Designing Travel Experiences for the 21st Century:
Immersive. Impactful. Authentic.

 

We are an international team hailing from all over the world, joined by our passion for experiential travel and social impact. We are building the world's leading platform for engagement with nonprofits and other impactful organizations ("Orgs"), allowing millions of users to discover, support, and interact with organizations both virtually and in-person.

Our Mission

To enhance the mission of great social organizations by facilitating mutually beneficial virtual and in-person interactions between people and communities around the world.

Our Current Focus

We make socially conscious travel easy, fun, and accessible. Orgs register with us, and we ensure their tours meet our vetting criteria. We feature only the best culturally immersive, impactful activities out there. Travelers add half or multi-day experiences to their itinerary and have an off-the-beaten path adventure they can feel good about. Our technology allows partner orgs to participate in the new global economy, and tour revenue is invested back into the local community.

Our Business Model

We collect a fee from our users (and never from the orgs) on tour bookings processed on our website. We are a social enterprise building a long-term sustainable business that focuses on environmental, social, and financial returns. We are a for-profit tech startup that advances the missions of nonprofits around the world

Impact

Enhancing the missions of great orgs

By generating additional support and income for great local organizations, we bolster their capacity to accomplish their goals. As we strengthen organizations, we enhance their work towards social justice, conflict resolution, protection of human rights, environmental and cultural heritage preservation, economic development, and other important missions strengthening humanity.

Public Education

Eye-opening, transformative experiences foster relationships, educate donors, and contribute to a better informed public discussion and improved public policy.

Economic Development

Visits provide organizations with additional revenue that is invested directly back into the community. They increase local demand for guides, food, accommodation, and other hospitality needs, thereby triggering communal economic development. Just by showing up and paying (an affordable price) for the visit, visitors are making a positive impact.

Vetting Criteria

Our tours are socially responsible and benefit the local communities they take place in. All nonprofits offering tours on Visit.org meet the following criteria:

Operate with the involvement, consent, and engagement of the local community and ensure benefits to local community members.

Reinvest proceeds back into the community through projects or a shared profit model.

Maintain a respectful approach towards local cultural traditions and social structures previously established.

Abstain from burdening local populations or expecting them to perform or publicize traditions or ceremonies.

Include meaningful and respectful interaction with members of the community if and when appropriate.

Prevent interaction with particularly vulnerable populations, including children.

Tours and activities are developed with environmental sustainability in mind.

Visitor safety is the top priority and complies with visit.org's Safety & Security Rules.

This vetting criteria is adapted from: Tourism Concern UK

Team

Michal alter
Michal Alter

Co-Founder and CEO

Michal's professional experience combines technology and social development. She has consulted for senior management at various leading nonprofit organizations in New York City, including New York Cares, Solar One, UNESCO, and Women's World Banking. Before moving to NY, she was the director of Refugee Affairs within Tel Aviv's city government where she led social service delivery and programming to a community of 20,000 refugees from Darfur, South Sudan, and Eritrea. Michal is a Computer Science Engineer and worked as Systems Architect at Nuance Communications (Nasdaq: NUAN), and at Risk Modules, both part of the thriving Israeli high tech industry. Michal was one of the first female pilot cadets in the Israeli Air Force.

Michal holds a Master of Public Administration from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian Studies from Tel Aviv University, and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. She speaks English, Spanish, and Hebrew.

Violaine pierre
Violaine Pierre

Co-Founder and COO

Violaine has a passion for traveling. While pursuing her bachelor's degree, she spent a year in the Philippines, where she tried to visit as many of its 7,000 islands as she could. She also traveled in South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Hong-Kong, India, Nepal). After the 2010 earthquake, she volunteered for an NGO in Haiti. Convinced that the practice of sustainable tourism is mutually beneficial for both visitors and local communities, she returned to the Philippines to study the effectiveness of community-based tourism. She enhanced this experience working for sustainable tourism cooperative in Québec, Canada. She consulted for the World Bank in the field of impact evaluation and for UNICEF as a Community Manager.

