Pam Hurley Moser started her company, Hurley Travel Experts, in Portland two decades ago, when she was 26. The agency, which now also has offices in Naples, Fla., as well as representatives around the world, specializes in corporate travel management, travel incentives and retreats and luxury vacation travel. It serves more than 50,000 travelers a year and employs 45.
A few years ago Hurley Moser introduced a new kind of tourism to the state: suborbital space flight. Her agency is one of about 125 selected by Virgin Galactic, spearheaded by Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, to sell its services. The flights are expected to start within a few years. Hurley Moser trained at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to become an accredited space agent.
“I’ve been passionate about travel – and intrigued by space – my entire life, so traveling to space seemed a dream come true for me,” Hurley Moser says. “As a travel professional, I thrive on creating out-of-the-ordinary, horizon-broadening experiences for my clients and myself – adventures that go far beyond the realm of traditional travel. The opportunity to be an accredited space agent and offer space flights represents what I believe to be the pinnacle of a travel professional and represents the last available frontier.”
Meanwhile, while awaiting her chance at suborbital flight, Hurley Moser loves to travel on this planet. “I have been all over the world with the exception of two continents, Antarctica and Australia. Those are on my list,” she says.
She and her husband have “slowed down a bit” travel-wise because of their 5-year-old daughter, and instead plan closer, less-adventurous type trips. “Although just the other day she asked me when I was going to take her to Africa as she was ‘getting impatient,’” Hurley Moser says.
She was among the winners announced in May of the 2012 Maine Family Business Awards, sponsored by the Institute for Family-Owned Business in partnership with the law firm Verrill Dana. According to the judges’ comments, “We were blown away by initiatives and innovation.”
Hurley Moser and her family live in Harpswell.
What do you think are the top characteristics of an innovator – a woman who breaks the mold?
For sure, confidence and perseverance.
Who are your role models?
Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group; Herb Kelleher, founder and chief executive officer of Southwest Airlines; and Mother Teresa – that must be my parochial school experience talking, but she was amazing!
Do you or have you had a mentor, and how significant has this person been in helping you achieve your goals?
I surround myself with many people who know a lot more than I do and who are a lot smarter than I am. I love to learn, and I’m not afraid of saying, “What does that mean?” or, “I don’t know.” I once had a metaphysical/business coach, Ivan Burnell, who really helped me to achieve what I want in life. Allan Huntley, a very respected travel agency owner in Massachusetts, taught me an incredible amount regarding the travel industry and business in general. I have a business coach currently, Greg Macomber, who has been instrumental in helping me grow my business. My husband, David Moser, has taught me to “chill out” and to not sweat the small stuff. He reminds me to relax and to stop and smell the roses. There are just so many great people in my life.
Have you been thwarted by sexism at any point?
I think it was worse when I was younger. I was once told that I was “too pretty to start my own company.” Can you imagine a man ever being told he was too handsome to start a company?
What can mothers do to encourage breaking-the-mold thinking in their daughters?
Daughters will follow the lead of their mothers. I have a 5-year-old and she watches my every move. I am a big believer in being positive and optimistic, and definitely not over-reacting. I don’t just tell her she can do or be anything she wants, I show her. Although, the other day I did tell her that life was 10 percent what happens and 90 percent how you react to it, and she was all over it! She continues to be intrigued by that statement. I’m reading “The Optimistic Child” right now, by Martin E.P. Seligiman.