The Walking Connection is the brainchild of Jo Ann. Her concept for our program began more than thirteen years ago. It started with personal and professional changes she had made in her own life. Step one for her (no pun intended) was begin living a healthy and active lifestyle. Step two was to begin to share those changes with other people and teach them how to use the same principles to positively affect their own lives. Step three was to figure out how to create a business that would allow us to accomplish Step two on a long-term basis, hence the birth of the Walking Connection.

Since the beginning, a constant objective has been to focus on getting to know the people who come to the program on a personal level. This is so we can achieve a better understanding of who you are, learn your likes and dislikes, needs and wants. And then build our program using those criteria as our foundation. As we have grown, expanded and become more diverse, it is difficult to “walk and talk” to everyone. But that doesn’t mean that we are not as interested as we have always been or that we do not want to hear from you. We do, and our lines are open! While we are in the office, which is most of the time, e-mail is the best way to get us. When we are out, many places do not lend themselves to e-mail so a voice message is best.

Turn-about is fair play. To give you a better understanding of The Walking Connection organization, our goals and aspirations, we thought it would be helpful to give you a bit of insight on each of us, who we are and what we do.

Gene (written by Jo Ann). He is 46 and is the business manager. He splits the day-to-day operations management with me. He also handles our computer network operations and Internet communications. He oversees new business development, designs, edits and writes for both the newsletter and web site. For the travel program he manages vendor contracts, assists in research and tour development, customer service, promotional material development and tour fulfillment. Occasionally he co-hosts trips with me.

In addition to walking, hiking and mountain biking, Gene has a passion for golf, travel photography and cooking. Since beginning our travel program he is proud that he has been able to check off many of the destinations he has wanted to visit since he was a child, but his “to do” list is still growing faster than he can check them off.

Jo Ann (written by Gene). She is 45 and is the originator of the concepts that became what is now the Walking Connection. She coordinates membership services and oversees data base management. She writes and edits Walking Connection Flash Mails and membership communications. She creates and manages marketing programs and special events and leads our public relations programs and is a specialized motivational speaker on health, fitness and active lifestyles. Though out of print now, she is the author of both a book and video entitled How To Get The Most From Your Walk. She has been featured in numerous publications including Walking Magazine and served as national spokesperson for an international non-profit organization.

For our travel program she heads all research and is the creative development specialist for all tour destinations and itineraries. She is the primary tour host/escort/manager for all Walking Connection departures.

Jo Ann favors hiking but also enjoys walking, biking, swimming and yoga. She is also interested in doing more kayaking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The last three are somewhat difficult to do when you live in the desert. Her passions include eating Gene’s cooking, and of course, thinking up new and exciting places to go.

Together we moved to Phoenix, Arizona from upstate New York in 1979. We have been ‘walking’ together for thirty years! PartTime & Uno are our two cats. They don’t much care for our traveling habits. On our travels we collect masks, mugs, maps and gifts for friends and family.

Our passion for travel – exploring the world in “Walking Connection Style” as we phrase it has lead to many personal discoveries for both of us. One of those discoveries turned into a pet project we have named “The Walking Connection’s Children’s Global Village.” Albeit a small program, it is one that we use to “give more than we take” when we visit various places around the world. We always seek out small villages, special schools and children’s programs where we can donate educational supplies, over-the-counter medicines and personal items that will help them. We take time to visit with them, learn about their lives and share ours with them.

As far as rewards go, this program has not only positively affected our lives, we have watched as other members have become involved. Both of us, our guests and the children we have visited have all benefited from this program. We hope to keep the program alive and growing for the future.

Our greatest rewards come to us in the form of the smiles we see on the faces of our traveling guests, from the note or card of thanks we receive, the letter or e-mail letting us know how we have positively contributed to someone’s life – and most importantly, from the friendships of the people we have met and their willingness to share their lives with us.

“Come Walk With Us,” is a sincere invitation we have offered to people worldwide for many years. We have said it so many times that we think it might not sound as sincere as it once did, or worse, that it may sound like a “corporate slogan.” In our minds it is not a slogan at all. It is genuine and comes from our hearts! Whether we are home, visiting the area where you live or traveling the world, we want to share it with you and we hope YOU will Come Walk With Us!

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The above article entitled "The Walking Connection - About Us, is about the the company and owners.