Violaine holds a Master's Degree in Economics and Public Policy from Sciences Po Paris, and a Bachelor in Sciences from Paris VI. She speaks English and French.

Emilie couillard
Émilie Couillard

Head of orgs engagement

Emilie is currently in Peru writing her Master's thesis on the socioeconomic disequilibrium in relations between visitors and hosts in developing countries. In addition to her academic studies and work experience, she has explored over 40 countries. Emilie was a student at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and at the International Islamic University Malaysia. She fell in love with Peru when she worked with local community and companies in Comas to create a green area near a formerly polluted main river. In India she conducted a research project on solidarity tourism in Andrah Pradesh and interned at a local nonprofit focusing on community-based development and capacity building.

Emilie holds a Bachelors of Arts in International Studies and Modern Languages from Laval University and is currently pursuing her Master of Tourism Development at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Emilie speaks French, Spanish, and English.

Andrew dedman
Andrew Dedman

Tech Lead

Originally from NSW, Australia, Andrew has spent most of his 20s traveling, exploring, and volunteering. He spent 2 years volunteering with Mercy Ships in Togo, Guinea, and the Republic of Congo as an IT support technician. When he isn't traveling, he works as a software developer and takes pride in writing quality code.

Andrew attended the University of Technology Sydney, where he completed a Bachelor of Information Technology. He enjoys playing any type of sport and currently plays ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and baseball. He has played in an ultimate frisbee league in 3 continents so far, and he hopes to expand that in the future.

Andrew now lives in Canada. He speaks English and is learning Thai.

Juan david torres
Juan David Torres

AMBASSADOR PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Juan is passionate about travel and the tourism industry. He believes tourism can be mutually beneficial to both visitors and local communities when done sustainably. He wrote his master’s thesis on increasing communities’ revenue participation from tourism in Pucón-Curarrehue, Chile with Travolution.org, one of visit.org’s partner orgs. He holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from Kennesaw State University in Atlanta and a master's in international business from Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French.

Jessy caiado
Jessy Caiado

COMMUNICATION & DESIGN

Passionate about traveling, Jessy spends a fair amount of his time on the road and shares his experiences on his personal blog.

He graduated from the Ecole Romande d'Arts et Communication in Lausanne as a graphic designer and worked 5 years for Tamedia AG, the largest media company in Switzerland. Although graphic design will remain one of Jessy's many hobbies, he is currently on the process of reorienting his career towards tourism. He already has an IATA Travel and Tourism Consultant diploma and plans on pursuing his studies when he comes back from Latin America in order to work in the sector he is most passionate about. Jessy speaks French, English, Portuguese and Spanish

Kelly toy
Kelly Toy

CHIEF WRITER AND CUSTOMER ADVOCATE

Originally from New York, Kelly graduated from Wesleyan University in 2014, where she majored in French and American history. She studied abroad in Paris during her junior year and quickly caught the travel bug! After earning her bachelor's degree, she returned to France and spent a year teaching English in the Midi-Pyrénées and acquiring a taste for long lunches and café culture. While there, she made the most of the opportunity to travel throughout France and Europe, inspiring her passion for cultural exchange and exploration.

Kelly hopes to build a career that merges her travel obsession with her love of writing. She lives in Manhattan and speaks English and French.

Dana mazia
Dana Mazia

Head of Business Development

Dana's professional experience combines strategy, business development and social impact. She was the Executive Manager of "Tzemach," an NGO promoting social involvement among high school students. She is also a lawyer and has worked for tech companies and big finance corporations in various business roles. Dana holds a B.A. in business and an LLB and LLM in business law from the Interdisciplinary Center. She participated in the exchange program at IUC with the University of Torino in Italy and took masters courses at Dusseldorf University in Germany. Dana thinks of herself as a professional traveler and believes in cultural exploration, having visited many places around the world. Dana was born and raised in Israel and served in the Israel Defense Force as a training course officer. She is a member of the Global Shapers of World Economic Forum and a volunteer at the "[email protected]" Holocaust Memorial Project and at TOM, a global movement of communities connecting and creating affordable solutions to everyday challenges facing people with disabilities.

