Dana Johnson is a spunky mother of two trying to figure it all out. Running her own business, volunteering at school, trying to keep the family unit clean and fed, and finding time for herself are just some of the challenges Dana faces. Like most moms, she is tired, underappreciated and overworked. In her truly unique style however, Dana is the first to laugh at the mishaps of life and loves to share the lighter side. A native Wisconsin cheese-head, whose passions include mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, cross-country skiing, reading and writing, Dana has performed some stand-up comedy and storytelling in the Milwaukee area and is currently writing her first book. She currently resides in Waukesha, Wisconsin with her husband Charlie and her two sons. She runs her own company, Open Leaf Excursions where she lives her passion helping people discover the outdoors through adventure travel. Utilizing her experience and education Dana also is an experiential sales consultant and international speaker. Working with the travel industry, she helps companies develop more memorable itineraries and more service-centered staff. Dana eats, sleeps and breathes adventure and never wastes a minute of her life without fun!
Judy Karwacki is a sustainable tourism expert with over 30 years of travel and tourism experience. She is the founder of Small Planet Consulting and has worked on tourism projects in over 35 countries. Small Planet works in tourism development and marketing, specializes in indigenous and community tourism, and is dedicated to contributing to “A Better World Through Better Tourism”. Judy also is a co-owner of Jubilee Travel, a retail travel agency she founded in 1986 with her two sisters. Judy specializes in connecting communities, culture and conservation through tourism. She is the Chair of the Adventure Angels Scholarship Committee. Judy lives in super natural Vancouver, in the territory of the Squamish First Nation.
Lorna Greenway, owner of Atlas Adventure Trips – an adventure focused travel agency in Houston, Texas – is an experienced adventurist and adventure travel designer with a mission and reputation of creating bespoke authentic, active vacations that enable her clients to fully experience a place through interaction with nature, local culture, and physical activity. She has the expertise, industry experience, relationships, and resources to make your unique adventure vacation dreams a reality as she creates authentic, experiential vacation experiences that are tailored to you! Geographic areas of specialization: Central, South, and North America. Member of Adventure Travel Trade Association, and Certified Mexico Specialist. Contact Lorna to create your perfect adventure vacation.
Award-winning writer and photographer Kristen Gill produces travel-related content for various publications such as The Guardian, Seattle Times, Adventure Travel News, Travel Weekly, and more. Featured as a travel expert on MSN, CBS Travel, and BBC’s “The World” on NPR and PRI, she runs Kristen Gill Media, is a Board Member of Travel Massive Seattle, and is Founder of Preserving Cultures, a web site devoted to conserving indigenous culture.
Lucinda Belden has over five years of non-profit experience, over 20 years of web production experience in the corporate world and a lifetime of travel obsession. Since 2010 Lucinda has run her own travel agency. Life is a ride! Lucinda has ridden ATV’s, Zip Lines, Elephants, Waves, Donkeys, Horses, Tuk-Tuks, Roller Coasters, 18 Wheelers, Mountain Bikes, Skateboards, plus more and she can’t wait for the next unexpected adventure. She has traveled to 23 countries and over 312 cities – she says it’s to explore for her clients but the truth is, she just can’t help it. Lucinda specializes in food tourism, cruises and Mexico adventures.
Laura Mandelkorn first stepped onto an airplane alone at age 9, and has been hooked on travel ever since. She and her husband Ted live, work and play in the mountains outside of Seattle. Together they own Go Custom Travel, specializing in active vacations and uncommon adventures. As a mom raising two busy teenagers, Laura understands the need to unplug, step away and explore together as a family. She takes guests new to adventure travel off the beaten path, to experience nature hands on. Clients get to stretch their comfort zones. Itineraries are a 1000 miles from ordinary: full of outdoor action, wildlife, history and culture. They include authentic, off-the-grid accommodations, great food and time to soak in the moment. Laura is a proud member of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, IATA, CLIA and Snoqualmie Valley Women in Business.
