Judi Wineland: Sharing Passion for Travel with other Adventurers

Judi Wineland, Co-Founder and Board Member, Wineland-Thomson Adventures

Life without adventures is pretty much like a monotonous routine. The adventurous moments are creative, experimental, and joyous. When traveling, we get to see how big the world is along with all of its diversity and variety. New experiences help us realize how tiny our problems are. It makes us more compassionate, more mature, and more knowledgeable people with amazing experiences. In this way, what makes life more interesting is an opportunity to live adventurously and help others to live it more adventurously by traveling the world.

At the age of 28, Judi Wineland became the world’s first woman to found an adventure travel company in the US, when she launched Overseas Adventure Travel back in 1978. Since then, she has spent her career making space for women in a male-dominated industry. In 1981, with her husband Rick Thomson, she started Thomson Safaris, offering luxury safaris in Tanzania. In the 40 years since, they have founded nine successful adventure travel companies and organizations, all of which operate globally, including Thomson Family Adventures, Thomson Treks and Thomson Collections.

Over the years the company grew; today Wineland Thomson Adventures runs both Thomson Safaris and Thomson Family Adventures, a company devoted exclusively to hand-crafting extraordinary travel experiences for families. In 2017, Judi and her two daughters acquired AdventureWomen, a company offering adventure travel as a medium for transformative journeys throughout the world. Judi finds that it is gratifying to have the opportunity to share her passion for travel with other adventurers. Sustainability, cultural enrichment, quality adventuring, and a belief that travel is transformational have always been important to Judi. It is her foundation for good travel and good living.

Recognizing the Potential of Technology

The pandemic has proven the irrevocable relevance of the digital economy in the modern world and how much everyone relies on those who work in IT and the Services Industry. Technology’s ability to connect an individual to the people he or she works with around the world makes IT a fixture at the heart of Wineland Thomson Adventures’ business model.

Providing Personalized Services

Technological developments and digital transformation are part of the nature of the world we live in. WinelandThomson Adventures fully embraces these changes. It has found that staying agile keeps it sharp and adaptable for periods of uncertainty. In many ways, it also allows Wineland-Thomson Adventures to provide more personalized service to its guests.

Uplifting and Positive Business Environment

Over the years, Wineland-Thomson Adventures has built a culture where its commitment to its guests, staff, and each other is central to what it does. Engaged and motivated staff is key to its success. The company is committed to making it possible for all staff to have a pleasant work/life balance. They also believe that work can and should be fun! They regularly share meals and make memories together in person (when and where it is responsible to do so) and online. The opportunity to forge lasting friendships while working is a testament to the uplifting and positive business environment Wineland-Thomson Adventures shares.

Valuing Collaboration and Transparency

As an international company, it is critical to align one’s vision across countries and culture. Wineland-Thomson Adventures believes personal connection provides the opportunity to create a shared vision and strategic direction. The staff believe that transparent and clear communication results in collaboration, ultimately reaching the organization’s goals.

Empowering Women with Opportunities

As a Co-Founder and Board Member, Judi is committed to providing opportunities to women through Wineland-Thomson Adventures’ philanthropic organization, Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC). FoTZC is dedicated to women’s empowerment, education, community, and health in remote Northern Tanzania where women have limited educational and economic opportunities. For example, in one of Tanzania’s most remote Maasai communities, only five of the 270 women had a primary school education.

Wineland-Thomson Adventures has also provided professional opportunities such as beekeeping programs and job training for these women. With staff, the organization coaches women to grow and assume managerial responsibilities. The executive team of Wineland-Thomson Adventures is female, and it has a solid family plan in place so women may take of their families without jeopardizing their professional lives.

Creating a Supportive Community

Judi advises to aspiring business leaders to pursue their dream with passion. She advises them to create a community that can support them, and always look to create relationships with people who have something to teach them. She suggests to never, ever, stop growing and learning.

Remaining Committed to Values

Wineland-Thomson Adventures will continue to grow by remaining committed to the values it has had since its beginnings: a commitment to excellence, respect, and community. The staff values its guests, each other, and the world equally. The company is agile and able to transform as the world and the market transform, so it can provide consistently outstanding experiences for its guests.

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