Vice President, Global Destinations Services and Sourcing
Carnival Corp. & PLC
Marie McKenzie recalls her conversation about benefits when she joined Carnival Corp. At the time, a bonus was offered for 10 years of service. “I remember thinking I would never be here to see that,” McKenzie says. Twenty years later, she is the company’s vice president of Global Destinations Services and Sourcing, having previously served in various finance-related roles. “In this role you really get to feel the heartbeat of the business. You’re involved in the definition of a destination experience,” she says. “Being originally from the islands, where I grew up looking at how we create experiences for people on vacation, and now understanding the nuts and bolts from a cruising perspective — I genuinely enjoy it.”
Born in Jamaica, McKenzie has an accounting degree from Howard University and a master’s in international business from Florida International University. Her mother sold her car to help her dad pay for her first semester at Howard, she recounts. “There wasn’t another car to sell for the next semester, so I had to figure this out.” Research led her to a scholarship for three and a half years, but it was not enough for books and living expenses. “I worked on campus for my entire college tenure,” she recalls. “I learned that if I apply myself, do the research, work really hard and have faith, anything is possible.” That formula and cultivating relationships drive her success. “Relationships in all forms, at all levels, are very important to one’s professional and personal growth,” she asserts.
McKenzie earned enough money for her mother to buy back her car. She is deeply involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida and Honey Shine Inc., a mentoring initiative for girls and young women. She has one ultimate goal. “Being in the fashion industry is in my pipeline. I will end up there,” she says.