Youngest American to Visit Every Country in the World, Entrepreneur & TV Personality
Lee Abbamonte has traveled to every country in the world as well as both the North and South Poles. Lee is a multimedia travel expert, national television personality, author, speaker, adventurer, entrepreneur and founder of www.LeeAbbamonte.com. Lee has appeared on and been featured everywhere from CNN, Fox News, and Travel Channel to the New York Times, USA Today and Washington Post. Lee’s travels around the world have inspired millions of would-be travelers and he has been called the “Marco Polo of the 21st Century” by Arthur Frommer.
Tourism Development & Sales Manager, Visit Anchorage
Marsha Barton – Marsha is a life-long resident of Alaska attending school and college in Anchorage. She started traveling in college and has never stopped. Marsha started her tourism career at Anchorage’s high-end Alyeska Resort working with international visitors in the 1970’s. Her career in the visitor industry continued through a 20-year career with Delta Airlines working in several cities before retiring in 1996. Masha returned to Alaska permanently to work for a day cruise company operating in Prince William Sound. In those days she liked to say her office was a catamaran located in “front of a glacier.” In 2008 she accepted a job as Tourism Sales Manager for Visit Anchorage responsible for Taiwan, China, Australia, New Zealand, India and Korea. When possible, she also works the domestic market participating in the Travel & Adventure Shows with the rest of her team. Marsha feels very grateful to have lived in Alaska and feels especially fortunate to have the honor of sharing this magnificent destination with fellow travelers.
Managing Director for Overseas Citizens Services, U.S. Department of State
Michelle Bernier-Toth joined the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer in 1987, and has served as a consular officer in Damascus, Syria; Doha, Qatar; and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. She has also served domestically in the Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA), the Foreign Service Institute, and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
Ms. Bernier-Toth has served as Managing Director of CA’s Overseas Citizens Services directorate since February 2011. She previously served as Director of the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (2005-2011), the Director and later Deputy Director of the Office of Children’s Issues (2002-2005), and as Special Assistant for Overseas Citizens Services (2001-2002).
Ms. Bernier-Toth has three children. In her free time, she enjoys biking, dancing, and flea markets. She earned a master’s degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in 1985, and a Bachelor of Art in Near Eastern Literature and Language from Yale University in 1982.
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.
Station Manager, Azores Airlines, Grupo SATA
Zeto Carvalho was born and raised in the Azores, where he’s been working for Azores Airlines – Grupo SATA since 2000. Since that time, he has travelled between all the islands getting to know all the nature and beauty. I’ve been in California since 2016 promoting and marketing the Airlines and the Azores.
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 75 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”.
Award-Winning Concierge and Producer/Host of Ask A Concierge
Sarah Dandashy is recognized as one of the leading concierges in the world. Award-winning, she was named “Best Young Concierge” by Les Clefs d’Or International, making her the Miss Universe equivalent of the concierge profession. Along with hotel brands, from The Peninsula, Four Seasons, and Fairmont Hotels, she also works with big brands within the travel realm, Trip Advisor, Airbnb, and American Airlines to name a few. She is considered a verified source of travel information as both a local expert in Los Angeles and a through her concierge connections around the world. People seek her out for her travel tips, advice, and knowledge of trends from the front lines of travel!
For twenty years, Trish Feaster has traveled throughout Europe, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, North Africa, The Caribbean, and the good ol’ U.S. of A. She champions the notion that we can all “journey well” by allowing travel to heighten our senses and to remind us to see things with open eyes, an open heart, and an open mind–even if we’re just “traveling” in our own town. Trish embraces her love of travel as an opportunity to learn about the people, history, architecture, art, politics, religion, and cuisine of other cultures, and to bring those lessons home and learn from them. During her fifteen-year tenure as a high school Spanish teacher in California, Trish shared her love of travel with her students by taking them on annual trips to Europe. These days, she’s expanded her “classroom” even more as a veteran tour guide and guidebook researcher for Rick Steves’ Europe and Imprint Tours and as a writer for her travel blog, www.thetravelphile.com.
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.
Emmy Award-Winning Investigative Reporter and Producer and CBS News Travel Editor
A multiple Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter and producer, Peter Greenberg is America’s most recognized, honored and respected frontline travel news journalist. He is the Travel Editor for CBS News, appearing on CBS This Morning, the CBS Evening News and CBS Sunday Morning. His long-running nationally syndicated CBS News radio show, Eye on Travel, is broadcast each week from a different location around the world.
