Joyce Zee


From Investments and Finance to Travel and Honeymoon Planning

Although Joyce Zee is not quite at mid-life yet, she had already reached the point where she dreaded getting up in the mornings to go to work and found herself constantly looking forward to the weekends. After seeing the culture of the company she had worked in for four years change in a matter of months, Joyce no longer felt like an individual working with her team for a common goal but instead she felt like just another number in a large corporation.

Because her husband’s job situation had been unstable since the dot com bust in 2001, Joyce felt obligated to remain at her current company. She had a mortgage to pay and did not want to give up the benefits like health insurance. She contemplated moving on to other investment firms but never pursued it because she knew that leaving one corporation for another would not necessarily resolve the issue.

The only thing that kept her going during this time was planning and looking forward to her vacations. Ever since her first visit to Maui in 2001, Joyce had fallen in love with the land and its people, and she developed a thirst to learn as much as she could about everything it has to offer. She loved helping others experience the “aloha” spirit that she had each time she was there. During her most recent visit, she attended cultural talks and even took a tour of one of the remaining original Hawaiian villages within the Kahakuloa Valley. This was a real eye opener: she suddenly saw a different side of the islands, one that tends to stay hidden from the typical tourist. She met one of the remaining full-blooded Hawaiians, and he was kind enough to let her explore his land, including original taro ponds. Of course he’s battling the courts over the last free water source left in Maui—and she realized that there is corporate greed even in paradise.

This got Joyce thinking: “How many other places are there in the world that do not match our stereotypes of them?” Each has its own mystique with stories hidden in layers that must be peeled away in order to really experience the beauty that lies in the culture, the history and its people. Only by gaining respect for the locals can we truly appreciate everything each locale has to offer.

Joyce had been looking for a way out of the corporate world, so she took a workshop with Craig Nathanson in the summer of 2004. She had never previously considered anything outside of the financial industry but the workshop helped her identify what her passions are (Maui and travel) and she realized that the POSSIBILITIES were endless. She spent the next year and a half creating a marketing plan that would help her work towards her vocational passion. After the workshop ended, she continued to diligently follow her plan.

One day, Joyce came across an article on Yahoo News about how more people in their 20s and 30s are testing their entrepreneurial skills with small businesses. One of the examples mentioned was a franchise called “All About Honeymoons”, and she proceeded to learn more about it.

Just a few weeks later, she found out that her job would be eliminated in three months due to reorganization, and she felt relieved at the opportunity—it coincided with the marketing plan she had created just a few months before. She has since completed her MBA and invested in the franchise (

Although this is still a new business for her, Joyce is looking forward to being able to help research all the amazing places in the world so couples can enjoy a local experience—the cuisine, the architecture, the history, or just hanging out a favorite local stomping ground.

What can we learn from Joyce?

When we consider new possibilities about how we might actually do our life’s work, our journey becomes both real and achievable.