Allen & Sheryl Hill understand that it takes grit to make a pearl. Tragically, their futures were forever altered when Tyler, their vibrant, athletic, leader and role model teenage son, died a preventable death on a People to People Student Ambassador trip to Japan. He was barely sixteen.
Sheryl and Allen turned their grief into a mission and founded the only nonprofit working on travel and tourism consumer protections. For ten years, they advocated on the problem side of travel abroad, and now they offer a solution: Travel HEROES Safety Certification. Sheryl passionately believes every person, especially students going abroad on programs, should possess super skills to get help and home safely.
Sheryl is publicly recognized as an industry expert, speaker, award winning author and advocate. “Depart Smart is the most important professional work I have ever done,” says Sheryl.
She has been seen in CNN, USA Today, Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, Newsweek, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more. She pours her time and talent into Depart Smart’s four pillars of strength: Education, Awareness, Tools and Resources, and Advocacy. Through her efforts, Depart Smart achieved Guidestar Platinum Partner status for transparency, and passed the first ever state bill to put the “count” in “accountability” – safety reports on programs escorting our kids into foreign country for school credit.
Sheryl is also the mother of Alec Hill, as well as the host mom to eight international youth for more than twelve years. The Hills are proud to share their family with Sari of Finland, Caroline of Sweden, Sylvie of France, Gilly of South Africa, Nikita of Germany, Yusuke of Japan, Roberto of Chile and João of Brazil. The Hills have been in foreign countries with all of them and believe in the value of intercultural experiences.