Andjela Kessler, President, Incentive Travel & Meetings has been appearing on CNN and has been interviewed by various broadcast and print media.
Andjela Kessler, President, Incentive Travel & Meetings
"Nothing succeeds for companies like incentives to motivate their employees to work together, or to reward them for doing a good job, like being the top sellers in their organizations," said Kessler
Advantages of being small
competes for blue-chip clients with larger companies by emphasizing her
Although small, Kessler said the size of her
firm is an advantage in an industry in which clients typically request last-minute rescheduling of activities to accommodate unexpected corporate adjustments.
"When you're small, you can move faster.
I can make decisions faster in the interest of my clients," said Kessler
Being small is advantageous because she
has recruited a team of logistics and creative personnel who handle everything from meeting arrangements to the design of trophies.
firm conservatively - primarily through outsourcing - until she
felt financially comfortable to add full-time staff.
did not finance the company with a bank loan, she
used limited personal funds to pay her
expenses until she
built consistent business from clients.
During the firm's start-up, Kessler
rented office space from her
former employer, Adweek
, until she
was able to move to her
Challenge of getting paid
But there are some disadvantages to her
said one of her
biggest business challenges is timely payment of bills by some clients whose finance departments regard marketing incentives as a low payment priority.
"We do a number of projects that also require that we pay up front.
I have to come up with the money," said Kessler
prides herself in achieving the desired results for clients, but from exotic settings.
The native Yugoslavian believes her
ideas for adventures suit employees in today's high-tech and global economy.
Kessler's operation is an interesting business practices study, according to Deborah Lester, a marketing and advertising professor in the Coles School of Business at Kennesaw State University.
For the past six years, Kennesaw business students have been challenged to emulate Kessler
and other business people.
is careful not to exploit the native residents whom clients encounter on their trips.
intends to serve as an "ambassador from Atlanta" to bridge cultures around the world, she
wrote "The International Friendship Book" as a practical guide for businesses and people relating to world communities. 'Me self-published book came out in May 1996 and sold 50,000 copies by the time the Olympic Games ended in August.
dedicated the book to her
father, Milan Loncaric, who was an international lawyer who moved his
family around the world as assignments dictated.
Because of her
early exposure to living in foreign countries, Kessler
work is in part a tribute to her
Also in 1996, Kessler
was a finalist for the Atlanta Convention
and Visitor's Bureau award for individuals who have best sought meaningful relationships with other cities, countries and cultures.
ITM's clients are not exclusively large U.S. corporations.
works with small domestic companies as well, because she
wants to "meet every budget.
has been expanding its services to international firms that want to reward employees and customers with travel and entertainment to Caribbean and U.S. destinations.
"When I bring the Dutch to an African-American church in Atlanta, it's no different than taking Americans to a rice field in Thailand.
Everyone needs to really experience a new culture," said Kessler
got the assignment and took the risky leap to becoming an entrepreneur.
, however, never viewed her
move as a risk.
"Our company is known for its creativity," she
said that travel is always emphasized because informal market research shows employees and customers remember exotic trips more than how they spent a monetary bonus, especially if it was a meager amount.