Members have been telling me for over two years about the importance of our travel program, how it has transformed their lives, and how they feel more connected to the women and girls we support through our grantees. Announcing our new travel provider in May means that soon you will have that again!
We introduced Elevate Destinations to you in our May announcement, but I want to know who will be planning these trips. Katherine Redington is Elevate’s Director of Donor Travel and I asked her a few questions so we can all get to know her better.
Where are you from?
I am from Dallas, TX but I currently live in Washington DC.
Tell me about your family.
I am married to Avi Criden, who is from Israel, and we have a three-year-old daughter named Maya.
I know you have a passion for education, tell us about your background in education.
I majored in comparative international education at Berkeley and then taught English and computer literacy in Fiji. I was working for a travel company that focused on service, but I enjoyed changing the paradigm – come to learn and then serve.
How did you get into the travel business?
I got into travel through my passion for sustainable development. Travel is the fastest growing industry in most developing countries and can contribute to economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental protection if done ethically and responsibly. It is a very dynamic industry that is fast-pace and personally enriching.
How long have you been with Elevate?
Five years this September. I was the Associate Director of Donor Travel for two years and then began managing and overseeing all the accounts as the Director of Donor Travel and International Event Management.
What is your favorite part about planning or leading trips?
I enjoy trying to overcome the power dynamic in donor trips – to find an even playing field for everyone. It’s important to acknowledge the difference and pay attention to how power flows differently in different parts of the world. I like guiding travelers through that.
Where have you travelled?
I have traveled all over the world but some of the places I have lived are: Japan, Fiji, Brazil and Sri Lanka. I would love to add another country to that list of places I have lived!
Do you have a favorite country?
Brazil – the energy is a tangible force field I can feel when I get off the plane. The people, the music, the food. The country sings. Everything is beautiful there.
What do you like about travelers?
I like when I see that their boundaries are moved. You discover new things about yourself when you travel, and it’s wonderful to be a witness to that transformation.
How did you hear about Dining for Women?
I heard about DFW many years ago (2013). I loved the concept behind the organization and looked into joining in the Washington DC area. This past October, I met Marsha Wallace at the Opportunity Collaboration conference and it rejuvenated my interest in finding a way to partner with DFW.
What do you most look forward to about being DFW’s travel provider?
Being part of a larger community that is passionate about the same issues we are inspired by. Every DFW member I have interacted with so far has been so gracious and interesting! I have often said, I have the best job in the world, and that is largely due to our clients. I love being around people who are investing in making the world a better place and it is an added bonus that Dining for Women’s is focused on gender issues since our entire team is passionate about this topic.
What are your goals for the DFW travel program?
We want everyone to come away from a trip feeling like they learned a lot about the destination and the landscape women are navigating in that country. We also want these journeys to be an opportunity for deeper connections, both for members to get to know each other well, and also opportunities to form deeper connections with the partners and beneficiaries of DFW’s grants. Last but not least, we take a lot of pride in our customer service and we want all DFW travelers to feel well taken care of, prepared, comfortable and excited for any DFW trip.
Can you think of a trip you have wanted to plan and haven’t?
All of Dining for Women’s trips. When I found out we got the contract, I felt like I got into the college of my dreams. This is exactly where I want to us to be. I want to be working with women and giving them visibility in the world. I’m excited to go on this adventure with DFW and its members!