Business and Innovation Generosity Global

Creating change on a global scale

New Zealander Regan Hillyer. Photo: Dan Childs, 222 Photographic Studios.
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About five years ago, Regan Hillyer was sitting in a “sweet, beautiful” villa in Bali, surrounded by people she loved and with everything she needed.

There was a part of me that still felt empty,”

the twenty-nine-year-old New Zealander says.

She started asking questions, such as how to create change on a global scale.

The personal brand she launched about a year later, Regan Hillyer International, provides personal development and business training. Regan has now trained thousands of people, helping them build multiple six or seven figure, location-free businesses.

Her online company earns USD nine million a year, employs 35 people in 11 countries and partners with organisations to bring change, including educating children in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos.

Such philanthropy is now part of her company, lifestyle and happiness.

Asked why she became a philanthropist, she replies, “I really believe giving and impact and contribution is at the core of being happy and fulfilled.

“The more I give and the more I contribute…it feels really good.”

Becoming philanthropic

While in New Zealand spending Christmas with her family and visiting clients, Regan spoke with the Daily Encourager from her Queenstown home.

Thinking back to that moment on the Indonesian island of Bali, she says that her questions resulted in a time of journaling, meditating and “going within for the answers”.

She’d pondered,

What am I put here to do?”

Regan concluded that she wanted to impact people on a global scale, through the internet. Contributing to individuals and foundations would be incorporated into this.

She’d already started a mindset coaching business. Regan says she’d been hiding behind what she was doing; harbouring fears, including that she was too young. She realised this needed to change and decided to launch her own personal brand.

“I’m going to speak my truth…and stand for who I really am.”

The Victoria University of Wellington architecture graduate then “went down a big path”, figuring out how to grow a brand online in a way that would help others and be fun.

The result was a company with employees living in 11 countries. The brand doesn’t have an office and staff are “location-free”. She says this is meaningful to her; helping others create a life of freedom.

Profits from the business send hundreds of children to school each year. This year, it’s partnering with Pencils of Promise to give more than 2,500 pupils quality education in Ghana, Guatamala and Laos.

A teacher educates students in Guatemala, with the help of Pencils of Promise. Photo: Lauren Smith

Regan’s philanthropy provides access to quality education, has built three schools in India and offers company scholarships worth USD 500,000 in training and mentoring to youth anywhere in the world.

Giving a little 

Regan defines a philanthropist as “someone that’s really contributing and impacting the world in a selfless way”.

For those who don’t have millions to donate, she recommends automatically giving a percentage of what they earn to something they care about. This could be 5, 10, 25 or any per cent. For those who can’t manage this, they can contribute time or energy.

Considering philanthropy’s benefits for society generally, Regan says that rather than talking, hoping, dreaming or praying about changing the world, philanthropists are changing it.

“Every little bit counts,” she says.

This female student and her classmates in Ghana are assisted by Pencils of Promise. Photo: Nick Onken

“If every person reading this thought, ‘how can I contribute in 2019?’…it all adds up and every little piece counts.”

When asked what money brings her personally, Regan says she views it as an amplifier. If someone is greedy and narcissistic, then money amplifies these traits. Personally, money amplifies her joy, fun and impact.

The former Auckland schoolgirl doesn’t have a fixed abode. For the past three years, she’s been travelling the world with her company. Descriptions such as “global citizen” or “digital nomad” fit.

I’ll always be a Kiwi at the end of the day.”

She believes many aspects of being a New Zealander have contributed to her success, including the ability to communicate with a warm heart. She says this attracts people to want to be around someone and learn from them.

“[Kiwis] feel like people people. I feel like that Kiwi essence has made a really big impact in business.”

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For more information:

About Pencils of Promise click here.

More about Regan click here.

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