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UNICEF | TRAVEL TO PUT CHILDREN FIRST

Jude Fitzgerald


 
UNICEF supported school children in Tanzania | Photo credit: Rob Beechey

UNICEF supported school children in Tanzania | Photo credit: Rob Beechey

Ever wondered what it would be like to walk in the footsteps of a humanitarian field worker, or see real heroes in action on the front line?

Over the years, UNICEF has provided a select few lucky individuals a life-changing experiential travel opportunity in the form of a field trip. However, the really exciting news is that you too might be eligible to travel to put children first.

Since its inception in 1946 ― to provide food, clothing and health care to children affected by World War II ― UNICEF has grown into a worldwide organization active in 192 countries helping to keep children safe, healthy and learning.

UNICEF’s work is even more critical today. There are more children on the move now than at any other time in history. An estimated 28 million children are refugees, and UNICEF is responding to deliver lifesaving supplies, fresh water, health care, and education.

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So what makes a UNICEF field visit so appealing? Following are the top five reasons why people are embarking on these life-changing experiential travel expeditions:

1.    Access – a UNICEF field visit provides access to people, places and expertise you simply would not encounter on a "regular" travel adventure;
2.    The humanitarian thing – when you participate in a UNICEF filed visit, you are there as a guest of and an ambassador for the United Nations – it's part foreign relations, part social science, and part humanitarian aid. So for people whose life and/or career path(s) have not provided that opportunity, this gives them a second shot;
3.    The people – in addition to meeting a group of inspirational UNICEF field staff, who are the true unsung heroes working on the front line on behalf of the children of the world, its highly likely that you will form incredible friendships with a diverse group of like-minded travel companions from a variety of walks of life;
4.    Personal growth – its impossible to go on a UNICEF field visit and come away unaffected, as these travel experiences provide perspective and an enormous opportunity for personal growth along with it; and
5.    Purpose – upon the completion of a UNICEF field visit, chances are you will probably return with a renewed sense of energy and purpose.

UNICEF USA Midwest Regional Board Member, Hilary Scott, who lives in the affluent Chicago-suburb of Glencoe with her husband, children and dogs, recently visited Tanzania on a UNICEF field visit.

In the weeks before Hilary embarked on her life-changing adventure, people often asked, “Are you going on a safari?” Generally speaking, in the western world, we use the noun safari to suggest a guided expedition to observe or hunt wildlife in their natural habitat. The term originated in the late 19th century from the Swahili word safara, which simply means, to travel, take a voyage, journey or expedition.

In that sense, Hilary declared, “I can think of no better word to describe my travels in Tanzania… a physical voyage, a journey of the heart and a growth expedition.”

UNICEF Tanzania field trip participant, David Bonnette, stealing a selfie with school children | Photo credit: Rob Beechey

UNICEF Tanzania field trip participant, David Bonnette, stealing a selfie with school children | Photo credit: Rob Beechey

So what was the highlight of the trip?

“For me, the highlight of the trip was the people, smiled Hilary. “Especially the UNICEF field staff, but there was so much diversity among my travel companions that I actually learned a lot from everyone.”

“When I arrived at the hotel in Dar es Salaam, I had my doubts,” she confessed. “As there was such a wide range of ages, genders and backgrounds, but in the end, I found commonality with them all.”

This is clearly a tribute to Hilary’s extraordinary character, but also to the UNICEF organizers, who hand-select travelers for the limited number of field visits they offer each year to provide donors with a deeper understanding of their best in class operation, which sees over 90 cents in each dollar go directly to programs that put children first to survive and thrive.

How did the trip affect this suburban Mom?

According to Hilary, the trip taught her how to sit with her own discomfort.  She was rather rattled – in the truest disruptive sense of the word – at various points throughout the trip because she saw things that made her uncomfortable. Hilary’s instinct was to do something immediately, but that wasn't the purpose of the visit. Her key takeaway was learning first-hand why it's critical to respond rather than react.

