- Meet the team at Inspired Adventures
There’s a lot to be said about teamwork. Working towards a common goal with a sense of synergy and an enthusiastic attitude produces mutually reciprocal feelings of satisfaction amongst any team. That is a powerful tool that we have learnt to master at Inspired Adventures. In the last 12 months, our team has doubled and we have added two focused Fundraising Coordinators to provide specialised skills and knowledge.
Our dynamic team is determined to give as many people as possible their own incredible adventures whilst raising millions for Australian charities and supporting communities in need around the world. We work in a team in the office and when we are ‘on tour’ working as Social Leaders on our Adventures. However we don’t just ‘come along for the ride’; often we choose to fundraise for a charity so that we can better understand the challenges of fundraising in order to help you meet your goals. We go above and beyond to put our money where our mouths are so that we can put more money in the hands of our charity partners.
Creative, passionate, committed and light-hearted, come and meet our team!
Justine: Managing Director Justine believes in living life to the full, experiencing the world and encouraging others to make a difference to people’s lives. Her belief in the power of volunteering, community work and supporting others in any form is the cornerstone of her business philosophy. A challenging ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro and a chance meeting with a Tibetan monk living in exile was all the impetus Justine needed to create Inspired Adventures. Follow Justine at Justine’s Corner.
Belinda: Belinda has been with Inspired since 2008 and is now our Head of Client Services. She has travelled to some of the world’s most exciting destinations including Central and South America, and has lived and breathed South East Asia as a tour guide. When she’s not organising her next trip away you’ll find Belinda swimming her little heart out at the pool or sweating it out in a hot yoga room! See Belinda in action during a recent visit to charity partner.
Kyle: Kyle comes to Inspired Adventures having lived in China, Belgium, and England while travelling to more than 70 countries on 6 continents. There is no place he doesn’t want to go, and very few he doesn’t want to go back to! Kyle is our Business Development Manager and loves to go ‘on tour’. Kyle lives and breathes adventure and ‘Team Work’ is his middle name. See Kyle in action.
Nadia: Account Manager Nadia loves a challenge. Having spent the last five years travelling around the world she has now settled permanently in Australia and is keen to continue her exploration of the world from ‘down under’. Her travel motto is: ‘leave only footprints and take only memories’. After climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, Nadia recently ran the New York Marathon while fundraising for a charity partner.
Helen: Account Manager Helen comes to Inspired Adventures with a truly inspired background: years of working in the travel industry followed by years of working in the not-for-profit sector. Working at Inspired Adventures combines Helen’s passions of helping people to achieve personal goals, supporting not-for-profits, and travel. A true explorer, Helen enjoys the outdoors, driving, camping, bushwalking, and spending time with her beloved dog, Xas.
Hannah: Account Manager Hannah fell in love with Cambodia when she volunteered to teach young kids in a rural village. After six months, Hannah’s backpack needed a rest so she paused for a breather in Sydney. She stumbled upon Inspired Adventures and the rest is history. When she’s not at work, Hannah enjoys keeping active, exploring the coastline and playing her guitar.
Kristen: Fundraising Coordinator Kristen joined the Inspired Adventures team in 2011 after participating in an Inspired Adventure in 2009. Kristen cycled through Cambodia and raised funds to build a school. A keen explorer, Kristen has travelled to some of the world’s most remote locations and has even worked as a mountain bike instructor. She has already planned the next 10 years of adventures based on her love of scuba diving, hiking and animals.Visit the Inspired Adventures Calendar and find a Charity Challenge perfect for you.
- Inspired Adventures featured in Travel Weekly!
You can see the article here or read it below.
By David Carroll on 3 August 2011
Traditionally in a business, the role of team sculptor and creator of office cohesion has generally been played by human resources departments. Failing this, the task falls to specialist companies run by super-fit and easily-excitable people who like nothing more than to coerce others into undertaking all manner of bizarre sports and activities in the name of team building.
As well as creating a workplace bond, companies today are also keen to be seen as positive contributors to the community. A corporate charity challenge allows them to do both.
