Dia Adams is a Mom of a teen and a tween in the DC Metro area. Between growing up foreign service and working in consulting, she built up a serious love of travel that included visiting over 40 countries and living in Thailand, China, and Ireland (where her son was born).
With extensive trial (and occasional error) her family has learned to balance passion for travel with the reality of, well, real life with two kids. Dia blogs at The Deal Mommy to share hacks that help families travel more while still maintaining their savings and sanity. She is also the author of bestselling guidebook Disney World Hacks.
CEO & Director, Travel Promotions Georgia
Inga Belova Bio: Inga Belova is a Pioneer in Tourism Industry of the Republic of Georgia in post-Soviet era. She has been working in Tourism since 1998.
Having a University degree in Linguistics, Journalism, Psychology, Human Resources, 20 years ago she started working in a Travel Agency and participated in a Special Business Internship Program as the result of which she was invited to the US to study Tourism services. These were her first steps in Tourism industry. During the years she promoted from Tour Operator’s Position to the Head of Department and a Director of the Company.
Six years ago she founded a Travel Company which is a DMC in Georgia offering Package and Tailor-made itineraries, MICE, VIP & Luxury services all over the South Caucasus region and beyond.
Having travelled into many countries Inga has become a demanding tourist herself. That is why she knows what to offer the visitors to the Caucasus, how to provide the highest quality services on her trips in order to give the guests a unique experience and sense of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan. The whole team is ready to share their passion for local culture, history, adventure, dine and wine traditions with those who are interested in discovering new destinations, and Inga’s experience and professionalism make her and her team trusted partners. They also highly support the idea of Responsible Travel in the Caucasus.
Expect the Unexpected if you are for Comfort in details planned by professionals.
Media Relations Manager Eastern USA, Switzerland Tourism
Divine Bonga is Media Relations Manager Eastern USA for Switzerland Tourism in New York City. Divine grew up in Geneva, located in Switzerland’s French-speaking part. After gaining extensive experience in the luxury and watchmaking industries, she moved to the United States in June 2019 to join Switzerland Tourism. She is a passionate storyteller and Swiss expert. She studied in Lausanne and Lugano and lived several years in Bern and Zurich.
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.
Managing Director, Tahiti Tourisme United States
Kristin Carlson has served as Managing Director of Tahiti Tourisme United States (TTUS), the destination marketing organization for The Islands of Tahiti, since 2017. TTUS oversees all business and consumer outreach for the destination, working regularly with prospective business developments such as airline, hotel, resort, tour operators and cruises in addition to conducting all business and consumer outreach through marketing, advertising and public relations initiatives and programming.
Carlson had held the position of Director of Marketing for TTUS from 2011 until her appointment as Managing Director. She has more than 25 years of professional experience in the tourism industry, including her role as Global Brand Manager at Mering Carson, for the agency’s Visit California account with an emphasis on and brand advertising in China, Mexico, the UK and Australia. She also served as Director of Strategic Partnerships at Signature Travel Network and enjoyed a 13-year tenure at Crystal Cruises in both Marketing and Hotel Operations for the luxury line. The beginning of her career was in marketing communications for The Fontayne Group and Korean Air.
She has a BA in International Studies and French from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) and a Masters in International Business from Pepperdine University (The George L. Graziadio School of Business and Management).
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.
Lorine Charles St. Jules
Director of Sales, Anguilla British Caribbean
Lorine Charles St Jules is the Founder and CEO of PeaEye7 Marketing International, a boutique agency offering Luxury Resort Marketing Representation, USA in-bound Tourism Business Development, International Tourism Speaking Services and Epicurean Travel Management and Placement. PeaEye7 Marketing now services clients in Saint Lucia, Grenada, St Kitts, Anguilla and the USA. Known for her expertise in tourism destination marketing and planning, education and luxury hotel brand development, Lorine Charles St Jules has amassed a wealth of knowledge and expertise in international tourism marketing and management.
Based in the New York area, Lorine Charles-St. Jules most recently led the Marketing, Public Relations and Sales efforts for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board for over 15 years in the USA leading Saint Lucia to continued growth in the US market. In her role she transitioned Saint Lucia’s brand image in becoming a top 5 Caribbean destination by Conde Nast Magazine and assisted the island in receiving Caribbean Destination of the year by Travel Weekly. Prior to her USA experience, she was the Chief Tourism Projects Planner for the Ministry of Tourism of Saint Lucia where she reviewed, approved and monitored national tourism development projects in Saint Lucia to include hotels, sites, attractions and auxiliary services.
