COO, Go Touch Down Travel and Tours, African Travel Specialist
Deon Barnard is the COO for Go Touch Down, African Travel Specialists. He oversees the Sales and Marketing operations in the USA, Canada, and Indonesia.
Born and raised in South Africa, Deon and his family have been living in Sarasota, Florida since 2009. He is extremely knowledgeable not only about his native South Africa, but also about destinations across the globe and how best to navigate to, from and within them; however, going on Safari remains his first and favorite love.
Deon has been immersed in the travel industry since 1988. As COO of Go Touch Down, he has attained his vision of developing affordable, inclusive, and award-winning tours of South Africa. Tours leave weekly year-round and include daily excursions, must-see attractions, and value for money. “South African vacations are filled with lifetime memories; we simply made it very affordable for everyone,” he says.
Husband, father and business leader, Deon is also a passionate speaker and skilled trainer. He draws from his roots plus experience in business and in life to show us not what can be done, but more importantly why it should be done. His enthusiasm is contagious, and his compelling talks are energy-infused and laced with sharp wit and unexpected humor.
Executive Chef, Ultreia
For a chef who got into the restaurant business on a whim, Adam Branz has certainly made a name for himself.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Branz was raised in Breese, Illinois and has spent most of his life in the Midwest and Mountain West. He attended Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois before moving to Le Cordon Bleu St. Louis and graduating at the top of his class.
Branz and his wife Lauren moved to Denver, so she could attend law school at The University of Denver. He has worked in the three restaurants owned by James Beard Best Chef Southwest Jennifer Jasinski and her business partner Beth Gruitch settling in at Bistro Vendôme where he was named chef de cuisine in 2014. Late 2017 finds Branz in the kitchen at the new Ultreia in Denver’s Historic Union Station featuring the foods of Spain and Portugal.
Branz’s culinary inspirations come from those he has worked with such as Chef Jen and Jorel Pierce, Gabriel Rucker and Corey Lee and those he would love to someday cook with – Daniel Boulud, Michael Ruhlman and Joël Robuchon. Branz cites Rucker’s Le Pigeon as a favorite cookbook demonstrating playful interpretations of French cuisine.
After shift, you’ll find Branz at Nallens, a local Irish pub. On his days off, you might try Lao Wang Noodle House where he (and everyone else in Denver) enjoys the Xiao Long Bao dumplings. He lives in south Denver with his wife Lauren, their two children Bella and Arlo and their two pups.
Ann Marie Brown
author of Moon Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon
The first time Ann Marie Brown visited Yosemite, she was immediately inspired by the Valley’s sheer granite walls, shimmering waterfalls, and unbelievable vistas. Now she hikes, camps, and bikes more than 150 days each year, spending many of those doing the research for Moon Yosemite & Kings Canyon, and shares her expert insight on this stunning park.
Travel Video Journalist + TV Personality, TravelingJules
Juliana Broste, “TravelingJules,” is an Emmy award-winning Travel Video Journalist, a producer, shooter, writer, editor and host. Whether you spot her in front of the camera or behind the lens, you’ll recognize this fierce female filmmaker sporting pink lipstick and an armful of camera gear! Jules creates engaging travel video content for travel brands, media outlets, and her travel vlog. Her adventures have taken her around the globe, from ski slopes in Colorado to volcanos in Hawaii to street food stalls in South Korea. Her work has been featured on CNN, Travel Channel, Lonely Planet, USA TODAY, Viator and more! Jules’s mission is to share amazing “things to do” around the world and inspire travelers to discover new experiences and document them, too. Come along for the adventure with TravelingJules on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Tourism Development and Sales Manager
Dawn Campbell – As a lifelong Alaskan, Dawn Campbell has been enjoying Alaska’s vast wilderness for over 40 years. From fishing, kayaking, and boating in the rivers, lakes, and oceans, to hunting, hiking, berry-picking, and biking in the mountains, tundra and trails, Dawn certainly has an appetite for adventure. All of this is within reach from Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, where Dawn has raised three daughters and is happy to call her home. In addition to enjoying the outdoors, Dawn has been playing string bass professionally with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra for the past 24 years. There really is something for everyone in Anchorage!
World Traveler, Travel Expert, Writer, AngelsTravelLounge.com
Angel Castellanos, (www.AngelsTravelLounge.com) is a passionate world traveler, travel writer, influencer and nationally recognized speaker dedicated to help people travel smart, well and often. He has over 15 years of experience in the travel industry as a tour guide, retailer, buyer, travel consultant and brand consultant. Traveling to over 55 countries on 5 continents (and counting), Angel travels 8-10 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 has 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”. Most recently, Angel completed an around-the-world trip by traveling over 9,000 km overland by train from Beijing to London.
