Introducing Robin Reliford
At WorldStrides, the safety and security of our student participants is paramount – which is why we’re proud to introduce Robin Reliford, our Vice President of Health and Safety. A veteran of the field, Robin leads health, safety and crisis management, which means monitoring world events, implementing preventative protocols and procedures, and coordinating responses to unexpected events. She’s got a lot on her plate, but we managed to snag a quiet moment to ask her about herself and her new role in the WorldStrides family.
Q: What attracted you to working with health and safety in educational travel and education abroad?
A: I left a career in law to enter education abroad in 2010, and shortly thereafter, major world events like the Arab Spring and the Japan earthquake and tsunami that led to the Fukushima nuclear incident occurred. The challenges presented to the field by these events were hot topics at the time, and even though risk management wasn’t the focus of my job, I found myself naturally drawn to discussions on risk. Health and safety and risk management seemed like the perfect fit for me to be able to apply my interests and educational and professional backgrounds to the field in a meaningful way.
Q: Where do you go to stay current on the world, and keep WorldStrides on the cutting edge of health and safety innovation?
A: For WorldStrides, student health and safety, and security overall, have long been a part of the job, and I’m lucky that the organization has been innovative and proactive with partnerships like the George Washington Department of Emergency Medicine and WorldAware. I’m also a part of the Overseas Advisory Council (OSAC) Academia Working Group, and I rely on the Department of State guidance on many issues. The people who work there are incredibly knowledgeable about the world. This guidance, paired with the local knowledge of our teams around the world, often informs decisions we make as an organization. Since beginning my position at ISA (a division of WorldStrides) in 2013, I have belonged to Pulse, which is a network of higher education international health and safety professionals, and have witnessed that network expand from just shy of forty members to over a hundred! Thus, a niche profession has emerged in the field, and it is encouraging to be a part of a dedicated group of people who work collaboratively to enhance the safety offerings and support for educational travelers and programs.
Q: Describe your team. Who do you work with most closely?
A: This is a very interesting part of my job, because the work of keeping students safe is central to all of our jobs at WorldStrides. Really, the whole organization is part of my team, and I am always impressed by their tremendous commitment and focus on student safety. For example, the staff who is with our students – our resident staff, Tour Directors, Course Leaders, Night Chaperones, and others – are critical to our approach, which is tuned to the needs of each different kind of participant in each different destination. We have a 24/7 Tour Central team who is experienced and skilled at responding to questions and concerns. I also work very closely with many leaders of the organization, who have an incredible depth of experience with educational travel and study abroad.
Q: Where is your favorite overseas destination to visit? What do you love about it?
A: There are many places that I love to visit, but I would have to say France is my number one. My fiancé is from Biarritz, a city in the southwest of the country close to the border with Spain, so we spend a lot of time there with family. Also, Cannes is where I studied abroad many years ago, and I’ve lived and worked in Paris, so France has a very special place in my heart, and when I’m there, I feel at home.
Want to learn more about WorldStrides’ commitment to peace of mind? Check out the Safety and Security page of our site to find out more.