Financial Executive and Philanthropist, Jim McInnis, Embarks on His “Journey of Gratitude” Walking 500 Miles to Bring Water to the People of Zambia
BY JOHN HARLINE
Conquering challenge is nothing new to Jim McInnis, it has become a passion and has set in motion a global phenomenon.
As a successful business leader in the financial services industry who spent over four decades building some of the world’s largest insurance and investment companies, McInnis is no stranger to hard work. A self-made success, McInnis spent the majority of his career coaching fleets of sales personnel and mentoring hundreds of sales executives on exactly how to overcome obstacles in their daily business lives. It is no wonder that McInnis stands ready to take on his latest challenge – a personal quest to walk 500 miles on the famed Camino De Santiago, a stretch of rural terrain between St. Jean, France and Santiago, Spain.
The Camino De Santiago
Known as the journey of one million steps, the lore surrounding the Camino de Santiago is widespread and spans over a thousand years. By many accounts, the Camino is said to lead to the site where the remains of St. James the Apostle are buried and the spot where countless miracles have occurred. For many, the Camino represents a personal challenge to find answers, or a way of paying homage to a particular purpose. In theory, travelling the Camino is just as much an inner journey as it is a physical one. For McInnis, the journey is one of gratitude for a life well-lived, and carries with it significant personal meaning. Symbolically speaking, the journey represents a path less travelled — a conscious choice to conquer challenge and to change the world in his own unique way, one step at a time.
Incredibly, McInnis’ journey, which is set to begin on August 25, 2018, will be his third in a series of selfless pilgrimages on the Camino. Beginning in 2013, at the age of 65, McInnis took his first transformational steps upon the Camino. With not much more than a heaping pack of belongings strapped to his back, and a load of courage in his heart, McInnis trudged through extreme fatigue, unpredictable weather conditions, less than ideal accommodations and an emotional deliverance to reach his coveted destination.
While away on the Camino, McInnis kept an online Blog of his daily travels, describing the unique encounters and interesting people he experienced along the way. Upon his return, and much to McInnis’ surprise, he learned that he had acquired a devoted reader fan base into the thousands.
Encouraged by the outpouring of support, McInnis soon published an account of his experience on the Camino in a book entitled, 500 Miles of Gratitude – My Journey on the Camino De Santiago, wherein he described the impact of the Camino on his life, “The journey tested me in ways that I didn’t anticipate. I trained for several months to prepare myself for the journey, but I was not prepared for everything I encountered on my walk.”
Two years later, in 2015, McInnis took to the Camino for a second time, deciding to use his journey to raise awareness surrounding the water crisis in Africa. Through a selfless collaboration with Golf Fore Africa, a charitable organization created by McInnis’ dear friend, World Hall of Fame and LPGA champion golfer, Betsey King, McInnis raised over $105,000 in sponsorships to fund seven water wells in the rural country of Zambia.
“I was very fortunate to have many, very generous friends help by making donations to my ‘Walk for Water’ and I was able to see their dollars at work,” explains McInnis. “Those donations helped Golf Fore Africa deliver seven wells to remote villages in Zambia and change the lives of many. My wife, Robin and I traveled to Zambia to see firsthand the work being done and the life-changing results provided by clean, safe water.”
Changing the World, One Step At a Time…
As McInnis now prepares to take on his third Camino, he is encouraged by his latest goal – to once again bring clean water to the people of Zambia, but this time, by raising funds to finance two highly-mechanized wells which will provide clean and safe water to two medical facilities in the remote areas of the country.
“My first goal is to complete the 500 miles in thirty-four consecutive days without any serious injury… blisters not included,” states McInnis. “My second goal is personal… while my third goal is to help raise money for a worthy cause through Golf-Fore-Africa, which has as its goal to provide thousands in Zambia with life-saving, clean, safe water.”
Through Golf Fore Africa, McInnis will seek sponsors for each day of his 34-day trek, and the funds from these sponsorships will go towards the mechanized healthcare facility wells. As McInnis explains, “Golf Fore Africa has set up a donation page where supporters can choose to sponsor individual days of my journey. The two mechanized systems each cost $50,000, which makes the goal for this Camino $100,000. With lots of people helping in any way they can, the goal can be achieved. Robin and I have already donated $7,500, which will sponsor two and one-half days of my 34-day walk. Every donation counts and every donation has an impact. Whether someone sponsors one day, multiple days, or even makes a donation towards the goal, it all helps.”
McInnis will once again keep an account of his daily travels, which in some cases add up to between 15 and 18 miles of walking per day. He will continue his Blog and hopes to again be able to share the insightful observations of his journey with his devoted followers.
A Path Less Traveled…
Metaphorically speaking, McInnis’ journey is one inspired by deliberate choices. In obvious terms, the journey is a choice to walk 500 miles in support of a meaningful cause. In symbolic terms, it is a choice to take a challenging path, which is not often chosen, because it requires significant courage and sacrifice. In McInnis’ case, he has chosen to take ‘the path less traveled’ because he is unafraid of what the path may hold. As prophetically stated in his memoir, “Sometime life gives you unexpected opportunities to give, to learn, and to grow… this is what happens when you push yourself beyond your comfort zone and embrace whatever life brings you with open eyes and an open heart.”
This combination of metaphorical and symbolic experience has allowed McInnis’ to not only affect a positive fulfillment of personal gratitude, but additionally, to merge the personal experience with decades of professional leadership. McInnis believes that there is a natural crossover between the passions one strives to achieve professionally, and those that are soulfully drawn upon to give back personally. It is from this combination of passions, that McInnis believes he can inspire others to truly see the difference.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
John Harline is a Founder, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer for Elysian Capital Holdings, LLC. He drives the strategic direction and operational performance of the organization and its subsidiaries, while creating the vision and leading the company in its efforts. Mr. Harline is responsible for the creative vision and substantive content produced by Elysian and its subsidiaries, and manages the entirety of Elysian’s digital content. Most recently, Mr. Harline is a Founder and Platform Architect of Elysian Capital Holding’s newest online technological investment platform – The High Net Worth Exchange (HNWX). This innovative, membership-only platform is designed to connect affluent investors with top-tier investment sponsors. With over 25 years of sales distribution experience, Mr. Harline began his career as a National Sales Manager and Senior Vice President for The ING Group. He later became the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Investments, Mutual Funds and Variable Annuities for Transamerica Capital Management. Mr. Harline later joined Vertical Capital Markets Group, LLC as an Executive Vice President and National Sales Manager. Mr. Harline earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University, with an emphasis in Marketing, and has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of California, Irvine. He maintains FINRA Series 6, 26 and 63 registrations.
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ABOUT ELYSIAN CAPITAL HOLDINGS, LLC…
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