30 Under 30 – Show it Off!

Najauna White
National Sales Manager
Discover Durham
30 Under 30, Class of 2019

They say that "you're the average of the five people spend the most time with." Although none of us spent time together, I am the average of 29 other amazing young professionals on this year’s 30 under 30 list of recipients. 

This year I was awarded Destinations International's 30 Under 30, class of 2019 – and even after I received the recognition, I wasn’t sure what it meant. I wasn’t sure if the idea of being a member on a popularized “30 Under 30” would have any impact on what I’m already doing other than just a cool icebreaker at industry conferences. Quickly, I realized I was wrong. To be honest, I applied at a phase in my career where I was plagued with constant thoughts of “what’s next”? However, I took a chance and applied. This journey has invigorated my ideas while also supporting my growth. In the last six months, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals in this industry in a way that I haven’t before. 

When I attended the Destinations International Annual Convention as a member of the 2019 class, I saw all that I was missing! The diversity in age, color, gender, backgrounds, and aspirations was astonishing. I was able to have candid conversations about what I needed to grow, and most importantly, what being on this list was going to do for me. Below I’ve decided to share five simple things that have impacted my career since being on the list:

  1. General curiosity: This again, was that sometimes weird but much-needed ice breaker. Although sometimes the travel & tourism industry is hard to explain, being on a 30 Under 30 list isn’t! I’ve had people both within and outside this industry trust my knowledge and insight base on this list alone.
     
  2. ACCESS, ACCESS, ACCESS!: I now have access to not only my fellow 30 Under 30 classmates in other cities but also to other destination executives – people who are creating masterplans and shaping our industry as we speak
    • I also have gained access to other networks, especially one of my new favorites #WWGSD.
       
  3. Education: There are exclusive educational opportunities that we get JUST for being members of the 30 Under 30 class.
     
  4. Career leverage: When looking at benchmarks for success, we must come to an understanding that not all opportunities are created equal and divided out equally – and when we’re on the playing field, the 30 Under 30 recognition is that curveball you can throw in there to get ahead where you need to.
     
  5. Resume builder: Hey, at the end of the day, this is about YOU! You’ve worked hard all year, you deserve a pat on the back, you deserve the recognition, and most importantly, you deserve to add it to your resume, LinkedIn, Facebook, IG, or wherever else anyone can see it, show it off!

There are, of course, more than just five things that I could list, but these five have really shaped my last six months as well are still developing the type of leader I am prepared to be in this industry. If I have to, I’d do it all again! Thank you, Destinations International and congratulations, again to my other class members! 

PS. I’m pretty sure 2019 is the best class yet!

About the Author

Najauna White
National Sales Manager
Discover Durham
As a hospitality sales and marketing strategist with 10 + years' experience in various industries, it has always been Najauna's purpose to connect individuals to a brand through expressive content, storytelling and community engagement. In her current role, she's been devoted to increasing the presence of and change the narrative of what diversity, inclusion AND equity means to both our community and the travel and tourism industry.