A love letter from incentive and cruise industry pro Shari Wallack of Buy the Sea
Back in July 2020, when Shari Wallack’s incentive cruise and all-inclusive resort brokerage business had been devastated by COVID, she made a remarkable decision. To combat the unprecedented, painful times, Wallack embarked on a three-month road trip. Connecting with colleagues from her nearly 20 years as president of Buy the Sea came easily due to her close industry relationships. Traveling mindfully to observe safety protocols, Wallack visited friends across the country, baking a vast and creative variety of challah loafs along the way. Her heartfelt and humorous memoir, From Hell to Challah: Rising from Fragile to Fearless, One Grain at a Time chronicles her personal journey, with lessons learned that are especially meaningful to hardworking industry pros emerging from the COVID crisis.
“What I learned,” said Wallack in an interview for Prevue, “is the value of human connection. An incentive industry supplier spends a lot of time looking for the next sale because this is what we’re trained to do. But, in the process of hunting down the sale, we often miss out on friendship.” Wallack said she could not have healed and moved forward without the close industry relationships she fostered during her years at Buy the Sea. “I wrote the book as a love letter to the travel industry,” she said. “I have always gotten friendly with my clients and suppliers. I think that we do business with people who have a special place in our hearts. In the pandemic, I learned that I was right about this because people welcomed me with open arms. My message is that everyone can create meaningful partnerships, but you have to be authentic.”
Her next biggest message: find ways to define yourself beyond work. “It was a gift,” said Wallack, “to find my passion for baking and giving away challah. Now I know that I’ll be okay if the incentive industry collapses again, because my career is not my only identity.”
Peppered with recipes, personal photos, and anecdotal stories, From Hell to Challah is a candid, breezy, and deeply personal read. It will be released in hardcover and eBook on July 13 and is available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.