Jetsetters of the Month: Stuart Paskow & Michelle Cohen
Although personally both Stuart Paskow and Michelle Cohen cannot remember a time in their lives when travel was not on top of their to-do lists, professionally, as founders of Mitch-Stuart Inc., they have a desire to learn more about the customs and areas of any given destination. This knowledge helps them enhance the experience for travelers who are the recipients of packages from Mitch-Stuart, which are provided to businesses as incentives and to non-profit organizations to reward donor support and gain fundraising solutions.
“We saw a need in the non-profit community for unique, innovative fundraising platforms,” Stuart and Michelle said. Mitch-Stuart developed partner programs to provide compelling fundraising tools for the non-profit sector, and its founders were recruited by American Airlines to help spearhead the launch of American Airlines AAdvantage Fundraising program, helping organizations and businesses use miles as premiums and incentives. Stuart and Michelle explained that by creating unique programs and offering attractive travel premium and incentives, charities could acquire new donors, retain existing members and supporters, upgrade size and frequency of charitable contributions, and recapture lapsed donors. As the company grew, they add, the business-to-business incentive concept was enhanced for employees and customers.
Stuart and Michelle began traveling extensively when forming Mitch-Stuart in order to become familiar with the properties and experiences they planned to offer in their program. “Our quest was to provide clients with unique and exotic adventures,” they said, adding, “Travel holds the promise of adventure, awe, excitement, expanding knowledge and cultural awareness, visiting historical landmarks, meeting incredible people, enjoying nature’s beauty, and relaxation and pleasure.” They would love to visit Monaco again, because of the beauty and charm of the region, and also hope to re-visit Israel, for the history and culture of the Middle East.
One place Stuart and Michelle find themselves recommending over and over again is California’s wine country. “The area has so much to offer,” they said, adding, “It’s close to the world-renown San Francisco and yet is truly unique. The weather is lovely, the people are friendly, the food is fabulous, and you can learn all about winemaking.” People inquire most about New York City, the Mitch-Stuart founders said, because many are attracted by the thrill of Broadway, the fashion and art, the food, the architecture, and the landmarks.
The two said they see more travelers going abroad “as the economy improves and the dollar stabilizes.” In Europe, the romance and allure of Paris keeps the destination in high demand, as does the city’s culinary component. Stuart and Michelle said they receive many inquiries about ecotourism on a number of continents.
As experts in the travel industry, the Mitch-Stuart team can provide an insider’s view to help make the most out of experiences travelers are planning. Jet setters can also take advantage of the travel packages and opportunities Mitch-Stuart offers to create incentive programs in their professional lives; additionally, they can use the packages in their volunteer lives for fundraising events and campaigns, Stuart and Michelle said. The company features hundreds of travel packages to the world’s most desired destinations, including Europe, the Caribbean, and South America, as well as once-in-a-lifetime experiences and fantasy sports trips to the Masters and the Super Bowl.
Throughout their travels, Stuart and Michelle have learned to keep an open mind about the customs and traditions of where they might be traveling. “It is important to add to your knowledge of how other people live,” they said, since, “It will make you a better and well-rounded person.” By having the privilege of visiting other countries and experiencing the beauty of many cultures, new knowledge and experience can have a lifelong impact, they said. Traveling has also helped the two gain an increased appreciation of their own country—as well as meet a few famous faces. Stuart and Michelle said they had a rare opportunity to meet Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and were also fortunate enough to meet the famous Claude Nobs, who brought the Montreux Jazz Festival to Switzerland and introduced generations of true music legends to international audiences.
“Traveling is more than just a vacation,” Stuart and Michelle said. “Besides being remarkable and memorable in one’s life, we are able to continually add new and exciting trips and experiences to our offerings.”