Rosi amerena
Rosi Amerena

MEXICO COUNTRY LEADER

Rosi has worked as a writer and editor for leading Mexican magazines, using them as a platform to promote new ways of travelling that support local communities and environmental protection. She is actively involved in youth social projects around Mexico City through various programs. A strong advocate of sustainable tourism and ecology, Rosi is eager to share her native Mexican culture and believes there is exceptional opportunity to surprise tourists with Mexico's natural resources and its richness of diversity and tradition. Rosi is also a trained architect and lives and works in Mexico City.

Chris samuel
Chris Samuel

INDIA COUNTRY LEADER

A native of Nilgris in Southern India, Chris has always had a keen interest in community development and social work. He's currently volunteering for an NGO that spreads cancer awareness and supports patients throughout India. Recently, he served as a Summit Coordinator for the Global Technology Entrepreneurship Summit. He is an active member of several NGO'S in India, and has assembled camps and vocational training and conducted awareness campaigns for school children during his tenure as Senior National Service Scheme Coordinator. He loves meeting new people and experiencing different cultures and has traveled to Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Muscat.

Chris is pursuing his Master's in Business Administration specializing in Human Resources, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Engineering/Information Technology.

Laura perez
Laura Perez

FRANCE COUNTRY LEADER

Laura was born in Bordeaux, the wine capital of France. She's proud of her region and her culture, but she also loves traveling, meeting new people, and discovering new cultures. For her, travel is a personal experience that can change a life; a wonderful occasion to learn more about yourself and about the world around you. After visiting Peru and Bolivia, she continued to travel and see friends living throughout Europe.
Laura holds a Master's degree in Environmental Science from the National Museum of Natural History of Paris and the AgroParisTech School of Engineering, with a focus on agronomical, anthropological and ecological issues. Her mission in life is to find new solutions that foster our planet's sustainable development. In 2014, she did her final internship conducting a reforestation and agriculture project in the Peruvian Amazon (NGO Latitud Sur) where she met Emilie, our Head of Orgs Engagement!
Laura also has a Lifestyle blog about ecology, tips and 'cooking' trips, always keeping in mind that a positive attitude and sense of humor are the best way to live and to share ideas.

Thalia coria
Thalia Coria

COSTA RICA COUNTRY LEADER

Thalia loves traveling to unfamiliar places and getting in touch with nature, people, and their cultures. She has a degree in tourism and 3 years of experience working with Mayan communities in Mexico, advising and managing sustainable tourism projects and developing sales and promotion strategies for community-based tourism projects. She is currently working towards her master's in environmental and ecotourism management with an emphasis on environmental and social impact at the University of Costa Rica. She is conducting research projects on tourist visitation in protected natural areas and is collaborating with the National Museum on the development of a rural community tourism project. Thalia strongly believes that developing tourism in communities is a strategy for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage as well as for poverty reduction.

Pauline lacanilao
Pauline Lacanilao

Social Media

Having grown up in Greece, Saudi Arabia, and the United States, Pauline has always been traveling. She graduated with honors from the writing program at Montclair State University. Now based in her native Philippines, she has been serving indigent local communities through nonprofit work since 2010--both as a volunteer and a full-time employee. With her experience in cross-cultural relationships, along with her skills as a writer, Pauline hopes to play a part in creating evocative, engaging, global solutions towards alleviating poverty and rehabilitating the environment.

Pamela jane mendoza
Pamela Jane Mendoza

Business Development

Pamela is from the Philippines and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and an advertising major from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. She started her career as an account executive for billboard advertising and later on found herself working for one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the Philippines. Pamela also spend ten years as a customer service representative and process developer. She plans to open up a small business in the near future.

