To help you get to know a little bit more about Alexandra and her new role, we sat down with her to ask a few questions:
1. When did you first become involved in sustainability and why is it so important to you?
I became involved in sustainability at the age of 14, when my friends and I created a small NGO working towards poverty alleviation in Romania. We were living in a very small town and there was a partnership between our town and another village in Eastern Romania, therefore we had decided to partner with local youths to set up projects such as cleaning the local river, funding scholarships and helping the implementation of a homestay / small accommodation established as a Community Based Tourism project. During the school year every year, we organized fundraisers, applied for grants and found private sponsors. Every summer we travelled to Romania by car from France with a paid driver since we were still too young to drive and set up these projects with our friends. It was thrilling to make friends and help the community while travelling through Europe. It was then that I decided that working to improve lives was what I wanted to do in life; working in local development and towards sustainability. Since then, my professional experiences have always led me to discover new fascinating fields of works such as microfinance, fair trade, social innovation, responsible tourism and more. Leading projects that protect the planet and benefit people allows me to truly live the motto ‘Do what you love, love what you do’.
2. How can travellers benefit from the sustainable travel movement?
Increasingly, travellers are taking their environmental and social impacts into consideration when booking travel. They are conscientious and aware that the choices they make while traveling affect the destination and I believe they are eager to learn more about how they can make better choices to tread lightly. Travelling responsibly enables them to reduce their carbon footprint, to help locals improve their livelihoods and to contribute to protecting natural resources.
3. What is the chief role of a CPO and what do you most look forward to with this responsibility?
A Chief Purpose Officer looks to ensure that the purpose of the company – why we exist – is demonstrated throughout our organization across our strategies, branding and culture, as well as in our external relationships and communications. Our purpose is what drives our values, our capabilities to take-risks, and helps us to define how to respond to others in both a business and societal contexts. The CPO’s role is to bridge the gap between leadership intention and ensure action takes place throughout the organization to support our vision. In a nutshell, our purpose and values must be incorporated into what we sell, how we work, and how we treat people both inside and outside of EXO.
I look forward to working with teams in all our destinations so that people working for EXO understand how to their day-to-day lives tie into our purpose and values and to ensure that compensation is tied to their performance against those priorities.
4. What are some key goals for us in the future?
We are working towards B-Corp certification because we believe it will help us to reset our core mission and values to build-back-better than before. We will also continue leading climate action to reduce the environmental footprint of our business in our destinations, and create positive opportunities for communities to benefit from tourism, as well as enrich workplaces where people working for EXO have a clear sense of purpose and understand the positive impacts of their work.
5. What role do people have in ensuring goals are met
As part of my role, I look forward to ensuring that goals are clearly defined for each individual working at EXO and that we develop a positive working culture where EXO people can learn and thrive and have the opportunity to do great work they can be proud of.
Keen to learn more about how EXO is ensuring a brighter future for travel? Say hello at [email protected]!