For Senior Destination Manager, Maria Jose Cagide, sharing the beauty, culture, and traditions of her native Mexico is both a priority and a passion. Here, she recalls the decision-making process behind her relocation to the US for what proved to be a life-changing role.
I feel so grateful that I can contribute to the growth of the tourism industry in my country. I’ve noticed that it’s a feeling shared by many of the tour operators and attractions in Mexico with whom we partner: we all share this passion and love what we are doing for our home.
I joined GetYourGuide four years ago, as part of the San Francisco team. Fast-forward to today, and I’m now Senior Destination Manager for Mexico and Latin America and part of the fantastic Miami team. One thing I love about my job is being able to help our partners make their business grow: it really brings me energy and makes me smile!
Before GetYourGuide I was an account manager at another travel experiences platform, where I managed Mexico’s territory for five years and built partnerships with Mexican tour operators from scratch. One day two former colleagues who had joined GetYourGuide a few months earlier called me: they wanted to grow GetYourGuide’s inventory for Mexico and couldn't think of anyone better suited to the job.,
Although I was very honored by the invitation to apply, it nevertheless took me a few months to make the decision. The role would require moving to the US, which would mark a huge change in my life. Separating from my family would be the hardest part: we are very close, and I have a special relationship with my two nieces who were four and six years old at the time. I knew I was going to miss lots of fun moments with them.
At the same time, I had lots to gain with this change, such as learning about a different culture, the experience of living in a new country and city, meeting new people, and developing my professional career.
As is now clear, I decided to go for it! The opportunity to represent my country in a global company and share with the world the most beautiful things that Mexico has to offer was too good to miss. Quite simply, GetYourGuide represented the perfect “window” for the world to discover and explore Mexico.
My gut instinct to try something new was proved right as soon as I started the interview process. I saw the energy and vibe of the team I was talking to, and everybody was so passionate about what they were doing and achieving. Quite simply, I knew I wanted to be part of this amazing team.
There were a few things I did to ensure my move to the US went smoothly. First, I worked closely and had good communication with the team that was in charge of my relocation. In particular, GetYourGuide’s visa lawyers, as well as my previous boss, all helped me to make the process relatively easy and straightforward. ,
I also connected with people that I knew who lived in San Francisco to ask them questions about the cost of living, the neighborhoods, the weather, and learn more about their experiences in the city. I’d visited before as a tourist and also for work – but living in a place is a very different experience.
I have no regrets about relocating, although in hindsight, I think I could have made the decision to move much more quickly. I thought about it for several months, but looking back, I see that the fear of change I had at that moment was nothing more than a feeling. With time, it would turn into a beautiful and rich experience. I also now realize that my family is going to be close to me always, wherever I go – technology plays a huge part in that!
For anyone reading this and finding themselves facing a similar decision – be that a change in job, city, or even country – my advice is to detect your fears and ask yourself the following:
• What are the opportunities that the fear you feel right now is stopping you from realizing?
• What are you losing by not giving yourself the chance to make that move?
• What you will gain with this move, and what will make you grow in both your personal and professional life?
Remember: it’s OK to feel scared! One could even say that if it does not scare you, then the move isn’t enough of a challenge. Analyze your fear and think of the positive things this change will bring. It’s also important to bear in mind that change is exciting, but also exhausting. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to mentally prepare and settle in this new stage of your life.
I would say that in order to grow you need to have clarity of where you are today and where you want to get to. It’s important to think about your goals, passion, and what motivates you. In my case, my motivation is to show the world all the beauty we have in Mexico.
A quality that has helped me on my own path is curiosity, and a commitment to learning something new every single day. So, read the things that interest you, listen to podcasts that can add value to your knowledge, and join workshops or activities that can help you grow.
Above all, enjoy what you do!
The view from San Francisco: How a global team stays together, while apart