Readers who only know Dr. Marc Mancini as the guru of the Geo
Quiz, a fixture on the back page of this magazine, are probably
unaware of what a truly multi-talented person he is. Among other
things, he’s an author, public speaker, consultant and an educator.
In fact, Dr. Mancini is the Chair of the Travel Department at West
Los Angeles College (WLAC), in Culver City, one of California’s top
programs for future agents and hospitality industry professionals.
According to Mancini, many of you are probably already familiar
with the school.
“It used to be when I was speaking at an industry event in
Southern California, I would ask the crowd to raise their hands if
they ever took classes at West L.A.,” he told me. “Inevitably all
these hands would pop up. We’re a big part of the community
I recently spent a morning with him at WLAC, sitting in on an
advisory board meeting for the department. It was an honor to be
included among such a notable crowd, which included WLAC’s
dedicated travel faculty, some of the area’s top travel agents and
local industry reps. One of the board members, Bharat Bhakta, was
especially inspiring to the group. Bhakta, a native of India, is
the chairman of Globimax Samson Tours & Travel. He’s an agent,
a tour operator, the owner of several hotels and, most important to
WLAC, a graduate of the travel program. Bhakta is a real-life
success story he began as a mushroom farmer, and armed with his
WLAC training, has become a travel-industry tycoon.
In Southern California, WLAC works to place students as interns
at local agencies and suppliers, and according to several agents,
WLAC interns can prove to be more valuable than some full-time
employees. If you’re interested in participating in the internship
program or learning more about continuing education opportunities
visit the WLAC travel department Web site at www.travelclasses.com.
Or if you have a question for Dr. Mancini, e-mail him at the
magazine, and we’ll make sure he gets it
I encourage all agents and suppliers to develop a relationship
with the travel programs in their local community. Not only can
these programs be a great business resource, but they also allow us
to pass along what we’ve learned and give back to the industry that
supports us all. And that can be its own reward. K.S.