Cristina miranda
Cristina Miranda

Business Development

Cristina is a computer engineering graduate from Manila, Philippines. She worked as a Telecom Assistant before shifting her career to customer service in a BPO industry, where she developed her communication and leadership skills. Adding to these her analytical skills, she was then promoted to a Real Time Analyst. Between being a busy mom and a career woman, Cristina is an active and eager participant in various outreach programs in her community and church. A city girl all her life, this proud mother of three loves to visit her hometown province in Batangas for nature tripping and family bonding. She has traveled in Singapore and Cebu, Philippines with her cousins and friends. Her dream is to travel more with her family.

Zhazha amor
Zhazha Amor

Visual Editor

Zhazha studied professional photography at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in Manila, Philippines. Since 2014, she has been volunteering with nonprofits, foundations, and exporters with an aim to develop and promote the country's indigenous products for export to various parts of the world. She also organizes fundraising sports events to benefit the less privileged. Zhazha manages her own independent event photography business inspired by her first love: travel photography. She has traveled around Europe and Asia and fallen in love with India's Bollywood and Japan's sushi and multifaceted culture. Zhazha aims to capture the beauty of the world through the lens of her camera.

Lola mendez
Lola Mendez

Business Development and Communications

Lola is a communications specialist whose career as a publicist in New York City exposed her to conscious consumerism through her work with Empowered by You and The Lady Godiva Program. In 2015, she left NYC to pursue her passion and explore the world’s diverse cultures. She is currently based in India where she is volunteering with a women’s empowerment NGO. Lola is dedicated to spreading awareness about gender equality globally. She grew up in an international family and has had a passport since birth. She travels to develop her own worldview and has explored 45 countries thus far. Her travels are documented in her travel journal, @missfilatelista.

Jordana fremed
Jordana Fremed

Business Development

Jordana is part of the business development team and recruits organizations primarily in Europe and North America. She has previous work experience in climate change law, asset management, and impact investing and is passionate about social entrepreneurship and traveling the world. Her favorite part of traveling is getting opportunities to meet locals and explore various food markets. Jordana graduated in February 2017 from Columbia University with an A.B. in Sustainable Development and Business Management.

Carlos kamisaki
Carlos Kamisaki

Latin America Orgs Engagement

Carlos began his journey with Visit.org in 2015 while working with the Peruvian NGO Nexos Comunitarios and the Sacred Valley community of Media Luna, developing a rural tourism circuit and helping feature it on Visit.org. He holds a bachelor's degree in services administration from Universidad de Piura in Lima, Peru. In May 2017, Carlos will move to Costa Rica and then Panama to continue improving his skills in the tourism industry by developing and administering tours in the Caribbean. Carlos is passionate about traveling and music and is committed to the goal of soon making a living in these two industries. He speaks Spanish and English.

Keith andrade
Keith Andrade

Content Management

Keith is graduating in May 2017 from CUNY Baruch College with a bachelor's in corporate communication and a minor in human resource management. Although he is from NYC, he’s traveled around the Americas from Ecuador, to the Caribbean, Florida, and Canada. His dream is to create a social impact so large the world forever transforms into something good. He is driven by the people around him and his personal blog to share positive, happy, and inspiring content.

Sarah yukiko klena
Sarah Yukiko Klena

Writing and Editing

Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, Sarah studies creative writing at Columbia University. As a dual citizen of Japan and the United States, she has always valued diverse cultural experiences. Enrolled in the Dual BA Program with Sciences Po and Columbia, she spent her freshman and sophomore years of university in Reims, France. While studying at Sciences Po, she had the opportunity to travel frequently across France and Europe. She hopes to explore and develop her passions of writing, language, and travel during her time at Visit.org.

