"A Superwoman Bringing Warmth Around The Globe”
Written By Debbie Nyman
Roslyn Parker has a unique way of turning around difficult or challenging situations into positive experiences. With her cover girl looks and professional confidence, but especially her big heart, Roslyn is living to give.
While growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, her parents instilled in Roslyn the principle; “Through giving, we receive.” She relocated to South Florida for a business opportunity 12 years ago and has been practicing those ideals ever since. Like her parents, Roslyn is proud to be a role model to her grown children, Sherie, a New York based flight attendant and Steven, a student and manager of a cell phone store.
As a survivor of domestic violence, Roslyn has used her experience as a tool to build a better future. Today she is on a mission to help other women, proudly serving as President of the Miami Dade Safespace Foundation. The Safespace Foundation (www.safespacefoundation.org), with the collaboration and support of local agencies and organizations, provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, and financial assistance to individuals. Part of their mission is to educate the community on the destructive impact domestic violence has on children, families, congregations, and in the work environment in order to ensure social justice and support, while planting the seeds of positive change for the future.
Roslyn has become a powerhouse voice in the pursuit of advocacy and support for victims and survivors of this alarming epidemic. “People are judgmental, and I had to be comfortable before I could stand up and share with others,” she explains. “I am very pleased now. This has been incredibly rewarding.” Presenting community workshops and raising funds to build emergency shelters are her top priorities.
Creating her own destiny and making life better for herself and others is something this dynamic career woman discovered during business trips to worldwide destinations. Roslyn realized that by volunteering to help less fortunate people during these excursions she could make a small difference. “As we were traveling to this beautiful and extravagant resort I just couldn’t ignore the amount of poverty we were passing and it really made an impression on me.” She happened upon the concept of “Voluntourism”, travel with a purpose. Roslyn was traveling to the Dominican Republic at the time as part of a previous employer’s incentive trip. While tourism dollars are supposed to help the economy of these impoverished destinations, she decided to concentrate on bringing aid directly to the residents of the areas she would visit. “I believe in the concept of when one door shuts, another one opens,” she says. “When my position with my last employer ended, I decided to spin out on faith and put all my skills to use. I love to travel and began developing a business model around the concept of Voluntourism.”
A 20 year history as a successful marketing executive in corporate America has culminated into the creation of her own firm, Affinity Partners Group. This global marketing firm serves corporations and non-profit organizations. Her idea of traveling and volunteering has become a large part of her overall business plan. Along with traditional marketing, advertising, and public relations strategies, Roslyn is introducing her clients to the world of combining business with charity. By combining volunteerism and tourism Travel To Do Good (www.traveltodogood.com) Voluntourism programs enhance the overall travel experience while connecting the travelers to the people and the culture of their chosen destination. Whether planning events or preparing marketing campaigns for her clients all over the country and beyond, Rosalyn tries to incorporate good deeds into the plans.
With everything she does Roslyn is still able to keep herself grounded, unless, of course, she’s in the air. The Airline Ambassadors (www.airlineamb.org) is another non-profit organization she works with. Members of this organization utilize their global contacts within the travel industry to promote charitable endeavors. Affiliated with the United Nations and recognized by the US Congress, it began as a network of airline employees using their pass privileges to help others and has expanded into a network of students, medical professionals, families and retirees who volunteer as “Ambassadors of Goodwill” in their home communities and abroad.
Roslyn and her children have recently returned from “an adventure of a lifetime” to South Africa. Arranged through Airline Ambassadors, the excursion began in Johannesburg where the group delivered gifts to children in orphanages, learned about their lifestyle and received firsthand information of the challenges of living with HIV. They also had the opportunity to talk to community leaders about the issues they are currently facing in their country.
Taking the challenge one step further, Roslyn always tries to present workshops abroad aimed at women’s domestic violence awareness. This additional component is part of her personal mission to confront domestic violence on a global basis. “I’m not a saint, and I am not trying to save the world,” Roslyn is quick to point out. “I just believe in what I do, and I am humbled and grateful for what I have. When I travel outside of this country, I am extremely gratified, especially by the good deeds of my fellow travelers.”
And yet her efforts don’t stop there. “When I am not traveling, I am also part of a Mastermind Group that has been successful for a small group of my peers, women entrepreneurs trying to boost each other professionally and personally,” she says. Utilizing the basic concepts that were originated in the 1900’s from “Think and Grow Rich” author Napoleon Hill, “We meet at the beach and help each other set goals and hold each other accountable, either for health or personal or career.”
Ultimately this entrepreneur will be most content when she is able to introduce the opportunity of community service and tie it to travel. But for now Roslyn is having the time of her life. “This is fun, not just all hard work. People can do as little or as much as they want and still make an impact.” If the concept of traveling to do good seems overwhelming for those who want to get started but need that little extra push, Roslyn smiles her infectious smile and lends her best words of advice: “Start where you are, don’t wait for the perfect situation, and things will come together.” – DUO