That response will vary depending on the person, their life, and their interests. In Scott’s case, she went home with a renewed sense of energy and purpose. Not only with regards to her broader work on behalf of children, but also the day-to-day "little things" in her household... As a result of her “safari,” Scott and her “tribe” are wasting a lot less water. However, her kids now also know better than to complain about going to school, as in Tanzania it’s a tremendous privilege.

As a parting piece of advice, this courageous and inspirational mom encouraged, “Whether or not it's with UNICEF, get out into the world and see things that challenge your place and perspective and then respond accordingly.”

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While the destination is yet to be determined, the cost is $25,000. These funds are critically needed by UNICEF right now and will make a huge impact on the children they serve.

Following are three additional ways that you can support UNICEF’s work:

  1. DONATE to support UNICEF’s incredible work.
  2. ADVOCATE by asking Congress to maintain the U.S. Government's annual contribution to UNICEF.
  3. READ UNICEF USA's 2016 Annual Report to learn more.

What impact can your donation really make?

  • $5,000 could provide two-year scholarships for five girls in Guatemala.
  • $2,500 could provide a tent to establish a child-friendly space for children living in emergency situations.
  • $1,000 could provide over 200 mosquito nets to protect children and families from mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria and Zika virus.
  • $500 could provide a durable water pump, giving an entire community access to safe, clean water.
  • $250 could provide nearly 60 malnourished children with lifesaving nutrition for five days.
  • $100 could provide 3 first aid kits, which can treat small wounds and protect a child from deadly infection.
  • $50 could provide 15 mosquito nets to defend families from deadly malaria.

The bottom line: If you are interested in learning more about a UNICEF field visit, please contact Elizabeth McCostlin, Managing Director – Midwest Region, UNICEF USA at emccostlin@unicefusa.org or +1 312 222 9141.
#ChildrenFirst #UNICEFChicago #UNICEFUSA

 

ASPEN SNOWMASS

Jude Fitzgerald


 
Aspen Mountain Gondola | Photo credit: Daniel Bayer

Aspen Mountain Gondola | Photo credit: Daniel Bayer

Aspen Snowmass is a world renowned playground for the rich and famous.

You may rub shoulders with a few "friends" from Hollywood, Coachella, Wall Street or The Hamptons while you're out on the slopes, enjoying après ski, or at one of the world-class international festivals or events the city proudly hosts, but it’s certainly not just for the rich and famous.

Aspen Skiing Co., the resort’s managing entity, has something for everyone. It does not compete with Vail and/or any other resorts in North America on price or value of skiing. They simply offer more terrain, better prices and prefer to be more affordable.

We are a place where people of all ethnicities, religions, genders and races — and that includes white, working-class males — come together to celebrate life, the mountains and being together with family and friends.
— Mike Kaplan, CEO, Aspen Skiing Co.

Aspen Snowmass stands out for many reasons, but following are the top five:

1.    Rich history – It was a town first and a ski resort second. This has cultivated an incredibly strong sense of identity, community and character;

2.    Four in one – The first chairlift, Lift-1, opened in Aspen on December 14, 1946 and was the world's longest chairlift at the time. Today, the resort boasts four mountains—Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Highlands and Buttermilk—all on one lift ticket;

3.    Community – It’s not a cookie cutter, manufactured, run of the mill resort—it’s a flourishing community that has given the town and the resort a pulse that runs much deeper than simply a ski town;

4.    Core values – Aspen Skiing Co. is a values-driven company which believes passionately in a committed mountain lifestyle and it shares those values with its guests; and

5.    Natural beauty – It’s a place that people identify with because it just simply feels special, unique and loved for the beauty that surrounds it. It’s something that’s difficult to explain—more of a feeling. People sense it when they visit and return year after year because of it. It transcends a “regular” ski vacation. It’s simply special.

