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Saundra Briggs-Robertson: ‘Be Authentic, Be Yourself’

Fast Facts About Saundra Briggs-Robertson

Company: Louisville Tourism

Favorite Bible Verse:

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” — Philippians 4:13

Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky

Favorite Destination: “My newest favorite destination is San Francisco. My son lives there. The weather is great; there are many things to do, like visiting museums; the piers have a variety of activities, shopping and restaurants, and of course, the beach! And it helps that it’s so close to Sonoma and Napa Valley, which are a short drive away, to go wine-tasting or take a day trip. 

Hobbies: Briggs-Robertson enjoys going shopping, traveling (especially to visit her son in the Bay Area), online vending and binge watching a new Netflix series with her husband. 

Saundra Briggs-Robertson, the senior tourism sales manager at Louisville Tourism, always knew she wanted to be in a role where she would be helping people. She just didn’t start out knowing how. She initially went to college to study nursing, but it wasn’t what she’d hoped.

“I didn’t finish, with just a few months to go, because once we got into the clinical part of it, I realized it just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t do it,” said Briggs-Robertson. “I took a job as an office manager, worked as a test proctor; I had many different jobs, really, but I’ve always kept my eyes set on personal development. I got a job at the Hyatt Regency in their sales department, and then a friend of mine told me about a position at Louisville Tourism that she thought I should apply for. I got the job in 2007, started at the bureau and quickly got the hospitality bug.”

If the phase of her life between nursing school and tourism bureau made her feel unsure about the future, her faith was her rock. Briggs-Robertson grew up attending the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where she was active in the choir. 

“That’s where I learned a lot of my morals and values,” Briggs-Robertson said. “God has been a part of everything that I do every day. Especially in dealing with my customers, I lean on it — making sure that I take care of them, and my faith has made me want to make sure that I do what I say I’m going to do and not over-promise.”

These days, Briggs-Robertson attends the nondenominational Church on the Rock and keeps a plaque quoting her favorite Bible verse on her desk — it’s a constant reminder to serve in what she does every day. Though taking care of her customers comes naturally to her, it’s also part of her core belief as a Christian to serve her clients in a way that’s as genuine as possible — doing God’s work on earth.

“One of the things I pride myself on is that I have repeat business because people come back knowing we’re going to take care of them,” she said. “In this industry, people need to love their destination, have a positive outlook on life, be willing to help people and have a lot of patience, because we get a different question every day. I really love helping my customers plan their itineraries and put their packages together. People come back with such gratitude and say thank you all the time — they call, send cards, send gifts; it’s very gratifying.”

Briggs-Robertson sees all types of groups in her day-to-day work, ranging from multigenerational travelers to church groups, and she customizes itineraries for them all. Most want to visit the iconic sights of Louisville, whether the Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs or touring the Cathedral of the Assumption and taking a tour to learn about its history and iconography.

Briggs-Robertson promotes Louisville at numerous trade shows throughout the year, stimulating visitation to the city, which hosts conventions, its own trade shows, corporate meetings, group tours and individual leisure travel to the tune of roughly 19 million visitors a year. That tourism supports more than 70,000 local jobs and contributes $3.4 billion to the economy. Briggs-Robertson is proud to be a part of that, putting her own God-given talents to use. Drawing strength through her faith, her hard work has kept her going strong in her role for a decade.

“In the beginning, I prayed that I would be able to do a good job,” she said. “I had always been in the background, and sales puts you all the way out there. But I quickly realized that people want you to be authentic, to be yourself, and you don’t have be the shiniest penny on the block. They want you to have results, to follow up, give back to your customers. At the beginning, I was so worried about it. But I prayed about it and realized that I was enough.”

Travel Tips 

1. Plan some activities but do not overdo it — schedule some downtime into your trip.

2. Make sure to check out the weather — it’s an easy detail to overlook, but it will affect everything you do.

3. Start packing at least five days before your trip — it will help you be organized.