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Social Change Champion: Penny Schroder

We sat down with Penny Schroder, Travel Agent at TravelManagers to learn more about how she is helping people travel for a cause.


What is your social enterprise elevator pitch?

It’s my passion, and also my business, to create tailor-made travel programs for donor engagement groups and volunteers. I am the preferred travel provider for Hands-on-Health Australia where I organise domestic and international travel for health care volunteers.

For donor groups, I arrange customised trips where donors visit the programs they fund and/or participate in a physical challenge in the host country to raise funds (e.g. charity bike ride or hike). As a show of commitment to my partners, I make a donation to the host organisation for every completed supporter tour.

What are your biggest personal and/or professional challenges as a social entrepreneur in Australia?

For me, it’s business development and growth. I’ve recently found a mentor who will help me achieve my next stage of business growth. Having a mentor that I can learn from, and to stimulate and challenge my thinking, is critical for my future success.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received so far since starting your own social enterprise?

Go the extra mile and provide your clients with a wow experience every time. Create a personal relationship that makes it easy for them to come back you!

If you were to start over, is there anything you would do differently?

I wish I’d done this ten years ago! Other than that, there’s not much I’d change. I’ve enjoyed every step of the process so far – the idea stage, the setup stage and the growth stage that I’m currently in.

Where do you see the future of social enterprise in Australia?

I’m experiencing a lot of interest right now in social enterprise, and people are looking for ‘feel good’ products and services. So, I imagine the movement will continue to grow from here. It’s an amazing time to have your own business in this area.

What appeals most to you about Social Change Central?

My initial reason for joining was for the networking and to stay abreast of what’s happening in the social enterprise space. I then upgraded to Gold membership for the VIP support and opportunities to promote my brand. Jay and Anne have been very generous with making personalised introductions that have added value to my business.

The Social Change Central changemaker community is growing at a fast rate. How can our members learn more about you and help support your organisation (e.g. are you looking for funding, PR, marketing support, volunteers, interns)?

If you would like to start a discussion about how I can assist your organisation with travel programs, I offer all Social Change Central members a complimentary consultation, so please give me a call on 0422 103 844 or email me on penny.schroder@travelmanagers.com.au to arrange. And remember, I make a donation to the host organisation for every completed supporter tour!

And finally, what would you do if you found a lottery ticket that ended up winning $10 million?

This September, I celebrate 20 years in the travel industry, so I would give back to the industry that has been so good to me. I’d donate some to my favourite travel foundation – the G Adventures Planeterra Foundation. I’m a keen hiker and walked the Inca Trail with G Adventures recently. I really admire how they support local social enterprises by bringing underserved communities into the tourism supply chain – in their words, a Trade not Aid approach. As a smart business woman, I’d also invest some of my winnings. Lastly, I’d visit one of my bucket list destinations – Antarctica or a Virgin Galactic space flight!


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