To future Ecuador visitors and past Ecuador visitors alike - welcome to the Chacay blog! Chacay, a Quichwa word, means building bridges, which is part of our motto, and our mission: Building Bridges, Touching Lives through community based ecotourism. We hope to use this space to keep you updated on what we are up to here at Chacay as well as give you an idea of how we function as a company.
So, first things first, who are we?
Chacay was founded by David Lansdale, who now runs the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the USFQ, Ecuador’s leading liberal arts university. David was originally born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece and went on to graduate from Stanford University in 1990 with a doctorate in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis. Before coming to Ecuador, he launched a national program in Geriatrics in Primary Care through the Stanford Faculty Development Program. David is now a full time resident in Quito and is passionate about developing Ecuador through sustainable and responsible tourism, education, community development and entrepreneurship.
Marco Diaz, CHACAY’S General Manager in Ecuador, is also Credit Manager at ETA Fashion, the country’s leading clothing retail store. He and his family live in Quito, but his family roots are in Cuenca while his wife, Jenny, comes from Ibarra, two of Ecuador’s most picturesque colonial cities. Marco and his family host multiple visitors from around the world, and on several occasions, have adopted North American students who have come to Ecuador as high school students during their the gap year.
Tristam Johnson is CHACAY’S Unites States Operations Director. His also founder of Seeds to Roots (www.seedstoroots.org), has had extensive experience in Latin America, and is an expert on ecotourism.
And who am I? I am Dominic Owen, technical director for Chacay. Before coming to Ecuador, I graduated from the University of Arizona in 2009 with a degree in computer science. I previously interned for IBM and Nike World Headquarters before working full time as a researcher at MIT for two years after graduation. And what am I doing now? Working in Ecuador with a focus on social entrepeneurship!
We are joined by several more staff members, who may soon be posting on this blog as well. Keep watching our blog for reads about Chacay, Ecuador, and everything in between!