It was a love of the arts that led Arlene Thompson-Brantley on the path to becoming one of Rudi Steele Travel’s most successful advisors.
After graduating from Southern Methodist University, she taught theater and fine arts at R.L. Turner H.S. in Carrollton, TX. During that time, she traveled with her students all over the state of Texas to participate in the National Forensic League tournaments and developed a strong wanderlust along the way.
“After three years of teaching, I decided I needed to make a change,” she tells Luxury Travel Advisor. “I had continued traveling with my family during my teaching years and so I decided to pursue my love of travel.”
Now in her 36th year as a travel advisor, 30 of which have been spent with Rudi Steele Travel, Thompson-Brantley takes in about $3 million in annual sales volume and serves as the agency’s vice president.
“I like learning and working with such a world-respected travel advisor, Rudi Steele,” Thompson-Brantley tells us. “I like working for a man of unquestionable ethics and commitment to the agency’s success, John Cargile. I like working with the travel advisors who have come and gone and those I work with today. We are a family. From one day to the next, we love one another, irritate one another and teach one another.”
Her first job in the travel industry was at Adventure Tours U.S.A. in Dallas, a combination of corporate retail travel and a charter wholesale division. Thompson-Brantley went to work as a reservation agent in the fall of 1981, taking reservations from travel agents whose clients wanted charter ski and Caribbean packages out of Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
After a year, she was sent to Sabre Training School at DFW. The school lasted five days and the students slept in the “stewardess” barracks on the Irving, TX campus. After her graduation, Thompson-Brantley was a wholesale ticketing agent at Adventure Tours U.S.A. for British Caledonian charters to London and scheduled service to Nassau, the Bahamas. The next year, Adventure Tours opened up Adventure Tours and Travel leisure division and Thompson-Brantley immediately jumped on the opportunity to join.
And making quick decisions, like the one to work for Adventure Tours and Travel’s leisure division, has always paid off for Thompson-Brantley. After all, the ability to think on her toes has never been a weakness for the former improvisation actor.
She met her husband, Dan Brantley, in an improvisation comedy troupe — the “Guava Bomblets.” Thompson-Brantley and her husband were original troupe members and performed on stage in the Dallas / Ft. Worth metroplex for 12 years.
“As a result, I am very good on thinking on my feet whether in front of 1,000 people or discussing an issue with a client on the phone,” she says.
So what does she love the most about being a successful advisor?
“My connection with our world is so precious to me,” says Thompson-Brantley. “When I travel, I am enlightened and I want my clients to be enlightened too. I am affected when there is joy or sorrow in India, the United Kingdom, France, Brussels. In those countries live my colleagues, my partners and my friends. As a travel community, we are one. I can’t imagine my life journey without them.”