Our mission is to increase empathy across cultures and strengthen communities through responsible travel experiences.


ABOUT US

Human Connections is a non-profit organization that connects local people with international audiences. Our work starts with our partners — remarkable artisans, tradespeople, and organizations in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. We then invite travelers and students to interact with our partners through day tours and student programs.

Through these programs, we provide a platform for local people to share their culture and have agency over their stories. These interactions are also financially rewarding for our partners, as we pay them fairly for their time and help increase their sales. Our goal is to empower local communities while fostering conversations that shift perspectives and increase understanding.

OUR VALUES

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OUR IMPACT

Our impact is focused around four objectives: deepened cultural pride, more stable businesses, increased empathy, and more awareness about responsible tourism. Here is how our interactions foster these outcomes over time.

Impact on Partners

  • Short Term: Partners generate income, and are recognized for their entrepreneurship, resilience, and traditions.
  • Medium Term: Partners have more stable businesses, and feel proud of their individual accomplishments and cultural identities.
  • Long Term: Partners report that their businesses are successful. Their experiences demonstrate the power of responsible tourism to strengthen a community.

Impact on Travelers

  • Short Term: Travelers gain a more informed, empathetic perspective about Mexico and responsible tourism.
  • Medium Term: Travelers return to their communities and share the knowledge they gained, helping to break stereotypes around different cultures.
  • Long Term: Travelers apply lessons of empathy and social responsibility to their interactions, professions, and future travels.
 

OUR TEAM

Elly Rohrer / Board President & Executive Director

Though raised in Switzerland and upstate New York, Elly has always had a professional and personal interest in Latin America. Elly graduated from Tufts University with a double major in International Relations and Latin American Studies, and has substantial experience living, researching, and working with non-profits throughout Latin America. Elly began working with Investours in 2011 and served as Program Director for two years before initiating the transition to Human Connections in June 2014. She is thrilled to continue living and working in Bucerías as the Executive Director of Human Connections.

elly@humanconnections.org / +52 322-191-5309

Kenzie Yoshimura / Design Consultant

Kenzie is from the small town of Hood River, Oregon. A University of Oregon graduate, she earned degrees in Spanish and Journalism with a focus in public relations. She has spent extensive time abroad, studying in Spain and volunteering with a non-profit in Perú. She is passionate about both communication and cultural exchange as vehicles for positive change. Kenzie worked on the ground with HC for 1.5 years and now collaborates with the team remotely.

kenzie@humanconnections.org / +1 541 400 0813

Maya Mitre / Tour Program Director

Maya was born in the city of San Luís Potosí, México, and studied Tourism Administration. Her understanding of tourism has been deeply shaped by her professional experiences with indigenous communities, working closely with the Teenek and Nahua cultures of her home state, and with the Mayan culture of the Yucatan Península. Maya is a nature lover, is passionate about ultimate frisbee, and is convinced that every trip is an opportunity for learning and cultural exchange. She is excited that Human Connections creates a social commitment between visitors and the culture of her country.

maya@humanconnections.org / +52 322-157-0805

Marie Heim / Administrator

Marie is from Burnsville, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a Global Studies major, focusing on the Environment, Sustainable Development, and Spanish. During her time in school, Marie spent a semester studying international development and environmental studies in Ecuador before working on an ecological reserve and researching responsible tourism in a small village just outside of Quito, inspiring her to pursue work with Human Connections. Traveling throughout Ecuador and Perú sparked her interest in Latin America and made her appreciate global perspectives. Marie is excited to be living, learning, and working in Bucerías while helping to carry out Human Connections’ mission.

marie@humanconnections.org / +52 322-244-1423

Mishel Mussali /  Student Programs Director    Growing up in Mexico City, Mishel had the opportunity to try out different models of learning which ignited her curiosity and interest in the education sector. In 2008, she moved to the USA to pursue her studies. She graduated from Earlham College with a major in Sociology and Anthropology and upon graduating from college, she received the Watson Fellowship to carry out cross-cultural research worldwide to study the relationship between religious traditions and agricultural practices. Before joining Human Connections, Mishel worked as a leader of study abroad programs in India focused on Tibetan studies and Buddhist philosophy. One of her biggest passions is painting and has an special interest in Thangka art. She also enjoys gardening, hiking and traveling. She is excited to live in Bucerias and join the Human Connections team!  mishel@humanconnections.org / +52 322-231-3772

Mishel Mussali / Student Programs Director

Growing up in Mexico City, Mishel had the opportunity to try out different models of learning which ignited her curiosity and interest in the education sector. In 2008, she moved to the USA to pursue her studies. She graduated from Earlham College with a major in Sociology and Anthropology and upon graduating from college, she received the Watson Fellowship to carry out cross-cultural research worldwide to study the relationship between religious traditions and agricultural practices. Before joining Human Connections, Mishel worked as a leader of study abroad programs in India focused on Tibetan studies and Buddhist philosophy. One of her biggest passions is painting and has an special interest in Thangka art. She also enjoys gardening, hiking and traveling. She is excited to live in Bucerias and join the Human Connections team!