Lorine Charles-St Jules has been recognized and rewarded for her efforts in developing tourism. In February 2012, she was honored by the Boston City Council for promoting friendly and economic relations between Saint Lucia and the United States. The USA Council of Foreign Consulates voted Lorine as “Woman of the Year” in 2015. Lorine was voted Best International Tourism Manager by readers of Travel Agent Magazine for a record three times (2001, 2012 and 2013). The University of Strathclyde awarded Lorine with the Academic Excellence Graduate Fellow in 2001.
Educated at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland with a Master’s (MSC) degree in Development Economics (Tourism) after obtaining the Michael Manley Academic Excellence scholarship from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) and a Bachelor of Science (BSC) in Tourism and Management from University of the West Indies she maintains an active involvement in tourism education as she serves as an Adjunct Professor at the Monroe College, University of New Haven (UNH) in Connecticut and in the past, New York University (NYU) in New York and mentors international students on entering the tourism industry. She has spoken and represented the Caribbean and Saint Lucia on various panels and conferences featuring jobs in the tourism industry, weddings, honeymoons and emerging niche markets. She speaks fluent English and French. Lorine was born in Castries, Saint Lucia where she attended high school. Lorine is a former National Table Tennis Champion for Saint Lucia and enjoys discovering red wines. She is married to Cecil St. Jules with one step daughter Ashley St Jules.
Director of Travel Industry Sales USA (Northeast & Midwest) & Latin America, Greater Miami Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
Adventure Travel Expert & TV Host
Kellee Edwards is an award-winning travel expert and television host by land, air and sea. She is a multi-rated licensed pilot, advanced open water scuba diver, explorer and journalist. A pioneer in her approach to adventure travel made her brand Kellee Set Go! become recognized by some of the biggest brands in travel, including that of the biggest TV network in this realm, The Travel Channel. Kellee is the host of Mysterious Islands, a series that explores some of the most remote islands in the world, that viewers more than likely have never heard of. She was named one of the “Most Powerful Women in Travel” by Conde’ Nast.
Exploring over 50 countries thus far, including parts of North and West Africa, Asia, South and Central America, Europe and the UAE, her extensive travels have taken her a long way from where she spent her early childhood – on Chicago’s South Side – and where she was raised in San Bernardino, CA.
Her exploits include summiting Mt. Hood in Oregon, dog sledding in the remote wilderness of Alaska, trekking the active volcano Mt. Pacaya in Guatemala, piloting an aircraft in the temperamental Aleutian Chain, freediving with the Jeju Haenyeo, participating in Rambu Solo in Sulawesi, unearthing an artifact on an archaeological dig, swimming with humpback and whale sharks, as well as exploring Mayan ruins in Central America. She even had a life-changing close call on a shipwreck dive in the Red Sea near Eilat, Israel.
An advocate for women in aviation, adventure travel, diversity in travel and safety, Kellee has been featured in FORBES, ELLE, Conde’ Nast, Travel & Leisure, Nat Geo Traveler, UPROXX, Essence and named “The Most Interesting Woman in The World”, by Outside Magazine.
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, from hiking in the Chugach Mountains, to fly fishing some of our amazing rivers. Tia has worked in the Alaska tourism industry for over 19 years, so her knowledge is vast and expansive. Tia wants YOU to come explore Southcentral Alaska and make this year ALASKA!
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.
One Mile at a Time
Tiffany is a passionate traveler who splits her time between California and Italy (when she’s not traveling elsewhere!) Flying an average of 200,000 miles a year and spending over a hundred nights in hotels gives her hands-on experience and insights into managing life and travel. She loves leveraging miles and points to help her friends and family explore the world with her and is obsessed with sharing that knowledge and excitement with others.
Her posts on One Mile at a Time offer a different perspective on earning miles, tricks for balancing multiple household accounts, and break down the basics of redeeming miles for aspirational travel — whatever those aspirations may be!
Public Relations/Marketing, , Greek National Tourism Organization Ministry of Tourism
Fay Georgousis has been a public relations executive at the GNTO in New York for the past thirty years. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from Vassar College and a M.A. in Destination Management from New York University. She knows “the ins and outs” about travel to Greece! To be in the know, stop by and catch her presentation Greece-365!
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.
Director of Media Operations, Transportation Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security
Bessy Guevara currently serves as the Director of Media Operations for the office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs at the Transportation Security Administration. She is responsible for all media activities, overseeing the media relations, social care and social media branches.
Guevara most recently served as the strategic communications manager for public affairs, responsible for developing communications strategies and managing content for tsa.gov and YouTube. She also managed the TSA Speakers Bureau and external multimedia requests. She has been with TSA for more than 7 years.
