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Turning off the road after 21 years

Date: April 22, 2021 | By: Brenda Lee | Category: Travel Blog

Many of you have never met Deborah Kilcollins, our brand manager. Yet I promise you all know  her. If you’ve read any press release, read this blog, or have simply called the office, you know her. You see, she is the one who wrote them all. She has even wrote every Big Five Navigator Series®️ hard cover book, from cover to cover.

Well after 21 years at Big Five, Deborah is calling it a career and retiring at the end of May. I came to Big Five 19 years ago and met Deborah, who was already working at Big Five. I went up and said, “Hi Debbie,” and her reply was “Nice to meet you, and it’s Deborah, thank you.” Little did I know that this person, over the next two decades, would help Big Five with launching the Spirit of Big Five Foundation, launching Precious Journeys®️ family programs, and helping to shape the messaging you read to this day.

Deborah will still be coming into the office periodically as she embarks on her new adventure, writing a book!

Thank you Deborah, for the laughter, the tears, and for simply being you.

I wanted to share something beautiful that Deborah wrote to our team:


A note from Deborah Kilcollins

What do you say after 21 years in one job?  Shazam….

Seriously, when Ashish asked me if I wanted to say something, I had no idea what that would be. I can say that this job has been an adventure all its own. I had worked as a freelance writer/photographer for years and in fact, that is how I learned about Big Five. I interviewed Mahen for an article about the company and himself, for a regional business publication.  I was taken aback when Mahen offered me a job here. The thought of a “real” job, as my father used to say, was somewhat daunting.  So when I started at Big Five, my thought process was that I might work here for maybe five years at the most, and even that was a staggering thought. However, it seemed the most logical course for me at the time. I began as a receptionist with the understanding that the job would evolve, and evolve it has.

Even as a kid, I dreamed about far off places. I took my first trip to Europe on my own when I was 18 with no real experience in traveling alone or abroad. What an eye-opening journey it was. I had a Eurail pass and I ran around Europe for a few months, often sleeping on trains to save money. I had no agenda beyond seeing everything. But that was just the beginning. Since then, I have visited some 60 countries. So when Big Five and I crossed paths, my friends just laughed and pointed out that if I had to have a real job, this surely must be it. And, indeed, it has been.  I’ve added a few destinations with Big Five. My favorite and one that I would likely never have been able to do on my own was China.

Big Five has been an education all its own, and I have learned about dedication, loyalty and so much more. I wish Big Five all the success in the world and fully expect it to continue to be among the best. You have all taught me valuable lessons so to each of you I say with gratitude, thank you.

“May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, The foresight to know where you’re going…”


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