in 10 years, all while staying true to her vision of the importance of family.
Asilis has been able to successfully blend her two passions—family and travel. The office that Asilis and her husband designed is located inside a house—a converted 4,300 square foot home in an upscale residential area in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Her husband also works in the office.
Asilis has enjoyed trips to Cannes and Lake Como with her husband and cherishes the memories of “amazing” family time spent with him and three young children on different trips, such as Disney, Europe and several cruises.
She took her oldest daughter to the Virgin Galactic launch in the Mojave Desert. “I try to take at least one of my children with me on business trips whenever it is possible for me to do so,” says Asilis, who won the 2015 Virtuoso Most Admired Advisor Latin America/Caribbean Award. She joined Young Presidents’ Organization in 2011.
Asilis says got into the travel industry because she wanted “to fly and see the world.” During one of Travelwise’s special events, they had the opportunity to welcome guest speaker Patricia Schultz, author of the bestselling book, “1000 Places to See Before You Die.” Asilis has been to many of the places in Schultz’s book despite initially considering her work as merely a hobby when she began her first job for American Airlines.
Below, Asilis discusses maintaining a balance in her personal and professional life and how she stays healthy in an industry that, by nature, requires a lot of travel.
1. What was your first job or business?
My first job was a reservations agent at American Airlines.
2. What is the most difficult leadership lesson you’ve learned?
That although you have to trust people, you must be prepared to expect any kind of negative situation and keep calm and focused on your goal.
3. How do you manage to stay healthy, physically and emotionally, during times of high stress on the job?
I take travel breaks with my husband and children several times a year. When I travel I come back fresh and with a positive attitude. Also, I exercise three or four times a week doing TRX and yoga.
4. Can a woman in your position really have it all when it comes to professional and personal life?
It is possible. Why? I am blessed with a husband who understands me and helps me achieve the balance I need. Having aging and sick parents who I watch after every day, growing kids in difficult ages and running a business with 60 employees is a big challenge. It is possible if you organize your agenda, follow through and find the time for everything. I am also learning to say “no” to many things that in the past I never thought of refusing. It is all about priorities.
5. Is there a routine you try to follow while traveling to keep your overall wellness in check?
I always find the moment to work out while I’m traveling and try to eat as healthy as possible.
6. How has being in the Women’s YPO Network and YPO positively affected your business or leadership?
Networking with other WYN and YPO members has been a blessing! There is always something new to learn. I have seen ideas and implemented some of them in my business and that has brought very positive results.
7. What are three insights you would like to share ?
- Waze and Yelp are great apps I use when traveling.
- Hire the best assistant ever. It saves your life!
- Every time you have to speak and give a message to your company, try to deliver a message with a life lesson. It makes you feel that you are doing a little something for this world.