Prior to joining TSA, Guevara worked at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for six years and held positions in executive correspondence, customer service, media relations and community outreach.
Guevara speaks Spanish fluently, holds a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and is a graduate of the Partnership for Public Service Fellows Program and the Defense Information School Joint Senior Public Affairs Course.
Sung Hyun Ha
CBP Officer and Deputy Director, Sea Innovation, Mobility, and Biometric Advancement
Sung Hyun Ha is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer and Deputy Director in the Sea Innovation, Mobility, and Biometric Advancement within the Office of Field Operations at CBP. In this role, Mr. Ha leads the development and integration of facial biometric technology into CBP’s entry and inspection operations to transform the arrival process at air and sea Ports of Entry. Prior to his position within the Sea Innovation, Mobility, and Biometric Advancement, Mr. Ha served as a supervisory officer at Washington Dulles International Airport, and he previously oversaw both the Global Entry – CBP’s premier trusted traveler program and Automated Passport Control programs at CBP headquarters in Washington, DC. Over the past five years, Mr. Ha has played a key role in advancing CBP’s innovation efforts to secure and enhance the travel experience.
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.’
Author, Frequent Miler
After working over 18 years in software development, Greg now works full time as author of the Frequent Miler blog. His goal is to seek out creative new ways to earn points and miles, and to eventually find the “perfect perpetual point machine.” When not traveling, Greg lives with his wife and teenage son in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Founder Every Passport Stamp Facebook group, blogger at Rapid Travel Chai
Stefan used points to fulfill his own dream, traveling to every country in the world (along with every U.S. state!) before turning 40.
Stefan founded Every Passport Stamp, the leading Facebook group for travelers who want to go everywhere. His blog, Rapid Travel Chai, is dedicated to helping others take ‘trips of a lifetime’, even if they only have a weekend.
Denise Reichwein Lees
Director of Sales USA, MSC Cruises
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).
Travel Journalist, Broadcaster
Former WashingtonPost investigative reporter and columnist, Maxa has worked for 17 years as a contributing editor with National Geographic Traveler magazine; co-created and hosted the former public radio show, “The Savvy Traveler;” and has produced and hosted 98, half-hour episodes for public television featuring the world’s great destinations, “Rudy Maxa’s World.” Those shows have garnered numerous awards including several Emmys. As a consumer travel writer, he’s written numerous newspapers and magazines around the world and served as a travel columnist for ABC.com and MSNBC.com.
Founder and CEO of David McGuffin’s Exploring Europe, Inc.
David McGuffin: Travel Enthusiast, Musician, Tour Operator, and European Aficionado
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. 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.
Trevor is an avid traveler based midway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. He travels on average 150,000 miles a year, often internationally.
His pursuit of miles led him and his wife to establish a reselling business to maximize credit card spend through means other than traditional manufactured spending. To help others learn to resell, he established the ResellingDO event series, holding events around the country.
You can follow his latest travels and reselling tips via twitter @tmount and via his blog Tagging Miles
Partner Relations Manager, Visit North Carolina
Andre` Nabors serves as the Partner Relations Manager for the Visit North Carolina, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), supporting sustainable efforts to market and promote the state’s natural, historic and cultural resources for communities, non-profits, and tourism related entities to improve tourism product and visitation across North Carolina. In December of 2012, Tourism was charged to oversee the NC Certified Retirement Community Program to encourage retirees and those planning to retire to make their home in North Carolina. Andre manages that program.
Andre` formerly held a similar position with the West Virginia Division of Tourism 1999-2006, where he provided marketing, research, communications and other types of assistance to communities, attractions and CVBs throughout West Virginia. In that role, he worked to develop the state’s first African-American Heritage Guide identifying cultural and historic attractions, as well as foster its Civil War Trail program. Andre` also worked on several projects such as Scenic Byways, Rail to Trails, National Coal Heritage Area, Freedom Trek II and III, Governor’s Black History Month Kick-Off program, and the Booker T. Washington Institute at WV State University.
Before moving to North Carolina, Andre` was convention sales manager for the Charleston (W.V.) CVB, where he covered the markets of sports, military, group, fraternity and also managed the Charleston Sports Committee. He began his career in tourism in June 1992 with the West Virginia’s Parkways Authority Welcome Centers as a travel counselor and manager. Andre` is a Travel Marketing Professional (TMP) through the Southeast Tourism Society Marketing College program and has over 25 years of experience in the tourism industry.
Dr. Gina Paige
Co-Founder & President, African Ancestry, Inc.
