Volunteer Stories

Annessa Kaufman: VEGA/BIZ+

VEGA/BIZ+
  • Story Snapshot

  • Country: Sri Lanka
  • VEGA Lead Member: PYXERA Global
  • Objective: Provide technical assistance for sustainable tourism

Annessa Kaufman
Executive Assistant, Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA)
Location: Washington, D.C.
Career Summary: Annessa has over five years of experience in sustainable tourism and international development. She has a Master of Tourism Administration in Sustainable Destination Management from the George Washington University School of Business where she also worked as a research assistant for the International Institute of Tourism Studies. Prior to GW, Annessa worked as a marketing coordinator for Solimar International where she led the creation of a marketing toolkit for tourism enterprises. An avid diver, Annessa has worked as a SCUBA diving instructor in Honduras, Thailand, Indonesia, and still teaches in Washington DC.
Area(s) of Expertise: Sustainable Tourism, Conservation
Education: BA, History, New York University
Language(s) Spoken: English, French

ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW
Volunteer Assignment and Impact: As a tourism advisor for VEGA/BIZ+ through Pyxera’s MBAs Without Borders program, Annessa conducted a comprehensive destination audit for Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province that included an assessment of human resource capacity needs, barriers to business growth, infrastructure gaps, and recommendations for targeted investment opportunities. She identified and connected tourism stakeholders throughout the province and Colombo with BIZ+ and its relevant grantees. As a result of the audit, Annessa identified small tourism enterprises that would directly benefit from BIZ+ technical assistance and in August 2014, one enterprise, Ecowave, more than doubled its revenue from the same time the previous year. By implementing new marketing and sales tactics, Ecowave was able to increase its Sri Lankan cooking class to four times a week, providing more consistent job opportunities to women in the community of Arugam Bay.