The ability to give back is paramount. I firmly believe that every person who’s been successful has an obligation to give back to the community. A success shared is success doubled.

As part of my series about “developments in the travel industry over the next five years”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Sushant Trivedi.

With over a decade of experience in corporate strategy, P&L management, global brand management, and go-to-market planning and execution, Sushant Trivedi’s unique blend of entrepreneurial spirit and business ownership has led him down various paths, including several roles at Proctor & Gamble, where he was Co-Founder of the Gilette TREO, recognized by TIME Magazine as one of 2018’s Innovation of the Year, and dubbed a “masterpiece of inclusive design” by Fast Company. It was this, coupled with his passion for tech and scaling business operations, that pushed him to lead BlocPal’s marketing team as Chief Marketing Officer, where he played a critical role in taking the company public via a Reverse Takeover (RTO) and was a key participant in the company’s investor roadshow. Now, as the CEO of Fresh Tracks Canada, Trivedi is excited to lead a dedicated team of Canadian travel experts as they embark on a journey to reinvigorate Canada’s tourism industry as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me. Two major factors have brought me into this role as CEO of Fresh Tracks Canada. The first is an inherent love for travel: I’ve been to 43 countries. I’ve also had the pleasure of living in multiple cities around the world, including Vancouver, Toronto, Boston, and London, and I’ve spent some time in Singapore and Geneva, as well. Given my appreciation for experiencing global cities and travelling around the world, I was destined for a career in tourism!

The second thing is that throughout my career, I’ve been a Generalist — handling multiple parts of the business from P&L and financial management to marketing and sales and, of course, business strategy and operations. I’ve always enjoyed the variety of business instead of being siloed into one specific role or function. This is when I’ve delivered my best work. There is no wider purview than that of a CEO, where I’m constantly looking at the big picture, wearing multiple hats every day — I’m always challenged, I’m always learning, and I’m never bored.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The most rewarding part of my career so far has been when I designed and co-founded what became Time magazine’s Innovation of the Year for 2018, the Gillette TREO. This is the world’s first razor specifically designed to shave someone else. So, think of someone who, for whatever physical or cognitive reason, is unable to shave themselves. This was designed to help a caregiver shave a loved one.

Developing this product alongside a good friend of mine has been the most fulfilling part of my career. I’ve seen a mother shave her son who has autism. I witnessed a woman shave her grandfather, who is battling Alzheimer’s. We’ve had a father shave his daughter, who uses a wheelchair. I’ve been fortunate to see the positive impacts of this passion project. Something as simple as shaving can be normal and easy for you and I, but it can be a luxury for many people around the world. It has been incredibly rewarding for me to create something that helps a large group of people enjoy something the rest of us take for granted. Seeing how happy it has made both the caregivers and the loved ones they assist daily has been the highlight of my career so far.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Perhaps not the funniest mistake, but definitely the most important mistake I’ve made happened very early in my career. When my manager first assigned me a project, I was determined to prove myself worthy of being in my seat. I wanted to make my mark and stand out within the organization. And while well-intentioned, the final results of my project were, in a word, awful. There were holes in my process; I failed to see the bigger picture and didn’t connect the dots across many different functions. It was a very one-dimensional output. That experience taught me that in order to succeed, not just in business but in life, one could never really fly solo. The ability to engage, work in a multi-functional environment, get various opinions, and co-create with your fellow colleagues is an integral attribute to success.

My mistake all those years ago was that I was convinced in order to succeed, I had to do it all by myself. The low-quality output of my work, paired with the tough feedback I received, helped me realize the value of engagement and healthy collaboration very early in my career.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? Can you share a story about that?
The past two years have been very stressful for the travel industry. The global pandemic has had a devastating impact on all of us, with burn-out being a major challenge in the workforce. 
A big part of my feedback to members of our community is something that may sound simple but is, in fact, extremely difficult to execute and maintain. That is to stay resolutely focused on your customer, on the person you’re serving. It is a core value that we staunchly abide by at Fresh Tracks, and it’s something we take incredibly seriously. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Learn about them by spending time with them instead of learning about them from a webinar or a PowerPoint slide. 
I’ll give you an example: my Director of Product, Susan Tomihiro, and I took a trip to Churchill, Manitoba, earlier this year. We had the wonderful privilege of meeting our supplier, Frontiers North, and connecting with customers and other members of the travel industry. We experienced the Northern Lights, learned about the region, and immersed ourselves in the community. This was during a hectic time for us, as I had just joined the business and Susan’s calendar was full to the brim. We’d thought of cancelling the trip multiple times, and I’m glad we didn’t. 
It was imperative we experience what our clients experience, and taking the time from our hectic schedules turned out to be a worthwhile investment for the business. Not only was the experience priceless, but our take-aways from that trip have also helped define our company strategies and values moving forward.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I’m fortunate to have been under the tutelage of various leaders, managers and peers who have played a pivotal role in shaping my career. They have provided me with invaluable guidance, perspective, coaching and mentorship along the way. And while I am grateful to them all, if I had to pick one person and one story, I’d pick a former manager of mine, Francesco Tortora. 
Francesco was my manager while I worked at Gillette, and what I loved about him was his leadership style, something that I learned from him and looked to emulate. He gave me a lot of autonomy and the power to make decisions, but most importantly, he provided me with psychological safety. I could do whatever I wanted, as long as it was grounded in the customer, grounded in data. He never told me I was wrong when he disagreed with me, whether it be on a strategy or a recommendation I was looking to make. He always said, “Okay, I see things differently, but if you passionately believe in this, I will support you because I can see where you’re coming from.” 
I knew that if I passionately believed in something and I had the customer insight or the data to back it up, I was always given the opportunity and the space to execute. During the moments I was proven wrong, Francesco always had my back. It was that level of psychological safety that helped me thrive. I was encouraged to take more risks and, in turn, deliver great results. 
As I have grown to become a leader myself, I strive to emulate this practice. I give my team the authority to make decisions and drive a culture of accountability built on a foundation of psychological safety.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?
There is a lot going on in the travel and hospitality industry, with Fresh Tracks being at the forefront, at least from a Canadian-travel perspective. We are focused on driving innovation, streamlining both internally with the company and externally with our customers.

