There have been a lot of changes in La Corte’s personal life, too, that have caused her to pull back on the reins. Not only did she remarry, but she became the caregiver for her 95-year-old mother. Then, last year, the house she had moved to on the Jersey Shore was flooded by Hurricane Sandy, and she was displaced. “If people don’t have a house down there, they have no idea what it’s like. Everyone hears about Seaside because of its Boardwalk and roller coaster, but there were other communities, like Ortley Beach, that were hit just as hard.” She says her town was basically “a war zone. It’s presentable now, but it’s going to take more time.”

The good news is she’s finally going back home in two weeks. “It taught me a lot. People have to realize that your life can change instantly and you need to be able to adapt.”

Though she’s the first to admit she’s not tech-savvy, La Corte follows the people she has gotten to know over the years through LinkedIn—“That one I use,” she jokes—like one employee who started working for her at 17, changing her career from psychology to hospitality. “Now she’s a vice president of a company in Connecticut. We kid about it because she actually hired us as subcontractors.”

La Corte has also been a trainer, doing a session for Meeting Professionals International on owning your own business and creating a handbook for meeting planners. 

And just as she has tried to help others, she has been fortunate to have met women who have done the same for her—including one who is younger, “but I still consider her my mentor. I respect her intelligence and business savvy and look up to her. She started out as a client and we became good friends. Now she has a global position with 90 people under her.

“That’s what I love about this industry—to watch how people grow and see how everything comes full circle. It makes me look back on my 25 years and smile.”