Vice President: Adele Youngs
Co-Founder and Director, Live Travel and Tours
Watch candidate interview.
Please describe your experience as a volunteer within or outside the travel community.
I have served as a volunteer for SYTA since joining in 2008. I was a founding member of SYTA’s International Committee, and subsequently held the role of Chair for three years. As my company is a Dual member, I have served in both Associate and Active leadership roles – in 2010/11 and again in 2018/19, I was appointed as the Associate “At Large” member of the Board of Directors. In 2019, I was elected as an Active Board member, and am currently serving as SYTA’s Secretary on the Executive Board. I am also a member of the European Tour Operator Association’s Advisory Council, a group of 12 industry leaders who advise the executive board and membership on strategy and priorities for the association.
Please describe your professional experience in the student travel industry.
I have worked within student travel all my career. I began whilst still a student myself leading US high school group tours in Europe, and realized first-hand how important travel, and particularly international travel, is to young people – it can truly change their lives. I have undertaken just about every role professionally, from tour guiding, to operations, to product development and running my business, as well as organizing our annual international youth music festival in London.
Please describe other professional or personal experience that would benefit you as a Board member.
I have served on a number of boards and committees throughout my career, both in professional and community organizations. I am a musician and have performed and toured with both orchestras and choirs. Finally, now that my children are teenagers, I get to see student travel through their eyes which keeps me on my toes!
Please describe why you would like to serve as SYTA Vice President.
SYTA was the first association my company joined when we started in 2008. The value to us of being members has been immense, and I have always sought to give back in any way I can. I feel that, in this time of existential threat to the student travel industry, my experience as an owner-operator combined with my international connections can help to strengthen the ties that will support us. I have worked as both a vendor and as a buyer; I am based in Europe but have worked with the North American market all my career; I am a long-standing business owner but started in the industry as a tour director at the age of 19. This is a time when we need to continue to grow our networks and work together across sectors, countries and alliances. The challenges we face are immense, but I believe that, by coming together through collaboration on regional, national and international levels, we can find solutions to the problems we face and bounce back even stronger.
What do you see as the challenges facing the student travel industry? What can SYTA do to meet those challenges?
When I look back just a year ago to the challenges we faced, it seems almost a different world! Just getting school groups back on buses and planes would be a start right now! That said, the things SYTA stands for and has been working on are just as important now as they were then, if not more so – building trust, relationships and knowledge across the industry and with educators, developing safety and resilience management training in the CSTO and revamped CSTP programs, and helping our members rebuild their businesses and look to the future through the aims of our next strategic plan. I firmly believe that when we stand together, we are stronger, and SYTA, more than ever, provides us with a safe place to share, learn and grow.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Nominating Committee?
My company and I have worked hard to support SYF over the years that we have been members of SYTA, and I feel that the foundation and its role is needed more than ever in the current situation. I would very much enjoy working with the foundation to help them continue their amazing efforts.