Journalist, Founder/CEO Travel to Wellness, Program Director of the Travel & Adventure Show’s new Wellness Travel Experience, and Co-Founder of the new Wellness Tourism Association
Founder and CEO of TravelToWellness.com, launched in 2004 as a resource and online magazine for the wellness-minded traveler, Anne Dimonhas been a professional travel writer and industry journalist since the early 1990s.
Prior to launching Travel to Wellness and her life as a journalist, Anne was president of her own public relations company specializing in hospitality.
As President of the newly established Wellness Tourism Association, she will help the non-profit organization fulfill its Mission to support and further the growth and development of this expanding travel sector.
Anne is considered a wellness travel expert and is often asked to speak and/or consult on the subject. Since May of 2017, she has been working with Unicomm to create the Wellness Travel Experience in four cities in 2018 – Chicago, Denver, LA and Washington, DC.
Family Travel Expert, TV Personality www.juliadimon.com
Julia Dimon is an adventure family travel writer and on-air TV travel personality who has traveled around the world, to over 80 countries.
She is the co-host of Word Travels, a 40-episode TV series about the real lives of travel writers, broadcast worldwide on National Geographic Adventure, Travel Channel UK in over 100 countries and 21 languages.
Julia has been featured as a travel expert by CNN, ABC Nightline, New York Times, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel & Leisure, Forbes Traveler, MSNBC, E! News, Outside Magazine, Travel Channel, among other major outlets. She is the author of a book called “Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel,” featuring tried-and-true travel tips and advice for young women looking to explore the world.
Julia has done it all – from hiking with mountain gorillas in Uganda, to touring radioactive Chernobyl, to snacking on live slugs in the jungles Venezuela….but now her biggest adventure of all. Parenting on-the-go, traveling with two kids under three. Julia’s website aims to empower likeminded parents to get out of their comfort zones and explore the world with their children.
Author: Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel
author of Moon Rock Mountain National Park
Expert hiker and camper, Erin English lives for the next adventure. After she moved to Colorado fourteen years ago, Rocky Mountain National Park became her go-to place for fresh air and solitude. Now the author of Moon Rocky Mountain National Park, Erin shares her love of Rocky’s lakes, waterfalls, trails, wildlife, and secluded backcountry campsites.
author of Moon Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Jason Frye, author of Moon Great Smoky Mountains National Park, grew up in the woods, coves, and hollows of Appalachia, and is an all-around outdoorsman, wandering the woods, kayaking the marshes, and even hang gliding. Join him to learn about the ins and outs of this beautiful region, and America’s most popular national park.
Emmy Award-Winning Investigative Reporter and Producer and CBS News Travel Editor
A multiple Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and producer, Peter Greenberg is Americaʼs most recognized, honored and respected front-line travel news journalist. Known in the industry as “The Travel Detective,” he is the travel editor for CBS News, appearing on CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, and Sunday Morning, among other broadcast platforms.
The consummate insider on reporting the travel business as news, Greenberg hosts the television show, “The Travel Detective with Peter Greenberg,” airing on Public Television. The series offers 42 half-hour episodes with cutting-edge travel information and insider tips you need to know before you ever leave home, plus in-depth reports on the good, bad, and yes, even ugly aspects of travel.
Greenberg also produces and co-hosts an ongoing series of acclaimed public television specials, “The Royal Tour,” featuring personal, one-on-one journeys through countries with their heads of state. Along with such figures as the King of Jordan, Prime Minister of New Zealand and presidents of Mexico and Peru, Greenbergʼs newest special features the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Among other television projects, Greenberg is creator, co-executive producer and host of CNBCʼs specials “Inside American Airlines: A Week in the Life” and “Cruise Inc: Big Money on the High Seas,” and is co-executive producer of “Baggage Battles,” airing on the Travel Channel, and The History Channelʼs two-hour special “Lost Magic.” On radio he hosts the nationally syndicated show “Peter Greenberg Worldwide,” broadcast each week from a different remote location worldwide, and is heard on hundreds of radio stations across the U.S.
Greenberg is also author of The New York Times best-selling Travel Detective series. His most recent book, The Best Places for Everything, comes in the wake of such titles as Donʼt Go There! and The Complete Travel Detective Bible. Currently editor at large of Global Business Travel magazine and a contributing writer to Watch, he has also been a featured guest on CNN, “The OʼReilly Factor,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and “The View.”
