Speakers

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 of 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.

Sarah Dandashy

Award-Winning Travel Concierge and Travel Expert, Ask a Concierge

Sarah Dandashy is a verified travel expert, author, and TV personality with over 18 years of luxury hotel experience. Sought out for her travel tips, advice, and knowledge of trends from the “frontlines of travel,” Sarah pivoted her career from being an award-winning concierge to traveling the globe working with some of the leading brands in the travel industry. Follow her on social media under her brand, “Ask A Concierge,” or catch her on the news breaking down the latest in the travel on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, or Chedder News. Sarah has been featured in numerous publications from the New York Times, Nerdwallet, Business Insider, USNews, Reader’s Digest, and Thrillist, and she is the author of the book, Hospitality From Within.

Angel Castellanos

World Travel Expert, Writer/TV Host AngelsTravelLounge.com

Angel Castellanos, (www.AngelsTravelLounge.com) is a passionate world traveler, travel writer, influencer, multi-media personality and nationally recognized speaker dedicated to helping people travel smart, well and often. Traveling to over 85 countries on 5 continents (and counting), Angel travels 12-14 weeks internationally each year and draws on his experience and frequent travels to teach “Smart Travel” and equip travelers with the skills they need to make travel easy and enjoyable. He bridges the gap between the practical, common sense advice he’s learned by traveling the world and the new savvy tips and experiences that have helped his generation revolutionize travel. Angel has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Fox News, Univision, Frommers Radio, USA Today & Travel & Adventure Show as “America’s Newest Travel Expert”.
Since you’ve last seen Angel, he has visited The Philippines, Colombia, Honduras, Singapore, Laos, UK, France, Ireland, Italy, Bosnia, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
His favorite travel memories include camel trekking in the Sahara, traveling overland by train from Beijing to London, Horse trekking in Mongolia, Hot Air Ballooning in Laos and sailing down the Nile River.
When not in Italy or Paris, Angel is home in Pasadena, California where he is a proud volunteer with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.

Spiff Chambers

Tourism Sales Manager, Alaska Land and Sea Adventures

Originally from the Midwest, Spiff just celebrated his 20th anniversary as an Alaskan! He followed a girl the 49th State for a summer job in 2001, and never left. He enjoys fishing, camping, and attending Alaskan music festivals. With a passion for the region, and over 15 years of experience working in the Alaskan tourism industry, Spiff knows what it takes to book a memorable Alaskan vacation!

Joe Docal

Director of Travel Industry Sales, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

Joe Docal is Director of Travel Industry Sales at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Joe is a 30+ year travel industry veteran having started his career in the car rental industry, then moving onto the cruise industry where he worked at Cunard Line, Seabourn Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line and Costa Crociere before joining the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2016. At the Greater Miami CVB, he has been responsible for working the team of global representatives of the GMCVB, tour operators and travel advisors in key domestic and international markets.

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.

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.

Lauren Green

Director of Business Development, Viking Cruises

Lauren Green is the Director of Business Development for New England and Upstate New York for Viking. A proud graduate of the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science in Animal and Food Sciences, Lauren tapped into her passion for travel after volunteering in Costa Rica and Nicaragua during her collegiate years. Since then, she has worked as a travel advisor for a full-service agency and most recently was a Business Development Manager for two other cruise lines. During her time at Viking, Lauren has found true joy in cultivating once in a lifetime memories for travelers aboard this award-winning fleet.

Russell Hannon

Ultra-Economical Travel Expert, Break the Travel Barrier

Once feeling unable to afford to travel, Russell Hannon uses lean principles to travel at a fraction of the going rate. He has been on CNBC, FOX, CBS, USA Today, Women’s World, Around the World Travel TV, and nationally broadcast lifestyle and personal finance shows. Russell worked as a CBC Budget Travel Columnist, founded BreakTheTravelBarrier.com, and is the author of ‘Stop Dreaming… Start Traveling: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling More & Spending Less.’