Luis diaz
Luis Diaz

Web Development

A native of Mexico, Luis grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey. He is currently a senior studying Computer Science at Queens College and considers himself a lifelong student. Be it through books or online resources, he's always trying to learn about as many things as he can so that he can breathe life into whatever he does. He believes that it's better to capture something instead of simply imitating it. Sometimes he falls short, but he prefers to aim high and get better every day with practice. He speaks English, Spanish, Ruby, Java, C++, and various other programming languages.

Hannah lezak
Hannah Lezak

Video Production

Coming from a small town in Indiana, Hannah moved to NYC in 2013 to attend The King's College where she is currently majoring in media culture & arts and minoring in business administration. She began taking an interest in video production at a young age when she started creating small video slideshows for awards banquets and graduations. From there, she started experimenting in fields such as media sales and news journalism and finally found her passion in media marketing. Her first trip out of the country was to Italy where she studied abroad and fell in love with the idea of learning about and experiencing new cultures. She is excited to be working hands-on for Visit.org to help bring awareness to the various nonprofit organizations we're partnered with and to help others get a taste of what it would be like to visit them!

Paz glazer
Paz Glazer

Israel Country Leader

Paz was born and raised in Israel. She spent the last 10 years working as a professional musician and producer while searching for ways to promote and raise awareness about women in the local music industry. She is also the founder of the Mekorit Project, the first Israeli women-based community. Combining her passion for education and social impact, Paz started working at various NGOs to promote technology for people with disabilities. Since 2015, she has helped manage the first social network for people with disabilities. Paz is currently learning about social business management while earning her B.Ed. She's excited to help expand visit.org's positive impact in Israel!

Shang wang
Shang Wang

Asia Business Development

Shang is a passionate and inspiring young man who always wears a big, warm smile. He loves to travel and believes in the “kindness boomerang.” Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, Shang moved to New York City to pursue a master’s degree in integrated marketing at NYU. Having a strong passion in both planning travel itineraries and sharing the good things with others, he holds bachelor's degrees both in business administration and the leisure travel industry from Yuan Ze University in Taiwan. Shang has dedicated himself to international volunteer work for years in both the Tengger Desert in the west of China and the north mountain area of Thailand as a teacher for elementary to high school students. Shang speaks Mandarin Chinese, English, and Taiwanese.

Joel pazmino
Joel Pazmino

Writing and Editing

A New York native, Joel studies film and video production at the City College of New York. At a young age, his exposure to movies helped shape his desire for filmmaking without even knowing it. It wasn’t until his second year of college, while studying fire protection systems, that he decided to pursue film and journalism in school and maintain his love for writing. The cultural and social experiences he’s had while living in a Latino community in New York as well as his visits to Canada and Ecuador have influenced his passion for writing and enhanced his values of diverse cultural interaction and exploration. He hopes to expand those skills during his time at Visit.org.

Adrian mucha
Adrian Mucha

USA Business Development

Adrian is a multifunctional web designer and business developer based in Brooklyn. He is a passionate traveler, having visited 34 countries on 4 continents. Originally from Poland, he studied and received his degree in Spain and is always looking for more adventures! Adrian is truly a tech lover; he could spend hours talking about it. Much of his passion is about learning, whether it's learning business, design, or how to make a wooden table. His belief in and desire for feedback and discussion on design help maintain multiple perspectives – the key to working agilely and efficiently – resulting in refined outcomes.