It’s a simple idea – a group of colleagues sign up for a team-building physical challenge and use the trip to raise serious money for a not-for-profit organisation of their company’s choice. The project usually involves an overseas journey or a one off experience, from running the New York Marathon to walking the Great Wall of China.
When it’s done well, everyone in the company gets behind the participants and morale is raised because people feel proud of their employer. Plus the company can identify future leaders, reward top performers and benefit from some positive public relations.
In the UK such challenges have been popular for years and large charities often work directly with companies to organise the trips themselves in-house. In Australia, however, charity organisations are smaller and lack the resources to design and organise major trips.
Back in 2004 Justine Curtis was general manager of a fundraising agency employing 250 people around Australia who collected on the street for organisations such as Amnesty International, Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Cancer Council, for which it raised $20 million in three years.
As part of a management training course she was asked to come up with an exciting goal that could be achieved within 12 weeks.
“I’d been to Africa before and hadn’t had the balls to climb Mt Kilimanjaro and I’d left feeling unfulfilled,” Curtis said. “I also had a friend who’d started a charity supporting orphans in Zimbabwe, so I created a goal of reaching Kilimanjaro and raising $30,000, which would fund travel to Africa for me and two friends and fund a water pump for the orphanage.
“We raised the money and climbed to the top in three days. It was a life-changing experience because it gave me a sense of the power we have to create something in our mind, put it in place and make a difference.”
Curtis decided to start Sydney-based Inspired Adventures the same year. Since then the company has grown quickly and in the next 12 months it will take up to 700 people on 45 separate adventures.
In order to design, manage and lead customised experiences combining a physical component with a hands-on activity (usually related to the charity’s focus) Inspired charges a $10,000 upfront fee, which is generally paid for by the corporation’s charity of choice.
Between 10 and 20 employees take part in the trip, and before departure they throw themselves into a variety of fundraising activities, with Inspired helping develop individual’s targets and strategies.
Usually the tougher the physical challenge the higher the fundraising target.
“Marathon runners tend to raise more because people get that it’s a huge challenge, it’s tangible and it requires enormous dedication and commitment”, said Curtis.
Inspired also works with the company to leverage public relations opportunities and it promotes the corporate challenges through its newsletter, which now has around 10,000 subscribers.
Business development manager Kyle Taylor claims that once participants have covered their travel costs, they raise an average of $4700 each for the not-for-profit organisation. That currently translates to an average return of $63,000 for a charity, but the figure is climbing steadily.
“Five years ago if we raised $35,000 it was fantastic, but in the last six months it has exploded and we have been continually exceeding $100,000. At the moment we are working on a New York Marathon challenge involving five charities and 50 runners. It will raise $600,000 by the time it leaves in November.”
Next financial year the company will raise about $3 million for not-for-profit organisations, double the $1.5 million it raised in the last financial year.
Inspired works with a wide variety of charities – from Kids Helpline to Alzheimer’s Australia – and it will work with just about any company on a corporate challenge. Most of its work, however, is with larger organisations where employees can make use of greater resources and networks to reach their fundraising targets.
“Corporate Australia is still behind those in the UK, but it is starting to gain a sense of what can be achieved by having staff or clients sign up for the trip of a lifetime,” said Curtis.
“These are priceless journeys that people who don’t normally work together can share. They also require dedication for at least a year, so they are good for staff retention, and people will always associate the experience with the organisation.”
- Meet Tristanne Scott
Tristanne’s love affair with China was sparked in university. As her friends were studying accounting or law, Tristanne delved into traditional Chinese medicine and international studies. She studied abroad in China and discovered a shared truth among China’s travellers – “It’s like a second home. I go there and speak the language, eat dumplings, completely immerse myself in the culture. I love it.”
Unable to leave China’s grasp, Tristanne took a job as a tour leader in China and Vietnam. She later returned to Australia to work in recruitment of international university students. “All of my jobs have had an international focus,” Tristanne reflects. “I want a job with a cultural exchange. Jobs that do amazing things for a person and a community.”
Tristanne’s first trip abroad ventured to South Korea to visit her brother. “It was an eye opener,” she remembers. “I was young, I didn’t speak Korean, and I was vegetarian…It was a full on experience and SO exciting.” Tristanne’s next big trip, studying abroad in China, pushed and provoked her in ways that she didn’t expect. “It challenged all of my perspectives. It made me realise that not everyone has the same beliefs as me.”
