Philippa Kelly

President Casitas Tenorio B&B

Costa Rica

Philippa owns and operates a small bed and breakfast business, called Castitas Tenorio B&B, in rural Costa Rica with her husband. They focus on rural community based tourism to promote sustainable economic and social development in their small community. They have six rooms that they rent out, they protect habitat of many animals here, and have remnant rainforest on the property. As their house is located in the rainforest, near a national park, they offer tourists tours in local area, an opportunity to give donations to local community groups and also undertake volunteer work. They offer their guests a unique and authentic experience to stay in rural Costa Rica with a really high standard of service, and lots of guests who stay with them end up leaving as friends. Accommodation for guests Tours include birdwatching and nature tours in the local area. They also have a dairy farm engaging in sustainable and organic farming practices, and sells the milk to a local cooperative that makes cheese. Philippa and her husband live in the community they work in, and they used to run a summer school, community projects and other social programs, since she came here sixteen years ago. Now they make donations through their business name. They hire local people, offer them access to training and development. They contribute to helping families providing employment to people. They are also part of the local biological corridor and are planting trees and preserving habitat of animals. They take risks. They work hard. They dream big. They learn from mistakes. They never say ‘never’. They are passionate about what they do. They started with nothing and have built their business up over time. They set high expectations of themselves and their staff. Philippa’s goal is to ensure that their business is operating in the most sustainable way possible. She also wants to ensure that they can continue to hire local staff and help the community. She would like to continue to be one of the best B&Bs in Costa Rica and Central America. She is the ‘soy la’, which in Spanish means that she can do everything, for example, receptionist, cook, housekeeping, child minding, and farming. She motivates people and helps drive the business in many ways. She is very good at customer service with their guests. Philippa volunteers with a local traditional dance group and with teaching English. She has completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Melbourne. Philippa has also completed a Graduate Diploma of Education to teach high school.

What Philippa hopes to gain from the VV GROW Fellowship: Philippa is hoping to gain new knowledge and skills in financial management and business planning to support knowing where her business is going. She is also looking forward to meeting other fellows and learning about the projects and business that they are running in their community.

What Philippa can offer other fellows: She can share her knowledge and experiences.

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Philippa was selected as a 2018 VV GROW Fellow.