Back in 2004, before we had multiple phones and online reservations, we were making a lot of changes. At that time I was not only Santa Barbara Adventure Company’s head guide; I was also the head reservationist, the logistics coordinator, the field coordinator and the chief van washer. Plus I had just got engaged and had a wedding to help plan — something had to give. Business was booming and it was time to bring someone on full-time to manage the day-to-day operations in the office. Enter my first full-time employee – the amazing and talented Christie Renick, Office Manager 2004-2006. What is she up to today? Let’s find out.
How did you get the job?
I knew Mike from a short stint at Naturalists At Large, and one day when he ventured down the coast for a surf session it came up while we were out in the water that he needed an office manager and I needed a good job. It was fate!
What was the best part of the job?
The best part of the job was describing the unique adventures we offer to potential guests, hearing them get excited about the activities, and feeling the satisfaction of being able to answer their questions while quelling any concerns they might have – like when a parent wanted to sign their child up for surf lessons but was nervous about the ocean. But it was also always great after a big trip came to an end and we got awesome feedback from our guests. Especially with the teambuilding or big wine country tours – there are so many details to manage and it felt good when that work paid off.
What did you learn?
I had only moved to southern California a year or so before taking the job, so I didn’t really know the area at all, and it was great to become familiar with both the city of Santa Barbara and surrounding areas. I also learned how far good customer service really goes. When you spend that much time on the phone with people, you get really good at being able to figure out people’s needs and then take care of them. The best thing about my time as office manager was that I got to help with the website when we updated in 2006, and that led me to where I am today.
What advice would you offer our current office manager?
Get organized and keep good notes. Find a system of doing things that works for you and don’t be afraid to amend that system along the way. There are so many details that go into the fantastic trips at SBACo, and guests walk away with great memories that they might cherish their whole lives so it’s really important to give guests the best possible experience. There’s nothing like a forgotten dietary restriction or bad driving directions to ruin an otherwise perfect adventure.
What are you doing now?
I am in school for graphic design while working as a freelance writer and designer. I have a blog that I try to write for a few times a week and I’m trying to get my design site built.
Thank you Christie for helping thousands of guests experience amazing adventures! We certainly could not have done it without you.
Tell us your stories about Christie. I am sure she would love to hear from you.