Travel Weekly named him one of the most influential people in travel, along with Bill Marriott and Richard Branson. In 2012, he was inducted into the U.S. Travel Associationʼs Hall of Leaders for his contributions to the travel industry. Among his other honors, Greenberg received a News & Documentary Emmy Award as part of the “Dateline” team for outstanding coverage of a breaking news story, “Miracle on the Hudson.”
He began his career in journalism as West Coast correspondent for Newsweek in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He won a national Emmy Award (Best Investigative Reporting) for his 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.
Greenberg is a sought-after expert speaker and moderator. He is a keynote speaker at annual summits for the World Travel and Tourism Council, the Global Business Travel Association and Virtuoso. He is also one of the chief moderators at the World Economic Forum and the Global Tourism Economic Forum. Along with a recent TED talk, he is a guest speaker at events which have been hosted by Visa, Bloomberg, AARP and numerous other B2B and B2C organizations.
His website, PeterGreenberg.com, is one of the leading travel news resources for consumers and industry insiders alike. When he is not traveling the globe, Greenberg also serves as an active volunteer firefighter in New York.
Ultra-Economical Travel Expert
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, America Tonight, the Huffington Post, Around the World Travel TV and nationally broadcast lifestyle and personal finance shows. Russell has worked as a CBC Budget Travel Columnist, is the founder of breakthetravelbarrier.com and is the author of ‘Stop Dreaming Start Traveling: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling More and Spending Less.’
author of Moon Zion & Bryce
Judy Jewell has travelled all over the American West exploring the ins and outs of Utah, Montana, Oregon, and more. Judy shares her expertise on the outdoors, as well as the hidden gems and winding trails she learned about researching Moon Zion & Bryce.
Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships & Agent Engagement, Cruise Planners
Cathy Kusuma is Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships & Agent Engagement at Cruise Planners where she and her team coordinate and manage all agent events, including new franchisee training classes, boot camps and regional meetings, as well as spearheading the company’s annual Convention – the largest training and development event of the year. Kusuma also secures exclusive value-add, training and marketing partnerships for Cruise Planners agents. Kusuma was the recipient of the 2013 Rising Star Award by Vacation Agent Magazine.
Richard Liverance, ThM, DMin
Israel Ministry of Tourism, Marketing Director, Western Region USA
Rich has traveled the world since he was a boy, exploring North America, South America, Europe, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Asia, and the Middle East; but of all the destinations where he has been, his greatest passion is for Israel. He is an ordained pastor with advanced degrees in both theology and Bible teaching, and served for more than 25 years in various churches in the United States, always impressing upon his audiences the importance of Israel to world history and the wonder of traveling there. He now serves as the US Western Regional Marketing Director for the Government of Israel Ministry of Tourism in Los Angeles.
author of Moon Glacier National Park
Expert outdoorswoman and nature journalist Becky Lomax fell in love with Glacier National Park as a child. Author of Moon Glacier National Park, Becky will share all she has learned on scenic drives, wildlife hikes, and backpacking trips throughout the park.
Director of Business Development, Viking Cruises
Reiner Marks, Director of Business Development from Viking Cruises will be our host. Reiner, born and raised in East Germany, comes to us with an extensive European hospitality background. His love for all things culinary can be traced back to the beginning of his career as a trained chef. Rising to positions of Executive Chef and Hotel Manager, he worked in a number of renowned hotel properties in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and France. He then turned to the lure of the waterways, to work on River and Ocean vessels for nearly eighteen years. He re-joined Viking Cruises in 2012 and brings with him a passion for the product, a wealth of knowledge and an undeniable level of authenticity in all his presentations.
Host of Booze Traveler on Travel Channel
A professional actor and adventurer, Jack Maxwell has learned his best lessons, stories and lighthearted jokes in the barrooms of South Boston. He has made guest appearances on hit broadcast television shows such as 24, Lost, Without a Trace and Beverly Hills 90210. Maxwell became a lifetime member of the Actors Studio in 2003, won Best Actor in a Lead Role at the 2012 Pan Pacific Film Festival and was presented with both the Emerald Star and Golden Halo award from the Southern California Motion Picture Council. Additionally, he has shared stage time with Al Pacino and Jessica Chastain in Oscar Wilde’s Salome, as well as the movie, Wilde Salome, about the making of the play.
At a young age, Maxwell made himself an entrepreneur by shining shoes in neighborhood pubs and gin mills, where he would listen to the boozy tales that echoed from above him. This early experience awakened his awareness of alcohol’s magical socializing effect.
