"The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin

When someone calls you ‘genius’ you might think they are being sarcastic. “Way to go, Genius!” But, when someone calls you genius because they are genuinely impressed with your passion, purpose, and achievements, well – that’s pause for celebration and reflection.

Exceptionally brilliant

My goal is to help you become exceptionally brilliant at travel safety, so you can identify and avoid risks, acquire appropriate skills and resources to get help and home safely when life happens on your dream trip abroad.  Our son Tyler Hill died a preventable death on a student trip to Japan.  We never want a trip abroad to turn tragic for you, or someone you love.  We can help you become a certified Travel HERO – now that’s genius.


Tsering Yangchen, a publicist with Media Relations, pitched a story to PolicyGenius about me which they called, “a regular series of interviews with brilliant people.”  As the founder and Executive Director for Depart Smart, I certainly want to reach, teach, and engage people in education affecting their international travel safety skills.  It’s our passion and purpose.


I was asked to write brief answers to a few questions:

  •         Describe the work you do briefly.
  •         What problem are you trying to solve?
  •         What led you to tackle this problem & not something else?
  •         How does what you do help people?
  •         If you had $1 billion, how would you spend it?
  •         What’s one fact or idea you think more people should know?
  •         What is the one person, place or thing that helped you get to where you are today?
  •         What is one government policy you would change to make travel safer?
  •         What’s one thing you want to accomplish in the next month?
  •         Year?
  •         Decade?
  •         Who do you think is a genius and what is one thing you would ask them?

Those are some deep and contemplative questions.  How would you answer them?

Here is the article in PolicyGenius.com by Myles Ma, “Ask a Genius: After a son’s death, a mother helps travelers stay safe.”


As I re-read my responses after the article published, I pondered our accomplishments.  It wasn’t conventional ‘geniuses’ like Warren Buffet or Berkshire Hathaway that answered our call for engagement.  It was AIG Travel.  They lead with uncommon sense.  They are ‘genius’ when it comes to Travel Insurance.  AIG Travel is our strategic sponsor for Travel HEROES Safety Certification.  Don’t leave the USA without it, it can save your life.  This course is the reason PolicyGenius calls me a genius. OffiCenters and Maslon, LLP have also mentored us to ‘brilliant’ status.  We can stand in their light, and sparkle. #Smiles

I hope some centuries from now, the world will look back and say, “Sheryl Hill’s spirit had a strong leaning, inclination and penchant to change the way the world travels – safely.”

How would you define your genius?

– Sheryl Hill, Depart Smart Founder