Anthony Iozzia

Regional Sales Director – Northeast, New England, Eastern Canada, Atlas Ocean Voyages

On January 5th I celebrated my 30th anniversary in the travel industry where much of my time was spent focusing on small ship cruising. I have had the incredible opportunity to visit over 45 counties on all 7 continents.

Anne Lischwe

Travel Manager, AAA Travel

An avid traveler with more than 35 countries and 48 states under her belt, Anne brings her passion for exploring to AAA members, helping more people get out there and learn about the world. Keeping one eye on the trends and one hand on her luggage, she is always ready to plan the next adventure.

Mari Masuda

Senior Director of Trade & Promotions, Tahiti Tourisme

Mari began working at Tahiti Tourisme North America more than 20 years ago and has since worked in many areas of the organization and currently oversees the trade, promotions, and incentives. She has traveled to French Polynesia more than 25 times and has visited 16 of the 118 islands that comprise The Islands of Tahiti. Mari loves The Islands of Tahiti as it reminds her of growing up in Hawaii as a kid. Tahiti has become one of her favorite places and she has even brought home a little piece of the islands in the form of a puppy that she aptly named her Poé which means pearl in Tahitian.

Rudy Maxa

Rudy Maxa

Travel Journalist & Broadcaster

Rudy Maxa is well known as public radio’s “Savvy Traveler” and was an award-winning contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler magazine for 17 years. He’s been a contributing editor to Delta’s SKY magazine and Artful Living, the Twin Cities’ lifestyle magazine. He’s also the voice of National Geographic Traveler’s “Walks of a Lifetime” podcasts and co-hosts America’s most widely-syndicated travel radio show, “RMWorldTravel with Rudy Maxa and Robert & Mary Carey,” that airs weekly on 385+ news/talk stations in North America and via its own TuneIn.com channel 24/7/365.
As a writer for Traveler, Maxa’s articles have earned him two Lowell Thomas Awards for Excellence in Travel Writing from the Society of American Travel Writers. He’s contributed travel articles to GQ, Worth, Forbes, Modern Maturity, USAToday, the Washington Post, Town & Country Travel, the Los Angeles Times, as well as USAToday.com, MSNBC.com, and ABC.com. He’s a frequent guest on national television networks and shows, including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and “The View.” And he speaks frequently to both public and industry groups.
Episodes of the “Rudy Maxa’s World” television series have garnered dozens of awards, including five regional Emmy Awards. He was named “best regular columnist” by the Florida Magazine Association for his columns in Ocean Drive magazine. And as a Washington Post reporter, his investigative reporting was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and he won the John Hancock Award for Excellence in Business and Financial Journalism for a series of stories unmasking an international Ponzi scheme.
Following 11 years at the Post, he was a senior writer and columnist at Washingtonian, the city magazine in the nation’s capital. His alma mater, Ohio University, gave Maxa the L.J. Hortin “Distinguished Alumnus Award” in 2002. He is the author of two non-fiction books.

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.

Kim Riddle

Business Development Manager, US, Aruba Tourism Authority

A veteran of the travel industry with over 30 years of experience; Kim Riddle is no stranger to Aruba, beginning her relationship with One Happy Island back in 1990 while working with Tour Operator companies.
Shortly after the birth of her twins in 1997, Kim made the transition to the Aruba Tourism Authority taking with her a deep love for Aruba as well as a strong dedication to both travel advisors and her fellow team members. That combination of commitment and enthusiasm has led her to her current role as the Business Development Manager for the US.
When not busy serving travel counselors, Kim enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Beth Santos

Founder and CEO, Wanderful

Beth Santos is founder and CEO of Wanderful, a global community that connects over 40,000 women together through events in 50 global cities, an international homesharing network, dynamic online content and forums, and inspired, focused campaigns with international travel brands. She is the creator and host of the Women in Travel Summit, a leading event for women travel influencers and industry members, happening on two continents each year, and co-founder of #AtTheTable, a national dinner series and community for female founders. She is a graduate of the Kellogg School of Management and Wellesley College, and is an acclaimed thought leader in entrepreneurship and travel. She lives in Boston.

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.