Despite her multiple visits, China never ceases to dazzle. “I’ve seen the highlights, but there’s still so much I’d like to see,” Tristanne says. “I will never get tired of seeing the Great Wall. It snakes along the tops of mountains. You look in any direction and the Wall goes as far as the eye can see. But you know that it’s only one section of 6,700 metres of Wall. It’s a very humbling feeling.”
Tristanne has more than 10 years of experience in the travel industry and loves offering people the opportunity to live their own extraordinary life experiences.
- Meet Helen Trussler
Helen comes to Inspired Adventures with a truly Inspired background: years of working in the travel industry followed by years of working in the not-for-profit sector.
She grew up in Brighton, UK and attended travel college before working in a wide range of positions in the travel industry from retail to operations to being a courier in the UK, France, and Italy. After spending almost 10 years in travel and visiting several countries including Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Europe, India, Asia, and China, she fell in love with Australia and vowed to come back.
By the time Helen moved to Australia in late 2000, she had moved from travel to the events industry working mainly in the not-for-profit sector. She has since worked at Red Cross, Greenpeace, a number of medical charities, and a large sporting event for the gay and lesbian community.
More recently Helen has been working with a local council promoting responsible dog ownership. Helen said, “I love working for our four-legged friends, but I’ve always worked for not-for-profits and feel that I want to help them achieve the best they can for their cause. If I can do that through inspiring travel challenges, then I’m combining all my experience into one worthy role.”
She has volunteered with and fundraised for several charities including RSPCA, Guide Dogs, Delta Society Australia and admits that her beloved dog Xas, named after a fallen angel in a book, dominates her life. She said, “I treat him like a dog, but I care for him as the dependent being that he is. In return, he provides me with unconditional love”.
When volunteering with Indigenous Community Volunteers (ICV), the idea of organising a trek on the Larapinta Trail emerged. “A team of us were discussing some fundraising ideas, and everyone loved the idea of doing a trek, but it was too big to do internally so ICV brought it all to Inspired Adventures.” A perfect fit, Helen joined the Inspired Adventures team shortly after and looks forward to making ICV’s dream a reality.
Helen enjoys the outdoors, driving, camping, and bushwalking. And like all lifelong travellers, her adventurous dreams are far from quieted: Helen hopes to visit Antarctica, the Silk Road, and one day do the Peking to Paris car rally. “When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I knew I loved travelling – so I just kept doing it!”
- Meet Belinda Shillcock
Belinda Shillcock has roamed the globe for the past decade – working in the UK, travelling in Central and South America, and living and breathing Southeast Asia as a tour guide. It’s not hard to see where her passion lies.
When working as a Southeast Asia wholesale reservation consultant, she travelled to Cambodia and felt the overwhelming need to give something back to local communities. “Cambodia unsettled me, it inspired me – I just fell in love with the country,” she says.
With a reinvigorated love of travel, Belinda bought a one-way ticket to London where she worked as a nanny and travel agent. “I worked so hard to save my money,” she explains. “I wanted to spend several months travelling in Europe and South and Central America.” Eventually her path led right back to Asia, where she worked as a tour leader in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and China.
When your true passions include travel and helping the world, Inspired Adventures is a perfect fit. Belinda became one of Inspired Adventures’s first full-time employees, thrown into the business head first to manage relationships with charities, participants, and travel. Of her 3 years at Inspired Adventures, her favourite memories occur when watching others go through an Inspired Adventure. “Whether you’re cycling through a small village or trekking at high altitudes, watching people’s reactions and emotions to their surroundings is such a rewarding experience.”
Recently, Belinda returned to her origin of inspiration on a cycle challenge in Cambodia with CARE. In honour of International Women’s Day, the Khmer people performed a play celebrating the strength and resilience of women. “We had the opportunity to see what the charity is doing on the ground, how much it’s changing these women’s lives. We saw where the donations went – it was touching, inspiring, empowering. It made us feel like we made a real difference.”