Petra Nemcova, international supermodel and philanthropist, is speaking at the WTTC Global Summit in Madrid on April 15th/16th 2015. We asked her about her passion for travel and philanthropy, and her foundation, Happy Hearts Fund. Read what she had to say below.
They say traveling opens your eyes to other cultures — how did it influence you to found Happy Hearts?
It was first through traveling for my fashion work that my eyes were able to see the whole spectrum of realities that exist in the world. My trips for Sports illustrated were especially eye-opening since we traveled to remote areas of very beautiful countries that were often very poor. The goal of taking photos in these locations was of course to take iconic photographs, but also to highlight the beauty of those countries to promote tourism. This was one of the influences on my passion to uplift others that later shaped into Happy Hearts Fund.
What role is travel and tourism playing to help Happy Hearts succeed?
We have been honored to have a SMARTNERSHIP with United Airlines since 2012. They get us where we need to be around the world to help uplift children through safe schools. We would love to have a global hotel group as our next SMARTNERSHIP. Since we currently rebuild schools in 9 countries, we travel a lot! We have fun exciting ideas for awareness and through such a SMARTNERSHIP with a hotel group we can make a bigger difference in the world.
Hear Petra speak at the WTTC Global Summit in Madrid, 15-16th April 2015.
You can watch the livestream at www.wttc.org/livestream
Here’s a personal message from Petra:
Petra Nemcova is a supermodel with international success. She is currently Ambassador to Clinique and Chopard, and has graced campaigns for Cartier, La Perla, Clarins and Lancaster. Additionally, she has worked with Victoria’s Secret, and was the 2003 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover girl.
She is a founder of Happy Hearts Fund (HHF), established in 2005, it received its 501(c)(3) status in 2006 with a mission to rebuild safe-resilient schools in areas impacted by natural disasters. Petra has been the driving force behind the cause due to her personal experience of surviving the 2004 Tsunami. HHF has helped more than 50,000 children and 500,000 community members thus far and is present in 9 countries including: Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, Mexico, United States, Chile, Colombia, Haiti and Philippines. Globally, HHF has rebuilt 108 schools and kindergartens.
In addition to HHF, Petra has been an Ambassador-at-Large for Haiti since 2012. Inspired by her life of traveling, Petra launched a luxury home décor brand, Be The Light New York by Petra Nemcova, also known as BTLNY, in 2013, which brings treasures from travels to enrich homes and lives.
Petra serves on the advisory board of the acclaimed Glamour’s Women of the Year Fund, and has received several accolades from organizations for her philanthropic work including The United Nations, Women Together, Glamour Woman of the Year, Do Something, the World Tourism Humanitarian Award and many others.