Thursday, April 18, 2024
HomeTravelThe VIP Lounge with bank president Lisa Murray

The VIP Lounge with bank president Lisa Murray

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would you go? We are busy pulling together a trip to Italy. We just decided to go a few weeks ago. Coordinating calendars with my family can be challenging, but we made it work and are planning a trip to Italy. My sister is a chef and my mom and I are foodies, so what could be better than eating our way through Italy? Ever since I saw “Under the Tuscan Sun,” I’ve wanted to go there. This trip checks all the boxes for us: great food, beautiful scenery, and a rich history.
As president of Citizens Bank Massachusetts, Lisa Murray has spearheaded many community-focused initiatives and provided mentorship to the next generation of female business leaders. The 54-year-old Acton native and mother of two is the only woman who leads one of the top 25 banks in Massachusetts. She is also the new chair of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, a public policy organization made up of top business leaders whose mission it is to strengthen the state’s economic standing. Some priorities for the organization include workforce development, housing, and early childhood education — “all things that impact the business community here in Massachusetts,” she said. Exposing underserved communities to the arts is also a priority for Murray, who in her role at Citizens organized a free admission day at the Museum of Fine Arts on Jan. 15 in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Another Citizens-backed free admission day to the MFA is scheduled for June 19 in honor of Juneteenth. “This allows us to bring the community to the MFA,” she said. “We want to make it accessible to everyone.” We caught up with Murray, who lives in Lexington, to talk about all things travel.
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Do you prefer booking trips through a travel agent or on your own? TBD. This is the first time we have used a travel agent to coordinate a trip. A colleague of mine from Citizens recommended a travel agent and since it’s a last-minute vacation, we thought it would be helpful to work with a travel expert.
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Thoughts on an “unplugged” vacation? That sounds like a nightmare to me. Because my kids want to stay connected with their friends and I want to stay in touch with my office, completely unplugging isn’t an option for us.
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What has been your worst vacation experience? This past Christmas our extended family organized a sailing adventure. My brother-in-law is a boat captain, so we chartered a catamaran in the Caribbean. Sounds great, right? Well, the weather was awful, and the boat — including the engine — literally fell apart. Worst trip ever.
What is your favorite childhood travel memory? My parents, sister, and I were supposed to fly to Philadelphia in 1981 for a family reunion, but the air traffic controllers strike forced us to rethink our plans. Determined to get to our destination, we took the five-hour Amtrak train from Boston to Philadelphia. My sister and I spent the entire trip in the cafe car. My dad kept giving us money to keep us happy, quiet, and well-fed. What more could a 12-year-old want?
Do you vacation to relax, to learn, or for the adventure of it all? My vacations are usually a combination of relaxation and adventure.
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What book do you plan on bringing with you to read on your next vacation? A friend of mine recently gave me a copy of Kristin Hannah’s new novel,” The Women,” which I plan to read during our vacation. Coincidentally, the book’s premise ties into a project I’m currently involved in. The Lexington community is working to install a monument in the town square which celebrates local women of note. It’s called LexSeeHer and it’s part of the 250th commemoration of the American Revolution. Lexington is steeped in history, but so much of the spotlight is traditionally focused on men. This monument will pay homage to women who have contributed to Lexington through art, business, education, and social change. Like the book, the installation clearly demonstrates that women can be influencers, leaders, and heroes in their own right.
If you could travel with one famous person/celebrity, who would it be? I would have loved to travel with chef and author Anthony Bourdain. Through his many exceptional television series, he took viewers to often undiscovered places and explored the intersection between food, history, and culture.
What is the best gift to give a traveler? A universal charger.
What is your go-to snack for a flight or a road trip? The Tex Mex Trail Mix from Target.
What is the coolest souvenir you’ve picked up on a vacation? My late husband. I met him when a group of friends and I went on a 30th birthday trip to Turks and Caicos. We found out that we lived in the same town, belonged to the same gym, and played for the same volleyball league. Yet we never crossed paths until we traveled to Turks and Caicos.
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What is your favorite app/website for travel? I like home rental apps like Airbnb and VRBO. I’d much rather stay in a house than in a hotel.
What has travel taught you? People everywhere are more alike than they are different. Going to a museum or a popular shopping district is great, but I’d rather get to know people on a personal level.
What is your best travel tip? Go where the locals go. During a trip to Ireland, we went to a local pub and began a conversation with the people around us. One of the women began singing a traditional song and everyone joined in. Seeing how people live their daily lives is much more interesting than visiting a 5-star tourist destination.
Juliet Pennington can be reached at writeonjuliet@comcast.net.

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