In Travel Channel’s original series Booze Traveler, Maxwell ventures the globe to not only get a taste of a country’s alcohol, but to quench his curiosity about what people drink, why they drink it and the stories they tell when they do. At each stop, he connects with locals, immerses himself in regional activities, learns about the country’s unique relationship with liquor and sometimes even participates in the alcohol-making process.
Owner, McKay Photography Academy
David is co–founder of McKay Photography Academy and McKay Photography Inc. along with his wife Ally. He has been a professional photographer for 30 years starting his first photography studio at the age of 17. David has received some of the highest photographic awards in the world including the prestigious Master of Photography, Photographic Craftsmen and Certified Professional Photographer degrees from Professional Photographers of America- the LEADING professional photography organization in the world. He has had several images awarded from PPA including “Loan Collection” images that are considered to be the best of the best in the professional photography industry.
Having taught on some of the largest stages in the industry, to thousands of people, both professional photographers and amateurs alike, he has a passion for photography and teaching. He believes just being a great photographer does not make you a great teacher and that the ingredients of both emotion and skill must be shared and taught. David shares his love and enthusiasm wherever he goes and many of you can attest to this.
You may also know David from his #1 International Best Selling photography book series, “Photography Demystified”. Each of his 3 books in the series has shot to #1 including “Your Guide to the World of Travel Photography”.
Currently, David is preparing for his 4th book, aimed at helping kids and their parents enjoy photography together, to be released late this year.
Sous Chef, Avelina
Anthony Mills serves as sous chef at Avelina, the Denver-based award winning restaurant serving new American cuisine. Mills joined the Avelina team soon after their opening in August 2016.
A 2011 graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Mills began his culinary career in St. Louis. While visiting his Colorado-based sister, Mills dined at the renowned Glenwood Springs restaurant, The Pullman. In 2012, Mills made his move to Colorado to work with Chef John Little at The Pullman as lead line cook.
Moving to Denver in the spring of 2014, Mills worked in several of Denver’s top kitchens including Fruition and the Squeaky Bean.
Prior to joining the Avelina team, Mills again worked with Chef Little at Harman’s Eat and Drink in Denver, a sister restaurant to The Pullman. His responsibilities there included menu development featuring locally sourced products from area farmers markets.
Mills’ mantra: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
Curator for Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa
A western Colorado native, Zebulon Miracle is the Curator for Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa located in the beautiful canyon-country at the foot of the Uncompahgre Plateau. After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with degrees in history and anthropology, Zebulon was fortunate enough to move back to the region that has long inspired him.
After serving numerous positions at the Museum of Western Colorado including Curator of Anthropology, Collections Manager, and Curator of Cross Orchards Historic Site, Zeb was honored with the opportunity to start a new position and department for Gateway Canyons that allows guests and visitors the chance to not only see and hear the wonderful history and geology of the area but to also experience it firsthand.
Zebulon’s true passion is connecting people with the lands, cultures, history, and heritage of the American Southwest. Zebulon has offered numerous tours around Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico that have allowed hundreds to marvel at the cultural history of places such as Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and dozens of rock art sites. Locally, Zebulon has worked with historic preservation projects at Calamity Camp (a National Register of Historic Places listed uranium camp), the Hanging Flume (a site that has been recognized by the World Monument Fund), and Driggs Mansion along the Uncompahgre-Tabeguache Scenic Byway.
Founder & Foodie of Just BE Kitchen
Jennifer is the Founder & Foodie of Just BE Kitchen. Just BE Kitchen’s mission is to: ‘serve mindful mouthfuls from a conscious kitchen with kindness on a plate.” She spent years on a food journey trying to find the perfect “healthy food balance” and wanted to share with the market that eating healthy and feeling unsatisfied or a sense of lack is not how eating nourishing meals will leave you.
Executive Chef, Ocean Prime
Roman Rodriguez strives to go above and beyond in the kitchen and continually educate himself on the latest culinary trends and techniques.
Rodriguez decided he wanted to pursue cooking at a professional level after starting his first job in the restaurant industry in 2003. He attended the Arizona Culinary Institute before joining the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants team in 2009.
Rodriguez began as a sous chef at Ocean Prime Scottsdale. He then served as the lead trainer on the opening team of the Beverly Hills location. In 2014, Rodriguez moved to Denver to become the sous chef before his current position as executive chef.
