TORONTO — The Intrepid Group has a new leader in charge of its North American division.
Darshika Jones, the company’s former Group Finance Director, has been named the new Director of North America, replacing Leigh Barnes who moved into the newly-created role of Chief Purpose Officer in July.
In her new role, effective immediately, Jones will oversee the Group’s fastest-growing region while focusing on both purpose and profit in a company-wide approach. Intrepid Group includes small group tour operators Intrepid Travel, Peregrine Adventures, Urban Adventures and its not-for-profit The Intrepid Foundation.
Prior to working for Intrepid, Jones was a loyal customer, having taken more than 10 trips including hiking Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu and exploring Bolivia.
“With her customer-first approach and passion for culturally-immersive travel, we’re confident in her abilities to lead the North American business—focusing on sustainable, life-changing travel experiences for our customers,” said Michael Edwards, who was appointed Chief Growth Officer of Intrepid Group in 2017.
It’s been three years since Intrepid Group returned to independent ownership to run a business with the ethos of “Purpose Beyond Profit”. Since then, the global company has seen record global growth of 20% across all its brands. North America has been the fastest-growing region for the Australia-based company, with a recorded 60% growth in the last two years.
“It’s become increasingly evident to us that having a ‘Purpose Beyond Profit’ can actually be profitable,” said Edwards. “Growth is nice on its own, but it’s this sense of purpose that has us excited about the future because it means the more we grow, the more we can do.”
As the world’s largest B-Corp certified travel company, the carbon-neutral business has taken a firm stance on gender equality, pushing for 50/50 gender split across its global business; animal welfare, being the first tour operator to ban elephant riding in 2014; and, marketing for inclusivity in travel, including no extra fees for solo parents and solo travelers.
“From a financial perspective, I’ve reported on Intrepid Group’s North American growth for over two years. We attribute the growth to our innovative product and focus on sustainable tourism, which aligns with our customers,” said Jones. “I’m now honoured to work directly with the North American team to ensure more customers experience the world, with purpose at the core of every travel experience.”