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Joey Puhala Transforms Customer Doubt Into Delight With Empathetic Approach To Service

Published November 3, 2023

In the ever-shifting landscape of tech startups and travel, where the unexpected is the only guarantee, it’s the innovators and the dedicated service providers who chart the course for the future. Joey Puhala embodies both these roles, steering through the waves of change with the expertise of a seasoned navigator and the heart of a true problem-solver.

Joey’s journey to CharterUP was a winding path through various industries, from the structured world of engineering to the dynamic realm of real estate and finally to the bustling world of travel coordination. His eclectic background has equipped him with a unique perspective he now brings to CharterUP.

Reflecting on his voyage, Joey shared, “I went to Vanderbilt University for engineering, realized it wasn’t my cup of tea, and switched to a business program.” 

This pivot wasn’t just a change in major; it was a leap into a world where Joey’s adaptability would shine. After college, he explored project management and real estate, but as the tides of the market turned, Joey sought new shores, leading him to CharterUP.

Since joining the team, Joey has been integral to the company’s rapid growth, embracing the robust culture and innovative spirit that permeates the organization. “This is the fastest-growing company I’ve been a part of,” Joey said, his voice carrying the excitement of someone who’s found not just a job, but a calling.

In his sales role, Joey thrives on the challenge of meeting high call volumes and conversion rates, but his true passion lies in the human aspect of the job. 

His commitment to customer service is exemplified by the experience of Missie Snider from Blackburn College, who recounts a particularly stressful travel ordeal.

“Joey was a pillar of support when our choir trip faced unexpected travel problems,” Missie said. “He worked tirelessly to bring our team home safely, providing comfort and managing the crisis with a level of professionalism that was a beacon of hope for us.”

Missie’s story is a testament to Joey’s dedication to going above and beyond for his customers. “We had medical emergencies and neurodiverse students who needed special attention, and Joey was there every step of the way, even checking in on his off-shifts,” she added.

In conversations with customers, Joey has observed two prevailing attitudes: excitement or skepticism. But for Joey, the real joy comes from guiding customers from doubt to delight, showing them the value of CharterUP’s service. 

It’s this ability to transform skepticism into satisfaction that sets Joey and CharterUP apart.

For those considering joining the CharterUP crew, Joey’s advice is clear: 

“This is a perfect organization if you genuinely want to be successful,” he said. “It’s about embracing the high standards, the constant innovation and the competent team that surrounds you.”

Joey’s own success is a reflection of these principles, and he stands as a model for prospective team members.

Outside of work, Joey’s passions are as varied as the trips he books at work. From skiing in Lake Tahoe to advocating for diabetes awareness and indulging in his love for music, these pursuits not only enrich Joey’s personal life but also infuse his professional approach with creativity and empathy.

The travel industry, much like the tech startup world, is a complex machine with countless moving parts. Professionals like Joey are the ones who keep this machine running smoothly, with a calm demeanor and a steadfast commitment to service. They stay behind the scenes, yet their impact on the journey is immeasurable.

“At the end of the day, it’s about making sure that every customer’s journey ends a little better than they expected,” Joey said. “That’s what keeps me going.”

Charting Our Course introduces the team members helping to build a better future for group travel. The series will showcase the passion and talent of our team and the role they play in driving our mission.


Joey Puhala

Customer Success Account Manager

January 2023


Joey is a versatile professional with a rich background spanning engineering, business, and real estate, culminating in his role at CharterUp where he leverages his diverse experiences to drive customer success and navigate the complexities of travel coordination with exceptional service.


Joey is an avid music enthusiast and a dedicated advocate for diabetes awareness, blending his personal passions with a commitment to making a difference.

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