In April of 2012, we added Tish-Marrero Stone to the FTI family. She previously worked in the travel industry for more than 15 years as a tour guide, United Service Director, and flight attendant.
Tish is known around the office for her moxie and dedication, but above all, love for her family. She’s brought so much life and laughter to the office over the past 6 years, and we’re more than grateful to have her on our team!
A proud island girl, Tish comes from Puerto Rico and has worked to help her community heal after Hurricane Maria. Along with her passion for adventure (14 countries and counting), she also has a huge heart for others to see the world and experience new cultures. She says, “That’s why I do what I do!”
So, let’s find out more about why she does what she does …
To start off, tell us about your background.
I’m the youngest of 10, and I was adopted by my mom’s aunt and uncle (who I refer to as my parents). We were initially raised in Chicago and then I moved to Puerto Rico when I was about 6 years old.
My passion for travel has been part of me for as long as I can remember. During the summer, we traveled all over the U.S. – to visit family in Illinois, Texas, and Mexico. I couldn’t get enough!
After high school, I went to the island’s tourism school and became a guide in Old San Juan. I also worked in the San Juan Marriott, which was restored after the Dupont Plaza Hotel fire of 1986.
Can you tell us a bit about how Hurricane Maria is still impacting your family and friends in Puerto Rico?
It was heartbreaking returning to back home and seeing blue tarp after blue tarp covering the island. The landscape has changed completely. The water is hugging the coastline so tightly, and it’s plastered with demolished concrete and metal.
Most of my friends in the city have regained power, but there are still many inlanders without it. One friend has been powerless for more than 150 days! This is why canned food donations are so important. Above all, my people need clean water. Most of the country is still boiling water or using purifying tablets.
Many forget that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Nearly every generation in my family has fought in the U.S. military, but we’re still lacking sufficient aid.
Organizations like United Fund & One Voice have stepped up to meet the need because paper towels aren’t going to cut it. We also have a donation box here at the office, and I’ve been able to deliver soap, food, and first-aid supplies during my last two visits.
What did you do before coming to FTI?
I worked for United Airlines for about 10 years, first as a service agent and later as a director. Fun fact: I was one of the first to come up with the concept of airplane zones!
I’d instruct our gate crews to split the cabin into groups or “zones” and label the numbers on boarding passes with Sharpies and stickers. I was flown to Chicago to present my idea, but all I got was, “That’s a great idea. Thanks!” Alas.
I also met my wonderful husband, Dale, after I transferred to D.C. We married in 2004 and in 2006, we took the huge step to adopt our son, Tony. He means the world to us. Giving our son a better, brighter future became our mission.
What’s your favorite part of being a travel agent?
One of the perks of being an agent is the amazing travel experiences. You also help people see the world and serve those in need. It’s rewarding to have clients call you after a trip and say, “Thank you! We really couldn’t have done this without you.”
Do you have a favorite travel memory?
My favorite memories were in Mauritius, which is right off the coast of Madagascar. At the end of the day, I’m an island girl, and this place is unlike any other. I can’t even describe how blue and beautiful the water is. And don’t even get me started on the people!
We swam with dolphins, ate amazing food, and hiked a waterfall as tall as the Statue of Liberty! I also went ziplining and lived to tell the tale. It was the trip of a lifetime!
What destination is next on your bucket list?
I’d really like to go to Tahiti. I’m an island girl, what can I say?
Who inspires you the most in life?
My parents. They were in their 50’s when they took me in. Both of them were done raising children … or so they thought.
Even if I were able to bear children, I would still adopt because I have to give a child the same opportunity my parents gave me.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I’d have to say my family and little rose garden. Oh, and the Chicago Cubs, of course!
If you weren’t a travel agent, what would you do?
I would still be working in the travel industry somehow, whether at an airport, in the air as a flight attendant or a hotel. This is what I do. I have been in this industry for 23 years. It’s my passion.
It’s a big world. Get out there!
Your FTI Team