Born in Armidale Australia in 1950, Len grew up in Sydney in a family with a long history of involvement in social justice and the trade union industry. Whilst still a student at Sydney University in 1969, Len taught Aboriginal children at a “home” in western Sydney and spent time during the university break to work on an Aboriginal mission in the Northern Territory. After graduating in 1975 Len, with his new Austrian wife, went ‘bush’ to discover outback Australia for 7 months before backpacking through Asia en-route to Vienna where they both worked for the next two years. This was the start of an enduring passion for travel and learning about other cultures and meant that much of the next 30 years was spent living and working abroad including stints in Japan, Nigeria, the USA, the UK, Switzerland, China and Vietnam.
During this time Len incubated and managed a range of businesses ... from shipping, testing laboratories and systems certification businesses in the developing world to a large dot.com trade services company based in Silicon Valley. Throughout this time Len has had a mission to build every business he was associated with around win-win principles and a respect for the environment. This led to an early involvement in championing triple (and later quadruple) bottom line reporting and to a real concern to ensure that the benefits of business flowed to all stakeholders, especially in developing countries.
Len’s latest venture is in the travel industry. Working with a team from the IFC (part of the the World Bank Group) a new model of online booking business was incubated in the Mekong region to try and extend the benefits of tourism to the broader community. The company which resulted, Worldhotel-link.com Ltd (www.whl.travel), is now operating in 45 countries and 75 destinations and has allowed many SME to participate for the first time in the online booking world. The business has been coupled with a new approach to sustainable tourism development ...WHL’s Caring for the Destination” ratings .... to try and engage SMEs and travelers in a partnership to drive the uptake of sustainable tourism initiatives.
For Len the Geotourism Challenge is a great opportunity, both to profile many of the exciting Geotourism projects around the world, as well as to provide inspiration to all those SMEs and entrepreneurs in the front line of the tourism industry.
Hawks Nest, Australia. I feel so close to nature here....its great.
Elimination of poverty.
Lets just say I've been very lucky in having lived and worked on 5 continents over the past 3 (plus) decades...... working with some truly inspriational people at all levels of the social strata.