One of the key principles of the Southwestern Family of Companies Statement of Purpose says: “The power of serving others; what we do is important.” For a company that’s had an entrepreneurial program for college students for 152 years, service to others is one of the most important life skills gained.
Over the past decade, Southwestern Advantage has helped the young salesforce serve local communities in big ways. Recently, another service initiative has begun in the form of mission trips.
“The service aspect of what Southwestern Advantage does throughout the summer, on campuses around the world, and with their service projects on their sales incentive trips has led us to a new business offering,” said Terri Rickard, President of Southwestern Travel Group. “I’m excited to announce Southwestern Travel has partnered with multiple organizations to be able to offer mission experiences around the world, starting with Nicaragua, Ecuador, Greece, Ukraine, Mexico, and Guatemala in 2020.”
Offering mission trips was preceded by a spirit of giving, which has always been part of the Southwestern Advantage sales and leadership program. In 2011, Henry Bedford, currently Chairman of the Board, had the foresight to include service projects as part of the yearly incentive trip.
Here’s how it works: US students in the program can donate a percentage or give a one-time gift from their weekly profit. Student donations add up quickly. With this large sum, lots of good can take place in areas outside of tourist areas, where people are often oppressed and poverty stricken. This initiative was meant to offer long-term help to people with long-term needs. Everyone – leadership, staff, and students – realized there is more to life than just sun and fun on the yearly incentive trips. Rather than just leave our footprints in the sand, Southwestern Advantage decided to leave an imprint on the community.
Over the past nine years, incentive trips have been held in five cities across two countries. We have completed 27 projects and helped thousands of people. Recipients of the student leaders’ generosity have included orphanages, daycares, parks, schools, special needs centers, a school of music, a school for the deaf and mute, and a home built for a special family with difficult circumstances.
Southwestern Advantage believes in investing in a community or organization to help them help more people. To do this, we seek organizations and individuals who share the values of the company and are assisting with the long-term needs of the community.
In the last three years, Trey Campbell, Director of Communications with Southwestern Advantage, has taken the service project idea to a new level by taking student dealers on mission trips abroad. These trips are faith-focused and designed to enhance spiritual growth and change lives. There is a plan to add domestic missions in 2021.
“Both the service projects and mission trips bring about the best in our Family of Companies and each individual involved. To be able to help so many people and communities has been a blessing. Lives have been forever changed! From adding classrooms to get over 100 children off the streets during the day in Punta Cana, to helping a refuge add to their capacity to take in at-risk girls in Cancun, to building an entire home for a family who lost their parents and were living under a tarp… the values we say we live and work by in our Company Statement of Purpose is not just talk. It’s fact,” said Campbell.
For more information about Southwestern Travel mission trips, contact Trey Campbell at [email protected]. To watch a video of the Southwestern Advantage Service Project in Leona Vicario, Mexico, visit https://youtu.be/tLJe9OWLoBg. To see all of our service videos, visit https://southwesternadvantage.com/Share-The-Advantage.
For more information about Southwestern Family of Companies Impact, click here.