The most valuable lesson Rodriguez has learned in his professional career is to always take responsibility for one’s work. He advises those who want to go into the restaurant industry to continue learning and to always keep an open mind.
His favorite dish at Ocean Prime is the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli. Outside of the kitchen, Rodriguez enjoys fishing, hiking and snow sports. He resides in Denver.
Director of Business Development, Art of Living Retreat Center & Shankara Ayurveda Spa
Kimberly Rossi has a lifetime of healthy living to share with you. As a young teen, she learned that poor habits lead to poor health, and she made an early choice to follow a healthy lifestyle and became a balance seeker. Her resulting confidence, clarity and openness have created an interesting personal and professional path in health and well-being.
She has completed the 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training from Kripalu Center in Lenox, MA in 1998, the Ayurvedic Health Counselor Certification with Kripalu School of Ayurveda in 2004, and the 500 hour Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training with the Kundalini Research Institute in Espanola, NM. More than that, she has a deep daily practice in yoga and meditation for almost twenty years, teaches and shares the wisdom, and continues to be a student. She has a deep gratitude to the Ancient Sciences of Yoga, Meditation, Pranayama, and Ayurveda as she believes these are the secrets for being happy, healthy, and whole. Her professional career has been leading wellness based businesses, in four and five star destinations, for over twenty years, across the country, in Europe, and the Caribbean. Currently, she is the Director of Business Development at the Art of Living Retreat Center and Shankara Ayurveda Spa, in Boone NC.
Travel Writer, Host of Rick Steves Europe and Travel with Rick Steves
Rick Steves grew up in Edmonds, Washington and studied at the University of Washington where he received degrees in Business Administration and European History. But his real education came in Europe — since 1973 he’s spent 120 days a year in Europe. Spending one third of his adult life living out of a suitcase in Europe has shaped his thinking. Today he employs 80 people at his Europe Through the Back Door headquarters where he produces over 50 guidebooks on European travel, the most popular travel series in America on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, and a weekly column syndicated by the Chicago Tribune. Rick Steves lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington. His office window overlooks his old junior high school.
Top Female Travel Vlogger
Nadine Sykora is one of the top travel influencers and travel videographers on YouTube where she has made over 800+ videos gaining over 40 million+ views. Over the last 7 years she has traveled to over 50 countries including all around her home country of Canada. She has worked on dozens of video campaigns for brands, tourism boards and companies around the world. She has appeared in Forbes, the Observer, Mashable, USA Today, CNN, BBC, Lonely Planet, BuzzFeed, Matador Network, Yahoo Travel, and The Huffington Post. In December 2014 she was invited as one of the Top 130 of the most inﬂuential travel bloggers and digital media outlets to the White House to attend the White House Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship. Nadine’s passion for travel is contagious and she loves to share her experiences and travel expertise via social media, photography, and through her videos.
Executive Director of Tour Colorado Association, Representing Colorado Tourism Office
Carrie Whitley is the Executive Director of Tour Colorado Association. Tour Colorado brings together Colorado destinations, attractions, lodgers and tourism-based service providers as one statewide organization providing domestic Tour Operators & Packaged Travel Planners with information from all regions of her beautiful home state. Carrie’s passion for traveling Colorado is contagious, and she loves to share new ideas, destinations, experiences and travel adventures.
She is a past National Tour Association Board Member and currently serves on the American Bus Association’s Marketplace Advisor Committee. Carrie was honored to receive the 2015 Colorado Governor’s Tourism Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution.
Carrie can be reached at email@example.com
Director of Leisure Sales- Maui Visitors Bureau
Julie Yoneyama has extensive experience in public relations, sales, and marketing. As the director of leisure sales at the Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau (MVCB), Julie oversees the travel trade development and leisure markets in the United States and Canada. She educates travel agents, wholesalers, and various partners about Maui Nui’s unique offerings and attributes and provides them with the tools necessary to sell the destination.
Before joining MVCB, Julie was most recently director of training for Na Hoaloa ‘Ekolu brand. This company includes the more familiar names of the Old Lahaina Luau, Star Noodle, Aloha Mixed Plate and Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop. Her staff and management-training program included Hawaiian Culture with the Ho’okipa Me Ke Aloha Hawaiian Values Class. Julie also holds a certification from Kapiolani Community College, sanctioned by Hawai’i Tourism Authority to conduct this training.
Prior to her position as director of training, Julie worked in the sales, public relations, and marketing departments at Na Hoaloa ‘Ekolu. She was a spokesperson the company’s national television; writer and editor for the company’s newsletter; and operations manager at the Old Lahaina Luau.