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Heather Mallinckrodt's Employee Profile

Heather Mallinckrodt's Employee Profile

Personal Travel Advisor

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

I love when a family calls and has no idea what programs to select!

I get excited to learn more about them and hear what they are hoping to gain from their travel experience, as everyone is looking for a little something different to make their program meaningful and memorable.

It’s my job to make sure that together we choose a program the student is excited about, that they feel comfortable with, and that will challenge them to grow. Partnering together to find the perfect fit is the highlight of my day!

Even better is hearing back after the program to hear all about the experience and make plans for the following year.

How has your international experience evolved to make you an even more valuable addition to the Rustic Pathways team?

Every time I leave home I learn something new! Visiting a new place gives me so much to explore, and it allows me to reflect and challenge my own view of what I view as normal. I hope this sparks positive change in me as I continue to grow throughout my life.

Getting into the heart of communities to break down cultural barriers and learn about the needs of individuals is such a powerful way to make our big world feel a little smaller.

I’ve also had the opportunity to plan and coordinate group travel outside of Rustic Pathways and am able to add that experience to our team.

Why do you view travel as an essential part of every education?

So much of education and learning happens outside of the traditional classroom. We are always learning something, whether it is intentional or not, so why not make it purposeful?

Being up close to local communities – the people, the food, the culture, the natural wonders – challenges the norms we have come accustomed to and allows us to reshape our thinking. These experiences make us better global citizens, employees, and friends.

Having the opportunity to travel during these pivotal seasons of life can really shape a young person’s future goals and development.

What makes you proud to work at Rustic Pathways?

I love that when we enter into a community, we partner with the locals to meet their needs, not the needs we think they have. There are some communities we have been working with for years and years, and to see the continued work and relationships we have built is really what this is all about.

Some students are only interested in participating in service because they are trying to fulfill a requirement, but when they are able to actually see the purpose and impact their contribution has, it makes everything we do in preparing and planning our programs so worth it.

How long have you been working with Rustic Pathways?

I’ve had the privilege to be part of the Rustic Pathways team for over a year! It’s been so fun to be part of the team as we add new programs heading into 2023.