About us

Choose a Challenge is disrupting the student travel market by allowing college students the chance to fundraise the cost of an adventure travel trip, while simultaneously donating to charity. 50% of that amount pays for trip’s costs (including flights, food, accommodations, etc) and the other 50% is a direct donation to an amazing cause.

Choose a Challenge started in 2008 from two individuals who were passionate about leading challenges and making a lasting difference by working with charities. Over a decade later we have sent over 10,000 students abroad and have raised $25 million for various charities all over the world. We’re headquartered in London with an additional office in Brooklyn.

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Our team

From Triathalon participants to TV reporters, we’re a diverse but close-knit team united by a passion for travel adventure

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Our mission

Our team has a strong background in the charity sector and are passionate about raising money for good causes. We want to help make a difference to the people in the world who need it most and we want students to be at the forefront of creating this change. When you get involved in one of our international challenge events, not only do you guarantee yourself the trip of a lifetime, you guarantee that you are going to change the lives of others!

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Our credentials

What separates us from the pack

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Our challenges

Where we travel all over the world

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Our values

After months of diligent work, lots of coffee and plenty of brainstorming sessions, we came together to create our company values. Our goal as a team is to uphold these standards every day when we come to work and continue our mission of taking more students abroad.


What Our Student Trekkers Are Saying


Who We’ve Worked With

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Where You’ve Seen Us


Our Staff

Between us, we have visited all seven continents, summited over 50 mountains, and competed in over 25 marathons! All of this means that we are perfectly placed to offer advice and assist in making your trip epic! 

Simon Varley CEO   Simon is based at our HQ in New York and is responsible for managing the day to day operations of the office. He works hard to ensure that the Choose a Challenge team is providing the best service possible and offering the best, safest, and most enjoyable experience to all our adventurers across the USA.  Originally hailing from London, England - Simon has run marathons and ultra marathons across the world, taken on the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, trekked along the Great Wall of China and even had a go at canoeing down parts of the Nile.

Simon Varley
CEO

Simon is based at our HQ in New York and is responsible for managing the day to day operations of the office. He works hard to ensure that the Choose a Challenge team is providing the best service possible and offering the best, safest, and most enjoyable experience to all our adventurers across the USA.

Originally hailing from London, England - Simon has run marathons and ultra marathons across the world, taken on the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, trekked along the Great Wall of China and even had a go at canoeing down parts of the Nile.

Sam Jackson Senior Operations Coordinator   Sam takes care of the "behind-the-scenes" details with Choose a Challenge. He organizes all the logistics of our challenges, and works with our airlines and ground agents - so the only thing you have to worry about is physical training and not forgetting your passport!  Sam has been all over the world with Choose a Challenge over the past 6 years - as well as having lived, worked and studied in England, California, and New York. He’s been up Kilimanjaro twice, out to Machu Picchu and Nepal, and he’s now run three European marathons.

Sam Jackson
Senior Operations Coordinator

Sam takes care of the "behind-the-scenes" details with Choose a Challenge. He organizes all the logistics of our challenges, and works with our airlines and ground agents - so the only thing you have to worry about is physical training and not forgetting your passport!

Sam has been all over the world with Choose a Challenge over the past 6 years - as well as having lived, worked and studied in England, California, and New York. He’s been up Kilimanjaro twice, out to Machu Picchu and Nepal, and he’s now run three European marathons.

Hunter Flint Graduate Assistant   Hunter’s main priorities are to aid in account management during our peak sales season and ensure all leaders, teams, and individuals are properly welcomed in the Choose a Challenge family.  Hunter grew up in the heart of Boston before going to study economics and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is an outgoing travel enthusiast with a passion for learning about different parts of the world. Several solo trips have invigorated his enthusiasm for travel and he seeks to continue to challenge himself to explore while also helping others realize their travel dreams.

Hunter Flint
Graduate Assistant

Hunter’s main priorities are to aid in account management during our peak sales season and ensure all leaders, teams, and individuals are properly welcomed in the Choose a Challenge family.

Hunter grew up in the heart of Boston before going to study economics and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis. He is an outgoing travel enthusiast with a passion for learning about different parts of the world. Several solo trips have invigorated his enthusiasm for travel and he seeks to continue to challenge himself to explore while also helping others realize their travel dreams.

