Diana Gonzalez graduated in 2015 with an MS degree in Tourism Management. She now is the marketing manager for North America at Visit Bavaria. In this post, she tells us more about her professional journey since graduation.
What has your journey been like after graduating from the NYU SPS Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality?
I was very lucky right after graduation to have the opportunity to explore different things within the industry, and really figure out what I wanted to do. I started off in the business events area but realized that I wasn’t very interested, and preferred to try my luck within the leisure side. Luckily, I was able to intern at Visit Britain shortly after, and knew that tourism boards were where I wanted to focus my career. I moved up a few positions there. I showed my dedication and hard work to earn a place in the team. From my work there, I was able to meet many key people and contacts within the travel industry to build my network.
In what ways has your NYU experience had an impact on your career and who you are today?
My NYU experience has been such a positive and vital factor in my career. It has opened many doors for me within the travel industry—from tourism boards, to travel PR agencies, to travel research companies. However, starting off as an intern for one of the most popular destinations, representing Great Britain, really provided me a 360 view of the challenges and day-to-day functioning of a tourism board from sales, marketing, PR and public diplomacy. Knowing all this had made it very easy to transition to more managerial roles such as my current position as marketing manager for North America with Bavaria Tourism. I am not sure I would have had the same chances without my NYU connection.
What are you passionate about in the work that you do at Visit Bavaria?
I actually have a very special love for the destination of Germany on a personal side; so I've naturally always dreamed of possibly one day having the opportunity to work with the destination in some capacity. I was thrilled that everything worked out even though I don’t speak German! When you have the passion for travel and for the destination you represent, then the workload and duties become very enjoyable. I like that I have the opportunity to communicate our brand and showcase Bavaria as a destination with places to go and things to do, but what I like the most is highlighting the Bavarian culture and its special traditions and customs.
What was your most memorable moment as a student?
The most memorable moment as a student were the group projects that I was a part of for some key classes such as consulting and research. In both, we had to present to the “client,” which was a very valuable experience. Looking back, I know this has helped me because I have to do something similar in my current role quite often—whether it’s presenting to my supervisor, tour operators, travel agents, or travel journalists.
What career advice would you give to current students at NYU?
I would recommend that students to network, network, network! Staying in touch with professors, guest speakers and their classmates is key. Attending as many events as possible at NYU and signing up for groups, such as Travel Massive, are great ways to meet more people already in the industry. Also, I would highly recommend students to build their LinkedIn profile and use it as a tool to find companies you want to work for in the future.