Ann Kaplan, President and CEO, Medicard Finance Inc.
Ann Kaplan is the president and CEO of Medicard Finance Inc., a Toronto-based company that provides Canadians with information and financing for elective medical procedures.
How much do you travel?
I travel a lot and I travel for a few reasons. I attend medical conferences throughout the world and I’m invited to speak at some of these events. I’m out of the country at least once a month, and I travel somewhere in Canada twice a month on average, sometimes more. I’ve been invited to countries like Korea, Italy and Dubai to speak about brand marketing, particularly in the cosmetic enhancement field. Because we fund medical procedures, I travel for the finance section of our business, too.
Do you also travel for pleasure?
I do. I go to Hawaii every year at Christmas, and sometimes twice a year because it’s like home to me. I’m half-Hawaiian, so it’s like home. I go to Waikiki. I love Waikiki. I can fly to the other islands, and sometimes I bike to the islands, but I love that Waikiki offers everything when you know where to go.
Do you own property there?
My family does own a place there but I usually stay at a rental property because it’s a lot less stress. You know you don’t have to worry about breaking something or cleaning up. I like having things done for me when I travel for pleasure.
What kind of traveller are you?
I work every second I’m on the plane. I will power up my batteries so I have extra batteries. I don’t take anything I don’t need. I don’t watch movies. You know, this is my time to get the work done that I need to get done. And that way, if I’m in a country or area I’ve never been, I can do a tour and I always hire a guide and a driver.
So you do take time off for pleasure when you travel for work?
Yes, even if it’s for a few hours. A guide knows where to go and what to do, and I feel safer if I have somebody who knows their way around.
How do you find a reliable guide?
Usually somebody who is already there recommends them. So I will ask ahead of time. I would not just go out if I had to guess. For instance, I was in the Philippines and I never left the hotel. If I don’t have someone who can advise me, I don’t take chances. In Dubai I didn’t go out without people that could guide me and tell me what I should do.
What did you think of Dubai?
I loved Dubai. I did some presentations in the finance sector in Dubai and I had someone from Dubai inform me what I should do as a female – you know, whether to shake hands, look at someone. It was quite interesting. There is a male-female difference, so I had to respect that and I respected their culture and I didn’t question it.
How do you organize yourself for trips?
I try to keep everything very simple. I wear black and white and then I don’t have to think too much about different shoes. I try to keep it very efficient, very simple. And I plan ahead. For instance, I check ahead that there is an Internet connection and I trust very little of what’s told to me, so I prepare myself if there isn’t an Internet connection. In Paris there wasn’t – it was down – so I tried to get another hotel and I couldn’t. The only connection I could get was sitting in the lobby, so I sat in the lobby at night and worked.
Have you had any nightmarish travelling experiences?
No, not really. I had my luggage stolen once.
It was a gift and it was Louis Vuitton luggage and it was the first time I used it. I went to New York City and it never arrived. And I vowed never to carry any kind of luggage like that again.