Speakers

Kenric T. Brooks Sr.

Owner of Country Boy Travels LLC

Where should I start? Since this is a travel page, I will start from the beginning. People always ask, when did you start traveling? Well, I can say that I always remember traveling. We would always travel to the family farm on the weekends or the beach every summer. I joined the boy scouts; we also traveled to different campsites and states. Some of my fondest memories as a child were at places I have traveled. There were terrific memories from outdoor activities to beaches.
The love for travel continued throughout my military career. I lived in Germany for over three years. While there, I took a trip to Pairs from Germany. Driving along the countryside. Beautiful green fields and vineyards in the distance. Paris, the place where my love for food flourished.
In 2018, after retiring from the military and working in the private sector for two years. I suffered a mental break. I was in search of myself. Within the last five years, I experienced several significant life-changing events. It was then that I turned back to travel. In 2018 I started my journey to travel to all 206 countries and territories. And like everyone, 2020 happened. 2020 has helped me realize the genuine connection we have to each other and the need to feed that connection with family, friends, and experiences. I’m more determined than ever to see this journey, though.
I am on a long and challenging process of personal change and development. Unpredictably, I travel through unfamiliar countries to learn about or familiarize myself with the culture and share the experience with others. I intend to connect with the people who have been dispersed from their original homeland to understand the connection with the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of the particular nation.

Petra Brennan

Director of Tourism Business Enhancement/Multicultural Tourism Development

Petra Brennan is the Director of the Tourism Business Enhancement Program for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (GMCVB) Multicultural Tourism & Development Department. At the GMCVB, she manages this program working with small businesses and stakeholders in tandem with hospitality industry suppliers and partners to support tourism opportunities and small business capacity. The Tourism Business Enhancement Program (TBE) advocates, supports and strengthens multicultural communities’ economic sustainability and access to heritage-related businesses within the Greater Miami & Miami Beaches. Through these program efforts Miami’s multicultural communities, attractions and events are heightened creating a viable opportunity for local businesses and an enhanced experience for visitors. Petra also leads the GMCVB Multicultural Tourism & Development art program, Art of Black Miami. This marketing initiative highlights the diversity of the artistic and cultural landscape found in Miami’s heritage neighborhoods and communities year-round throughout Greater Miami and Miami Beaches.

Samantha Brown

Host, PBS’s Samantha Brown’s Places to Love

Travel expert and television host Samantha Brown has been hosting TV travel programs for 20 years. During her time at Travel Channel she created 10 original international and domestic travel series generating over 170 hours of television. In 2017 Samantha moved from the Travel Channel to PBS and Season 1 of her new series Samantha Brown’s Places to Love premiered in January, 2018. In Places to Love, Samantha features the destinations, experiences and most importantly the people that make us the traveler feel like we belong to a place. Season 3 will begin airing on PBS in January 2020 and features destinations like Florida Keys, New Zealand, Miami, Budapest, Dallas and Vienna.
Samantha is known for getting to the emotional heart of travel by focusing on the people, their culture, and the privilege of spending time in their everyday lives. Viewers passionately follow Samantha and her expert advice not only because of her experience and knowledge, but also because of her warmth, genuineness and love for travel.
Samantha grew up in New Hampshire and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and 7 year old twins Ellis and Elizabeth.

Carmen Carbonell

President, Your Own Italy

Carmen Carbonell is founder and President of Your Own Italy. Carmen was born in the United States, where she obtained a degree in Architecture. Following college, she married an Italian and moved to Rome, where she raised 4 sons. She also developed a passionate love for Italy – its art, its architecture, its cities, its countryside, its culture and cuisines, and its people.
Now, after nearly 30 years living in Italy, Carmen wants to share her love for Italy with American travelers who want more than a standard tour…travelers who want to experience the real Italy, with the heart and soul of the nature and its people. She founded Your Own Italy as a boutique tour company that will provide private tours that take travelers deep into Italy’s heart and soul, with vacation packages that will be memorable for life, and shore excursions that will give tour ship guests a unique day in Rome, Florence, Venice or the Amalfi Coast. –
The team works with boutique hotels, tested and proven restaurants, historic sites, museums, basilicas, plus individuals and tours that meet Your Own Italy’s standards – standards virtually guaranteed to ensure that Your Own Italy vacation or shore excursion will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience you will remember forever. And long to repeat with your new friends in Italy, Your Own Italy.

Julian Douglas

Travel Writer, Photographer  and Experience Curator, Listen, Journey, Savor

“Listen, Journey, Savor with Julian Douglas”… is exactly what he asks of his family, friends and especially his readers to do with him.
As an experienced traveler, Julian has traversed the globe since he was a child. From treasured moments with his flight attendant mother growing up, to his years in the music industry, to just vacationing with his wife Nicole for pleasure. It has all inspired Julian to write about his passions for music, food and especially his love of travel.