PIONEER: In 2003, Dr. Gina Paige co-founded African Ancestry, Inc. (AfricanAncestry.com) and in doing so, pioneered a new way of tracing African lineages using genetics, and a new marketplace for people of African descent looking to more accurately and reliably trace their roots. Paige travels the world helping people demystify their roots and inform on identities so that they may better understand who they are by knowing where they’re from. RESPECTED LUMINARY: Paige has worked with and revealed the roots of the worlds’ leading icons and entities including Oprah Winfrey, John Legend, Chadwick Boseman, Spike Lee, Condoleezza Rice and The King Family. Paige has served as speaker, presenter and/or partner to McDonalds, Capital One, The Walt Disney Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, Wells Fargo, The Wall Street Health Forum, New York Times Travel Show, United Healthcare and dozens of community organizations and faith-based entities. She’s often a go-to resource for African Diaspora communities including the Embassies of Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana; The Year of Return 2019 event From Jamestown to Jamestown with the NAACP; Back2Africa Festival in Cape Coast and various African tourism authorities and leaders.
MEDIA RESOURCE: Paige has been featured in hundreds of media outlets including The Breakfast Club, Hot 97-FM, Time Magazine, USA Today, 60 Minutes, NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, HuffPost Live with Marc Lamont Hill, The Joe Madison Show, Sister Circle Live, Essence Magazine, The New York Times, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, FOX Business News, Reuters, New York Times, Canal Media Company, Black Enterprise, Ebony, NPR, Metro Source Urban Radio, American Urban Radio Networks, The Grio.com and TheRoot.com among many others. Her work is featured in PBS’ Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and African American Lives 1 & 2, The Africa Channel, NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? CNN’s Black in America series and SiriusXM where she created and served as co-host on African Ancestry Radio.
ENTREPRENEURIAL DNA: From a lineage of entrepreneurs, Paige launched her first business at age 8, with a magazine purposed to raise money for family trips. She went on to start “Pik-A-Pak” Care Packages as a Stanford University graduate, helping families stay connected with their children while away at school. Prior to forming AfricanAncestry.com, Paige was the founder and president of GPG Strategic Marketing Resources.
EDUCATION: Paige resides in Washington, D.C. and holds a degree in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Paige was honored with an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy from Global Oved Dei Seminary University.
Director of American Citizen Services and Crisis Management, Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Yolanda Parra is the Director of American Citizen Services and Crisis Management in the Bureau of Consular Affairs for the U.S. Department of State. Yolanda most recently served as Senior Advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Overseas Citizen Services. Prior to this, she served at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, Cairo, Egypt, Tokyo, Japan and Jerusalem. Before joining the U.S. Department of State, Yolanda worked as a management consultant with Delloitte and Touche and as a financial auditor with Price Waterhouse Coopers. Yolanda has a Bachelor in Business Administration and Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting and Finance from Southern Methodist University and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Rob Pegoraro writes about computers, gadgets, telecom, social media, apps, and other things that beep or blink. He covers tech-policy issues at Yahoo Finance, answers consumer questions at USA Today, offers telecom guidance at Wirecutter, writes for other online and print clients and holds forth about tech topics on radio, TV, podcasts and conferences. He has met most of the founders of the Internet and once received a single-word e-mail reply from Steve Jobs.
Juanma is the Sales Team Lead at Greenlife Tours. For the last 4 years, Juanma has been helping many happy pilgrims, groups and charities to carefully plan their trips and fulfill their dreams of walking this ancient pilgrimage route.
Juanma grew up in the city of Vigo, part of the Portuguese Coastal Way and moved to Ireland just 2 days after his graduation so his heart is equally divided between the green hills of the Emerald Isle and the even greener hills of Northern Spain. His passion is discovering new places around the world or around the corner on his bike. He has walked the Via Francigena in Tuscany and many Camino routes, including the popular Kerry Camino in Ireland.
North American Sales Manager, Tucan Travel
Eric is fascinated by worldly culture. His list of visited countries continues to grow, from the beaches of Vietnam, picturesque Cesky Kromlov, paddle boating in Hallstatt, 4×4’ing in Africa, or a stroll through the spice markets of Delhi. Eric admits, there isn’t a time, good or bad, where he didn’t fully appreciate a destination. Furthermore, his passion for diversity, and eagerness to see the world are sure to uncover more “favorites”.
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.
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.
