Discovering a Mission Beyond the Mountain

Gary Vogel, CEO of Hi-Tec, was more than just a hiker prepping for an adventure; he had a cause in mind. Introduced to the Be The Difference Foundation through Hi-Tec’s Corporate Social Investment program, he soon realized the potential for creating real-world impact. This was particularly evident during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, where he saw firsthand the powerful work the Foundation was doing to provide for those most affected.

    Pictured above: Hi-Tec CEO, Gary Vogel

The Catalyst: A Conversation That Changed Everything

A chat with the first South African to summit K2 was a game-changer for Gary. This wasn’t about setting a personal best or a cool summit selfie. It was about channeling the energy and resources going into this expedition for a greater cause. When the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro came, he was quick to say yes, fully backed by his family. He thought it would be a missed opportunity if all the effort didn’t translate into something more impactful for the community.


The Summit Experience: More Than Just a Climb

Gary’s climb was far from easy. Navigating through altitude sickness, he faced headaches that he likened to “the size of the Statue of Liberty.” One particularly challenging moment was at the ‘kissing rock,’ a precarious position on the ascent where a single misstep could be disastrous. It was then he realized Kilimanjaro was no “Mickey Mouse mountain.”

Pictured above: Mount Everest

Lasting Impact and Next Steps

“The struggle to go up makes the summit even more special,” he notes. With the fundraising goal met, Gary is optimistic. He believes it will set off a domino effect of positive change. Four bright girls will get to go to school, and when they graduate, they’re expected to pay it forward, creating a lasting, exponential impact.

Pictured above: Mount Everest sunset

How You Can Join the Journey and a Friendly Challenge to Fellow CEOs

Feeling inspired by Gary’s commitment? You too can dedicate your next hike, or any adventure, to Be The Difference Foundation. In doing so, you’re not just getting those boots muddy; you’re laying the groundwork for education and opportunities for future generations.

To the CEOs reading this: we know you’re already doing remarkable work. Here’s a friendly challenge to add a dash of fun and philanthropy to your leadership. Gary has shown that influence can extend beyond the boardroom and into communities in need. Why not use your role for additional good? Lead by example, make a commitment to raise funds, and let’s create an even more positive change together.


View Gary’s campaign here:


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South Africa’s leading crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy has supported more than 10 000+ individuals and charities in setting up fundraising campaigns for medical fees, tuition and various causes in South Africa. The platform has thus far risen over R420 Million.