Tia Froehle

Tourism Sales Manager, Visit Anchorage

As a lifelong Alaskan, Tia Froehle knows her home like the back of her hand. Her love for the outdoors and adventure has allowed her to explore this amazing state of Alaska and wants you to experience it too! From fishing for the next big one, exploring our many hiking trails in the Chugach Mountains, playing golfing under the midnight sun, enjoying a cold local craft beer to downhill skiing and fat tire biking in the winter, Tia can help make your dream Alaska adventure a reality!

Pauline Frommer

Editorial Director of the Frommer’s Guides & Publisher of Frommers.com

Pauline Frommer is co-President of Frommer Media, LLC, with her father, travel legend Arthur Frommer. Together, they publish America’s most popular series of travel guidebooks, the Frommer guides, as well as Frommers.com, a website that welcomes more than 3 million unique users per month. She is also a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and she pens an internationally syndicated newspaper column on travel for King Features. You may recognize her face as Pauline created weekly travel segments for CNN’s Headline News for 3 years. She’s also appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, NPR’s Marketplace and Talk of the Nation, CNN, FOX, MSNBC and every local news station you can name. She was the founding editor of Frommers.com and edited MSNBC.com’s travel section for two years. Pauline is the proud mother of two well-traveled daughters and wife to Columbia University professor Mahlon Stewart.

Peter Greenberg

Emmy Award-Winning Investigative Reporter and Producer and CBS News Travel Editor

A multiple Emmy-winning investigative reporter and producer, Peter Greenberg is America’s most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. Known in the travel industry as “The Travel Detective,” he is the Travel Editor for CBS News, appearing on CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News and CBS Sunday Morning. And his national CBS EYE ON TRAVEL radio show is broadcast from a different location around the world each week.
The consummate insider on reporting the travel business as news, Peter Greenberg also hosts the weekly public television show The Travel Detective with Peter Greenberg. And, for more than 20 years, Greenberg has produced and hosted The Royal Tour, historic, precedent-setting shows, where sitting heads of state become Greenberg’s tour guide for very personal journeys to and through their countries, for one hour global prime time specials. The Royal Tours range from King Abdullah in Jordan to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the President of Mexico, the Prime Minister of Israel, the President of Rwanda and many others.
Travel Weekly named Peter Greenberg one of the most influential people in travel, along with Bill Marriott and Sir Richard Branson. He was inducted into the U.S. Travel Association’s Hall of Leaders for his contributions to the travel industry. Among his other honors, Peter Greenberg received a News & Documentary Emmy Award as part of the NBC News Dateline team for outstanding coverage of a breaking news story, “Miracle on the Hudson.”
Peter Greenberg began his career in journalism as West Coast correspondent for Newsweek in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He won a national Emmy Award for Best Investigative Reporting for the ABC 20/20 special on the final orphan flight out of Vietnam, “What Happened to the Children?” He also is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, and an Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Aviation Space Writers Association of America.
And when he is not reporting all over the world, Greenberg is an active volunteer fireman in New York.

Ryan Hahn

Ryan Hahn, Founder Bucket List Tour Guide

Ryan Hahn is an international tour guide and certified travel agent specializing in personalized tours, vacations, cruises, and experiences. He has lead tours in dozens of countries on 4 continents. Ryan has done it all when it comes to touring and can speak of personal travel experiences gleaned from his many journeys all over the world. Since he is also a full-service travel agent, Ryan has vast experience in all aspects of travel. It would be his pleasure to offer services and help with your special vacation and event. “I want my guests to discover something about themselves they didn’t know before they traveled!”

Jared Kamrowski

Founder, Thrifty Traveler

Jared Kamrowski is the founder of Thrifty Traveler, the leading source for flight deals, cheap travel tips, and learning how to maximize travel rewards. Jared honed his travel skills by traveling over 100 nights a year as a CPA. He left his job in 2017 and now runs Thrifty Traveler full time flying over 100,000 miles per year. You can catch him flying the fanciest first-class cabins as well as budget airlines, paying only pennies on the dollar. He resides with his wife Erica in Minneapolis, MN.

