Badass Women in Business- Mary Cecchini of Living Big

badass women in business

Some people you meet and instantly know they’re special.  That’s Mary. She’s created a company to really question what ‘Living Big’ means to you, and by doing this, she’s created quite the following in a short amount of time. Read on  to learn more about Living Big and what she plans to do with her travel-inspired company.

State your name and where you live 

Hey! My name is Mary Cecchini and when I’m not traveling, I call Portland, Oregon my home.

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 Tell me the story of Living Big and why you started it

To be honest I didn’t grow up thinking I would own my own business, or certainly a travel business! But after fiercely climbing the corporate marketing ladder for many years I was exhausted and questioning if I was on the right path. I decided to take a time out to reassess my life and decided to do so on a five-month solo journey through Europe. It was on this trip that I really started to develop the framework for what a new life path looked like; a life where I was really ‘Living Big.’ I knew that it was important that I find an authentic way to affect my community; I knew that I wanted travel to play a greater role in my life, and I knew that I wanted to have a professional life that was lighter, more freeing and driven by my ambition and hard work vs. corporate objectives. Coming out of this experience and new path, Living Big was born, which today is a travel company dedicated to helping women explore the world, learn to travel, build community and create memories. Throughout the year I plan, produce and personally host 3-4 international adventures for small groups of women, a few stateside trips and a handful of local adventures in Portland.

What have you learned in the process that will stay with you forever?

I’ve learned that it’s never too early – or late – to follow your heart and pursue your dreams. I had a strong feeling that I needed to carve a new path, but quitting a stable job and embracing the unfamiliar is a very scary thing! But with my gut and instinct as my north star, a strong work ethic, and supporting network of family, friends and colleagues, I knew that I couldn’t fail and no person or thing could stop me from bringing this dream to life.

Do you believe more women should become solo/entrepreneurs? What do you think women bring to the table?

Of course! I believe anyone – men or women – with a passion to bring a skill/gift/talent/idea to life should explore entrepreneurship.

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Can you dish out some advice for women who are thinking about starting something on their own?

Absolutely: be prepared to hustle and be resourceful. Starting a business is no light task. Everyday new challenges, hurdles and nay-sayers can potentially throw you off your path. You have to know what you want, be resourceful and get creative when challenges come your way.

What are your plans for Living Big?

My plans for the immediate future are to continue defining the mission and brand of Living Big. And to fill all the spots on my 2016 trips! But looking at the long-game – I’m excited to think about what forms of growth make sense for the brand. I’ve toyed with the idea of turning my international adventures into a series of e-books, developing a service proposition and adventures for the brand and possibly inviting like-minded travel producers and hosts into the brand. But you’ll have to wait and see….!

What makes you the happiest about what you’re doing?

There are two moments that bring me the greatest joy and satisfaction: 1. when I can sit back and watch clients experience the joy of a travel experience I create {it’s my Santa moment} and 2. When I see two women that didn’t know each other before an international adventure return home as friends. This kind of relationship building and community cultivation make me so happy!IMG_4741

 

What’s something that you’re proud of yourself for doing? Being? Learning? Realizing?

Ah this is so hard to share! But I’d say that I’m really proud of myself for embracing the unknown. For now waiting until I had every element of the business figured out before jumped in {that’s a hard thing for a type-A person to do!} And for bringing this dream to life. For truly ‘living big.’

Why do you feel every woman should travel? 

I think every women should travel to gain perspective; into herself and the world and women around them. It’s really easy for anyone to get wrapped into the ups, downs, highs and lows of their own life. Connecting with people on the other side of the world puts perspective on your own life, and reminds you that there are people in every corner of the world fighting those same ups, downs, highs and lows. Perspective yields so many gifts.

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What do you feel is different about your solo travels compared to other travel experiences?

For me solo travel is all about introspection. It’s about realizing you’re totally on your own to step outside your comfort zone to make friends, strike up conversations, be accountable for your own wellbeing and safety and on your own to make decisions about what you do and where you spend your time. Some people find this experience freeing; others find it frightening! I get both sides. But from my experience, there is eventually that magical moment where you come to realize you’re OK being your own best friend. This doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate and enjoy moments when friends, family and partners join you on the journey, but I’ll always reserve a special place in my heart and life for my solo adventures.

 

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About the author:

JenHeuette (1 of 6)

Jen Heuett is the creator of Travel + Trust & Wanderlust, an online community to educate, empower and inspire women to travel solo. Her words can also be found on Huffington PostMind Body Green, and Travel Hooligan, her first travel company that inspires young adults to utilize the Working Holiday Visa in Australia and New Zealand. When she’s not traveling the world, she’s enjoying the Pacific Northwest and her mom’s tacos.

 

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