Internally, there has been a big focus on automation and advancing technology, with COVID having accelerated the speed of digital transformation.

Externally, we are looking to expand our product portfolio further, providing every type of travel offering to our customers, from trains and Northern Lights experiences to polar bears and adventure travel. We are also learning how to integrate eco-tourism and Indigenous-based travel into our portfolio. These, coupled with content management and analytics and insights, are the main areas of innovation we are looking to drive forward.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation?

There are two main pain points we are looking to address. The first is awareness and education.

There is still a perception that Canada’s offerings are limited to the Rockies and Niagara Falls or just skiing in Whistler. It is important to drive education and awareness that Canada has a lot more to offer than what has become the stereotypical tourist opportunities. Many people don’t realize you can actually see the Northern lights from Canada or that the opportunity to see Polar bears is a lot closer than you’d think. They are here, and you don’t have to go far at all. Or let’s talk about the fantastic quality of seafood you can experience in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, along with the fervent Maritime culture on the East Coast. There is an abundance of quality experiences to be found in this beautiful country! A big part of our purpose is to address the pain point of Canada’s international perception, which presents limited travel experiences.

The second thing we are trying to accomplish is elevating the travel experience by customizing it. This is Fresh Tracks’ biggest advantage: we provide bespoke travel designed to your specific preferences and needs. Every experience you have will be on your terms. A big pain point within the industry at the moment is that travellers are forced to fit into an existing plan, as opposed to having a specific plan tailored to them.

How do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

It is not really about disrupting the status quo. For us, it’s about driving more tourism and business for the overall industry. How do we grow the pie, as opposed to just getting our bigger slice of it? By addressing these pain points, we will bring more tourists into Canada, which then helps the overall Canadian economy, boosting the tourism sector and helping spread the word about what Canada really has to offer.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share 5 examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel

As mentioned earlier, COVID has disrupted our industry quite significantly. The first major adjustment will address the greater need for flexibility. Usually, rules and cancellation policies within our industry are quite rigid. Changing tickets, extending a trip, and switching dates cab sometimes be very limited. Now, more than ever, flexibility is an extremely important part of the overall travel experience.

The second thing you will see is a larger focus on digitization for customized trips. All your bookings, reservations, and itineraries can be easily accessed online. A one-stop-shop for all your necessary details.

The third trend I see happening is the blending of work and travel. Because we now live in a world where many people can work from anywhere, I can see an influx of people coming to Canada to explore and spend more time here because they can still work while they are here.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

I love to travel! As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been to 43 countries. My perfect vacation experiences are when I’m able to immerse myself in the culture and community of a place. Unfortunately, I cannot just sit and relax on a beach all day. I enjoy talking to locals, learning about the history, and experiencing a place from an insider perspective. I love listening to stories. That is the kind of travel I am passionate about, and a big part of that comes from the variety of local experts I’ve had the pleasure of encountering.

This is why I love my job. The type of travel I seek out as a tourist is exactly the type of travel that Fresh Tracks Canada has to offer. My passions, my values and my principles happen to be perfectly aligned with what our company stands for.

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.

You are absolutely correct. A big part of travel is about connecting! One of our biggest initiatives here at Fresh Tracks is to ensure that all of us have a personalized relationship with our customers. We truly take the time to get to know them, so every part of their travel experience is designed according to what we know is important to them and what makes them feel most connected to Canada. 
Another aspect of this is our relationships with our suppliers. From the trains, the hotels, and the tours we plan, we ensure that the providers we partner with are committed to making that same quality connection with our customers. We look for suppliers who truly understand the communities they are serving, have a deep knowledge of their products, and have a strong commitment to customer satisfaction.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world? 
The ability to give back is paramount. I firmly believe that every person who’s been successful has an obligation to give back to the community. A success shared is success doubled. 
Mentorship is an integral part of my purpose. Some of the proudest moments in my career have been seeing the people I’ve led challenge themselves and push beyond their boundaries to achieve results they thought were impossible. It reminds me of an associate at P&G who I took under my wing. She worked in the supply chain in one of our factories, and I introduced her to projects within Marketing, coaching and shepherding her along the way. Since then, she has become a Senior Marketing Leader at Bose before moving on to being a Senior Marketing Executive for one of Amazon’s fast-growing businesses. I know for a fact that she is now mentoring and developing others as well. We’re seeing a positive, virtuous cycle take place. 
The most important thing I can do is use my success, experience, and position to grow people and help them achieve their true potential.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As we continue to visit different countries and communities, and continue to educate and immerse ourselves in history, we can use this knowledge to drive awareness of the many significant challenges of the past — race, gender and ethnic discrimination being only the tip of the iceberg. 
Knowledge is the enemy of ignorance, and I believe travel can positively impact society. Travel is a tool that can create a culture of empathy, an avenue for connection between people from different backgrounds, and spread knowledge through awareness and education.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

LinkedIn: Sushant Trivedi

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.