Susie Hutchison is a successful Australian entrepreneur and a founding director of a market-leading global travel software company. Despite her considerable entre- preneurial success, Susie felt that her job lacked meaning and an aspect of contri- bution. Susie chose to act and reorganized her already successful enterprise. She then launched an ambitious non-profit organisation — Impact Dynamics. The following is how Susie managed to find the perfect balance by pinpointing her passion, finding fulfillment through service, and growing the business she loves.
Susie has always been passionate about travel, and she spent most of her early career in the travel industry. In 1995, she was working as Product Manager for global travel brand Galileo where she was developing corporate travel manage- ment systems. When Galileo made its employees redundant, Susie decided to start her own entrepreneurial journey by launching Travel Bytes - a game-chang- ing travel communications platform.
“We were the first company in the world to build an Internet booking engine and private fares integration for Galileo and Sabre. In both cases, the long-term strate- gy was to develop these products and then sell them back to the companies.The American Express Global Group of companies were one of our first customers and we have collaborated for over 22 years. We are the trusted Travel Cloud for global businesses and are quietly servicing over 40 million customers.”
However, Susie was still searching for something even more substantial and spiritual:
Susie knew she needed to change something, but she didn’t know how or where to start; she knew she needed a mentor. It was her encounter with Fast Forward Summit, a popular event for entrepreneurs, and meeting Roger Hamilton, a social entrepreneur and futurist, that has proved to be pivotal event and moment in her career.
Crystal Circle is a high-level mentoring group for entrepreneurs. Roger remem- bers his advice to Susie in one of the first mentoring sessions. He told her:
“You got into travel because it’s your passion, but you got into a role you’re not passionate about. Passion is your engine, and purpose is the steering wheel; it’s important that you’re channeling your passion in the right direction with the right purpose.”
Susie had already attempted to integrate the element of giving back to communi- ties in Travel Bytes with the project Act of Kindness, which included location-based social stories that were highlighted as part of a customer’s travel itinerary. Howev- er, resistance in the corporate structure didn’t allow a sharing of her views, and she realised she couldn’t integrate her purpose effectively into her company.
Roger remembers, “I asked her, ‘If you look back on this moment in 20 years, what decision would your future self be proud of?’ Susie immediately answered that following her higher calling to help and serve others was her priority. She knew she needed to diversify her business interests and have multiple revenue streams in order to have time for her philanthropic projects.”
Roger suggested that Susie take a sabbatical to gain clarity, and it was on a sub- sequent trip to Nepal that Susie had her breakthrough. Coincidentally, a major earthquake hit, and she was on the ground assisting, providing tents and necessi- ties for those in need. Not only was it a life-changing experience, but Susie was forced to trust her team to operate effectively in her absence.
Through working with underprivileged communities in Nepal, Susie defined her life’s purpose: “to love and be of service.”
Susie began running a number of philanthropic projects such as a cafe in Nepal that is connected to a women’s refuge and healing centre. The cafe offers hospi- tality and business training, giving the women the opportunity and empowerment to start a similar enterprise of their own while training even more women.
With Travel Bytes generating healthy income, Susie chose to focus not only on one-off philanthropic initiatives but also establish a non-profit organisation.
Susie was looking for a business model that was truly aligned with her purpose and was inspired by the likes of Jacqueline Horowitz, founder of Acuman, and Richard Bransons’ Virgin Unite. “I wanted to hone in on opportunities that support the UN Sustainable Development goals. When we floated an idea of doing something within the Entrepreneur’s Institute, Roger immediately saw the synergy, and Impact Dynamics was born.”
Susie describes Impact Dynamics as a non-profit apprenticeship and training pro- gramme.
“We provide apprenticeships with emerging entrepreneurs, so people have oppor- tunities to earn as they learn through micro-degrees, work with mentors and edu- cators, and use a wealth dynamics profiling system. We aim to help three types of aspirants: graduates from the education system, those that have lost their jobs or don’t know what their passions are and emerging entrepreneurs in developing countries. We support the UN’s Global Goals by helping people to match purpose and passion to greater global good.”
Susie believes that teaching principles of entrepreneurship through Impact Dynam- ics plays a crucial role in disrupting the economic and educational systems.
“An increasing number of jobs are being automated. Unless you understand the entrepreneurial mindset, such as having multiple revenue streams, you’re going to get left behind. I love to say, ‘don’t get a job, get a customer.’ This is the future of education and education for the future.”
By end of this year, Susie hopes to have touched over 10,000 lives across a number of countries. She is convinced that pinpointing is the key to success.
What life experiences are pointing you toward your passion?
How can helping others become part of the way you run your business and life?