Sotra: Tourism with a Social Impact (Also - A Free Bangkok Getaway)

Tourism with Impact Sotra Website

It always amazes me to connect with Darden alums and see the broad range of activities they are involved in. As a future alum (assuming I actually finish my exams by tomorrow), it challenges me to stay hungry and motivated after leaving Charlottesville.

This past Friday, EMDC and NetImpact hosted Mac Ling, a 2006 Darden graduate who moved to Bangkok this past summer to start a new company. After Darden, Mac joined Sprint and over 5 years built a broad base of experience. He also kept in touch with Darden, joining the school's alumni board in 2008. However, the entrepreneurship bug stayed with him, and in August of 2013, he quit his job and moved to Bangkok to launch a new company. But not just any company, but a company with a vision.

I'll let Mac do better justice in talking about his motivations behind Sotra. However, an a recipient of the Sheppard Distinguished Service award at Darden, perhaps its no surprise that community service would be a big part of everything he does.

So what is Sotra? In somewhat borrowed words, it is a non-voyeuristic real-life peek into the people and places that make a city a City. To use Mac's words more directly, it is about realizing that "the soul of a city is in it's people, not in it's monuments."

Mac doesn't claim to have everything figured out. When pressed to discuss his plans for how Sotra will work with non-profits, he admits that they are still refining the model. However, the one thing all Darden entrepreneurs learn is that stepping-out is critical. Work with what you have. Mac envisions changing the entire concept of tourism and what a travel experience can look like. That is no small ambition.

If you had a chance to make it to the event, you would have seen first-hand some of Mac's generosity. Observe SY student Kenny Schulman receiving a free 4-day Bangkok vacation package!

See the raffle results below! Forgive my boisterous laughter in the background.

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