We accept that the type of work we do can change. Every member of our team has a unique combination of experiences and education, and constantly works to improve his/her abilities.
We embrace growth and change. This means that we use our intelligence to tackle challenges, with the belief that we can solve problems creatively.
We try to do everything as efficiently and effectively as possible. Every member of our team has the ability and the responsibility to keep improving the systems that they work in.
We push each other to be the best that we can be, and to demonstrate our best self at all times. We constantly provide motivation and enthusiasm for ourselves, for our team, and for our students.
We take on important challenges, and our partners rely on us for success. We are always up to the task. We are responsible to our clients, to our stakeholders, and to each other to get things done.
We recognize that our goals can only be reached through vigorous action. There is no other route to success.
We know that we must make mistakes as part of our process of learning. Embracing our mistakes improves our ability to execute, and also improves others’ ability to trust us.
We trust the talent, experience, and dedication of the people within our organization as well as our collaborators around the world. We know that together, we can do anything.
We bring optimism and confidence to the programs we create, the lessons we teach, and the lives that we impact. We understand that challenges can seem impossible…until they’re conquered.
We are all here because we want to improve education and improve the world. Our love for our work keeps us engaged and excited. We are professional educators who are making a difference with every action that we take.
Board of Advisors
Fernando M. Reimers is the Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education, and Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative and of the International Education Policy Masters Program at Harvard University. An expert in the field of Global Education, his research and teaching focus on understanding how to educate children and youth so they can thrive in the 21st century.
A member of Envoys’ founding team, Luis took a sabbatical from the organization to serve as the Vice-Minister of Education in Colombia, where he was responsible for the operation of over 50,000 schools in the country and has been focused in reforming the teaching profession, developing curriculum, creating effective measures of learning and promoting accountability.
Manjula is the founding president of Educate Lanka Foundation, a 501-c-3 nonprofit social venture that empowers promising students from underprivileged backgrounds with access to education. Drawing on his background in corporate finance and experience in exploring and testing innovations, Manjula advises Envoys on developing student action on issues relating to sustainable development.
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Graduate School of Education, Tom currently serves as Special Advisor to the Danoff Dean of Harvard College. Tom’s 45-year career at Harvard has most recently included thirteen years as Dean of Freshmen, following stints as Assistant Director of Admissions, Associate Dean of the College, House Resident Dean, and Faculty Athletics Representative.
Misan Rewane is Co-Founder and CEO of WAVE, an organization that tackles youth unemployment in Africa by “up-skilling” millions of young people and simultaneously growing demand from employers. Born and raised in Lagos, Misan resolved to help transform the region’s education system after witnessing its issues first-hand. She is Co-Founder of The IMPACT Initiative.
Harold Rosen, the founder and executive director of the Grassroots Business Fund (GBF), is considered one of the development field’s leading innovators and entrepreneurs. Since its founding GBF has established an important place in the social investing field, globally and also in the key markets of East Africa, India, the Andes, and Southeast Asia.
Desirée Bollier is Chair of Value Retail Management and Chief Merchant of Value Retail. Value Retail creates and operates The Bicester Village Shopping Collection®, which is widely recognized as the best-performing shopping center portfolio in the world. Desirée also serves on the Executive Committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council, and is Regional Vice Chairman for the European Union and the United Kingdom.
A Co-Founder of Envoys, Marina is responsible for ensuring that our programs align with the needs of our school partners and that each student receives individualized support before, during, and after each trip to develop their individual passion and voice. She also founded Cogita Education Initiatives, a leading provider of educational advising services focusing on empathy and identity development.
Josh Forman is Director of Product Management at online home goods retailer Wayfair and Co-Founder of Inkling, a leading mobile learning platform. He was also Chief Product Officer at Confer Health and faculty at MIT Sloan. Josh advises Envoys on implementing technology-in-education solutions and developing programming that explores the ‘next big thing’.
Background on Envoys
Envoys founders Marina Lee, Seth Leighton, and Luis Enrique Garcia first met as classmates at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. During their studies, the three found themselves in lengthy discussions about the purpose and meaning of education, the means of supporting students through the critical formative years, and the need for innovation and high expectations in educational entrepreneurship.
While united in their interests in “non-traditional” forms of education, each pursued different focal points in their studies. Marina addressed the ethical integration of business and education, serving as President of the BRIDGE collaboration between HBS, HGSE, and HKS and founding the Charter School Business Plan Competition. Seth investigated curriculum development, school leadership, and data-driven instruction, designing a comprehensive curriculum for the highly esteemed WorldTeach program and consulting local schools on methods of data analysis. Luis delved into the International Education Policy program, building his knowledge of evaluation methodologies and strategies to foster sustainable change across education systems.
Their conversations on the purpose of education continued after each had set off on their respective professional paths. Marina put her plans for educational entrepreneurship into action in Seoul, Seth moved to Ethiopia to train instructors at the University of Gondar, and Luis continued to expand South America’s leading outdoor education company, Off Bound Adventures. The rapid growth of Off Bound Adventures came just as standards-based education, 21st Century Skills, and education for global citizenship converged in the United States. Seeing a need to merge cultural competency training, empathy development, and rigorous academics, the three colleagues founded Envoys in 2012.
They built a new model for the development and evaluation of global competency, combining rigorous online courses, focused international travel, and high-quality learning outputs. Envoys continues to draw its staff and counselors from the extensive HGSE alumni network, thus ensuring a high degree of pedagogical expertise, content knowledge, and passion for education throughout the organization.
Off Bound Adventures SAS provides outdoor education services for children and young people, focusing on promoting essential skills and competencies for personal development. The company was founded in 2001 and is based in Bogota, Colombia.
OBA is the parent company for Envoys, and houses members of the Envoys team dedicated to finance, operations, design, and customer service. Many of OBA’s staff serve as program directors for Envoys’ trips, and several OBA staff perform management roles within Envoys.
Off Bound Adventures was born out of a passion for education, hard-working professionalism and a love of the great outdoors. Motivated by the lack of options available for children and young people to enjoy in their free time, OBA was created in 2001 as an after-school education program. Based around open air camping techniques, over 10 generations of students have now taken part in the project, which demonstrates all the characteristics of successful 21st century education .
In 2004, the group expanded to create Piragua, a summer camp on the Colombian Island of Barú which was based around water sports and marine activities. Hundreds of children took advantage of the camp’s opportunity to grow and learn while enjoying the best vacations of their lives. Encouraged by the constant growth of the summer camp, OBA dedicated its time to broadening the options available for these amazing vacations. Today we offer 4 different camps in various destinations and have secured our place as the provider of the best summer camps in Colombia. By 2007, OBA opened Zambo, our school fieldtrip division. Now, over 5,000 children take part in these trips each year. Zambo has made us the school’s most important ally when it comes to complementing the school curriculum and developing students’ skills and experiences over the course of each of our trips. We strongly believe in the educational benefits of these experiences and we manage to transform river banks or immense mountain ranges into the most powerful classrooms imaginable.
OBA is the largest Outdoor Education company in Colombia and the whole of Latin America, with over 30 direct employees, 90 specialist local field staff members and thousands of happy children and parents who are – and always will be – the purpose of our existence.