Backroads Announces Next Generation of Leadership with Avery Hale Smith Named Executive Vice President; Sean Harrington Assumes Role as Chief Operating Officer

New Executive Team Expands Offering of New Women’s Adventures to include Biking and Multi-Adventure, as Previously Released Women’s Hiking & Walking Trips Reach 50% Capacity
October 11, 2023
Berkeley, CA

Backroads, the leader in active travel, today announced an expansion of its top management with the promotion of Avery Hale Smith to Executive Vice President. Hale Smith joined Backroads in 2020 to head up the Sales and Guest Experience departments after previous leadership roles in new business development and customer experience at EVERFI and ClearPoint Strategy. Her adventurous spirit and uncompromising values—both traits she inherited from her entrepreneurial father, Backroads Founder, President and CEO Tom Hale—flourished and matured throughout her childhood and are helping to drive innovation across the company. “I've been lucky enough to grow up alongside Backroads and watch its evolution over time,” said Hale Smith. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with my dad, learning from him and helping guide Backroads into the future as we continue to grow and strive for excellence in all areas of the company.” 
Rounding out the new executive team is Sean Harrington, who assumes the role of Chief Operating Officer after having previously been with the company as a Trip Leader. Harrington brings his expertise in the travel industry as well as successes in business development, technology solutions, sales and general management after serving in executive positions at Fortune 500 corporations and high-growth technology companies. “My passion has always centered on active travel, and returning to Backroads truly feels like coming home,” said Harrington. “I'm excited to work alongside Tom and Avery and the entire executive team, applying the insights I've garnered from beyond the travel sector.”
The addition of Hale Smith and Harrington adds depth to a visionary leadership team at a time of unprecedented growth for the company. Both Hale Smith and Harrington report directly to Tom Hale.
As Backroads ushers in a new era of creativity and management, it celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2024 with the rollout of over 30 new trips, which include departures to new regions, as well as Dolce Tempo Family Trips and recently launched Women’s Adventures. Following the overwhelming positive feedback received upon the initial release of women-only Walking & Hiking trips, the company added Biking and Multi-Adventure Trips to the new offering. 
“In 1979, when I walked away from a promising environmental planning career at age 26 to bike around the Western United States, little did I know that the bike touring company I conceived of during that 5,000-mile ride would become what Backroads is today,” said Backroads Founder, President and CEO Tom Hale. “Since that time, Backroads has evolved from bicycle touring to a full-scale adventure travel company. It has been a journey, and if I’ve learned anything over the years at the helm of Backroads, it’s that journeys are best shared with others. Avery joined Backroads at the same age I was when I started the company, and I’m thrilled that she has chosen to accompany me on the continued adventure that is Backroads, creating amazing experiences and introducing the wonders of active travel to more people.”  
Backroads’ collection of more than 30 new trips— including Denmark Islands, Finland Northern Lights, Portugal’s Azores, Madrid to Valencia, Tasmania, Turkey and Women’s Adventures —are all available for immediate booking. For the complete list of Backroads trips and for more information, visit or call 800-462-2848.
About Backroads
Backroads was founded in 1979 by Tom Hale and has been a leading innovator in active and adventure travel for over 40 years. Guests join Backroads to bike, hike, and so much more—on expertly planned active adventures highlighting the unique character of each destination. The company offers multiple ways to go active: Biking, Walking & Hiking and Multi-Adventure tours; Active Ocean & River Cruises, Safari, Culinary and Snow Adventures; and Dolce Tempo trips for travel at a more relaxed pace. Backroads also offers Private Trips, Women’s Adventures and Family Trips designed for three distinct age groups: Families with Teens & Kids (best for ages 9+), Families with Older Teens & 20s (one or more kids age 17+) and Families with Adult Kids 20s & Beyond (one or more kids age 20+). Repeat guests and referrals from past guests make up many of the travelers that Backroads hosts each year in hundreds of locations across the globe. For more information, please visit or call 800-462-2848.


Backroads Media Contact      

Liz Einbinder