Cori Wiesel, from Terra Natura Travel, in Miami Beach has been in the travel industry for 8 years. She specializes mostly in luxury FIT’s and small groups. Cori sells exotic locations like Iceland and Cuba as well as most of the world with concentration on Europe and Latin America. Her passions are spa and wellness, culinary and wine and adventure.
Cori is a member of ATTA, APTA, NACTA, IATA and TIA. She is a specialist for many countries and has visited over 30.
Julie Reid entered the exciting world of travel six years ago founding two travel agencies located in Oregon: Blue Window World Travel and Girls Flight Out. BWWT focuses on honeymoons, adventure honeymoons and adventure travel while GFO offers unique and adventurous trips for women only. “I have been intrigued and interested in travel for as long as I can remember. In my opinion, nothing can compare to the feeling one gets from exploring a new destination and connecting with others on a personal level.” When Julie is not busy creating itineraries for her clients she can be found exploring the globe, taking photos of the beautiful places that she is fortunate to visit. “I have had a longtime interest in photography, dating back to my childhood, where I would take pictures of whatever was in my path. Now I focus on landscapes, portraiture and real estate photography. I have to admit that I miss the days of being in a dark room (patiently waiting, fingers crossed, for a photo to develop) but today’s technology allows me to “focus” on capturing everything around me that I find inspiring. And trust me, that’s a lot!”
Gaby de Vega is a successful entrepreneur who co-founded and operated a leading adventure travel company in El Salvador. She became a recognized figure in the industry, working with top tour operators and tourism boards. She is globally recognized for her creativity and resourcefulness in bringing new adventure experiences to travel and now to the public relations profession more generally.
Today, she provides astute public relations counsel to clients in a variety of fields, while still playing an active role in the adventure and family travel industry.
“Gabriela is a seasoned graphic designer and a brilliant bilingual/bicultural communications expert who delivers impressive results and brings fresh perspective, passion and enthusiasm to every project she handles deftly and intelligently,” said TransMedia CEO and colleague, Tom Madden.
“Her prodigious performance strengths are in public relations, visual communication, branding and most of all, creativity and innovation,” he said.
She earned an MA in Publication Design at the University of Baltimore and worked as a graphic designer at Adidas and The Discovery Channel.
A native of El Salvador, her beloved stomping grounds are in Central America where she became involved in adventure travel and developed storytelling strategies that today she brings to a variety of other industries, contributing to a transformative human experience with a variety of products and services.
“Everyone has a story to tell and success is all about how we present the story and communicate it effectively to the public,” said Gaby. “And a sense of adventure often can intensify that experience.”
After graduating in anthropology from Cornell University, Lauren Hefferon studied fine arts in Florence and cycled over 35,000 miles throughout Europe. She founded Ciclismo Classico in 1988 and drives all visionary aspects of the company, from itinerary design and tour leader training to marketing and company strategy.
Hefferon has been an advisor to the Adventure Travel World Summit, a panelist at the annual National Bike Summit Panel on Tourism, and founded the annual Ciclismo Classico Bike TravelFilm Festival. Under Hefferon’s leadership, Ciclismo Classico has blossomed into one of the top companies in the adventure travel industry, garnering awards from Outside magazine and National Geographic Traveler, and being named one of Boston’s top 100 woman-Led businesses three years running. Hefferon has been profiled by Entrepreneur magazine, and her tours have been featured in an array of media outlets, ranging from USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, to Bicycling, CNN.com and Forbes.
As a specialized boutique bicycle tour operator since 1988, Ciclismo Classico provides the most authentic, unique and exciting vacations in the adventure travel industry. Their well-crafted, award-winning educational trips in Europe and South America are active immersions into local art, language, music, folklore and delicious cuisine.
Ciclismo Classico is a member of Trusted Adventures, www.trustedadventures.com, a consortium of award-winning travel companies. By combining legendary service and rare cultural experiences, the Ciclismo travel experience continues to energize and transform each and every guest.