Mike Crocker Senior Brand and Marketing Coordinator   Mike is responsible for ensuring that Choose a Challenge's life-changing destination trips are offered to as many students as possible across our target areas. He also manages the online visual and social brand of Choose a Challenge in the United States.  Originally from Putnam Valley, NY - Mike loves to run, kayak, and travel as often as possible. One of his favorite trips was in November 2018 when he booked a last minute solo trip and spent a week in Amsterdam with nothing but his backpack.

Mike Crocker
Senior Brand and Marketing Coordinator

Mike is responsible for ensuring that Choose a Challenge's life-changing destination trips are offered to as many students as possible across our target areas. He also manages the online visual and social brand of Choose a Challenge in the United States.

Originally from Putnam Valley, NY - Mike loves to run, kayak, and travel as often as possible. One of his favorite trips was in November 2018 when he booked a last minute solo trip and spent a week in Amsterdam with nothing but his backpack.


Ben Burtis Sales and Development Coordinator   Ben was born and raised in Falmouth, Massachusetts and attended UMass-Amherst for four years, graduating with a degree in Economics. He has always had a passion for exploring the world, meeting people of unique backgrounds, and enjoying the outdoors. All of these interests came to fruition during the summer of 2017 when he and a childhood friend of his, embarked on a month long road trip across the US and Canada. Since then, Ben has continued his travels with Choose A Challenge running the Edinburgh Marathon in May 2019.

Ben Burtis
Sales and Development Coordinator

Ben was born and raised in Falmouth, Massachusetts and attended UMass-Amherst for four years, graduating with a degree in Economics. He has always had a passion for exploring the world, meeting people of unique backgrounds, and enjoying the outdoors. All of these interests came to fruition during the summer of 2017 when he and a childhood friend of his, embarked on a month long road trip across the US and Canada. Since then, Ben has continued his travels with Choose A Challenge running the Edinburgh Marathon in May 2019.

Gabriela Gialaboukis Senior Care and Support Coordinator   Gabby is here to assist in our recruitment processes, collaborate with schools and charities, and further our social media and marketing efforts. She is excited to build relationships with our student trekkers and partners, but also to continue traveling!  Raised in Mahopac, NY, Gabby attended college at Pace University in Manhattan, where she received her degree in communications. She now resides in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Her first travel memory is visiting her family in Greece, while her most recent adventure was a two-week trek with us to Machu Picchu in May 2019.

Gabriela Gialaboukis
Senior Care and Support Coordinator

Gabby is here to assist in our recruitment processes, collaborate with schools and charities, and further our social media and marketing efforts. She is excited to build relationships with our student trekkers and partners, but also to continue traveling!

Raised in Mahopac, NY, Gabby attended college at Pace University in Manhattan, where she received her degree in communications. She now resides in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Her first travel memory is visiting her family in Greece, while her most recent adventure was a two-week trek with us to Machu Picchu in May 2019.

Micayla Beyer Graduate Assistant   Micayla’s main priorities are to aid in account management during our peak sales season and ensure all leaders, teams, and individuals are properly welcomed into the Choose a Challenge family.  Micayla was born and raised on Long Island in New York. She loves the outdoors, staying active and sharing her experiences with others. While studying for a dual degree in Physics and German at Stony Brook University, she raced for the school’s club sailing team, organized philanthropic and fundraising events for other groups, and founded Stony Brook’s Choose a Challenge club. Most recently she summited Mt. Kilimanjaro with Choose a Challenge in May 2019.

Micayla Beyer
Graduate Assistant

Micayla’s main priorities are to aid in account management during our peak sales season and ensure all leaders, teams, and individuals are properly welcomed into the Choose a Challenge family.

Micayla was born and raised on Long Island in New York. She loves the outdoors, staying active and sharing her experiences with others. While studying for a dual degree in Physics and German at Stony Brook University, she raced for the school’s club sailing team, organized philanthropic and fundraising events for other groups, and founded Stony Brook’s Choose a Challenge club. Most recently she summited Mt. Kilimanjaro with Choose a Challenge in May 2019.

 

Brand Ambassadors

Our Brand Ambassadors are almost always former student trekkers who not only believe in our mission, but help us deliver trip information meetings every fall at universities all over the northeast recounting their experiences and helping to grow the Choose a Challenge family

Emma Fritsch  Boston College

Emma Fritsch
Boston College

Lily Zelov  Cornell University

Lily Zelov
Cornell University

Jeremy Keckler  University of Connecticut

Jeremy Keckler
University of Connecticut

Mia Jensen  University of Connecticut

Mia Jensen
University of Connecticut

Kirby Simpson  UMass-Amherst

Kirby Simpson
UMass-Amherst


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