The consummate insider on reporting the travel business as news, Greenberg also hosts The Travel Detective, airing on Public Television across the United States. This weekly television newsmagazine offers cutting-edge travel information and insider tips travelers need to know before they ever leave home. It also showcases hidden gem destinations across the country, and around the world.
Greenberg produces and co-hosts an ongoing series of acclaimed global television specials, The Royal Tour, featuring personal, one-on-one journeys through countries with their heads of state. Along with such leaders as the King of Jordan, Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Israel, and Presidents of Mexico and Peru, Greenberg’s latest special features the Prime Minister of Poland.
Greenberg is also author of The New York Times best-selling Travel Detective series. The Best Places for Everything, comes in the wake of such titles as Don’t Go There!, The Complete Travel Detective Bible, Flight Crew Confidential, and The Traveler’s Diet.
Travel Weekly named him one of the most influential people in travel, along with Bill Marriott and Richard Branson. Greenberg was also inducted into the U.S. Travel Association’s Hall of Leaders for his contributions to the travel industry.
Among other honors, Greenberg received a News & Documentary Emmy Award for the ABC 20/20 special, “What Happened to the Children?” Greenberg also won an Emmy as part of the NBC Dateline team for outstanding coverage of a breaking news story, Miracle on the Hudson.
Greenberg began his career in journalism as West Coast correspondent for Newsweek in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He is also 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.
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.
Norrell Joseph is a Destination Sales & Marketing professional with Antigua & Barbuda for the last four years and manages the Mid-Atlantic region.
Travel Expert & Marketing Assistant, Cog Railway
Thomas Lane has worked at the Mount Washington Cog Railway for over 12 years and has accumulated a wealth of information on maximizing fun when having adventures in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Trained as a brakeman and an engineer for the Cog Railway, Thomas knows the best ways to ensure an adventure on the Cog Railway is one to remember! He currently operates thecog.com, the official website of the Mount Washington Cog Railway along with managing any social outlets of the Mount Washington Cog Railway.
Host and Executive Producer ofBare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi
Mickela Mallozzi is the four-time Emmy® Award-winning Host and Executive Producer of Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi, a travel series highlighting the diversity of dance which airs on PBS stations nationwide and on Amazon Prime globally. A professional dancer and trained musician, Mickela decided to start a journey around the world, taking her camera with her to follow dance in the lives of everyday people wherever she went. From re-discovering her family’s heritage in Southern Italy to dancing tango on the main stage in Buenos Aires, the series covers Mickela’s adventures as she experiences the world, one dance at a time. She has been featured in The New York Times, Travel Channel, Dance Magazine, Forbes, American Express, and AFAR Media, and she has performed on various television shows including Sesame Street and The Doctor Oz Show. Mickela is currently filming the third season of Bare Feet, discovering the dances and music from her own DNA map, which will start airing on PBS in spring 2019.
Award Winning Travel Journalist, Travel Expert, Radio & TV Host
Rudy Maxa, one of America’s premier consumer travel experts, is host and executive producer of “Rudy Maxa’s World,” the nationwide, Emmy Award winning, public television travel series that features destinations as diverse as Korea, Argentina, South Africa, Tuscany, and Thailand.
Many of Mr. Maxa’s 98 television episodes on the world’s great destinations have aired in 121 countries in 22 different languages on Travel Channel International. Public television’s national lifestyle” channel, Create, also broadcasts “Rudy Maxa’s World” regularly as does AXS-TV in the U.S.
He also created and co-hosts America’s most widely-syndicated travel radio show, “RM World Travel,” which airs each weekend on 350+ news/talk stations in North America and via its own TuneIn.com channel 24/7/365.
After college, Mr. Maxa began his journalism career as an investigative reporter and personalities columnist at the Washington Post where he worked for 11 years. Political scandal reportage by Maxa was for the Pulitzer Prize by the Post, and he’s the author of two non-fiction books. He then became a senior writer and columnist at the city magazine, Washingtonian, for nine years before becoming Washington bureau chief of SPY magazine for two years.
