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What I've Learned: Justine Curtis, Inspired Adventures

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Tiffany Loh
Smarter Writer

Tiffany Loh is the Smarter Business™ & News and Digital Editor, with varied writing experience always looking for a unique story

Philanthropist Justine Curtis started fundraising agency Inspired Adventures after a year travelling through India and Tibet.

Justine Curtis in front of the Paro Taktsang Monastery in Bhutan

The Enlightenment of Travel

“Inspired Adventures is changing the way people engage with philanthropy and travel. We work with Australian and international charities to create and manage bespoke fundraising events around the world.

“As the leading fundraising agency of its kind in Australia and New Zealand, our charity challenge events are an exciting and effective way for our charity partners to raise significant funds, build community awareness and inspire lifelong advocacy.”

Inspiration

“In 2001, I took a year off from work to travel through India. I was travelling north to volunteer with Tibetan refugees and happened to pick up a book called Fire Under the Snow by Palden Gyatso, who was arrested when the Chinese invaded Tibet, imprisoned for 33 years and tortured daily, yet unwavering in his commitment to Buddhism and the Dalai Lama.

“One day I was with a local and told him about this book and how it had affected me. The local turned to me and said, ‘I know him … I’ll take you to him.’ I was beside myself. Palden was a tiny man who radiated the most amazing aura of hope and positivity, I’ve met the Dalai Lama and the feeling of meeting [Palden Gyatso] was very similar.

“After my sabbatical, I was intimidated about returning to the commercial, fast-paced life of Australia. I asked Palden how I could continue to embrace this feeling of purpose in the western world – he said, ‘Do dharma, do good work’. So I did.

“On his advice, I got a job with a Sydney fundraising agency helping charities with direct marketing campaigns and then came up with the idea to raise $30,000 within three months and climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Within 12 weeks I was standing at the summit of the highest freestanding mountain in the world and knew that I wanted to share this feeling with the world. I returned to Australia and turned my idea into a business model for Inspired Adventures.” 

Perfect Vision

“My overarching business vision is to develop inspiring charity challenge events that draw on my love of travel and philanthropy to support our charity partners in raising significant funds for their cause.

The core values of Inspired Adventures are:

  • We are leaders
  • We are experts in creating solutions
  • We have a can-do attitude and share responsibilities and rewards
  • We are socially responsible, delivering a service that is beneficial not only for our charity partners, but their participants, the communities and countries we visit and the environment
  • We are passionate.”
My overarching business vision is to develop inspiring charity challenge events that draw on my love of travel and philanthropy.

Justine Curtis, founder and CEO of Inspired Adventures

Looking Forward

“In 2014, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary by reaching $14 million raised for our charity partners. Having already eclipsed $15 million at the start of this year, we are on track to make 2015 our most successful year ever. We have so many exciting ventures on the horizon. Early last year we launched Inspired Learning – our inaugural service-learning adventure designed to create life-changing adventures for students, which will be expanded over the next two years to include schools from across Australia and a variety of charity partners.

“This year, we’re launching Inspired Leadership and Inspired Fundraising. Inspired Leadership is designed to reinvent corporate social responsibility and Inspired Fundraising is a unique service specifically designed for domestic event support, for events such as City2Surf.”

Looking Back

“There are always times you will look back and think, ‘Wow, I could have handled that better’, or ‘If only I’d thought of that sooner’. But in reality, you can only learn from your mistakes. I don’t believe in regrets and I understand that everything happens for a reason. It was how I started my business and it has formed the basis of my business philosophy over the past 10 years. You plan for the worst and hope for the best!”

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