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International non-profit Planeterra expands Board of Directors

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Five new female board members reflect the organization’s growing mandate.

Planeterra, the world's non-governmental organization using tourism to uplift communities, announced the appointment of five new members of their international Board of Directors. These new members were chosen for their commitment to community tourism, as well as for their experience in the fields of international development, conservation, and tourism. The new additions are also reflective of the nonprofit’s commitment to embracing and amplifying diverse voices, including those of women and Indigenous people.

“Planeterra’s work has grown exponentially over the last 20 months, to the point where we are working with a diverse portfolio of corporate partners and destinations, and have expanded our work to impact more than 800 community tourism enterprises through the Global Community Tourism Network,” explained Planeterra President Jamie Sweeting. “This expanded Board of Directors reflects an exciting new era, as well as Planeterra’s ambitious goals to see more travellers, travel companies, and destinations prioritizing community tourism.”

Planeterra’s new board members include Gloria Fluxà Thienemann, Vice-Chair & Chief Sustainability Officer of Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, who will represent the hospitality industry’s commitment to community tourism post-COVID. She is joined by Deirdre Shurland, a policy consultant with many years of experience with various United Nations bodies; and Karen Ziffer, Chief Development Officer at the nonprofit RARE, and a fundraising professional with over 30 years of experience in conservation. Seleni Matus, Executive Director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at George Washington University has also joined this group, representing not only a leading educational institution, but the Indigenous communities Planeterra works alongside.

Planeterra reserved a board seat for a member who represents the community tourism enterprises with which the organization works. Meenu Vadera, the Founder of Azad Foundation, based in India, has also accepted a seat on the Board of Directors. Vadera represents Planeterra’s Women With Wheels partnership, and has over 30 years’ experience as a grassroots worker, trainer, implementer and leader in communities in South Asia, and will also represent many beneficiary and community partnerships worldwide.

“Not only are we grateful to have Meenu Vadera joining us to give us the perspective of the communities we serve, but we consciously prioritized the appointment of female directors for this expanded board, for a number of reasons,” said Sweeting. “Not least of all, because Planeterra aims to improve the lives of more than 2 million women by 2030, and we want our Board of Directors to understand and amplify our vision for women’s empowerment worldwide.”

These new board members join current members, Zeina Gedeon, Jody Hamade, Jamie Sweeting, and Roula Poon Tip, as well a Chair of the Board and Planeterra Founder, Bruce Poon Tip.

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