Well known as public radio’s “Savvy Traveler” and an award-winning contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler magazine, Mr. Maxa has been a contributing editor to Delta’s SKY magazine as well as the voice of National Geographic Traveler’s “Walks of a Lifetime” podcasts.
As a writer for Traveler, Mr. Maxa’s articles earned him two Lowell Thomas Bronze Awards for Excellence in Travel Writing from the Society of American Travel Writers. His travel series on the great hotels of the world appeared in GQ, and he’s written on travel topics extensively for 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 been a frequent guest on national television networks and shows, including CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and “The View.”
A long-time resident of Washington, D.C. and New York City, Mr. Maxa currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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.
Podcast: I Dont Drink Alone
Available on my website and iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and Tune In.
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.
Founder & CEO of David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe, Inc
David McGuffin is Founder and CEO of David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe, Inc. His office is in Northeast Florida, but David spends about 180 days a year on the road in Europe leading tours, exploring new destinations, making YouTube videos, and writing about his travels. David took his first trip to Europe in 1977 with his college choir. David recalls, “this tour took me on a three-week adventure to Greece, Italy, and Israel. I was a travel rookie, having never ventured outside the USA! Imagine my excitement as I boarded the airplane for my first flight, not to mention the wonder of touching down in Greece, an unknown land of which I’d only read about in my Sunday School lessons!”
David taught Band and Music classes in a Florida public school for thirty years. It was here he combined his love of travel and music as he took his show on the road to Europe for many of those years. David soon realized he knew his European destinations better than those he was paying to arrange his student tours. Consequently, in 2001, David started his business, David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe, to offer small-group European tours focusing on culture, art, history and engaging experiences. His tours are designed to empower his travel partners with knowledge, guidance, and confidence to embrace the adventure, seize the moment, and most of all…have fun!
David’s business has grown from offering just two group tours in 2002 to a complete line-up of twenty small-group tour routes visiting almost every country in Europe for 2019. Additionally, he offers free European travel advice and information at davidmcguffin.com and his social media sites. When not in Europe, you’ll find David at home in Middleburg, Florida, where he has lived all his life.
Regional Sales Director, North East (USA), MSC Cruises (USA) Inc.
A seasoned veteran of the Cruise & Travel Industry, Denise Reichwein Lees brings more than 32 years of experience to the Travel & Tourism Industry.
In her current role as Director of Sales USA for MSC Cruises, Denise is responsible for managing the MSC Cruises USA North Field Sales team of 6 sales managers. Her primary focus is related to increasing brand awareness and overall sales in the region.
Denise previously worked for Royal Caribbean International for more than 7 years as a Business Development Manager in Eastern Pennsylvania. While at Royal Caribbean, Denise worked on developing new business while building strong relationships with travel partners. Developing a loyal following of travel partners has contributed to her success and ability to win the business, grow the business and share best practices and unique selling skills in her latest role at MSC Cruises.
In addition to her customer and sales skills, Denise brings with her over 20 years of travel agency experience, with unique expertise in Groups and Meetings & Incentive Programs within the cruise industry. Denise has earned her MCC (Master Cruise Counselor) and is currently enrolled in the ECC (Elite Cruise Counselor) program along with being a Lifetime member of CLIA-EP (Cruise Line International Education Programs).
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.
Ana Maria Castaño Rivas
Colombia Nature & Birding, Kaishi Travel
Ana Maria Castaño Rivas, has been birdwatching for the past 25 years. Ana has done research on birds and has promoted conservation and education all over her country. One of her passions are migratory birds which she has worked with both in Colombia and in the USA. She was the president for Antioquia Ornithology Society – SAO in four periods, and was a board member for more than 18 years.
Ana acts as board member in National Network of Birdwatchers in Colombia – RNOA for the past 17 years, and Fundación Ecolombia for the past two years, she participated in the creation of both entities. She is a former International Research Intern from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.
She is a partner in Colombia Nature & Birding a tour operator company that guides people in Colombian looking for biodiversity.
Bestselling Author, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and 1,000 Places to See in The USA & Canada Before You Die
Patricia Schultz is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers 1,000 Places to See Before You Die and 1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die. A veteran travel journalist with over 30 years of experience, she has written for guides such as Frommer’s and Berlitz and periodicals including The Wall Street Journal and Travel Weekly, where she is a contributing editor. She also executive-produced a Travel Channel television show based on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Her home base is New York City though she is rarely there.