Marka Waechter joined the Seattle Hospitality Group of Companies as CEO in 2014 and has over 20 years experience in leadership and organizational development. Marka is passionate about building collaborative teams, win-win customer relationships and brings a proven track record of identifying industry trends and technologies to deliver best in class products and services through driving cultural change and innovation.
Marka began as a flight attendant for PSA, migrated off airplane to USAir sales and finally landed at Metropolitan Travel, where she spent over 14 years. (Except for a brief stopover at American Express Microsoft) Marka eventually co-owned Metropolitan Travel and during her tenure as President & CEO the company experienced extraordinary growth and was recognized numerous times by PSBJ as best company to work for in small and medium size company categories. Metropolitan Travel was acquired by Expedia in 2002.
Inspired by a Bill Gates speech, Marka and her business partners co-founded Highwire, Inc. in 1999 which developed and delivered one of the initial internet corporate travel management tools named "Travelport" utilized by Microsoft and many other Fortune 100 firms. Highwire was acquired by Cendant in 2001. For her role in this industry leading development, Marka was recognized by Business Travel News as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Executives" and by Travel Agent Magazine as "Most Powerful Women in Travel".
Marka is a Seattle native, lives with her husband John Waechter on a houseboat in Portage Bay, they enjoy frequent visits from her 21 year old daughter Brooke who attends the University of Oregon. Go Huskies! Go Ducks! Marka has been active in Seattle area philanthropy since her 20's and served various roles with Broadway Bound Children's Theater, University Family YMCA, NW Children's Fund and ARCS.
Marka is a graduate of the University of Washington with a BA in Psychology .