Copy of DSC01440Venture with Impact Sends Skills-Based Volunteers on Co-working Retreats Around the World

by Ann Davis & Jessica Charwin

Ann Davis founded Venture with Impact (VWI) in 2016 with the mission to rewrite the narrative on professional retreats abroad, including skills-based volunteering as a key component.

After surviving brain cancer and subsequently traveling to over 40 countries in her 20’s, Ann found her most valuable and fulfilling travel experiences to be those instances when she stayed in one place and worked with the local population – forming relationships and learning about the local culture in the process. At the same time, she saw her friends and colleagues struggle between their desire for careers that provided security and their desire to travel and work for the social good. So, Ann founded Venture with Impact with the dream that professionals could share in these same experiences while continuing their careers.

Ultimately, Venture with Impact created a program to help professionals work and travel the world (or just take a break from it all) while using their unique skills to give back to local communities. As part of the experience, VWI arranges accommodation, workspace, and cultural events/activities, as well as volunteer matching. Following 90+ successful skills-based volunteer projects, and the launch of one month co-working retreats in Colombia, Thailand, Portugal, and Mexico, Venture with Impact has recently expanded its’ itinerary to include shorter 1-week social impact retreats focusing on skill development and personal growth.

As evidenced by the growing digital nomad trend, or traveling the world while working remotely, many workers are abandoning their cubicles, drawn by a desire to maintain a career while nurturing an adventurous identity. At the same time, volunteer tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments in the travel industry today. Davis, recognising these trends, found a way to combine the desires for travel and impact into a unique program that specifically caters to remote professionals and the companies where they work, while giving back in a way that genuinely contributes value for non-profits.

One of these aspiring digital nomads, Eric Ireland, a Network Engineer at Local MSP in Waukesha, WI, joined a retreat in Thailand. In VWI’s Chiang Mai hub, he immersed himself in Thai culture for 30 days and volunteered with BEAM, an organisation that supports Burmese migrants. Eric worked with the NGO to build an improved system for staff for file sharing and internal communications.

“My experience with Venture with Impact has made me a stronger person, more aware of the world and myself” said Eric Ireland.

VWI is currently accepting applications year-round for month-long and week-long social impact retreats – fulfilling its mission to expose professionals to new cultures, people, and ideas, so that they may become more informed and empathetic world citizens.

If you are interested in learning more or signing up for a social impact retreat, visit Venture with Impact website at  https://www.venturewithimpact.org/ or email the team at info@venturewithimpact.org.