Christie and Keith met in 2000 and instantly realized that their creative minds shared a dance floor in the clouds and
together had the ability to develop great concepts and brands. Together they have developed some very successful brand identities in and out of the travel industry. Through the brand development of Departure Lounge and the experience of working personally with travel clients — particularly families — the need for and the concept of Global CommUnity was born.
Christie Knubel Holmes
Co-Founder and Mom
A Northerner living in the South, Christie Holmes established her 20 year career as a graphic designer after earning a degree from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and two years building a portfolio at The Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia. She made her way to Nashville, Tennessee via opportunities in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington DC. It was in 2000, when she partnered with Keith Waldon, that she honed her talents in branding and enjoyed a growing exposure to the travel industry.
The jump to creating Global CommUnity and working with Keith in the travel industry was not a big one. Once she joined the Departure Lounge team of travel advisors the marrying of all of her talents and interests began.
Travel was a big part Christie's youth and helped inform her world view. She lived outside of New York City, Washington, DC and a three year stint in Athens, Greece. Domestic and international family
travel allowed her to be immersed in various cultures and customs inciting a lasting curiosity. She learned being a sojourner gives a unique and valued perspective to life.
Serving as a teacher on the secondary level in Nashville and as the director of a girls camp in New Hampshire, as well as motherhood, equipped her to perceive what it takes to open the eyes, curiosity and minds of children and adults alike. She sees the importance of raising our collective cultural IQ.
Her hope and desire that Global CommUnity will allow people to learn how to serve their community locally and internationally, as they connect with families, friends and neighbors, while increasing their knowledge through exploration and growing in their understanding of other cultures.
Co-Founder and Dad
A native Texan, Keith Waldon began his career in luxury travel while still in college in Dallas as an intern for Rosewood Hotels, where he continued his career as a marketing manager after graduating from Southern Methodist University. Keith later spent 16 years as a senior executive for the international luxury travel network Virtuoso, where creating the Virtuoso brand and elevating the awareness of travel advisors were among his accomplishments.
With 25 years in the luxury travel industry and a bit of a maverick Texan personality, Keith developed the Departure Lounge concept as a new way to visibly engage a community with the world of travel. Departure Lounge is an upscale interactive coffee and wine bar that also serves as an innovative and engaging travel agency in downtown Austin. Forbes.com compared the new twist on promoting and selling travel to what Howard Shultz did for selling coffee with Starbucks.
While his adult years have given him the experience and connections needed to help create the infrastructure of Global CommUnity, his childhood years in a small Texas town are what created his heart for this new concept in travel. Keith witnessed and experienced what the outcome can be when people don’t travel, including racism, inaccurate assumptions about and fear of other cultures. Having started with a sheltered small-town life and then having the good fortune to see the world through his career in the travel industry, Keith has seen the power of travel to open eyes and hearts...the power to turn fear of differences into the acceptance and celebration of differences.
Ultimately, Keith knows that he wants to focus the rest of his career on helping others explore the world in meaningful, life-changing ways that will make the planet a happier, more peaceful Global CommUnity for his children and generations to come.