Kayla Anzalone's Employee Profile

Director, Special Projects

Kayla Anzalone


Kayla is the Director of Special Projects at Rustic Pathways, a role she has held since January 2020. Prior to this, she served as the Director of Communications at Zendure, a charging technology company, and worked as a Senior Marketing Associate at Alert1, a  medical alert company for three years.

At Rustic Pathways, Kayla is dedicated to helping high school students discover their passion for exploring the world through summer travel programs. She drives impactful initiatives to empower students through meaningful travel experiences worldwide. Based in San Jose, California, Kayla loves the outdoors, live music, and travel.


  • Student travel
  • Summer camps
  • Summer programs for high school students
  • International travel


  • Marketing professional since 2015.
  • Implementation the ‘Travel For All’ program, reinforcing Rustic Pathways dedication to empowering students and advance travel accessibility for all.
  • Creation of the Global Perspectives Scholarship, providing funds for college to college students.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business from San Jose State University

What is your favorite project you have worked on and why?

At Rustic Pathways I’ve gotten to work on exciting projects like gathering our Alumni Stories and Rustic Spirit features.

In connecting with Rustic Pathways Alumni, I hear their travel stories and how their educational travel experience has personally impacted their lives and how they view the world. Each student I connect with has incredible, powerful stories to share.

I collect stories where students share how their service travel experience caused them to grow as a person, how they discovered a new passion or gained self-confidence. They share that they now have a completely new view of the world and gained a global perspective.

I believe that understanding we all live in an interconnected world makes us all better individuals. Once you encounter new people, unfamiliar situations and different cultures out in the world, it strengthens the ability to empathize with others – Alumni Stories are a testament to that.

For Rustic Spirit features, I find teens that are doing incredible work in their communities. It has been very inspiring to interview these young individuals that are working so hard to make a positive impact on the world. It has shown me that age is truly just a number and anyone can accomplish anything they set their mind to.

For both these projects I feel so lucky that I’m connecting with young changemakers who really care about others and our planet.

What have your own international travels entailed?

Growing up I had the privilege to travel to Mexico and the Bahamas with my family. On these trips I had some introductions to getting out of my comfort zone.

I was very young in Mexico but vividly remember the excitement of swinging on a trapeze. I’ll never forget eating fresh conch salad made right on the beach in the Bahamas. It was a little scary eating trying raw seafood for the first time, but exciting and tasted so good!

My first “big” international travel experience was going to China with my sister and a group of other college students in 2015. We traveled to Beijing and Shanghai, saw incredible sights and ate amazing food.

Some highlights were walking on the Great Wall of China, attending a US-China Student Summit and going out to eat with new local friends.

At the summit we got to connect with other young adults at Fudan University. It was incredible to learn about how different people live and make friends around the world. We still see one of our friends we met in China when he visits family in California every year!

After that I was hooked. I have since traveled across Europe, Asia, and Australia. And I always go back to Mexico, which is a short flight from California.

I aspire to travel to many more countries, including all the countries Rustic students travel to!

What makes you proud to work at Rustic Pathways?

Striving for positive impact is at the core of Rustic Pathways’ values, and responsible, sustainable travel practices are a first priority. I’m proud to work here because I’ve witnessed the positive impact our programs have on both students who travel and the communities where students travel.

Students come back from the programs more self-aware and reflect on their own values after they connect with locals in another country.

Long-term service projects are developed from the local communities’ needs and Rustic works with local partners. I’m proud to work for a company that contributes to providing safe housing for families, improving access to education for students, rescuing and rehabilitating animals, and conservation.

Read more about the Rustic Pathways team. Learn about Rustic Pathways programs.