mishel@humanconnections.org / +52 322-231-3772

Eléonore Laloux / Global Fellow

Eléonore grew up in Paris, France. Her passion for discovering cultures and learning languages started at a very young age and, later on, led her to pursue an Intercultural Management degree at the Institute of Intercultural Management and Communication in France. After traveling across Europe and spending a semester in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, Eléonore developed an interest in Latin America and decided to move to Mexico in order to learn more about Mexican culture. Eléonore is thrilled to be able to work with Human Connections to help promote responsible tourism and expand intercultural awareness.

eleonore@humanconnections.org / +52 322-351-3599

Wilberth Mis / Cultural Tour Guide

Wilberth was born in the city of San Francisco de Campeche, Campeche, in southeastern México. He studied Management of Renewable Natural Resources in Mexico City. His professional career in Tourism started with indigenous communities in Calakmul municipality, in the state of Campeche. Working with Tzeltal and Mayan cultures and many people from all over the country, he developed a deep interest to understand their way of satisfying their primary needs without causing considerable damage to one of the most important Natural Protected Areas in Mexico, Calakmul. Wilberth is a nature lover and photographer, and is convinced that social development and environmental conservation can occur simultaneously. Wilberth is excited about how Human Connections has been promoting cultural diversity and responsible tourism in Bucerías, Nayarit.

wilberth@humanconnections.org / +52 322-154-1289

 
 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Molly Fisher /  Vice President    Molly is an accomplished educator and social entrepreneur with nearly 25 years of dedication to serving the needs of local communities through education, economic empowerment, animal welfare, and environmental program development. As an area specialist in Mexico, she has founded, directed, or redirected eight successful nonprofits and social enterprises across the country. Currently she divides her time between directing the Baja California Seal of Biliteracy project at the Center for U.S.- Mexican Studies at UC San Diego in partnership with Educando and the Baja California Department of Education, as well as serving on the operational board of Human Connections in Nayarit, Mexico. Molly is an Indiana University graduate with a B.S. in Biology and graduate certificate in Secondary Science Education and spent five years teaching in the classroom on both sides of the U.S. - Mexico border.

Molly Fisher / Vice President

Molly is an accomplished educator and social entrepreneur with nearly 25 years of dedication to serving the needs of local communities through education, economic empowerment, animal welfare, and environmental program development. As an area specialist in Mexico, she has founded, directed, or redirected eight successful nonprofits and social enterprises across the country. Currently she divides her time between directing the Baja California Seal of Biliteracy project at the Center for U.S.- Mexican Studies at UC San Diego in partnership with Educando and the Baja California Department of Education, as well as serving on the operational board of Human Connections in Nayarit, Mexico. Molly is an Indiana University graduate with a B.S. in Biology and graduate certificate in Secondary Science Education and spent five years teaching in the classroom on both sides of the U.S. - Mexico border.

Corrina Jacobs /  Secretary    Corrina is currently a Marketing Program Manager at Whole Foods Market, focusing on the national expansion of Prime Now grocery delivery. Previously, she served as Customer Relations Supervisor at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. Corrina also led Investours as Chief Operating Officer for close to two years and was thrilled to be part of the founding team of Human Connections. She believes strongly in the power of travel and intercultural experiences to foster understanding and create a more compassionate world. Corrina holds a dual MBA and Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Art History from Tufts University.

Corrina Jacobs / Secretary

Corrina is currently a Marketing Program Manager at Whole Foods Market, focusing on the national expansion of Prime Now grocery delivery. Previously, she served as Customer Relations Supervisor at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. Corrina also led Investours as Chief Operating Officer for close to two years and was thrilled to be part of the founding team of Human Connections. She believes strongly in the power of travel and intercultural experiences to foster understanding and create a more compassionate world. Corrina holds a dual MBA and Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Art History from Tufts University.

Kurt Mansperger /  Treasurer    Kurt is currently the Chief Technology Officer for the Boston Public Library. Previously, he co-founded First Step Coding, which teaches individuals how to code and helps them through major career changes. Earlier in his career, Kurt worked in technology consulting at Deloitte Consulting and Twin Technologies, where he lead teams in building large scale eligibility systems and complex billing systems. Kurt was a founding member of Investours, the company from which the idea for Human Connections originated. He is proud to be a part of Human Connections and is excited about using innovation to support local small business owners and encourage tourists to connect with locals and learn about the culture in the places they visit.

Kurt Mansperger / Treasurer

Kurt is currently the Chief Technology Officer for the Boston Public Library. Previously, he co-founded First Step Coding, which teaches individuals how to code and helps them through major career changes. Earlier in his career, Kurt worked in technology consulting at Deloitte Consulting and Twin Technologies, where he lead teams in building large scale eligibility systems and complex billing systems. Kurt was a founding member of Investours, the company from which the idea for Human Connections originated. He is proud to be a part of Human Connections and is excited about using innovation to support local small business owners and encourage tourists to connect with locals and learn about the culture in the places they visit.

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ellen Yang  | EY Fotografie  www.eyfotografie.com

Ellen Yang | EY Fotografie

www.eyfotografie.com

Kiersten Labzda  | Prema Photographic  www.premaphotographic.com

Kiersten Labzda | Prema Photographic

www.premaphotographic.com

Yanen Ali  | Yanen Ali Photographer  www.yanenali.com

Yanen Ali | Yanen Ali Photographer

www.yanenali.com

Sergio Medina  | Sergio Medina Photography

Sergio Medina | Sergio Medina Photography