Albion Stiffler is the Market Sales Representative for Celebrity Cruises. He has been in the hospitality industry since earning an internship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2006. Since then he has managed two bars, and worked in the sales departments for Aman Resorts, The Setai Miami Beach, and most recently Celebrity. He was born in California, but raised in Texas. He played collegiate football for Trinity University and completed his bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sports Science from Texas State University. Most recently he was awarded his Master’s degree from Florida International University. He has a lifelong love of geography, history, and travel that, combined, make selling exotic destinations and providing life changing experiences more of a calling than a job.
Bestselling Author, Novelist, Travel Writer
Many of Theroux’s novels are set in exotic locations both real and imagined. They are inspired by his own prolific travels, which he chronicles in his highly distinguished body of nonfiction. With his landmark works The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia and The Old Patagonian Express, Theroux established himself as America’s foremost travel writer. In his many subsequent books, including Riding the Iron Rooster, Dark StarSafari, and The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari, Theroux has continued to hone that reputation. In Last Train to Zona Verde, Theroux wrote that he would no longer be writing from the farthest corners of the world, and so for his tenth travel book, he trained his eye stateside for the first time. Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads is at once “a vivid contemporary portrait of rural life” and “a deeply affecting personal account” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
Continuing in this tradition, Theroux’s latest is On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey, a book about the cultures on both sides of the US-Mexico border. As he traverses the deserts between Arizona and Sonora, Theroux finds a place brimming with vitality, yet visibly marked by both the US Border Patrol looming to the north and mounting discord from within. In their starred review, Kirkus praised the book as “Illuminating, literate, and timely—a must-read for those interested in what’s going on inside Mexico,” and The Wall Street Journal called it a ”fierce and poignant account”. On the Plain of Snakes was one of Publishers Weekly‘s Top 10 Memoirs for fall 2019.
Born in Massachusetts in 1941, Theroux began his travels in earnest after graduating from the University of Massachusetts in 1963. In addition to his books, he has written widely for Time, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Talk, GQ, Smithsonian, and Esquire. He has lived, taught, and written around the world, including in Urbino, Italy; Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda; the University of Singapore; the United Kingdom; and Malawi, where he served with the Peace Corps. He lives in Maine and Hawaii.
Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer), PhotoEnrichment Adventures
Ralph Velasco is a U.S.-based travel photography instructor, author and international guide who for more than 11 years has organized and led over 100 international tours, and more than 100 domestic tours, in the United States under the PhotoEnrichment Adventures banner. His international trips have included Armenia and the Republic of Georgia, Egypt, Morocco, the Adriatic, Central Europe, Iceland, Bhutan and Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Spain, Portugal, Tuscany, Romania, Mexico’s Copper Canyon, Turkey, Cuba and other locations.
Ralph is an award-winning travel photographer, podcast host and public speaker, and for more than 10 years he’s been the Founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer) of PhotoEnrichment Adventures.
Recently he created a new travel brand called Alla Campagna Experiences where the focus is less on photography in each destination and even more about the culture, people, food, drink and other unique activities and experiences they have to offer, all while staying in unforgettable properties, such as private castles, wine estates, one-of-a-kind boutique hotels, villas and converted mansions, in and around the Mediterranean.
He’s also Creator of Tour Organizer Training, a free webinar and online course series designed to teach everyday people, step-by-step, how to organize and lead their own special interest trips, whether around the world or around the corner. Click here to join the next free webinar.
Now, invest in yourself…get out and travel!
Managing Director, Poseidon Expeditions USA
Lisa Vogele is a professional travel consultant and genealogist. She is the Chief Tree Climber at Travel Your Tree: Where Ancestry meets Adventure, a full-service family history research, travel planning & tour operator. She is passionate about traveling local and in the footsteps of your ancestors to make or re-establish connections of personal, historical significance. In 2016, Lisa authored Food & Folklore: A Year of Italian Festivals, a guidebook to assist travelers with incorporating festivals into their itineraries and experience local culture through food and historic events. Her travel tips have been featured in the Huffington Post, 1000traveltips.com, and her travel blog LisaLovesToTravel.com. She holds a Master’s degree from Clemson University, was raised in Connecticut and resides in Colorado.
TEDx Speaker, Owner of DelicateRevolt blog and YouTube Channel
Tess Zhao is a TEDx speaker, owner of DelicateRevolt blog and youtube channel, a blog about business travel and entrepreneurship. Formerly head of global business development for Harry Winston Diamonds, Tess is a former TV reporter, media spokesperson for Jaguar Cars in China, and business executive at Amazon Fashion.
Tess hits the ground running speaking to media, negotiating million-dollar transactions, and hosting client cocktails after overnight flights. When in vacation mode, Tess hops on flights to dive into hot springs in Japan, night markets in Taipei and ranches in Argentina.