This Thanksgiving is a special one in our office, and for a significant reason – we’ve had the privilege of celebrating the fulfilling career and recent retirement of our founder, inspiration and second mother, the one and only Ella Grondahl. Ella founded Global Escapes in 1988, and she has built a thriving business through sheer grit, determination and hard work. The source of all her resolve? A genuine and heartfelt desire to create lasting memories in the lives of her clients.
Ella began her career in travel with no training or experience, but with a lion’s share of gumption and enthusiasm. She dove headfirst into a fiercely competitive and ever-changing industry that requires an exceptional investment of time and dedication. And she did it all as a single mother struggling to make ends meet.
She began in a small rented office across the street from our current location, and she purchased our home at 697 Milledge Avenue two years later. You see, Ella was a woman of vision, and she knew that her business was going to require a lot more than a small rental space. As she set up shop in the house that is now our Global Escapes home, she knew that big things were on the horizon, but she couldn’t conceive of just how much her business would grow in the years to come, or the number of people she would impact.
Through the years, Ella juggled a myriad of duties—handling constant and time-sensitive corporate travel requests, planning dream honeymoons for countless young couples, orchestrating yearly vacations for regular clients with all their particular preferences in place, overseeing a booming business with multiple employees, and raising a headstrong young daughter. I’m sure Tiffany is reading this and smiling right now as she remembers her teenage years and the grief she gave her mother….
Now as we turn over to a new chapter in the history of Global Escapes, with Tiffany at the helm, we look forward to making new memories in the days to come. Though Ella may not be in the office every day, working busily at her desk before the rest of us have arrived or even had our first cup of coffee, she will be ever-present in the daily operations within these walls, and certainly within our hearts.
For years Ella has faithfully stood in the gap for her clients and employees alike, rejoicing with them in celebration, fighting their battles when needed, and simply holding their hands in times of grief. She loves travel and adventure, but most of all she loves people. That shining character quality still reverberates within the walls of Global Escapes to this day, and it is a testimony to a life of faithful giving by the most inspirational woman we have ever known. We are proud to represent her life’s work, and we strive each day to be worthy of the legacy she has set forth.
To Ella, from all of us with love, you are now and will forever be the heart and soul of Global Escapes.