Name: Lia Batkin
Job Title and Description: Co-Founder of In the Know Experiences, a luxury travel and lifestyle company
College/Major: University of Wisconsin-Madison/Communications and Fashion
What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Lia Batkin: There is no typical day in my job. I could be [doing] anything from traveling to a new destination to check it out before I send [the information to] a client, meeting with hotel vendors in my office, sitting [in] on calls with potential new clients, researching places to wow my clients during their trips, working with my employees to teach them how to plan/execute different trips and events or looking for the perfect gift to send to [clients] to get them excited about their trip.
What is the best part of your job?
LB: Getting to plan people’s memories and [to] be involved in some of the happiest moments of their lives.
What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
LB: I was a sales manager for Niche Media. I was lucky enough to intern for them the summer after I graduated college, and then they offered me a job.
What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
LB: Well, we had no experience in the travel industry other than our passion for traveling when we first started, so, everything!
Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
LB: My husband whom I started my company with. I came from the marketing and sales side, but he taught me the real business side. It is very important to understand both sides and how they need to work together. He also makes me work harder then I ever have, as I know I want to be a better person and successful for him. He teaches me things every day.
What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
LB: Never give up. Dress for the situation. Don't jump right into a meeting and start taking about you; ask the person on the other side of the table about themselves and his or her goals so you know how to tailor the meeting. If it’s not broken, don't fix it; maybe just tweak it to make your own. Be passionate about what you do or it’s not worth doing.
What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
LB: Don't be too trusting. It’s never easy and it’s never a slam dunk.
What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?
LB: Realizing that I had made a career out of something that I absolutely loved [which] also made other people happy. I think also seeing our company featured in amazing publications like Condé Nast Traveler and The New York Times made me realize that we must be doing something right!
What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
LB: Personality, having done their research on the company and asking creative questions, a strong hand shake, professionally dressed and most importantly a quick and thoughtful thank-you letter (email or written, but written always makes more of an impression).
What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
LB: Learn everything you can about your industry. Take your time to find something not just that you truly love, but also where there is a gap in the marketplace. If you can see a need for a product or service, usually others can, too! Try to find an advisor/mentor to assist you; it always helps to have someone on your side who knows more than you. Take people’s advice, but don't ever let anyone tell you it’s not possible. Shoot for the stars, work really hard and don't give up!