What makes Sophia Hyder-Hock a Global Shaker?
Sophia Hyder-Hock is the Founder and CEO of Papilia, a women-owned business that runs diversity and inclusion strategies for travel organisations around the world.
In doing so, the aim is to attract new visitors to destinations, build employee confidence, increase staff retention rates — whilst increasing return on investment.
“We thrive on empowering people to unleash a greater understanding of diverse perspectives, identities, leadership, and communication styles through mindfulness and wellness principles,” Papilia says in one explanatory document. This goes on to note the overwhelming business case for being representative and accessible: US Hispanics represent more than $73bn in leisure travel annually, and that Chinese tourists spent $277.3bn in 2018, up from around $10bn in 2000.
The organisation partners with destinations and travel organisations to develop tailored strategies to attract new audiences whilst also respecting cultural heritage. It runs an interactive workshop on understanding and connecting with different cultures, and curated familiarisation trips, dubbed Fam Trips — a partnership with WE Consulting to provide virtual and in-person familiarisation trips that focus on capturing the authenticity and culture of a destination.
Papilia is certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Alongside working in tourism, Papilia also supports inclusive activity in the university and sustainable development sectors.
As set out in a bio on Travel Massive, it was in 2014 that she left her full time job to pursue the dream of starting her own business. But “one month after departing, she was faced with an event that almost took her life.” She was in a car accident, which made her realise how fragile life is and convinced her to live a life “full of purpose and intention.” In 2015 she sold her house and her belongings for a fresh start, and this was when the idea for Papilia emerged. “The concept was born out of a passion for travel and curiosity to experience culture in a mindful and responsible way. As an avid traveler, she spent hours researching cultural nuances and etiquette to ensure she would feel confident and comfortable in any business or leisure setting. She soon found a client base who identified with the same issues she experienced.”
Nonetheless, her career had a sustainable tourism focus before setting up Papilia. She had previously created Evolvemint, a luxury fashion label which combined culture and fashion with a commitment to confront societal, economic and environmental issues through “community engagement and transparent practices.”
Alongside this, she was also a Senior Associate at BroderickHaight Consulting, serving as a project manager and project startup / closeout lead. There she worked on customised training for a range of countries, including Bangladesh, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Hyder-Hock graduated with a degree in Foreign Affairs and South Asian studies from the University of Virginia, and also completed a Masters in International Development Policy and Applied Economics at Duke University. She has completed Sustainable Tourism Training run by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (See Randy Durband profile).Tags: Diversity and Inclusion, Sustainable Tourism, USA