MEET A MOM – DAWNE BARNES
Independent Travel Agent with Modern Travel Professionals
Where are you originally from, and how long have you lived in Pittsburgh?
I have always considered myself a PROUD YINZER – no matter the zip code!
I graduated from Gateway High School in Monroeville.
Then went North to Gannon University for college.
And as most Pittsburghers do – I moved away for work and then came back home to start my own family.
But I do have a confession to make:
As a way to convince my husband Steve to move here, I may have agreed to allow him to raise our son as a Browns fan. Yep, I married a die-hard Cleveland fan. Football season in our house is always fun.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
We have an 8-year-old boy: Lochlan Connor
What do you love about living in Pittsburgh?
It’s the people for me! I love the sense of community.
Pittsburgh is a big city with a small town feel.
I love being able to go to professional sporting events, see Broadway caliber shows, and take in a concert – right here at home.
And don’t even get me started on the food – pierogies, burnt almond torte, Sarris chocolate-covered pretzels… YES, PLEASE!!
What’s your favorite restaurant and/or place to shop in Pittsburgh?
I am a BIG FAN of the Strip District. My extended family has a Christmas Eve tradition of starting early at Kelly O’s for breakfast and making our way down through the shops.
Tell us about your business.
I am an Independent Travel Agent with Modern Travel Professionals.
I love being a mom, but I know the unique challenges that come with it. You are always working to please everyone. And when it comes to your family vacation that usually means struggling to find something that everyone will enjoy.
I have traveled to the places you want to visit with your family. From the magic of Walt Disney World to the beautiful all-inclusive Beaches Resorts in the Caribbean – I can put together the vacation you are looking for. My job is to listen to what you want & then make it a reality. I like to think of myself as your own, personal Fairy-Godmother. From finding the right resort for your family to airport transfers & dining – I will handle it all. BONUS: I am always looking out for the best deals – because who doesn’t love a good deal?!
What do you love about your job?
One of my absolute favorite things – is when a mom sends me a picture while she’s on a vacation that I helped her plan.
I recognize our kids won’t be at home forever, so I love to see family’s creating memories together.
What is your favorite thing to do with your children and/or family?
Of course, travel. Which is a big reason I chose to start my own business as a Travel Agent.
I tell my son, all of the time, how lucky he is. My first plane ride was to San Francisco when I was in High School. Lochlan is heading into third grade and has already flown to several destinations in Florida, plus trips to Hawaii & California. I still remember how excited he was to get his 1st passport stamp – Canada.
Here at home: We are members of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. We are also BIG FANS of the Carnegie Science Center.
But if I had to pick one thing: it’s family time! Those times when we are all crowded together, swapping stories, and eating a delicious meal. I moved back to the Pittsburgh area to be closer to my family – so anytime spent with my mom, my sister’s family, my aunts, uncles, and cousins – is priceless!!
How do you juggle work and motherhood?
Juggling work & motherhood is no easy task. I struggled for years at my job in the corporate world. ‘Mom guilt’ is NO JOKE!!
Having my own business certainly gives me more flexibility.
How has the Pittsburgh community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
In my business, I rely on repeat customers and referrals – so the community support I have received is a big reason I am able to have my own business.
Growing up, I always wanted to work at WTAE. There is actually an entry in my baby book – where my mom said I used to sing the theme song. I never gave up on that goal of producing a newscast in my hometown – and eventually spent 11 years doing just that. My coworkers became friends & some of my biggest supporters as I ventured off onto my own.
More recently, I was introduced to a network of amazing women who own their own businesses and taught me collaboration is much better than competition.
And when I see old friends I made growing up in Pitcairn – share news about my business – I realize how lucky I am. It’s not something I take for granted.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from another mom?
Be authentically you! And own your sh*+
Realize you were chosen specifically to be your child’s mom for a reason.
Is there anything that you would like to share with other moms?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And offer to help when you can.
It really does take a village. That’s not just a cliche!
Interested in learning more about Dawne and her business?
Check out her website and social media below: