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JoAnn Mute Paez

As a child, JoAnn Mute Paez traveled to Spain every summer with her family.

“I grew up understanding what it was to travel. It was something I loved to do, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

JoAnn began working in the travel industry in 1977, when travel agents called to make reservations by phone and issued air tickets by hand. A high school student at the time, she spent most working hours assisting a travel agent with booking airline reservations.

In 1986, JoAnn completed her travel education as a Certified Travel Counselor at Wellesley College. She started a home-based travel agency two years later. Today, her decades of travel agent experience serve her well in her role as a travel consultant for GOGO Worldwide Vacations, where she’s worked with travel agents to book group travel for the past three years.

“It’s easy to understand because I was on the other side of that call.”

As her career evolved, so did the role of the travel agent—and JoAnn had to adapt.

In the 1970s, clients would come to travel agents for ideas. With the rise of the internet, however, clients are privy to more travel information. “Now, people come to you for guidance and experience. When they come to you, you really need to listen to them and know what they’re looking for. You have to be connected. You have to know how to sell yourself.”

JoAnn joined NACTA five years ago. Three years ago, she joined Eugenia Chinsman as Co-Director of the NACTA Connecticut Chapter. Her business has grown substantially since joining NACTA, which allows her the opportunity to meet with clients one-on-one and face-to-face. “I don’t want to be just a voice. I want to be a face.”

She loves meeting professionals in the travel industry. She notes that everyone is important—whether they’ve been in the industry for a few years or a few decades. NACTA members have been a valuable source of information and insight for JoAnn. “If I don’t have knowledge about a region, I have resources.”

As an avid traveler, JoAnn has voyaged across the United States and around the globe. In addition to Spain, she’s been to Portugal, Southern France, the Caribbean, Mexico and cities along the West Coast. Her favorite destination, so far, is England. Yet she would love to see Australia, Japan and, more specifically, the Great Wall of China.

“The world is so big and there’s so much to see.

“In my position as a group consultant, I enjoy helping someone enjoy their vacation.”

Written by Cassie Westrate.