SAN FRANCISCO, May 24, 2012/PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Over the past 20 years, Pauline Brown's positions have included VP of corporate strategy and new business development for the Estee Lauder Companies, SVP of corporate strategy and global business development at Avon, and MD of The Carlyle Group,. Now an independent investor and advisor, she's also a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, working to develop community-spirited leaders. See for yourself why we thought she was a perfect candidate for the XOJET 10.
1. Growing up, what was your first dream destination?
When I was six, I watched in awe as Mike Brady took his family on a vacation to Hawaii. Tropical flowers, curling waves, Polynesian cocktails—Hawaii seemed so glamorous. Then Bobby unearthed some sort of ancient tiki, which brought about bad luck. Peter almost got bit by a tarantula and Bobby was almost killed by falling wall decorations. All of a sudden, Hawaii didn't seem so compelling. I actually have never been there.
2. Tell us about the first time you flew on a plane?
Funny enough, I can't remember my first flight. I do remember other types of trips, though, notwithstanding their hallucinogenic effects.
3. How many days a year do you travel now, approximately, and what percentage is for business?
I'm lucky. For the first time in my life, there's no delineation between my business life and my personal life. My family vacations tend to be in places where I have business ties, and, whenever possible, I take along my husband and kids to places where I do business. When taking on a new client or partner, I always ask myself: Is he or she based in a place I'd dare to bring my family? If not, my asking price goes way up.
As for time spent on the road, it's highly variable. In the last two months, I've spent 26 days overseas. Prior to that though, I'd been home for a solid two months.
4. When you travel for business, what's most important to you?
Business travel is all about efficiency. I obsess about proximity from airport to hotel to meetings to airport, and demand high-quality Wi-Fi bandwidth at every juncture. How else could I Skype with my kids and ensure that they're doing their homework?
5. What's the biggest difference between how you travel for leisure and how you travel for business?
When I travel for leisure, I'm a lot more price sensitive than when I travel for business. When I travel for pleasure, I make sure that all my expenditures are of good value. I negotiate hard. My husband often says, "We can't afford to save this much!"
6. What was your most luxurious travel experience?
I spent my honeymoon at one of the Aman resorts in Bali. I'd celebrate an anniversary there.
7. How have your attitudes about travel changed over the years?
I used to think that the farther I flew, the more exotic the experience. I now come across neighborhoods—particularly shopping strips—in places like Beijing that may as well be situated in the Americana Mall in Manhasset. Likewise, I'm often pleasantly surprised to find new nuggets closer to home—in places like Charleston, Seattle and Brooklyn.
8. Most important aspect of travel in terms of your business needs today?
For international travel, I do my best to bring my passport.
For domestic flights, I always have a credit card on hand. Stewardesses don't accept cash for in-flight food, and I hate to arrive on an empty stomach,.
9. How do you spend your time in flight?
Wish I had it in me to be at least somewhat productive—I marvel at others toiling away—but I usually use the opportunity to surf the web. If that's not an option, I like to watch old episodes of 30 Rock.
10. What's your dream destination now?
I have pleasant dreams of visiting Capetown. It seems to have all the positive aspects of Hawaii, but without tarantulas or reminders of The Brady Bunch.
THE XOJET LIST
Favorite city: Paris, especially in August, when all the Parisians are away.
Favorite hotel: Evason Ma'In Hot Springs, an oasis by the Dead Sea in Jordan. The resort lies about 260 meters below sea level. I was there on my birthday and was serenaded in Arabic by a caravan of Bedouin waiters. The evening was capped at an open-air theater showing Lawrence of Arabia. I loved everything about that film except for Peter O'Toole's makeup. They didn't have good bronzers back then.
Favorite restaurant: When it comes to cuisine, I'm a farm girl. I like to be close to the source, so long as I'm not asked to shuck the corn or sort the wheat from the chaff. Among farm-to-table restaurants, my top pick is Blue Hill at Stone Barns, located in Pocantico Hills, about 30 miles outside New York.
Favorite spa: I love the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, about 40 minutes from Reykjavik. The Lagoon is fed water, rich in silica and sulfur, from a nearby power plant. It sounds a lot less appealing than it is.
Favorite museum/gallery: I am profoundly moved by Jerusalem's Yad Vashem, a living memorial to the Holocaust.
Favorite publication(s) to read on a plane: I was an English major in college, but, for some reason, I favor pictures to words. Elle Décor. Harper's Bazaar. US Weekly. I enjoy looking through them all, but not reading any of them.
Favorite travel device: At heart, I'm an "analog gal." I'm still attached to my Sony Walkman. It's simple to use and allows me to leverage my enormous and beloved collection of cassettes.
Favorite luggage (maker): For heavy duty packing, I like my 29" US Traveler suitcase, which I bought a few years ago at Wal-Mart. It's lightweight, tear-resistant and outright indestructible. Plus it doesn't remotely arouse curiosity from bell hops, baggage handlers or customs officers, so my most precious jewels stay safe and all my travel purchases tariff-free.