Katie Cordes ’07
Major: International Development and Social Change
Kilimanjaro Program Manager, ThomsonSafaris.com, Tanzania
In April 2007, Katie Cordes was entertaining job offers from recruiting companies when she stumbled upon the ad for her dream job.
“They were looking for someone with six to 10 years of experience, but I knew it was a perfect fit,” says Cordes. “I sent my resume and cover letter before calling and letting them know I had other offers, but only wanted to work for them … and that I’d be in Watertown [Mass.] for an interview that week.”
Cordes studied the website, learned about each manager, and at her interview, she detailed all the things they could do better to get more business. Her diligence paid off. She was hired by Thomson Safaris to run the Mount Kilimanjaro trekking division, which involves everything from planning and budgeting programs to creating marketing materials and hiring staff.
In addition to being prepared to answer a million questions about climbing Kilimanjaro, Cordes is responsible for negotiating contracts, and running logistics for VIP travel groups, including MTV’s “Summit on the Summit,” which involved more than 250 people.
“I felt like a mother hen watching all of them make it to the summit,” she says. “The fulfillment, pride, and confidence gained when you stand at Kilimanjaro’s summit just cannot be matched.”
Cordes is eager to help others experience new things, and traveling has given her a deeper understanding and appreciation for people.
“I absolutely love going to a new place and feeling uncomfortable, not understanding what’s going on around me,” she says. “And then little by little, you start to digest it, and before you know it, you feel comfortable and recognize that people are the same throughout the world, yet so different.”