MKTG Rewards Winner Joanna Solazzo: Arizona Adventures


The MKTG Rewards program is designed for MKTG employees to recognize and nominate fellow team members each quarter for their outstanding work at MKTG. At the end of the year, quarterly nominees become eligible to win an all-expenses paid international or domestic experience. 2015’s winners were announced in June, and lucky recipients have spent this summer taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Joanna Solazzo is a Field Director at MKTG New York and was the lucky winner of a domestic trip. Joanna decided to explore Arizona (braving the summer heat), while taking her mother along for this very energetic and rewarding journey. Read on for Joanna’s recap….

My MKTG Rewards experience began when I surprised my mother with an invitation to join me on the domestic trip that I was awarded. As a hard-working mother of four, my mom has had few opportunities to travel. The MKTG Rewards program is an awesome way for MKTG to show appreciation to employees and, in turn, there was no better way to express the appreciation that I have for my mom than to share this experience. We created a solid list of potential locations, our criteria being a combination of adventure and luxury. We were soon on our way to the Grand Canyon and Sedona!

We arrived in Phoenix and road-tripped to the Grand Canyon just in time to watch a sunset that topped all sunsets I’ve seen to date. We had dinner at the historic El Tovar Hotel, where we loaded up on carbs to prep for our Grand Canyon hike the next morning. We were up before the sun, stocked up on supplies and met our hiking guide to begin our Grand Canyon trek. The hike began with amazing vistas from the top of the South Kaibab trail on the South Rim. As the morning went on we journeyed deeper and deeper into the Canyon. We slowed down as we approached a large snake (non-poisonous!), stopped to catch a glimpse from perfectly-named “Ooh Ahh Point” and took a break at the lookout over the stretch to Skeleton Point (the last point of the hike). Unlike most hikes, the Grand Canyon is tricky since the easy part (heading downwards) comes first. Our guide monitored how far we went into the Canyon, reminding us that we had to get back up eventually and that the sun would be at its strongest upon return. We made it about two miles deep into the Canyon before turning around. The way up was challenging both physically and mentally, and we kept each other motivated along the way. After seven hours in and out of the Canyon, we finally reached the top, which was a proud moment and an incredible accomplishment to share with my mom.

The most physically demanding part of the week was behind us and we then embarked on a short road-trip up to Page, Arizona. Page is a small town on the border of Utah with one of the only easy access points to the Colorado River, near the Grand Canyon. We celebrated at a local BBQ spot with delicious pulled pork and beer while a live country music band played on the outdoor stage. The next morning we were up early for a kayak tour of Lake Powell’s hidden canyons, right off of the Colorado River. We kayaked through the canyons and jumped off cliffs into the lake for the rest of the morning. The upper-body portion of our ‘total body workout’ vacation was complete and we were back on the road headed for the second segment of the trip: luxury in Sedona.

Three hours in the car and more amazing, colorful views later, we arrived at the Enchantment Resort among the Red Rocks in Sedona. This resort boasts a world-renowned spa, incredible dining options and a myriad of amenities that did not disappoint! We quickly found ourselves in the spa pool with cocktails being personally delivered to our floats. The second to last day of our trip was filled with spa relaxation and unwinding. Massages, dining, pool time, facials… and more pool time made it the best day. My mom had to pretty much peel me off the lounge chair when it was check-out time. On our drive back to Phoenix we stopped at a few energy vortexes that we heard about (beautiful and peaceful, but a lot of hype if you ask me) and then returned our trusty Jeep back to the airport.

The mix of physical activity, teamwork and well-deserved pampering was exactly how I envisioned spending my MKTG Rewards trip. Being able to share this occasion with my mom was the icing on the cake! We will forever remember our time together and share stories of our adventures. My mom couldn’t thank me enough, and, in turn, I cannot thank MKTG enough for this unforgettable experience!


–Contributed by Joanna Solazzo, MKTG New York


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