What keeps Bahamas native Karen Seymour, BA 94, focused on her job as an executive director with the country’s Ministry of Tourism?
“Approximately half of our GDP and workforce is dependent on this sector,” notes the Nassau-based Seymour, who has served her department for more than two decades. “So I recognize the importance of this work. The ministry is the backbone of the industry. And that genuinely keeps me going.
”Seymour’s career with the ministry began in the United Kingdom, where she also completed her MBA at the University of Surrey. But even as a French studies major at Concordia from 1992 to 1994, Seymour’s goal was to someday return to the Bahamas to directly contribute to her country’s growth and prosperity. “I always wanted to work for our Ministry of Tourism,” she says proudly.
“I had begun to study French in the Bahamas, and Concordia was one of the best and most affordable options for me to complete my bachelor’s degree. I had a few wonderful professors and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Montreal."
As executive director of Industry Facilitation, Seymour oversees a number of programs and initiatives — special events and conferences, heritage and culture, and sports tourism — across 15 islands.
Global tourism was severely impacted by the pandemic and the Bahamas was no exception, says Seymour. She and her team dealt with the challenges of COVID-19 with creativity and resourcefulness.
“We quickly pivoted to a virtual environment in order to stay in contact with our industry partners. While we were unable to communicate directly with our consumers, we compiled a comprehensive recovery program which involved training and promotions, and which ensured the health and safety of our visitors and our residents."
Seymour describes her work as a true calling. Being able to travel extensively is a nice perk of the job, too.
“I’ve been to and seen so many wonderful places and met so many amazing people. I sometimes laugh when I think back to what I assumed my career would look like. My outlook was shockingly naïve. But I have truly come a long way.”