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

 

We are an international team hailing from all corners of the world, joined in our passion for experiential travel and social impact. We are building the world's leading platform for social impact travel experiences, allowing millions of users to discover, support, and interact with ‘do-good’ 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 Vision

By 2022, every trip itinerary—be it with family, friends, or for business—will include at a minimum one half-day social impact travel experience.

Our Business Model

It is completely free for organizations to design and offer experiences on Visit.org. We collect a small booking fee from our users—never from our orgs. We are a social enterprise and certified B Corp building a long-term sustainable business.

Impact

Enhance the missions of great orgs

Visits generate additional support and income for great local organizations, strengthening their work and bolstering their ability to accomplish their goals.

Promote Public Education

Eye-opening, transformative experiences and genuine human interaction improve public knowledge of and engagement with society's needs.

Stimulate Economic Development

Visits increase local demand for guides, food, accommodation, and other hospitality needs, triggering communal economic development.

Vetting Criteria

All of the organizations on Visit.org are socially responsible and have a proven record of impact in their community. They must 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.

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 has been 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 is the recipient of the 2017 Audacious in Peace Alumni Award presented by Outward Bound Peacebuilding. 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.

Émilie 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

Head of Tech

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

Head of Ambassador Program

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

Head of Communication & Design

Passionate about travel, Jessy spends much of his time on the road and shares his experiences on his personal blog. Originally from Switzerland, he has lived in England, Portugal, and Peru and looks forward to living somewhere new in the future. Jessy is fascinated by Latin American and indigenous cultures, believing their knowledge of the world is too often overlooked and that we could solve many of our problems by connecting more with them. Before moving to Peru, Jessy spent 5 years working for Tamedia AG, the largest media company in Switzerland, and 1 year working at a hospital in Lausanne as part of the Swiss Civilian Service program that specializes in attending vulnerable patients, such as migrants and refugees. Jessy first joined Visit.org as an ambassador and is now an org recruiter and our lead designer. He holds a degree in graphic design from the Ecole Romande d'Arts et Communication in Lausanne and speaks French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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.

Kelly Toy
Kelly Toy

Head of Content

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.

Esther Diaz
Esther Diaz

Interim Head of Orgs Engagement

Originally from Spain, Esther lived in Rome for a year before moving to Mexico, where she spent 4 years working as an environmental editor for one of the country's top newspapers, Reforma. Later, she moved to the most ecologically diverse Natural Protected Area in Mexico and served as the head of communications for an environmental NGO (Grupo Ecológico Sierra Gorda). Esther returned to her hometown of Madrid last year and began working as the Spanish content editor for Visit.org, finding a way to combine her two passions for travel and the nonprofit sector. Today, she is in charge of orgs engagement at visit.org. Esther is a member of the Spanish Association for Environmental Education and continues to write for Reforma and The Huffington Post. She holds bachelor's degrees in law and journalism and a master’s in international relations. She speaks Spanish, English, Italian, and a little bit of French.

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.

Cristina Miranda
Cristina Miranda

Head of Customer Relations

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

PR & Orgs Engagement

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

Orgs Engagement

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.

Pamela Jane Mendoza
Pamela Jane Mendoza

QA

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Shang Wang
Shang Wang

Orgs Engagement

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.

Jacquelyn Melinek
Jacquelyn Melinek

Writing and Editing

Jacquelyn was born and raised in Bedford, NY but has dual citizenship in both the U.S. and the U.K. A student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she studies electronic and broadcast journalism with a minor in creative writing. Jacquelyn is a member of the Buckley Public Service Scholar group, working to improve and benefit the communities around her, and a staff writer for her university’s local newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel. Passionate about writing poetry, she was the recipient of the AAUW Award for Excellence in Writing in 2015 and published her first chapbook Across the Horizon in May 2017. In her free time, she enjoys reading, fitness classes, and naps. While she wishes she could travel all the time, she uses her past experiences traveling across Europe and Latin America to expand her cultural understanding and gratitude for her present opportunities.

Kaitlyn Mitchell
Kaitlyn Mitchell

Content Management

Originally from Long Island, NY, Kaitlyn is a senior at Villanova University, where she studies English and business and is able to pursue her passions for reading and writing. Having always loved to travel, Kaitlyn studied abroad in London during her junior year. Traveling throughout Europe for four months gave her the chance to experience new cultures, and she returned home with an overwhelming desire to continue learning and exploring. She is excited to learn more about sustainable tourism and hopes to further develop her love for travel and writing during her time at Visit.org.

Shuyi Chen
Shuyi Chen

Video Production

Born and raised in Hangzhou, a metropolitan city in Southeast China, Shuyi moved to Hong Kong for her undergraduate studies in visual arts and philosophy to satisfy her endless fascination with Hong Kong film and culture. She later spent a semester studying art business and gemology in Paris, taking every opportunity to travel to various countries in Europe. She is currently a film studies student at Columbia University in New York with a passion for cinema and art from cultures around the world. Shuyi speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, and English and is learning Japanese. She hopes her background in various cultures will bring something valuable to Visit.org.

Summer Lyle-Holmes
Summer Lyle-Holmes

Orgs Engagement

Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, Summer started planning her future adventures at a very young age, taking inspiration from her international parents’ global experiences. She moved to the United States, her second country of citizenship, in 2014, and is now a rising senior at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where she studies international politics and French. Summer has spent time living, studying, and working in Europe and Africa and has completed internships at the Jesuit Refugee Service, UNICEF USA, and as an English teacher with Learning Enterprises in Mauritius. She has become increasingly invested in finding ways to combine her travel interests and passion for social entrepreneurship, leading her to her current work at Visit.org.

Dajana Urbaniak
Dajana Urbaniak

Orgs Engagement

Dajana is passionate about travel and learning to speak new languages. Originally from Poland, she has lived in the United States, where she took part in a cultural exchange program, and currently lives in London while earning her bachelor’s degree in business management from BPP University. Dajana loves to explore new cultures and has traveled across Europe, Africa, and North and South America. She is always searching for a new adventure and looks forward to getting more experience in the industry as she starts her journey with sustainable travel at Visit.org. After she graduates, Dajana plans to go backpacking in Asia and contribute her time to local communities and volunteer work.

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.