Sunrise at Snowmass with the majestic Maroon Bells as a backdrop Photo credit: Tomas Zuccareno

Sunrise at Snowmass with the majestic Maroon Bells as a backdrop
Photo credit: Tomas Zuccareno

It doesn’t hurt that Aspen Snowmass hosts the best events (X Games, World Cup Ski Racing, Food & Wine, Aspen Ideas Festival, JAS Aspen Snowmass), has a culinary scene that rivals metropolitan areas, has a perpetuation to always have a good time—whether spraying champagne at Cloud Nine or dancing pool-side at the Sky, and has some of the best world-class skiing terrain in the state.

Think Highland Bowl and the fact that they have four resorts and not just one to choose from. If you’re a family, Snowmass and Buttermilk are for you. If you are hardcore extreme skier, Aspen Highlands is the place to be. If you want an incredible amount of steep vertical, Aspen Mountain is your oyster. All of this is under one lift ticket—flanked by some of the most gorgeous scenery in the state—the Maroon Bells.

Wildflowers on the rooftop of The Little Nell at Aspen Mountain | Photo credit: Jude Fitzgerald

Wildflowers on the rooftop of The Little Nell at Aspen Mountain | Photo credit: Jude Fitzgerald

Following are just a few of the world-class attractions in Aspen for 2017:

  • Winter: Skiing all four mountains, Gwyn’s High Alpine in Snowmass, World Cup Finals 2017, Winter X-Games, Lynn Britt Cabin Après, Full Moon Dinners at the Cliffhouse;
  • Spring: Believe it or not, spring is one of the most beautiful time of the year to visit Aspen, Vogue thinks so too;
  • Summer:  Snowmass Bike Park, Bluegrass and yoga at the Sundeck, Farm to table Dinners, Enduro World Series Mountain Bike Race; and
  • Fall: Leaf peeping, world-class bike trails.

Aspen Skiing Co.'s vision is:

  • To be a part of a community and influence and encourage change;
  •  To welcome customers to a world-class resort; and
  • To be a leader in sustainability and encourage other resorts to do the same.

Aspen Skiing Co.’s values are:

  • HUMANITY: We treat people the way they’d like to be treated, modeling authenticity, transparency, courtesy, respect and humility.
  • EXCELLENCE: In business, quality, craftsmanship, guest service and athletic achievement.
  • SUSTAINABILITY: Of people, profits, the environment and the community so that we are in business forever.
  • PASSION: We live our core values and embrace life-long learning and meaningful work.

This isn't just a token list of words on a wall or in an annual report. Aspen Skiing Co. is disrupting the travel industry by taking a stand on its core values and beliefs; equality in race, religion and gender. It's taking a stand by sharing its vision, values, and beliefs via op-ed’s, talks, events, and actions from the CEO and staff. A recent example of this is Aspen Skiing Co. CEO Mike Kaplan’s Op’ed Mike Kaplan: We’re still here, which appeared in The Aspen Times on December 27, 2016.

What differentiates Aspen Snowmass is that we add one particular ingredient to the mix: the notion that by introducing people to ideas, art, and education in the exact place where they are most receptive to new thinking, they can return to their homes inspired, perhaps even more able to improve the world for their experiences here.
— Mike Kaplan, CEO, Aspen Skiing Co.

The bottom line: There’s something for everybody to enjoy!
The heart of a city. The soul of a mountain town. Four amazing mountains, one destination. Visit www.StayAspenSnowmass.com or see the Aspen Snowmass International Vacation Planner 2016-17.
#Aspen #Snowmass @AspenSnowmass

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LONDONHOUSE CHICAGO

Jude Fitzgerald


 
Introducing the Power Lunch at LondonHouse Chicago

Introducing the Power Lunch at LondonHouse Chicago

Want to lunch like a boss in my favorite city in the U.S.?

Make it a Power Lunch at LondonHouse Chicago!

LondonHouse Chicago has a HOT new MUST DO lunch offer. This Power Lunch can be yours for only $20 every day of the week from 11:00am to 3:45pm. The 3-course menu finishes with a complimentary Chicago Toddy, plus a nudge to take a breathtaking photo from the hotel’s spectacular rooftop Cupola.