Andrew McCarthy

Award-Winning Travel Writer, Actor and Director

Andrew speaks about his personal journey and how travel and self-reflection changed his life. Aside from his successful acting and directing careers, he is now a successful writer and editor at large for National Geographic Traveler. He discusses fear of the unknown, taking the time to enjoy the precious moments in life, pushing yourself to try new things, and looking at the world with new eyes. Best known for his acting career and starring roles in St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, Mannequin, and Weekend at Bernie’s, he has a successful Broadway career and is currently a highly regarded director. Current projects include hit series’ Orange is the New Black, Turn, and The Blacklist. He returned to acting in ABC’s 2016 hit, The Family. His debut novel for young readers, Just Fly Away was published in March 2017.

Nick Serati

Co-Founder, Thrifty Traveler

Nick Serati is the co-founder of Thrifty Traveler, the leading source for flight deals, cheap travel tips, and learning how to maximize travel rewards. In a previous life, Nick worked in software consulting which required extensive time on the road. He developed a passion for maximizing hotel and airline loyalty programs and using credit cards to travel the world for pennies on the dollar. He left his job in 2018 to run Thrifty Traveler full time with founder Jared Kamrowski, where he now travels over 75,000 miles each year. Nick resides in Minneapolis, MN with his wife Abbey and daughter Elin

Ciska Siertsema

Sales and Marketing

Ciska Siertsema is a sales and marketing professional with 15 years of experience. She attended the University of Georgia, earning a degree in Advertising and completing her Spanish minor abroad in Valencia, Spain.
Shortly after graduating, she began working with the Diageo spirits portfolio as South-East Tequila Brand Ambassador. Representing the Don Julio and Jose Cuervo brands, she grew the business thru account activations, brand programming and educating trade on the unique backstories learned first-hand at distilleries in The Netherlands, Mexico, Scotland, and Guatemala.
After successfully developing the South-East market, Ciska moved to Miami, FL to join Diageo’s Global Travel Retail team as Senior Sales and Marketing Specialist where she spent the next 8 years collaborating closely with cruise line executives and managing relationships shoreside and shipboard. She oversaw the development and execution of strategic initiatives that led to sustained growth, increased profitability, and market share.
In her most recent role as Cruise Manager, Ciska spent 2 years as part of Edrington Americas Travel Retail team where she leveraged her in-depth industry knowledge to transform Edrington’s spirits portfolio shipboard. She focused heavily on consumer engagement programs, creative guest experiences, and growing the luxury cruise segment for The Macallan Scotch brand. Her love for the industry is credited to having had the great pleasure of visiting and working on board 100+ ships over a span of 10 years.
Having lived in Italy at a young age and being of Colombian and Dutch descent, she is inspired by travel, connecting people, places, and cultures so she is thrilled to be joining Holland America Line.
Ciska currently resides in Atlanta, where outside of work, you can find her on a hike with friends, playing sports or reading a great book!

Ken Sloan

President & CEO, Visit Oconee, SC

Ken Sloan is the President & CEO of Visit Oconee South Carolina where he leads Oconee County’s marketing and tourism efforts. In 2011, he won the prestigious Southeast Tourism Society’s Shining Example Award for the best-performing tourism bureau in the southeast US. He serves on several Boards including the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce, Oconee Economic Alliance, SC Nature-Based Tourism Society, SC Travel and Tourism Coalition, Friends of Jocassee, and the Southeast Tourism Society.
Before starting Visit Oconee, Ken founded the Jocassee Outdoor Center on Lake Jocassee where he started an outdoor adventure business that included guided lake tours to Lake Jocassee’s waterfalls, boat rentals, hiking tours, kayak instruction, and tours and provided world-class guided Trout fishing. Ken lives on Lake Keowee and has a passion for the outdoors where he spends most of his spare time hiking to waterfalls, boating on Lake Jocassee and Lake Keowee, mountain biking, white water paddling on the Chattooga River, and fly fishing on the Chattooga and Chauga Rivers.

Steve Wellmeier

Managing Director, Poseidon Expeditions USA

A 30-year veteran of the expedition cruise industry, Steve has actively been involved in polar expedition cruising since 1997. This includes five years as Executive Director of IAATO, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators. In that capacity, he represented the Antarctica tourism industry, helping to ensure best practices and environmental stewardship by all Antarctic tour operators. A resident of Providence, Rhode Island since 2005, Steve currently manages the North American office of Poseidon Expeditions, which he opened in 2014.

Nicholas Keith Wisdom

Marketing Representative, The Islands of The Bahamas

Nicholas was born and raised in Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia.  He received a BA in Business Marketing from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.
He has been employed with The Ministry of Tourism Investments and Aviation for a little over five years. I’ve enjoyed the travel, networking, and most of all representing my country abroad.  He works every day to increase the awareness and strength of The Bahamian Tourism product in all the states of the southeastern region and beyond. The Bahamas should be known as the premier travel destination in the Caribbean.