President and CEO, Ontario Tourism Education Corporation

Victoria BehuneVictoria Behune believes everything should be based on a plan. Her thirty-year career in tourism is the product of a plan, which as a student started with the goal of being the president of a company.

The combination of Behune’s unwavering passion for tourism, and commitment to lifelong learning has left her feeling “as invigorated and challenged” by her career now as she was when she was a Recreation and Leisure Studies student at Waterloo.

Seeking leadership opportunities as a student, Behune became the president of the Waterloo Ski Club. Behune built the club into the largest on campus, and it was this experience which paved the way for her earliest career

Throughout her career Behune has viewed each position as an opportunity to learn. She has shared her expertise with many companies including Tourism Toronto - overseeing sponsorship and partnerships, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection – focusing on brand management and visitor experience, and the Canadian Automobile Association – learning about global and retail tourism.

In 2006, Behune’s plan came to fruition as she accepted the role of  President and CEO of Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC), a human resource development organization for the tourism and hospitality industry.

So what comes next after achieving a lifelong goal? For Behune it’s continuing to guide the growth of the tourism industry. “I learned while taking Recreation and Leisure Studies that we are in the people business and that our goal is to make a difference in people’s lives whether through recreation, travel, exercise, or therapy.” She is motivated by OTEC’s values of making a difference and effecting change; values which she learned long ago at Waterloo.

Behune recently spoke to the graduating class about what comes next. Her message, “continue to learn and grow as leaders for our industry,” and, above all, have a plan.

University of Waterloo