The beaux-arts cupola

The beaux-arts cupola

Here’s how to lunch like a pro:

  1. Begin on the 21st floor at LH on 21 with a pre-set 3-course lunch – an absolute delight for your taste buds. View menu
  2. After lunch, let your server know you’re ready to head up to the Cupola.
  3. Venture to the rooftop and take a photo from our historic Cupola overlooking Chicago’s Mag Mile and the river. (Take a selfie too, we don’t judge.)
  4. Share your power lunch experience on social using #LHPowerLunch. You just scored a 3-course lunch and an Instagram-worthy photo for $20 bucks.
  5. All that’s left to do is make a reservation by calling +1 312 253 2317.
The view west looking down the Chicago River

The view west looking down the Chicago River

The bottom line: Let's do lunch! #LHPowerLunch #ItStartsHere #BeIntrigued #ChicagoLunch

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MOOVN

Jude Fitzgerald


 
Godwin Gabriel , Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Moovn

Godwin Gabriel, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Moovn

Tanzanian-born Seattle-based African American tech entrepreneur with a big smile and a big heart is harmonizing the rideshare industry in the U.S. and revolutionizing ecommerce in emerging markets

Moovn lets users book rides, instantly or ahead of time, selecting the type of cars they want. Moovn also offers rides with motorcycles and tricycles, known as Tuk Tuks in Tanzania.

Godwin Gabriel is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Moovn – an innovative tech startup that is revolutionizing ecommerce and transforming lives in emerging markets. His apps and web-based technologies are helping facilitate the movement of people, goods and services from the marketplace to the consumer.

Moovn was established in June, 2014 as Godwin was wrapping up a Global Executive MBA at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. Since then, it has quietly continued to expand and increase market share. However, it has gained more attention recently due to recent turmoil in the rideshare industry in the U.S. – predominantly with established providers Uber and Lyft.

On January 23, The Network Journal wrote an article titled, Forget Uber! Godwin Gabriel’s Moovn Ride Sharing App is Driving Ahead in the U.S. & Africa. In response to a significant increase in subscribers coupled with a slew of media inquiries, Gabriel Tweeted an open letter titled, My story as an immigrant on January 31.

It’s well known that the majority of drivers are immigrants. It’s similar in the hospitality industry, which is where this mastermind started his career. They are not Harvard graduates. So Gabriel and his fans, strongly believe it is hypocritical for people who lead these companies to align with anti-immigrant ideology. 

As an African and an American, Gabriel had a dual mission in founding a rideshare company. From an American perspective, he wanted to address driver concerns by recognizing them as key stakeholders in the business and financially compensating them accordingly. From an African perspective, he saw an opportunity to pioneer change in the industry after literally getting caught in a downpour in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and having to walk several blocks to a taxi rank vs. simply taping an app like he was accustomed to in the Western world.

Moovn’s top five key differentiators are:

  1. Drivers are key stakeholders – Moovn is founded on the premise that if the driver is taken care of, they will in turn take care of the customer – in short, what gets incentivized gets done;
  2. Advance booking – Moovn was launched with the ability to order a ride in advance. Uber and Lyft followed suit but have not really promoted it as they enjoy surge pricing;
  3. No surge pricing – On demand is still available, but there is no surge pricing;
  4. Cash is accepted – In addition to credit cards, Moovn also accepts cash; and
  5. Ability to localize internationally – Moovn’s fleet includes cars, motorcycles and even Tuk Tuks in some markets.

Moovn’s mission is centered on putting its partners first. They believe that as long as their partners are happy with them, they will also go the extra mile for their customers. Drivers are encouraged to join the Moovnment today to see what makes them stand above the rest.

Moovn believes that the majority of people want good, solid service at a reasonable price. They do not engage in price wars and they do not offer ride subsidies. They use market standard rates that are affordable, and provide quality experiences for drivers and customers alike. In short, Moovn is a brand that people can feel good about patronizing, as they are bridging the technology divide by bringing employment opportunities to the world.

