The Passions Behind the People
Each month we will be sharing the passions behind the people in the DMC Network. This month the spotlight is on Joanne Ferguson-Twiste, President at Destination Puerto Rico, our DMC partner in Puerto Rico.
The memory... I am a member of Skal International, an international organization of Executives in the Tourism Industry, with chapters in various cities throughout the globe. My grandfather was one of the founding members of the Puerto Rico Club, back in 1959, and was the third President of the Club in 1961. My father took over the family business in the 70’s, and was also very involved in Skal, becoming President of the Club in 1976. I grew up hearing about Skal, participating in Skal family outings, and meeting these great leaders in our industry who were Skalleagues, and of course when I joined the company, I too became a Skalleague.
In 2006 I carried on the family tradition, and became the third generation to be President of our Club, now nearly 50 years old. I always knew I was walking in my parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps, but when I stood on stage and addressed the room during my Installation as President, carrying on the Ferguson name, surrounded by my friends, family and colleagues, as well as prominent figures in the industry who I had admired growing up and now worked with as industry partners, is not a memory I will soon forget.
The hobby... I love playing around in the kitchen. As a teen I learned how to cook by following instructions from Mom over the phone – cut the onions like so, add olives, tomato sauce, let it simmer... These days I find myself collecting cookbooks, old and new, and following recipes, often the more complicated, the better. I find there’s always a sense of comfort and accomplishment when I’ve taken all the ingredients, followed the carefully laid out steps, and create something for all to enjoy. The one exception – when I cook Puerto Rican food. No recipe book there, that is purely from the heart and soul, a little of this, a lot of that – all passed through the family throughout the years…
The time of day... I am not a morning person, but I find getting up early to be in Old San Juan in the early morning hours, is totally worth it. When it’s quiet and still, and the stores and restaurants are still closed, before all the hustle and bustle of the day. I love walking along the old wall of the city overlooking the bay to Fort El Morro, or strolling along the cobblestones and under the large trees, glimpsing views of the interior courtyards of the 500 year-old homes, the various commemorative plaques on so many of the buildings and learning about their history.
The color... That’s easy – black.
The friend... That would be my husband. We met in college – his roommate was dating my roommate, but he and I hated each other – Brooks Brothers meets Doc Martens, Metallica meets The Cure, a la something out of a John Hughes film. Over the next few months he and I ended up having to spend a good amount of time together, and one summer day we realized we had become fast friends. Nothing happened at the time, but fast forward ten years or so, and a mutual friend I had recently visited told him he’d seen me. "Chica? You saw Chica?" The next day, as I was running out the door to try out a new Kayaking vendor for the Bio Bay, I got an email that I promptly deleted thinking it was Junk – what would you expect with a subject line that reads “A long, lost, and otherwise forgotten friend...” And out of the corner of my mind I thought, did that just say Twiste? Retrieved the message – and my heart grinned. That was August 2004… and we got married in October 2009 ☺
The pet... I grew up with many family dogs – my godmother was a rescuer, and my parents had a yard, and so when she needed to find a home for her rescues, they were near the top of the list. I have had so many amazing pets, but THE Pet would be Hershey, the Chocolate Lab I adopted as a puppy just after I graduated from college and had joined the real world.
The exercise… I love to walk outdoors in towns/cities I’m visiting and explore the area on foot – it’s a great way to get to know the neighbourhood and the people, and appreciate the scenery and atmosphere. I also enjoy participating in 5ks with our DPR team – we’ve done the Race for the Cure, one for the Tourism Industry, even a nighttime one with head lamps.
The song… The song I walked down the aisle to – Somewhere Over the Rainbow, played on the ukulele by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. My grandfather used to play the ukulele, and that song just makes my heart happy!
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