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Discovering the World, One Port at a Time

Secret Lives of OhioHealth

Anyone who knows Lisa Obert would probably be surprised to learn she was 38 years old before she ever flew in an airplane. That's because in the 18 years since that 2001 flight, she's become a bona fide world traveler, racking up an impressive number of passport stamps, frequent flier miles and a side-hustle as a travel agent.

By day, Obert serves as executive assistant to senior vice president and chief medical officer Bruce Vanderhoff, MD, MBA. By night, she can be found camped out with her laptop, planning trips for clients (and herself) through her company, BookIt Travel.

Her work with OhioHealth led her to her part-time gig.

‚Äč"Part of the role of an executive assistant is to plan a lot of travel," she explained. When Eric, her husband of nearly 10 years, saw the itinerary she developed for her executives and adopted for personal travel, he suggested she look into becoming a travel agent.

That was just over a year ago. Since then, as a cruise and vacation consultant with Expedia CruiseShip Centers in Columbus, she's booked countless cruises for first-time and seasoned travelers alike.

"I don't do this for the money, which is a good thing because you don't make a whole lot," she laughed. "I do it because I get joy from sending people on cruises."

Obert knows the cruise business well. She's gone on 17 ocean cruises thus far and has plenty more scheduled, including a 10-day trip through the Panama Canal slated for January.

Why cruises?

"My husband likes to say that cruising is the best way to travel because you unpack once, but your destination changes every day," she said.

The pair have cruised to Cuba, Bermuda, Hawaii, Canada, Key West, New England, Mexico, Alaska and various ports throughout the eastern, western and southern Caribbean Sea. Future plans include revisiting some favorite destinations, exploring ports along the Mediterranean Sea and trying out a few European river cruises.

While she admits that the tax write-off she gets for her travels is a great perk, every cruise she takes provides her with valuable research and experience, which helps her serve her travel clients better.

Aside from serving her cruise clients, frequent travel has a big impact on Obert's work at OhioHealth, too.

"I think travel is essential to life. As essential as breathing and eating and drinking," she said. "When I get back from a trip, I can't wait to get back to work. I love going away, and I love coming home."

This story was originally published in an internal OhioHealth associate publication.

About OhioHealth

OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth has been recognized as one of the top five large health systems in America by Truven Health Analytics, an honor it has received six times. It is also recognized by Fortune as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and has been for 13 years in a row, 2007–2019.

Serving its communities since 1891, OhioHealth is a family of 30,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a system of 12 hospitals and more than 200 ambulatory sites, hospice, home health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area.

OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital, OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Berger Hospital. For more information, please visit