In North America, Moovn currently operates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Vancouver and Washington, DC with Los Angeles to follow soon. In the Middle East and Africa, it operates in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, Dubai, UAE, Johannesburg, South Africa and Nairobi, Kenya.

According to Moovn’s website, they are generating quite a buzz as they continue to expand into new cities. The turquoise dots on the world map represent operations and the yellow dots represent pilot programs, where they are working to grow drivers and riders to see if the market is feasible. So you can check back to see how they are progressing.

Moovn App Overview
Moovn Details

The bottom line: Let’s get Moovn! #getmoovin

 

CELEBRITY HIDEAWAYS

Jude Fitzgerald


 
Ian Ziering , Founder, Celebrity Hideaways

Ian Ziering, Founder, Celebrity Hideaways

 
 

Always wanted to travel like a celebrity, but thought it was price prohibitive or have no clue where to begin?

Enter stage door left, Celebrity Hideaways – a red carpet experience for luxury destinations – to inspire, evoke and fulfill customer’s bucket-list travel dreams.

Ian Ziering, who is best known for his role as Steve Sanders on the television series Beverly Hills, 90210, which he played from 1990 to 2000, has been traveling the globe for the last 30 years. As a celebrity, he has been privy to some of the most unique destinations in the world. Whenever the conversation turns to travel, he’s often asked, “What’s the coolest or most amazing place you’ve ever been?” In February, 2015 Ziering launched Celebrity Hideaways to help take some of the guesswork out of where celebrities like to travel, and to create a source for them to book those special trips.

So what makes this exclusive travel service offering so special? Celebrity Hideaways’ top five key differentiators are rather special indeed:

  1. Concierge booking – personalized care handling every step of your needs;

  2. Discounted First and Business class airfares – guaranteed to beat quotes on all international routes – this is huge;
  3. International production rates – cheapest airfares in the marketplace – that’s right, you read it here;
  4. Hand-selected accommodations – their global portfolio is carefully chosen to ensure the highest quality product, service, and price, ensuring all guests receive the exceptional experience they deserve; and
  5. Special “celebrity” perks – insight into various celebrity-visited locations with celebrity meet-n-greets and set visits.

In addition to its discounted first and business class airfares, Celebrity Hideaways is disrupting the industry by ONLY offering luxury accommodations such as private home-stays, penthouse suites, villas and even castles – often places Ian and/or his celebrity friends have previously frequented.

The question most savvy travelers want answered these days is, “Can a service provider like Celebrity Hideaways price beat my go to online travel provider?” The answer to this is two-fold. First, most of the accommodations offered by Celebrity Hideaways are simply not available to be booked through an online travel provider. Celebrity Hideaways offers unique, high-end experiences, reserved only for those selling the luxury market. However, airfares are sourced from a number of online tools and Celebrity Hideaways’ International First and Business class airfares are guaranteed to beat any online travel provider, anytime.

Celebrity Hideaways is dedicated to the discerning traveler looking for the grand, unique experiences typically reserved for people of profile. Whether traveling alone, as a couple, or with a family, you’ll be able to source, and book the ideal destination that meets your specific needs – at the best prices. The experienced team at Celebrity Hideaways highlights those special places that are frequented by the rich and famous, as well as the undiscovered jewels that are sure to be tomorrow’s celebrity hideaways.

So what celebrity HOT spots are on the MUST DO list for 2017? According to Ziering and his Celebrity Hideaways’ crew, global A-listers are all over Bali, South Africa and Colombia. Greece is also a celebrity darling with some stunning new HOT properties, as well as some classic favorite haunts at special rates, if you get in quick!

Beyond Spaces   Villa Ghizlane   is one of the finest private residences in the island of Paros, Greece

Beyond Spaces Villa Ghizlane is one of the finest private residences in the island of Paros, Greece

Lounge area

Lounge area

Villa from afar

Villa from afar

The bottom line: Celebrity Hideaways is the go to source for news, information, travel tips, exclusives, specials and first class experiences. Be sure to contact Celebrity Hideaways when planning your next vacation or international production.

Celebrity Hideaways