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Past Webcast - November 6, 2007

Research Forum

Past Webcasts Home

VT Cast #13: Corporate VolunTourism


There is a new breed of small businesses and companies that are cropping up in the marketplace to support Corporate VolunTourism. Who are some of the individuals behind these start-ups and early-stage ventures? We explore this subject and take a closer look at how Corporations are engaging in VolunTourism.

[Listen To The Cast] (Click Here To Download)


Dr. Leah Mayor, Summit Abroad.com [Bio]; Dara Parker, Handprint Adventures [Bio]; and Alan Ranzer, Impact4Good. [Bio]


[On the topic of starting SummitAbroad.com]

"Right, well, my background actually is very similar; we do a lot of experiential learning and team building. And we found that when we engage with communities, corporations could benefit a lot by creating shared experiences and matching core competencies for team development. And what you had was realized in each simulation, and experiential project, that created stronger teams and also engaged in communities that felt really meaningful so that the learning was really, really potent.

So we found that matching different corporate executive teams with different communities abroad, you get this real situation but it doesn't have the same effects of whatever their corporate work is. So there's a lot of opportunities for facilitated learning, for reviews and feedback, and coaching as well. And it's just a great opportunity to create learning for the corporation as well as matching their core competencies." Dr. Leah Mayor

[Listen To This Quote]

[Does the language of a communication on VolunTourism change depending on whether the audicence is an executive, an employee, or a customer?]

"Definitely that we would take a different approach with those three groups that you just described. I'm coming from the community development side, as you said, I've got 'quite flowery language' and I guess what drives this for me is a very personal motivation because I see the value in building relationships between the private sector and civil society.

However, in my experience... I mean, you really have to translate this into corporate terms to sell it to the private sector. And, while I first saw this as more of... I saw it is a two-pronged strategy: that it was a corporate social responsibility initiative and that it was an HR initiative in terms of the team building and leadership development that we've referred to.

However, at this time, I see a lot more attraction on the HR side of things, and I think, I suspect, that's because it's a much more developed and established field with larger budget and where people are familiar with the language of - - corporate team building, leadership development, skill development, cross-cultural training - - those types of concepts. And so, in using that language, I get a lot more response more quickly. And on the CSR side of things, it's an obvious complement, but it just... it's new; and so there is no touchstone there, and, therefore, there's a lot of blankness in response. So it is important to frame it the appropriate way." Dara Parker

[Listen To This Quote]

[On the distinction between volunteering in the home office and as part of an incentive trip.]

"I think that if it's the home office versus an incentive trip - is there a difference? I mean, it's a good question. I think that when people envision going abroad, especially on a trip, an incentive trip, which people have earned through - - maybe it's a certain amount of sales or they've passed certain thresholds of something or another - - they've earned this trip. And so it's a slippery slope sometimes. Because when people go on these trips you get some people who have the impression of, 'You know, I earned this trip; why do I have to sweat for others?' And that's a different - - when it comes to something they've earned versus something, an opportunity that everyone's doing it at home office - - Yeah, I think there is a difference there. And, in terms of our planning, that does ask us sometimes to plan things differently - in terms of how we're going to promote the activity, how we're going to prepare it, how we're going to ask or suggest the client offer it to their participants in the meeting.

But I do think it's different, because there is sometimes, that there's that ownership of the - 'I earned this reward.' Now, at the same time I want to throw out that that feeling is rare. I mean in the times that we have had opportunities to work on incentive trips, sometimes what we have done is - when a client has said, 'You know, we want to do an activity' - we recommend sometimes that they make it a voluntary thing as opposed to a mandatory thing; just for that very reason I just mentioned, because, you know what, they earned this trip, let's let them. If they want to do it, the opportunity is going to be there. But we're going to give intriguing reasons why they should be involved. And I think in most cases it has been very successful because Management will jump in and say, 'This is something we believe in;' they get people excited about what the event is going to be ahead of time; and participation has been, in any incentive trip that we've done has - - when we've done it as a voluntary thing - - has been very high." Alan Ranzer


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Guest Bios

Leah Mayor, PhD, Founder, SummitAbroad.com

Leah Mayor, Ph.D. is dedicated to promoting transformative tourism. After living and working for four years in Asia she completed her graduate work at Cornell University, focusing on international volunteer programs. For two years she lectured at Cornell University before becoming an independent facilitator and consultant and starting Summit Abroad. She has since facilitated programs for university and corporate clients. She has worked extensively to develop programs that directly contribute to communities abroad. Her passion for creating cross-cultural learning has led to write her first book, The Transformative Tourism Companion: A Practical Guide for Changing Yourself, and Tourism, One Destination at a Time, that will be completed this year.

For more information, please contact:

E: leahmayor@hotmail.com

W: www.summitabroad.com

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Dara Parker - Founder, HandprintAdventures.com

Dara Parker brings a wealth of knowledge on international development based on 10 years of working, volunteering and traveling in over 30 countries. Dara founded Handprint Adventures after working for the United Nations Association in Canada, recognizing the mutual benefits of strong relationships between the private sector and civil society. Previous to that she consulted on CIDA – funded programming and managed development projects in Southern Africa. Dara also worked as a professional tour guide in Europe. She holds a Master’s Degree in Planning from the University of British Columbia, with a focus on international development planning.

For more information, please contact:

E: dara@handprintadventures.com

W: www.handprintadventures.com

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Alan Ranzer, Executive Director, Impact4Good.com.

Alan Ranzer, Executive Director of Impact 4 Good, is an experienced International Development professional. He has worked for internationally respected non-profit organizations specializing in the field of international and domestic community service. Alan holds a B.A. from Indiana University and an M.A. in International Development from American University in Washington, D.C.

Alan's career has focused on giving back to the community. From living abroad in Ecuador and Honduras, to working in the U.S. for domestic and international community service organizations on projects in Vietnam, Cape Verde, Indonesia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and the West Bank and Gaza, Alan has maintained his passion for helping others. Alan's hope is that Impact 4 Good will bring out this same passion in individuals and teams alike.

For more information, please contact:

E: alan@impact4good.com

W: www.impact4good.com

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