Ann Davis, co-founder of Venture with Impact, is an amazing woman who is paving her own way and making a positive impact around the world. Below are highlights of her journey and vision for the future.
You have such a diverse background from working in New Orleans, New York and then traveling the world working full-time jobs…which led to co-founding Venture with Impact. Would you share a bit about yourself and your journey to the launch of Venture with Impact?
There are many variables that led me to founding Venture with Impact, however it really begins with my experience as a cancer survivor. While working as a teacher in New Orleans I was on a run with friends one day, and felt an electric shock run up the side of my leg, like I had stuck my foot into a toaster. Bam! I was on the ground, body in convulsions, and was rushed to the hospital. Two weeks later after a 12-hour craniotomy, I was diagnosed with brain cancer and my life forever changed. After undergoing chemo and radiation treatment, I made a full recovery and have been in remission for four years. Without this mind-boggling, terrifying, looney life event, I would probably never had the guts to quit my full-time job and follow my dream.
Venture with Impact fulfills my passion for learning about new and different cultures. I have done a lot of traveling over the last ten years, and have been lucky enough to visit over 40 countries in 5 continents. My most valuable and fulfilling travel experiences have been the instances when I stayed in one place, and worked with the local population – forming relationships and learning about their culture in the process.
My co-founder and I started Venture with Impact because we were both worked full-time jobs, but wanted to travel MORE and volunteer MORE. It is difficult to do! We found that many people of all ages have the same desires, but also don’t want to forego financial stability and professional development. Venture with Impact solves the problem by allowing people to work remotely from their jobs in a foreign country for one or two months. We organize the accommodation, workspace, and personalized volunteer experiences for professionals wishing to get abroad and dive into a new culture.
Please tell us a bit more about Venture with Impact and your vision for the organization
The mission of Venture with Impact is to expose professionals to new cultures, people and ideas so that they may be more informed and empathetic world citizens, and in the process, provide a positive social impact. Our ‘venturers’ form relationships with both the community they are working with as well as the diverse group of program participants. It is important to us that our participants have a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. We have had applicants ages 21 to 68 from a variety of countries including the U.K., France, Thailand and Uganda. Applicants have diverse work experience as well – writers, project managers, engineers, occupational therapists, entrepreneurs and more.
We are currently taking applications for our pilot program in Trujillo, Peru for the months of January and February of 2017. We are incredibly excited for our pilot program. We have partnered with seven non-profit organizations in Trujillo. We match participants with a volunteer experience based on their interests and work schedule. There are a range of volunteer opportunities including teaching English, working at an animal shelter, assisting with a micro-loans program, providing public health workshops to local communities and installing solar panels in schools.
Our goal is to work with each individual participant to find a volunteer experience that aligns with their interests, whether it be hands-on work or assisting the non-profit organizations with projects on the operations and management level. Our strong relationships with local non-profits allow us to create a unique experience for each of our participants.
I know you have been planning a lot of great things for the future. What do we to look forward to this year?
We are so excited about this year because there are so many possibilities with our program! Especially the participants in our earlier programs will have a large part in defining the Venture with Impact into the future. For our pilot, we’re relying on the feedback of our participants to create an amazing program.
Our pilot program will take place in Trujillo, Perú and we will continue to offer programs in Trujillo thereafter. We are currently doing research to set up our next location in Bogota or Medellin, Colombia. The Colombia program will launch in the spring/summer of 2017. We are also looking into future programs throughout South America including Mexico City, Sao Paolo, Santiago, and Buenos Aires. Longer term, we plan to expand to other continents, including Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.
Where can we find more information about Venture with Impact programs, partners and opportunities to get involved?
You can learn more about Venture with Impact on our website: www.venturewithimpact.org, Facebook and Instagram @venturewithimpact. You can also reach directly via email with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.