Advisory Board

Tal riesenfeld
Tal Riesenfeld

CO-FOUNDER, SUNBIT

Tal is a serial entrepreneur and experienced business executive with a track record of growing and scaling quickly through retail channels. Tal Co-founded and leads Sales for Sunbit, a fundamentally new way to pay that eliminates financial waste and enables retailers to earn more while customers pay less. Prior to Sunbit, Tal was Co-founder and SVP Sales of Eyeview, where he secured key accounts like Macy’s, Lowe’s, Mazda, Land Rover, Hyundai, Walgreens, DSW, Wal-Mart, Forever 21 and Ace Hardware. As the original member of the sales team, Tal opened 5 offices in the U.S and rapidly grew the sales operation from ground zero to a team of 25 Sales Executives and Account Strategists. In 2015, Eyeview was named the 9th fastest growing company in North America.
Prior to Eyeview, Tal held positions in strategic sales and product management at Google and Hewlett-Packard. In 2008, Tal won Harvard Business School’s best start-up competition for Eyeview and launched the company. Tal is a sought-after speaker at key industry events and was featured as a business leader in the book ‘Startup Nation’. He penned a Harvard case study on organizational team dynamics – drawing on his experiences as squad commander of an IDF Special Forces unit and as head of a large non-profit youth organization.
Tal holds a B.Sc. degree in Computer Science and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.

Bruce rosard
Bruce Rosard

PRINCIPAL, UP211

Bruce has spent the past 30 years as an entrepreneur and travel industry strategist. A pioneer in online travel marketing, he built his first website in 1994 for Moguls Mountain Travel, where he was founder and CEO. After a successful exit, Bruce joined Phocuswright as Head of Sales and Marketing. There, he worked with major brands in the travel industry, was instrumental in developing the Phocuswright Travel Innovation Summit, and created the Young Leaders Summit. Bruce was an integral member of the senior executive team that built Phocuswright and positioned the company to be sold to Northstar Travel Media in 2011. He has been an active mentor at TechStars over the last five years and now serves as a mentor at 33entrepreneurs, a start-up accelerator based in Bordeaux, France that focuses on tech applications in the travel, food, and wine industries. Bruce graduated from the University of Connecticut with honors in Marketing and a minor in Skiing.

Dor nir
Dor Nir

TECHNOLOGY ADVISOR

Dor is currently a software engineer at Google. Over the past decade, he has led several software projects at HP and Citi Bank Innovation Labs. He has also overseen many international project teams based in India, China, Ukraine, and Israel. Dor is an expert in AngularJS, HTML5, CSS3, Object-Oriented Design, ASP.NET, and Agile Methodology, and is always eager to learn new technologies. Dor holds a MSc in computer science from Tel Aviv University and a BSc in computer science from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology.

Beth dunlap
Beth Dunlap

SENIOR TRANSITION ADVISOR, USAID / OFFICE OF TRANSITION INITIATIVES.

Beth is a Senior Transition Advisor with the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI). She provides strategic guidance and operational support to USAID/OTI programs worldwide, which aim to help local partners advance peace and democracy in countries in transition. Beth was previously the Director of Programs at Reboot, where she led a World Bank funded SMS based social accountability project in Nigeria and a communications design collaboration with a New York City based anti-trafficking organization. While based in Afghanistan and Indonesia with the International Organization for Migration, Beth designed and led initiatives that provided thousands of trafficked persons and migrant workers with entrepreneurial, medical, and education support. Beth is also an advisor with Visit.org, a social impact startup, and consults with Namati, an organization that implements innovative legal empowerment interventions.

Beth is a graduate of the University of Georgia and holds a graduate degree in International Administration and Human Rights from the University of Denver's Korbel School.

Aditi davray
Aditi Davray

STRATEGIC ADVANCEMENT ADVISOR

Aditi Davray is a consultant to nonprofit, philanthropic, and private sector organizations, working with a wide range of issue areas and strategic advancement. Over the last decade, she has consulted on projects with the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, Upwardly Global, The American Red Cross in Greater New York, The Rock School of Dance, and Lovefutbol. Most recently, Aditi worked in program development at Philanthropy New York and managed the New York Times Company Nonprofit Excellence Awards program for the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York.

Aditi received a master's degree in Public and Nonprofit Management and Administration from the NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Before attending NYU, Aditi worked in the corporate sector managing sales operations for luxury hotel brands. Presently, she serves as a Steering Committee member of the Asian Women Giving Circle, an Advisory Board Member of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, and a Strategic Advancement Consultant at Visit.org.