I am originally from Hattiesburg, MS but moved to Hawaii in 2007 to study Sustainable Tourism and Development Management at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. From there I worked for Starwood Hotels and Resorts and other large hotels from 2008 to 2015 in areas such as food and beverage management, housekeeping and operations, and sales and catering. I joined the Peace Corps in 2015 in an effort to learn about and lessen the impacts that tourism has on small developing communities, specifically focusing on the issues of cultural conservation and preservation.My long term goal is to own and manage a small ecolodge that promotes sustainable tourism through authentic cultural representation of the host culture and responsible environmental management.

Experience

The majority of my work experience is in hotel and restaurant management specifically restaurant and bar management, housekeeping, group sales, catering sales and events management. I served on the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Ecotourism Association where we developed a standardized criteria for tour operators who wanted to become "eco certificed" with the association by promoting and developing sustainable management of ecotour operators. My work with the Peace Corps has mostly been to train and coach in business development techniques, online and print marketing, personal branding, and financial management of small businesses.I also created my own degree (Sustainable Tourism and Development Management) by designing a curriculum that combined Travel Industry Management, Global Environmental Sciences, and Anthropology.


Vayando Profiles

Artisanal Fishing with Gerardo Puerto Soley, Costa Rica

Gerardo has six sons, five fishermen and one is a successful businessman. He says that fishing is a family tradition. He notes that he thinks his sons are truly happy to carry on the family tradition because they are all fat and happy, a local sign of a good life.

Bamboo Farming and Tortilla Making with Alexis and Xania Argendora, Costa Rica

Xania and Alexis have three children who have all moved to nearby neighborhoods. Their hope is when tourism begins to develop a bit more in Argendora that they will build rustic ranch style cabins and that their daughters will return to help with the family business.

Pigs and Pancakes with Elias and Ana Cecilia Argendora, Costa Rica

The community of Argendora is just starting to welcome small tours of adventurous travelers to the area. The majority of the community members here make a living off of farming and small handicrafts, but all are looking forward to what tourism will bring for their future.

Traditional Cooking and Oxcart Farming with Cristina Argendora, Costa Rica

Maria Cristina is a busy woman! Her house seems to be constantly filled with the cutest kids of Argendora. With eight of her own children living throughout Costa Rica, and six grandchildren in Argendora Maria Cristina shared that her dream for the future was simply to sleep more. All jokes aside, her and her husband do have dreams for a larger and more productive farm in the future. She is extremely passionate about maintaining the traditions of local Guanacasteco dishes, and her grandchildren are more than excited to practice their English with you!

Majagua Weaving with Rudi and Enrique Argendora, Costa Rica

The community of Argendora is just starting to welcome small tours of adventurous travelers to the area. The majority of the community members here make a living off of farming and small handicrafts, but all are looking forward to what tourism will bring for their future. Rudi and Enrique travel throughout the country working at and showcasing in local art shows.


Field Partner

5 entrepreneurs

2 communities

1 country

Peace Corps



Hattiesburg, Mississippi

LinkedIn

Member since January 2017


Vayando is a community driven tool that connects travelers with local entrepreneurs in emerging economies. Field partners are NGOs, their staff, travel bloggers, and more. Field partners identify entrepreneurs and support them building a Vayando profile. They provide capacity building, local marketing efforts, and are invested in creating positive, social impact.
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