For people who are passionate about travel and making a difference
Is it possible to take a pleasure cruise and make a positive difference as well? Yes – starting in April with Fathom cruises. I had the opportunity to talk recently Tara Russell about her personal commitment to social impact and how she is leveraging her skills and passions as Fathom founder, president and global impact lead. The tagline on Tara’s email describes it so well – “A different kind of cruise that combines your love of travel with your desire to make a difference.”
You have such a diverse background from footwear developer, engineering manager, nonprofit CEO and now founder and president of an impact travel company. Would you share a bit about yourself and your journey to Fathom?
First and foremost, I was fortunate to win the birth lottery – being blessed with a loving family that provided me the foundation of education and a heart for giving. I was able to cultivate my business skills and connection to all aspects of consumer product business working for globally recognized organizations – GM, Intel and Nike. I’ve also been fortunate to have amazing mentors in the U.S. and China.
When I was about 20 years old, I had the opportunity to move to Shanghai working as an engineer. While it was a great opportunity professionally – it also opened my eyes to the incredible poverty experienced by so many each day. It was a pivotal time in life that led to my commitment to build businesses that change peoples’ lives.
My two passions are: 1) building things leveraging my business acumen, and 2) international development. I consider myself an architect – bridging the space between needs in communities with marginalized populations. To give them a voice. Fathom travel marries the needs of travelers with that of marginalized communities.
I’ve had transformative travel experiences that opened my heart and mind to make a difference. Each trip provides a whole new experience, opportunity and vision. Given these blessings, I feel I have a significant responsibility to make a difference and give back.
What is Fathom Travel and what type of travel experience does it offer?
This type of travel is created to be meaningful, purpose-driven, and fun. Fathom provides the opportunity to build community with like-minded travelers, become immersed in another culture, and work alongside its people to create enduring social impact.
Our travelers will gain far more than they give. It is much bigger than seven days as Fathom will have an on-going presence and partnership with community programs (see below for more detail on partners).
While Fathom is a new brand, it is affiliated with a long-standing travel company. How does Fathom fit within this larger organization?
It’s the newest brand in the Carnival Corporation & plc family. Fathom is supported by its sister brand, P&O Cruises, offering impact travel experiences aboard the 704-passenger Adonia, the smallest ship in the P&O fleet.
I’d like to learn more about Entrena and IDDI, the community partners in Dominican Republic.
Entrena and IDDI, have strong community connections in the northern Dominican Republic. Given their deep roots and long experience, we’re able to gain a better understanding of the specific needs of the communities and help address those needs in the most meaningful way.
Entrena specializes in training, education and social enterprise via a spectrum of activities such as – language learning, project management, overseas education, training youth leaders, baseball, community service, and a host of others.
The Dominican Institute for Integral Development, Inc. (IDDI), created in 1984, is a private non-profit organization, whose mission is to:
- Contribute to the transformation of both individuals and families, and the broader Dominican community.
- Create conditions where every citizen of the Dominican Republic has an opportunity to lead productive, creative lives in accordance with their needs, interests and potential.
- Promote harmonious relations and productive dialogue between the various sectors of our society.
How do I get more information about Fathom and impact travel opportunities?
Here are additional sources of information, in addition to the Fathom website.
- PR Newswire Release : Carnival Corporation Names Tara Russell to Lead New fathom Brand, Pioneer Sustained Social Impact Travel on a Scale World Has Never Seen
- USA Today – March 13, 2016 : Will Carnival’s volunteerism cruise line Fathom do good?
- Fathom Travel’s Youtube Channel
- Fathom Dominican Republic information
I’ll be joining Fathom on an inaugural voyage next month. Stay tuned for future posts sharing my experiences on the Adonia and in the Dominican Republic!