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- Website: journeyjill.com
If you’re intrigued by the tale of a successful corporate professional turned world traveler turned humanitarian entrepreneur, look no further than JourneyJill, or JJ. JJ is an ex-banking VP who broke out of her cubicle to become a global travel strategist. JJ has visited 70 countries, performing business ventures in 23 of those countries, and is passionate about voluntourism and transformational travel.
JJ previously spent six months living in Australia, and while volunteering at the Rainbow Serpent Festival stumbled upon a presentation on how festival innovation will change the world. When she heard the presenter, Joel de Ross, share his thoughts, JJ’s whole body tingled and she quickly moved to a seat at the front of the venue. She was fascinated at Ross’ visuals, which showed how similar the video game Sim City is to planning a festival or refugee camp. After the presentation, JJ told Joel she wanted to get involved.
Little did JJ know, that presentation would lead her to becoming a director and head of operations for Metavents, an event planning software technology start-up powering Rock Against Poverty (RAP). RAP performs charitable work through its fundraising event initiative, which leverages emerging technology such as virtual reality simulation, artificial intelligence and blockchain to solve major problems in planning and funding humanitarian projects. Empowered by technology, they aim to launch 50 events in 25 locations with the goal to save one million lives and raise one billion dollars annually for global disaster mitigation and poverty alleviation.
Between 2003-2013, natural disasters caused over one million deaths, affected more than two billion people and cost the global economy $1.5 trillion in damages. When disaster strikes, foreign aid can be raised quickly, but unfortunately only a small percentage gets to those who need it most. Following the catastrophic 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the British Virgin Islands recently became the first country to pilot the RAP model, and there are currently projects developing in India, the Philippines and the Caribbean.
What do event planning software for festivals and humanitarian projects have in common? Planning, delivering and managing a refugee camp is nearly identical to the needs of a festival; food, water, shelter, power, security, medical and sanitation facilities and waste management systems need to be delivered to remote locations, while simultaneously planning for (and mitigating) risks such as high wind, flood, fire and more. Dozens of disparate stakeholders need to communicate and work together with hundreds of volunteers, who often have little experience. Together, Metavents and RAP have developed a new methodology for planning, funding and executing humanitarian projects. It’s a prime example of companies partnering together for a greater good.
Outside of JJ’s professional and humanitarian endeavors, her “side project” company, JourneyJill, is built on the belief that travel is a catalyst for transformation, which leads to greater international understanding, ultimately creating a more peaceful world. JJ offers travel coaching for wellness and personal expansion, as well as trip and retreat planning services. JJ supports her clients in creating transformational travel experiences in order to make meaningful and lasting change in their lives. JJ’s clients focus on evolving their travels to cultivate local connections, deepen cultural awareness, immerse themselves in nature, practice mindfulness, stay fit and foster personal development.
Personally, I have greatly benefited from knowing JJ, even before she formally created a travel company. She’s been a source of inspiration and encouragement to break free from the grip of the corporate world, practice a life dedicated to travel, and develop a professional identity that looks different than the norm. It’s an honor to call JJ a friend, and I have her to thank for this growth and change in my life. It’s a pleasure to feature a shining example of this paradigm shift—the movement of people who are “waking up” in a very real way to life’s possibilities.
Rock Against Poverty
JJ’s travels have brought her across the globe, as well as to Rock Against Poverty, a fundraising charity powered by Metavents, where she acts as the director and head of operations.
- 70: Number of countries visited by JJ
- 23: Number of countries where JJ has undergone business ventures
- 50: Events per year Rock Against Poverty aims to put on to aid global disaster mitigation
- 1 million: Lives Rock Against Poverty strives to save annually through their programs
- 1 billion: Dollars Rock Against Poverty aspires to raise annually for humanitarian fundraising