Business for a Better World: MyPinerary
MyPinerary, a digital platform to help consumers plan travel itineraries, was founded by Annie Pezza. The business is aligned with the current trend toward sustainable travel and has incorporated a carbon offset calculator on its website.
Q: Describe your company.
A: MyPinerary is a digital platform that solves the travel research dilemma. When planning travel, people are having to engage in scattered searches on the internet, which can be time-consuming, frustrating and unproductive. Right now, MyPinerary.com is a landing spot for travel itineraries and tips, but by the end of 2022, it will be a platform for building and sharing your personal travel itineraries.
Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
A: Yes. Phase one is investing our own personal capital to launch the first iteration of our website and platform. Phase two will require outside investment in order to effectively scale and hire for the anticipated growth of the company. Our office is located in the Lake Bluff area and we are hoping to hire as many local people as possible in the future.
Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?
A: Our main challenge this year will be building the ultimate platform in response to user feedback, driving user engagement, and obtaining a seed round investment.
Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?
A: The hottest trend in travel right now is sustainable travel. Research released by Booking.com in June of 2021 revealed that 83% of global travelers think sustainable travel is vital. In a recent Travel Trends report by Forbes, they refer to "Green Mapping" as, "one such trend and one which sees eco-conscious travelers opting for planet-first options and looking to brands for sustainable choices."
People are interested in traveling while making the lightest impact on our environment possible. MyPinerary is equally passionate about sustainable travel and has incorporated a carbon offset calculator on the website where you can invest in certified carbon reduction projects that combat the negative impact of your trip.
Q: Does climate change affect how your company does business?
A: As a travel company, it absolutely does. My feelings are that no matter the industry you are involved in -- whether you are a coffeehouse chain, a health care conglomerate or a travel company, we all have an ethical obligation to engage in sustainable practices.
I feel a strong responsibility to discuss how travel impacts our world and offer ideas on how we can lessen our "footprint" to our user base. People have a strong desire to travel our world but we cannot ignore the negative impact travel has on our environment. I'd like to use our platform to share ways in which we can see the world and do good.
Q: What does your company do to reduce the effects of climate change?
A: Our platform will educate the everyday traveler on how to travel more eco-consciously. We will continuously feature eco-friendly travel options and travel companies, including airlines, hotels, and tourism attractions, that make an effort in supporting our environment. I wrote an e-book, 5 Simple Ways to Become an Eco-Friendly Traveler Now, which you can find on MyPinerary.com. It features five easy ways we can all lessen our impact when traveling.
Q: Is your company minority-owned? Woman-owned? If so, what are the challenges of being a minority- or woman-owned company?
A: MyPinerary is a 100% woman-owned company. As a working mother of three kids, the challenges begin at home. While working as an entrepreneur and building a software platform, and also managing home life, I've found that there is not enough time in the day to do everything. Compartmentalizing and saying "no" to work is paramount. This is how I can be emotionally available and truly listen to my family with patience.
I find myself working after everyone gets to bed just to get things done. But it's a two-way street -- my husband and children have had to learn that my role has slightly changed, and I've had to set boundaries -- and delegate. They have a bit more on their plates than they are used to. We are getting there. I'm also looking forward to involving myself in the female-startup community, as we are definitely in the minority.
Q: What does your company do regarding DE&I (diversity, equity & inclusion)?
A: When we talk about travel, we are also talking about different cultures from around the world. You cannot ignore the diverse world we live in. MyPinerary is inclusive and supportive of all people and as we scale, we will strive to represent the array of people and cultures that make up our beautiful world, whether it is in your own backyard or across the globe.
Q: Does your company donate time or money to any philanthropic causes? If so, what causes?
A: We are members of Sustainable Travel International, whose "mission is to protect and conserve our world's most vulnerable destinations by transforming tourism's impact on nature and people." As we grow, we are committed to supporting and advancing ideas and technologies that will protect our planet, wildlife and its natural resources.
Q: Does your company do anything else to make your community better?
A: You can't make a positive impact on the world without beginning under your own roof. I'm passionate about sharing ways we can reduce our ecological footprint when we travel, but also when we live day to day. I'm very vocal when it comes to environmental stewardship within my community.
One of the things I am most proud of is helping to organize and implement my local school district's recycle and compost program. But it doesn't have to be large projects, you can incorporate small things into your everyday life.
You'll often find me picking up trash and recyclables on my daily dog walks down to the shoreline of Lake Michigan. You can start small and change one habit to make a difference, like saying no to plasticware.
Q: What do you do to make your business a good place to work for your employees?
A: I have learned so much working with my incredible team. We are all in different cities at this point, and luckily, we all seem to be on the same page when it comes to how and when we address our work. When we get together we listen and share honestly.
I am an open book -- I'm not afraid to reveal my strengths and weaknesses. I'm creative and love finding solutions to problems. I know I don't need to be the expert in everything and can rely on my team members to lead in those areas. I think my team appreciates that and can flourish in their roles.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: Travel wisely, responsibly, and leave your destination a better place.
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Number of employees: 4