Note: In honor of Social Venture Network’s 25 year anniversary, the network is inducting 25 of its most innovative and influential leaders into its hall of fame Nov. 13 at Gotham Hall in New York City. To recognize these sustainable business pioneers, SVN’s news program, ‘Sustainable Solutions,’ is interviewing the hall-of-famers to celebrate their accomplishments and learn what more needs to be done. Read the whole series here.
Bruce Poon Tip has had the pleasure of attending a few Social Venture Network (SVN) conferences as a guest speaker in recent years where he says he was continually impressed by the people he came into contact with.
His relationship with the organization is not as ingrained as some of the more long-standing SVN members, however, so when he was told he and his company, G Adventures, were being recognized with an SVN Impact Award as a Workplace Champion, he was truly taken aback.
“It’s a huge honor for me personally for the company to get recognized specifically outside of (the travel tourism industry),” he says.
Poon Tip started G Adventures as a one-man operation in 1990 with the vision of creating a company that delivers authentic travel experiences in a sustainable and socially-responsible manner.
Today, the company employs around 1,500 people worldwide and more than 100,000 travelers a year trek the globe through G Adventures — the overwhelming majority of whom become ambassadors of the organization’s core philosophy, Poon Tip says.
As he considers the award, which will officially be conferred at the SVN Hall of Fame celebration in New York on Nov. 13, Poon Tip reflects on the difference between being purely profit-driven like so many companies today, and allowing profit to follow the other social bottom lines that have always guided his thinking in business.
The award, he says, “is a huge win because for so long it’s been thankless because we’re a travel company, but we’ve always focused on expanding our business model in innovative ways to engage our customers to a much higher purpose than just travel.
“Any time we get recognized for what we stand for, it means so much more to us as a company.”
Being a workplace champion within G Adventures is a continual challenge, he says, pointing directly to the core values of the organization as the thread that binds the cultures and perspectives of the team together around the planet.
The dedication of this diverse work force to the philosophies that guide the organization is why Poon Tip says his customers are so loyal to the brand and the idea that people can fuel their lust for travel in a responsible and authentic way.
And after more than 20 years spreading this philosophy, Poon Tip has no intention of slowing down.
“There’s no differentiation between business and pleasure,” he says. “My whole life is pleasure; I love what I do.”