2012 Exodus Leader Awards
Having received over 1200 votes for over 200 leaders really does emphasise our high standards for leaders around the world, who endeavour to go the extra mile to make an Exodus trip unforgettable.
In order to show our appreciation towards our superb tour leaders, the Exodus Leader Award was created in 2009, and is now in its 4th successful year. This is the leaders’ chance to feel their hard work has paid off and to feel recognised by the most important people… you the traveller.
Competition was stronger than ever for 2012; thus, making the judges’ decision harder than ever. How do you really pick just one from a team so elite? Posing this question definitely made the judges’ hands clammy, foreheads bead with sweat and fingernails no longer.
It gives us great pleasure to announce the following Awards:
Best Cycling Leader and Overall Winner is Danh Nguyen, who is based in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Danh will receive his Exodus Leader Awards Winners Certificate and £1000, split equally between himself and his chosen charity. Danh has an impressive background in leading which spans back to 1994. His leading career started with domestic tourists and it wasn’t until 2011 when Exodus took him under its wing and gave him the opportunity to run cycling trips across Vietnam. Danh leads mostly cycling trips, while he may not have a cyclists wiry frame (a common nickname is the ‘Happy Buddha’), his cycling skills and knowledge are without question, and his dream is to cycle across Europe.
The judges feel that Danh always works to such a consistently high standard with his trips, and is a true credit to Exodus. You can see that he has a real charismatic energy about him, which puts the clients at ease. He always has a ‘cool, calm and collected’ attitude which allows the customers to really enjoy and appreciate the holiday for what it is, taking the panic out of any situation as Danh is always on top form.
Viet'danh' was simply awesome. He made the trip so relaxed and hassle free we didn’t even see the organisation that went on behind the scenes. Danh's knowledge was excellent. Always smiling, always singing with us (and we did a lot of singing!) The little extras that he did make the trip so memorable.
Danh's chosen charity is Thuy’s Dream Foundation, a children's cancer charity in Ho Chi Minh City.
For more information about the Foundation, please visit the following news pages: What will your legacy be? and Christmas gifts for child cancer patients.
Best Trekking Leader is Pasang Bomjan, based in Nepal
Hailing from Bhutan, Pasang now spends most of his time in Nepal, where he is one of our most experienced trekking leaders. He truly loves the area that he works in; especially Annapurna where the scenery is so diverse. Being given the opportunity to take clients along the trails trodden by the famous climbers of Everest is definitely unique; and to have this as your job is what dreams are made of. Pasang argues that the thrill of reaching Everest Base Camp and climbing Kala Pattar with its classic views of Mount Everest cannot be beaten.
Pasang has an impressive personality. Huge experience, hard worker, highly knowledgeable, professional and humorous all at the same time. Also clearly a very safe pair of hands in the extreme environment of the high Himalayas - you couldn’t ask for much more.
'Ticks all the boxes for quality leadership.'
Pasang was a true leader, whether he was leading from the front, back or middle of the group. Extremely knowledgeable, highly respected and could not have led or looked after us any better. Thank you.
Best Wildlife and Discovery Leader is Often Konzoro, based in East Africa
Often Konzoro was born and grew up in a small village called Nabwani in Western Kenya but moved to Nairobi in search of work as a young adult. It was from a base in the Kenyan capital that he first started working in tourism and soon became a tour guide for overland trips across Eastern Africa (Often was the 2011 Overall Winner).
Often has been leading Exodus trips for many years now – and particularly enjoys helping Exodus clients get under the skin of Africa. “What I particularly appreciate about leading Exodus trips is the clients’ hunger for knowledge about Africa’s people, culture and wildlife, which I very much enjoy sharing with them.”
Judges decided that Often is the kind of leader you dream of on a trip, as he knows exactly what the customer wants and needs. Having progressed through the ranks makes him have a true understanding of what makes a top class leader, at no point is his professionalism questioned so you can feel that you are always in safe hands.
In the words of Tina Turner - 'simply the best'. Having done a number of group trips Often puts many highly capable and professional tour leaders in the shade - not an easy task! He is considerate, caring, continuously going above and beyond to ensure all members of the trip are happy. At no point did he lose his smile, professionalism, sense of humour or dedication in ensuring we had the trip of our lives. I know he won an award last year but in some ways the fact that he isn't resting on his laurels is testament to his character and pride in his job.
Often Leads the following trip: Gorillas & Masai Mara
Pasang and Often will receive their Exodus Leader Awards Winners Certificate and £500 each, split equally between themselves and their chosen charities.
The Judging Process
To ensure full transparency and fairness, this is how the judges came to their decisions.
• All votes for trips made in 2012 were collected counted and verified.
• Over 200 different leaders had been voted for. A shortlist was determined solely on quanity of votes received per leader.
• From the shortlist we had the opportunity to gather a range of other relevant information to take into account: customer comments, holiday evaluation form ratings and consistency, manager / employees comments, the number of trips run and total number of votes.
• Each leader was discussed in turn, and a further cut was made to hone in on the best few.
• Each judge was then given the opportunity to vote for their top 3, and the results were pretty consistent. Fortunately these 3 neatly split into the Best Cycling, Trekking and Wildlife Leaders.
• The overall winner was the leader who had been placed top by the highest number of judges.