Feb. 5, 2006 – Island Getaways owner Kathy McLaughlin cut her villa management teeth with what is now called Catered To Vacation Homes, but in 1996, she opened her own villa management business on St. John.
"I decided I wanted high-end houses, and as time went on, I got more people to go with me," she said. Today, she manages nine houses.
And she's the president of the St. John Accommodations Council, mother to four-year-old Aaliyah Lord and partner in life to Ashley Lord.
McLaughlin, 40, has a busy life, but she said she loves being self-employed.
"I love being the boss, but it makes me a workaholic," she said.
McLaughlin has two part-time workers plus a bevy of contractors to keep her houses in shape.
She said she books the villas, meets the guests at the ferry dock and handles any problems that come up.
And, she said she likes having a lot of repeat customers.
"It's wonderful to see the people year after year," she said.
McLaughlin, like many other villa managers, works out of her house. This means she's home when Aaliyah gets home from school at St. John Christian Academy, but the job never goes away.
"The temptation is there to go to work," she said.
Indeed, she said she often gets up in the middle of the night to work on office details because the phone doesn't ring and her daughter is asleep.
Born and raised in Lantana, Fla., McLaughlin moved to St. John in 1992 after a stint in the Bahamas, where she worked in a private club.
After working at Caneel Bay Resort as a restaurant cashier and in the gift shop, she moved on to the post at Catered To, got her real estate license and went into business for herself.
McLaughlin admits Island Getaways consumes much of her time, but she said that she's now able to make time for travel, noting that in January she went skiing in New Hampshire with her daughter, her sister and her sister's four children.
"It was the first time Aaliyah saw snow," she said.
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