Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Passport Services, U.S. Department of State
Rachel M. Arndt serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services. As DAS, she oversees and directs the network of passport agencies and centers that are responsible for the acceptance, adjudication, and issuance of U.S. passports, the passport and vital records filing and retrieval systems, and the Department’s authentication function.
Ms. Arndt has previously served as the Comptroller in the Bureau of Consular Affairs; Director of Planning and Program Support in Passport Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs; and Senior Management and Program Analyst in the Office of Management Policy, Rightsizing and Innovation. She has also served as financial plan manager for the State Operations budget, as a budget analyst in the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration as well as the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, and as a management consultant in the Department’s Information Technology Capital Planning office.
Ms. Arndt has an MA from George Mason University and a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is married and has three children.
World Traveler, Travel Expert, Writer, 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 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”.
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 Israel, Prime Minister of New Zealand and presidents of Mexico and Peru, Greenberg’s newest special features the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.
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, 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, 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.’
Johnny Jet has traveled over 100,000 miles a year since starting his newsletter in 1995 and has visited close to 100 countries. On his website, he writes about how to maximize your credit card points, how to find travel deals, cheap flights, and how to benefit from insightful travel tips. He has hosted a television special on The Travel Channel and was named one of Forbes’ Top 10 Travel Influencers. He writes for numerous publications including Forbes, Inc and Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine and appears every Saturday on Leo Laporte’s The Tech Guy Show talking about travel and technology. He travels the world with his wife Natalie DiScala and their son Jack. Be sure to sign up for his free newsletter.
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 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.
Travel Writer, Host of Rick Steves’ Europe and Travel with Rick Steves
Guidebook author and travel TV host Rick Steves is America’s most respected authority on European travel. He 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 was earned on the road — since 1973 he’s spent 120 days a year in Europe. Spending one third of his adult life living out of a carry-on backpack has shaped Rick’s thinking and broadened his perspectives. Today he employs nearly 100 people at the Rick Steves’ Europe headquarters where he produces dozens of best-selling guidebook titles on European travel, America’s most popular travel series on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, podcasts, travel apps, and a weekly syndicated travel column. Rick Steves lives and works in his hometown of Edmonds, Washington. His office window overlooks his old junior high school.
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Wild
Cheryl Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir WILD, the New York Times bestsellers TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS and BRAVE ENOUGH, and the novel TORCH. Her books have been translated into forty languages around the world. WILD was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her first selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. The Oscar-nominated movie adaptation of WILD stars Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl and Laura Dern as Cheryl’s mother, Bobbi. The film was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, with a screenplay by Nick Hornby. Strayed’s essays have been published in The Best American Essays, the New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Salon, The Sun, Tin House, and elsewhere. Strayed is the co-host, along with Steve Almond, of the WBUR podcast Dear Sugar Radio, which originated with her popular Dear Sugar advice column on The Rumpus. Strayed holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Gerry van der Walt
Co-Founder of Wild Eye, Private & Specialist Guide, Public Speaker, Wildlife Photographer
Gerry van der Walt is an international tour and expedition leader, public speaker, nature and travel photographer and co-founder of Wild Eye. By combining a passion for nature photography and more than 15 years of experience as a tour leader, specialist photographic guide and 5-star lodge manager, Gerry’s goal is to not only assist people, whether through teaching them new skills or pushing them creatively, in capturing the beauty of nature but also to create an awareness of the fragile balance that exists in nature. Through Wild Eye, his bespoke travel and photography company, Gerry has created a vehicle which merges the raw beauty of traveling in some of the world’s most spectacular wilderness areas with the ability to not only capture these moments on camera but also teaching and inspiring people along the way. Through his podcast, vlogs and social media channels Gerry continues to share his knowledge and passion for travel, photography and bucket list adventures around the globe with his online community. Gerry looks forward to changing the way you see the world.
Wild Eye: http://www.wild-eye.co.za