Adventure Canada CEO Cedar Swan was honoured this month by Canadian Traveller as one of their Top 40 Under 40! As a leader and innovator in the Canadian travel industry, Cedar brings passion, humour, and determination to bear every day through her work at Adventure Canada. We sat down with our fearless leader to chat about her past in the industry, and learn a bit about why she loves her job so much.
What’s your earliest memory of working in the industry?
As children, we Swan kids had a lot of fun with our family business. Our parents included us all from a very young age. I sure knew my way around the mailroom as a kid! In high school, my girlfriends and I would have huge brochure stuffing sleepover parties. We’d have a great time hanging out together, watching flicks, and making decent pocket change stuffing Adventure Canada’s early brochures into envelopes.
When did you decide to work in travel full time?
At the age of fourteen I knew that expedition travel was my calling. My first expedition to the Arctic set that in stone. I loved the ocean, I loved the people, I loved the North. I worked my way up from a mailroom position through high school, handled sales and reservations during my university years and, later, took a full time position. Since then I’ve tried my hand at almost every role within the company. I adored working direct with our clients helping them find and book their perfect expedition, satisfied my creative side working alongside the marketing team, and loved the fine details involved in logistics. Today, I have the pleasure of overseeing a new path forward for Adventure Canada. The support of our clients, local hosts, and industry friends are key to our success as we plan for the future. As ever, my daily mission is to find new and innovative ways to uphold our company mission to engage, entertain, and educate by connecting people to each other and the land through innovative travel experiences.
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
The greatest joy in my career is being a part of and building a remarkable community. My days are spent with interesting, thoughtful, and passionate people. We have a shared love of the polar regions. We share compassion and work towards understanding for our fellow humans. We take to heart global issues and work towards local solutions. My colleagues and our guests are truly exceptional people with a thirst for knowledge. It is both professionally and personally rewarding to work with and support such a fine group of people.
To what do you attribute your success?
The team I’ve built is incredible. Everyone on the Adventure Canada team is thoughtful, smart, creative, and loyal. We lift each other up, drive each other to excel, and push boundaries. I have a team that I can count on. My complete trust in and appreciation for Adventure Canada’s people allows me to pursue new avenues for our business and develop important relationships.
Where is your favourite place to visit?
The Torngat Mountains in Nunatsiavut, Labrador is my favourite place on the planet. My heart skips a beat and my soul is a peace there. The best time to visit is the fall. The mountains are on fire with fall colours, the berries are ripe and delicious, and the hiking is sublime. This is a place where you feel at the edge of the world. I love feeling humbled by nature.
What’s at the top of your destination bucket list?
I grew up with stories of my folks travelling India. I became fascinated with the country and went on to study Indian history at the University of Toronto. I look forward to my first visit, where I can’t wait to be overwhelmed with the colours, tastes, and smells.
What advice would you give to someone starting a career in travel?
Get in! Get started. Try as many different roles within the industry as you can. Develop meaningful contacts. Look for creative collaborations. Care for your clients and do best by them. Take the time to carve our your niche when you find your passion.
Are there any exciting programs you’d like to share?
I am extremely proud to share a new partnership with Slow Food Canada and USA. The opportunities we have to work together, to enhance our best practices, to explore the culture of food in Newfoundland and Labrador on our Newfoundland Circumnavigation are incredible. Assisting in promoting and practicing good, clean, and fair food is something we are very proud of.