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Meet Trailblazer Brittany Floyd

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittany Floyd.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in a small town in Michigan to a working-class family in an affluent community. I didn’t understand how big the world was, or how many opportunities there were for my life until I went to Italy with my high school choir at age 15. After a week there, I knew my entire life had changed. When our plane landed in at the Detroit airport I was in tears.

I went to college just to study abroad – It was the only way to get abroad again without having private funds. I used my financial aid and help from my mother who worked as a custodian at a middle school to survive a year in England. My year at the University of Derby was the one of the most defining moments in my entire life and would go on to shape my world view, my individuality, my connection to home & abroad, but most importantly the people I met opened up parts of me that I could never repay them for.

I came home full of fresh ideas, adventures & tales that seemed otherworldly, but also there was great distance that grew between me & the world I had known. I spent two years after trying to process my experience and what that meant for my life moving forward. I made so many mistakes, failed a lot of classes, skipped school to go to Brazil, and fell in love hard with someone who made me feel alive but did not choose me. But like all storms, it was the moment I knew I needed to take accountability for my life and the way I lived it.

With one year left in school, I moved to Philadelphia and became a flight attendant for a major airline. I was determined to do the thing that made me feel most alive until I found my purpose. The funny part about it all is that my purpose found me instead. I started documenting my travels for my family, my neighborhood, and my community. But what came of it was people being interested in coming with me. Taking people abroad was a hobby of mine, a passion project. I realized the impact travel had on my life and I wanted to pay it forward.

One day I was in Colombia with 15 of my friends and they turned to me like “Brittany, you are good at this, we should be paying you for this, please take our money.” My business was born that day and my life as an entrepreneur begun. Since then, I’ve completed my degree in international affairs, traveled to 40+ countries, lead groups of young professionals to Asia, Africa, South America & Beyond and launched And Travel Company, a brand that curates bespoke quarterly group travel experiences for young professionals. I’m working on launching a study abroad scholarship foundation for underrepresented youth, as well as a dinner party series called Wanderlust Table. I’m working hard everyday to build a community around responsible travel & deep connections.

I got to where I am because of my mother & her sacrifices, the village I grew up in, the almost otherworldly experiences I had all over the globe, and the people who I met who inspired and challenged me to see the world for what it is: interconnected & complex & a place to learn and exchange; a place where everyone deserves the chance to decide what kind of life they want to live while being respectful to others.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has been very challenging. The struggles I dealt with were multifaceted and intersectional. I was born a poor, black woman, in a working class family, in country that has been historically and systematical built to disenfranchise people of color. I am the child of a domestic violence survivor. I suffered from Depression & Anxiety. Although traveling was the greatest gift I ever got, it caused so much distance from my family, friends, and community. I felt like an outsider everywhere.

This adversity made me stronger though. Once I was decided to take responsibility for my own life, all those struggles just helped me be more resilient. I am the woman I am today because of my ability to navigate through the hardest times in my life. I learned to be comfortable with myself, and this strengthening of my own self-confidence helped me choose how I would live unapologetically. Over the years I’ve gone to therapy, I’ve learned how to reconnect with my family & friends, while also not limiting my own growth and needs.

The best advice I can give to young women, or those starting their journey, is that you have to take the time to learn who you are within your community and outside of it. Self-awareness & confidence are systems within you that you have to build, assess, and water in order to truly thrive. So many times, I have been my own roadblock because I didn’t believe in myself; dream & do the work. Find a community that supports your growth and lean on them. Nothing sustainable is quick and easy, take your time and be strategic. Be bold & takes risks. The last and probably the most important is that you need to do something that feeds your soul. It doesn’t need to be your full-time job, but you need to figure out what kind of impact you want to make and decide what makes you come alive – this is where true success lies.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about And Travel Company – what should we know?
I am the founder of a group travel company for young professionals. I curate quarterly trips with a focus on immersion, community building, and responsible travel.

I’m known for creating once in a lifetime experiences, connecting like-minded people, and teaching people how to make travel more meaningful and accessible.

I am most proud of having the ability to pay-it-forward over and over again. It brings me joy when I see the world open up for people and see how they do the same for others; It’s like a domino effect.

My hope for the world at large is that we’ll continue to exchange and learn about each other and understand how interconnected we are and let our compassion lead the way to a more inclusive world.

I have come to realize that what sets me apart from others is my ability to use the same ingredients that everyone else has, but to add just the right amount of adventure, learning, connection, and exploration. I create a safe space for people and provide a bridge for them to truly immerse. I facilitate, but I don’t control the experience; I give people the freedom to have their own experiences.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Finding a mentor and networking can seem overwhelming, but it’s a mix of both that allow for real opportunities. It takes finding the right rooms to be in, assessing what’s happening in your industry and approaching someone who seems to have the tools you need to get to the next level. It’s about being genuine, while also shooting your shot, no matter how nerve wrecking it can be.

One of my favorite mentors, Meagan Ward, always says you have to “date” your mentors. Not everyone will be a good fit, but you have to do your research, set the coffee date, and find a mentor that allows for a mutually beneficial experience.

The most success I’ve found has been with networking strategically, either within my industry, within the minority community, or within women’s groups. I think there is strength in networking and sharing ideas in spaces that can understand your particular position in the world. I do push myself regularly though, I reach out to mentors from all different backgrounds and go to events that are more broad to open myself up to experiences that I might not have thought of. It’s a balance of finding the communities that you identify with while also giving yourself the chance try new things.

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Image Credit:
Justin Milhouse, Ritchie King, Riikka Leppänen, Bali Kedek

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