Meet the Team
LAURA STRAWINSKI - Sales Team Manager
Hi, my name is Laura Strawinski. I studied at York University for 3 years before becoming a member of the GRJi team in November 2015. I divide my time equally between managing the day-to-day operations of the department and planning holidays around the world. My friends and I organised a 28-day rail-based itinerary around Europe in 2014 which ultimately became my first true experience of rail travel. We started by flying to Amsterdam where we began our clockwise route, taking in Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and finally France. My personal highlights include the glorious Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, and the picturesque Plitvice Lakes in Croatia. I have also been lucky enough to experience sunrise and sunset visits to the majestic Taj Mahal and, by stark contrast, travel on the scenic Glacier Express from Chur to Brig which incorporates Andermatt, the highest point of the journey.
JAMES EATON - GRJi TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAY SPECIALIST
I started working at Great Rail Journeys in August 2009 within the escorted holiday reservations department. Here I gained invaluable experience about all types of train holidays which helped me enormously when I transferred over to the highly-trained GRJ Independent team. I've travelled on train all across the world the most impressive of which, in my opinion, were in Alaska, Canada, Switzerland and the deep south of America. I have a real passion for helping fellow travellers put together their dream holidays and thrive on creating both simple and complex itineraries. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than hearing about how much people enjoyed the holidays I helped to arrange once they're back at home.
JAMES STARKIE - Tailor-made Holiday
Hi, my name is James and I have been working for GRJ Independent for over 2.5 years now. My main job role is to book all of the rail tickets for our customers' holidays and assist with any rail related queries or issues. I also support the reservations team with quotes and bookings and double as a Tailor-Made Holiday Specialist.
The job satisfaction in this role is very high, as it is a great feeling to be able to work somewhere that creates lasting holiday experiences for our customers. Working here has also given me plenty of travel inspiration to visit new destinations and I am always thinking about where to go next!
One of the highlights of the job has to be the educational trips that are arranged through our suppliers, allowing us to test our products first-hand and make sure they're suitable for travellers. I was lucky enough to do a once-in-a-lifetime trip with Rocky Mountaineer last year and have
Ilinka Mickovska - Tailor-made Holiday Specialist
Hi I'm Links, and I've been working in Great Rail Journeys (group travel) since 2016 in a variety of roles both talking to customers and working behind the scenes, and as of November 2019 moved to the GRJ Independent team. I have always enjoyed helping customers book, or change something on their holiday that wasn't part of the normal group tour. With that in mind it seemed natural to come to this team and have the freedom to create holidays with our customers.
I've been lucky enough to have travelled my whole life, and a couple of years ago was given the opportunity to go on a luxury cruise from Nuremburg in Germany to Budapest in Hungary, visiting Vienna, Melk Abbey and other little towns along the way. I would love to go back to some of these places especially Budapest!
I've always enjoyed the travelling just as much as destination, and think this should be just as important. I really like to get into the details of a holiday, and am passionate about making sure that you don't just have a wonderful holiday, but to inspire excitement in the creation of it, no matter how small or big.
BETH ZIMMERMAN - Holiday Administrator
I have been an administrator at GRJ independent for five years, coming from a background in retail. I have visited all the great cities of Europe, travelling by rail and ferry.
I have a more practical role than my colleagues in the reservations team, ensuring that the holidays booked run smoothly and live up to the full potential of the customer, as well as the Tailor-Made Holiday Specialists' inspiration.
On a day-to-day basis I book hotels and make certain that reservation payments are organised, and create personalised itineraries and ticket packs, which include day-to-day instructions, maps and anything else required to make the logistics of the holiday as simple as possible and remove any possible anxiety for our customers.