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 just 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. Travelling 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 / +1 952-378-0008

Gavi Perl / Intern Coordinator

Gavi spent six years of her early childhood in Turrialba, Costa Rica, which inspired in her a love of the Spanish language and learning about different cultures in Latin America. She attended Rhodes College in Memphis, TN where she studied Spanish and Latin American Studies. While in college, Gavi spent a summer volunteering with a pre-school in Cuzco, Perú, and a semester studying at the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduating, Gavi worked for two years at an immigration law firm in Memphis, completing employment-based visa applications for clients around the world. She then worked as a volunteer coordinator with a non-profit in Memphis to improve educational, economic, and health outcomes for women and children. Gavi is passionate about traveling, ultimate frisbee, and spending time with family and friends. She is excited and honored to join the Human Connections team in Bucerías.

gavi@humanconnections.org / +1 901-319-7266

 
 

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