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Devin D. Thorpe
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Carnival’s Fathom Sailing Toward Cuba ‘To Make A Social Impact’

This post was originally produced for Forbes.

Carnival newest cruise line is sailing in a new direction; Fathom’s destination is social impact. Initially sailing with one vessel, the Adonia, Fathom passengers will visit the Dominican Republic and Cuba to work alongside locals as volunteers on water and other projects.

The brains behind Fathom, its President, Tara Russell, explained, “We didn’t want Fathom to be a ‘voluntourism’ company. We wanted Fathom to be so much more than that. So we found a way to leverage the resources of the world’s largest travel and leisure company (Carnival Corporation) to create a new kind of cruise that combines the love of travel with the desire to make a difference. Truly nothing like this exists today.”

“We created Fathom to give people an easy, safe and convenient way to make a social impact that is both meaningful to society and personally rewarding, ” she adds.

Russell describes the projects passengers will undertake, “In the Dominican Republic, for example, more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water. Fathom travelers will work with a local organization there to build water filters using clay and other natural resources to make healthy drinking water available to Dominican families.”

“Fathom will send thousands of travelers a year – more than 700 travelers on every trip – to Caribbean communities in need to work with our local partners and directly alongside local citizens on ongoing social impact programs in each community. This sustained and large-scale impact is what makes Fathom truly unique. Travelers will have the opportunity to make transformative societal contributions that will extend far beyond their individual involvement. It will be incredibly rewarding,” she concluded.

Fathom’s seven-day cruises to the Dominican Republic will start at $974 and those to Cuba will start at $1,800.

On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 1:00 Eastern, Russell will join me for a live discussion about Fathom’s impact. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.

More about Fathom:

Twitter: @fathomtravel

Fathom is a new kind of cruise that combines your love of travel with your desire to make a difference. Part of the Carnival Corporation (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) family, Fathom is the pioneer of impact travel, a new category of travel that will offer consumers authentic, meaningful travel experiences to enrich the life of the traveler and work alongside locals as they tackle community needs. Fathom is unique in that it leverages Carnival Corporation’s expertise and scale for a one-of-a-kind business model to create long-term collaboration with its partner countries, allowing for sustained social impact and lasting development. Fathom will serve the sizable and growing market of potential social impact travel consumers – approximately one million North Americans – in addition to global travelers already pursuing service-oriented travel experiences worldwide.

Russell’s bio:

Twitter: @taravrussell

Tara Russell is the president of fathom, a social impact company that offers a new category of travel, and global impact lead of Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest travel and leisure company. Russell generated the idea for fathom in 2013, and led research, design and development of the brand, business model and experience from January 2014 to launch in June 2015. She now leads the fathom team as it offers a unique experience to purpose-driven travelers who desire authentic, meaningful social impact opportunities. fathom provides the opportunity to immerse in another culture and community, and systematically work alongside that community to make relevant contributions that endure. fathom is the newest addition to Carnival Corporation, which is also the world’s largest cruise company with nine global cruise lines providing extraordinary vacations at exceptional value for nearly 11 million people around the world every year. Russell has responsibility for fathom and the corporation’s global impact programs and reports to Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation.

Prior to Carnival Corporation, Russell was Founder and CEO of Create Common Good (CCG, www.createcommongood.org), a non-profit social enterprise that provides training and employment to refugees and a wide variety of other populations with barriers to employment. Russell created CCG in 2008 in order to use food to change lives by empowering for self-sufficiency through a creative food-production social enterprise production model. CCG has delivered more than 100,000 job training hours, with an average employment success outcome of more than 90 percent, and returned more than $18 million back into the community via graduate earned wages. The organization’s noteworthy work to promote healthy eating habits through snack and grab & go production recently earned grants from Newman’s Own Foundation and the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. Russell is currently Chairman of the Board for CCG.

In 2007, Russell was part of the founding team of Jitasa, a for-profit social venture that provides affordable financial services to the non-profit industry and has become a profitable, global enterprise serving hundreds of global social sector enterprises, including Boy Scouts of America and many other large, scalable impact entities. Jitasa is a certified B-Corporation with offices in the US, Thailand and Bosnia.

Prior to this, Russell spent four years in Thailand, where she offered pro bono small business development training to nongovernmental organizations. Russell also co-founded NightLight, an international organization that addresses the complex issues surrounding trafficking and prostitution by offering alternative employment, vocational opportunities, life-skills training and physical, emotional and spiritual development to women seeking freedom from human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Russell started her career with a number of Fortune 500 companies, including roles in product development with Nike; technical sales and marketing at Intel; and engineering and manufacturing with General Motors. While at Intel, she was selected for the Emerging Leaders program and had the opportunity to work with the executive team. During her four years with GM, she was chosen to represent Saturn Corporation in the Shanghai GM New Vehicle Build & Launch Project in 1999 in China. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with Highest Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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