Jodie is a teacher, basketball lover, and craft enthusiast. She first travelled to East Africa in 2007, and joined the WE team full time in 2008.
What is your favorite travel memory?
When the Kisaruni girls school first opened its doors, I was fortunate enough to help them on their first day of school. While they brought in their bins with the checklist of goods, they were shy and reserved.
Four years later I watched that class graduate- and each one stood proudly in front of their community and shared their experience clearly and with great confidence. It was that moment that I knew what we were doing would truly make change.
How have you changed since working for your current company?
I have learned flexibility and patience above everything else, and the appreciation and understanding that there are sooo many ways to do a job... none of them more valuable than any other. Working inter-culturally, between Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Canada- I have learned so many lessons in how important relationship building is. Focus on the team, and the rest will follow!
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
There are many!! What I feel is most impactful is when students completely re-evaluate what it is they want to do with their lives. I have seen many take a step back and really focus on what fulfills them, and what will have a greater impact on the world... instead of focusing on the monetary rewards. I love this.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
A family trip to Kenya! It has been a dream to have my whole family come and experience what we do, together. It would truly be the most fulfilling thing that could every happen. Seeing my family together in that setting would be so rewarding, to share the work that we do, and the passion that we all share.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
We are a development organization first, and a travel company second. Every decision and move we make we always ask "what is the impact to the partner communities?" and if its not good... we don't do it! Today I sent off a team of our FIRST EVER Tanzanian trip facilitators, I am proud of the time and energy they put into training, and how they are heading in passionate and excited to go on their first trips.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
Invest in the people! Take the time to find the right people, spend the time to train them and bring them along to what you need, and once they are there, continue to nurture their goals. Building in space for personal growth and reflection is so important to making a team feel like they are moving forward, and making a difference! AND CELEBRATE!!