Monday, February 03, 2014

Changing Of The Guard



Today is Melanie Eggers’s last day. Many of you know Melanie through the various email and phone conversations that you’ve had while planning your trip. Whether you registered for a tour for the first time, inquired about logistics, or simply wanted to know what cheese to put in your pack, you usually communicated with Melanie at some point during your Ryder-Walker experience.

What many people don't know is that Melanie was the true unsung hero at Ryder-Walker. As our managing director, ‘Mel’, was responsible for EVERYTHING regarding your tour. She was in charge of registrations and guest service. She managed the hotel reservations. She handled the tour logistics, and she stood in line at the post office with piles of tour packages and bubble-wrapped beer steins. (She liked to call them "bubble babies" for short.) In addition, Mel outfitted the staff and guests with stylish new gear, and she also put out fires that the rest of us created. In short, Melanie did a $!## load of work, a fact that we can't emphasize enough!

During her “spare time”,  Melanie upgraded our client management system (a huge undertaking), installed a new state-of-the-art phone system (a very frustrating undertaking), troubleshot computer issues (never frustrating), and helped the rest of us with long term economic forecasting (Janet Yellen, eat your heart out!)—all while wearing a smile.

It's also worth noting that Melanie developed our self-guided hiking tours in Italy and France. Provence, Cinque Terre and Capri & the Amalfi Coast are her babies, but, in the end, it is a baby that pulls her away from Ryder-Walker.

If Melanie seemed absent this fall, it’s because she was. Melanie took maternity leave in September, giving birth to a beautiful baby boy. She returned to the office in January, but the pull of motherhood proved simply too great. Melanie has the opportunity to stay home and raise her child—something that we support and commend very highly in this day and age.

Melanie’s replacement is Eileen Burns, a longtime friend of the Ryder-Walker family that we’ll introduce in greater detail when she gets settled in. In the meantime, we take comfort in knowing that Melanie isn’t truly going away. Like most Ryder-Walker alumni, she promises to pop her head in from time to time. And who knows? The next time you travel to Europe, maybe you’ll see Melanie developing a new tour with an eager young hiker in tow.

Good luck Mel! We wish you all the best on your new journey.

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