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Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
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Monday, April 24, 2017

Countdown to Memorial Day: Olalah Njenga's Travel Tips

Spring has sprung, and the countdown to summer's unofficial start on Memorial Day has begun! As temperatures rise, I find that travel planning increases so this is the fourth in my series of interviews highlighting frequent travelers. We'll cover their preferences and best practices, giving you takeaways to try for your next trip.

Ms. Olalah Njenga
This week, I am pleased to share my interview with Olalah Njenga, who is an award-winning strategist. As CEO, Ms. Njenga leads a strategy consulting company that helps business owners and business leaders transform dreams and goals into plans and outcomes. She shares her unique perspective about strategy, leadership and the small business economy by presenting to audiences across the United States. Working with Ms. Njenga is high-impact and results-oriented, leading to clients' greater success. Ms. Njenga's career highlights include the distinction of being a Forbes Braintrust® Member as well as a featured small business expert for the Washington Post. She serves as a trusted resource for major media outlets, including The New York Times, the BBC, NPR, Marketplace, Fox News and local affiliates for ABC, NBC and CBS. A Fellow of the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership, Ms. Njenga is appointed to hold the designated seat for Small Business on the NCWorks Commission, where she advocates for initiatives that impact North Carolina's small business economy. Ms. Njenga serves as the Commission's Vice Chair, leading its Strategic Planning Committee. Visit to learn more about Ms. Njenga's efforts to help private, public and non-profit organizations develop proven strategies for building, growing and scaling in their respective markets.

EP: Do you travel mainly for business, pleasure or both?

ON: Both business and fun.

EP: Do you prefer traveling via plane, train, boat or automobile?

ON: I love airplane travel. I don't have the patience for train rides nor long car rides.

EP: What is your favorite destination and why?

ON: Las Vegas is my favorite destination. There's always some trouble to get into, no matter the time of day or night.

EP: What is your preference for airlines?

ON: I don't really have an airline preference. Somehow, I end up flying Delta more often than not because they always seem to have the best departure times for my schedule, especially when I need to do turnaround trips.

EP: What is your preference for hotels or accommodations?

ON: I am a "Hilton girl" all the way. I've got Hilton Diamond status so any of their properties is fine, though Embassy Suites is definitely my favorite for multi-night stays. The Hampton Inn is my second choice, especially when I need a budget-friendly option.

EP: Do you book your own travel or prefer a travel agency?

ON: I always book my own travel because I am way too picky - A travel agent would fire me for all of the combinations of flight times I would likely ask of her!

EP: Do you have any suggestions for making the most of loyalty programs or points?

ON: To make the most of loyalty programs, keep up with the rewards and adjust your travel to take advantage of bonus rewards. I did that for my daughter's wedding and got 3 suites for nothing but the cost of the tax for the rooms simply by using rewards and adjusting the dates of check-in.

EP: Are you loyal to any particular brands?

ON: In terms of travel, I'm not an all-out loyalist, but I will choose Hilton for hotels and Samsonite for luggage every time when offered a choice. When my husband took my luggage on a business trip, the airline lost his luggage; when we got the check to replace the luggage, I bought the same set in my favorite color of purple. It was a special order and worth the wait. Now, I can spot my luggage anywhere on the baggage claim ramp, and my husband wouldn't be caught dead with purple luggage so he no longer borrows it!

EP: When flying, what do you ensure is in your carry-on?

ON: My carry-on bag contains items that are essential to health, hygiene and my peace of mind, which sometimes means my lucky purple socks, my favorite flash-drive (I named it "sunburst" because it's orange and black) and a hardcopy of whatever I'm doing that requires technology (because I'm paranoid). When it comes to travel, my personal motto is "If it can go wrong, it might go wrong so be prepared."

EP: Do you keep an extra bag of toiletries packed?

ON: I keep a "go bag" of toiletries on the ready in the hall closet. I heard "Hotchner" from the show Criminal Minds refer to his go bag, and I was hooked ever since then. Can you tell that I'm a fan?

EP: How do you organize your time and related details while on-the-go?

ON: I use my mobile phone to manage "where" I'm supposed to be and "who" I'm supposed to meet, but I use my Franklin Planner agenda to manage "what" matters most and "when" it needs to get done. I save everything to my Outlook calendar --- notes, drawings, directions, etc. Then, I sync everything in my mobile phone. Duplicity offers assurance, and that gives me peace of mind.

EP: Do you use technology to help stay productive and organized? If so, what's your favorite program, app, website or tech tool for surviving the chaos of daily life? And what's your favorite for being your best while traveling?

ON: Personally, I don't use a lot of technology because I don't like the eye strain of staring at a screen a million times a day. That might seem strange coming from a former Cisco girl, but I keep things "tech simple". I use Dropbox for storing and retrieving any and all docs. I also use the Dropbox app on my mobile phone. However, for overall productivity, I find that my Franklin Planner (compact size) is invaluable for keeping me on track and productive.

EP: Across all your travels, which restaurant did you enjoy most, why was it your favorite and what was the best food?

ON: A favorite restaurant is an impossible question, but, if hard-pressed, it would be the Grandover Resort in Greensboro. I ordered breakfast via room service, and it was so delicious that I nearly forgot that I was supposed to be on stage to speak to a few hundred people. Yes... It was THAT good!

EP: If you could have one super power to make traveling (or life in general) a little better, what would it be?

ON: Oh, that's easy... My super power would be warp speed movement. As I said, I'm impatient.

Thanks for sharing so many excellent tidbits, Ms. Njenga!

Readers, do your preferences mirror hers? Do you use any of the tools or hacks that she's mastered over her countless travels? Which tip do you plan to implement in the future?

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