Learn more about our excellent speakers and presenters!
Kristin Addis is a solo female travel expert who inspires women to travel the world in an authentic and adventurous way. A former investment banker who sold all of her belongings and left California in 2012, Kristin has solo traveled the world for over five years, covering every continent (except for Antarctica, but it’s on her list). She blogs at Be My Travel Muse. She will be speaking on solo female travel blogging.
Lola Akinmade Åkerström is an award-winning author and photographer whose work appears in National Geographic Traveller, BBC, The Guardian, Adventure Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Travel Channel, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, and more. Her photography is represented by National Geographic Creative and she is the 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year Bill Muster Award recipient. She co-runs NordicTB Collective which runs successful travel campaigns with professional travel bloggers and digital storytellers. She is the author of books DUE NORTH and LAGOM: Swedish Secret of Living Well available in 17 foreign languages. She will be speaking on making a living as a photographer.
Glory Ali is the founder of Muslim Travel Rocks, which encourages and motivates Muslims to explore the world. Her goal is to combat Islamaphobia through travel. She has been featured on the Huffington Post, Halal Incorp, Khadija Magazine and recently was invited as the first Muslim travel blogger to attend the Going on Faith Conference in Ohio. She will be speaking on family travel.
Gloria Atanmo is a travel blogger, author, and digital storyteller. Living out of a suitcase for almost 5 years, she’s trotted through over 60 countries across 6 continents and has no desire of slowing down anytime soon. You can rely on TheBlogAbroad.com for witty, reflective, and informative stories about her adventures on the road, as well as her Instagram for all the visual wanderlust your travel doctor would prescribe. She will be speaking on solo female travel blogging.
Marko and Alex Ayling are the vagabonds and brothers known online as the Vagabrothers. They’re award-winning travel videographers, photographers and writers – globally-engaged storytellers on a mission to explore our planet by connecting with other young people and inspiring viewers to do the same. In 2014, they launched their own YouTube show, Vagabrothers, where they release new travel videos every Tuesday. They were recently nominated as the “top 100 most influential travel bloggers worldwide” by the U.S. White House summit on global citizenship and cultural exchange.
Alexandra Baackes is a travel blogger and writer who has been on the road since 2011. Baackes travels the world and snaps photos of her journeys, detailing it all on her blog, Alex in Wanderland. As a travel writer Baackes has contributed to many online publications, including Men’s Fitness and Eagle Creek. She will be speaking on solo female travel blogging!
Maddi is the Public Relations specialist at HomeAway where she founded the influencer program in 2014 and continues to manage HomeAway’s ambassador program and larger influencer initiatives today. Working with celebrities to micro-influencers, Maddi is a pro at planning influencer trips and loves sharing the experience of staying in a vacation rental with bloggers and journalists around the world. Of all the projects she’s worked on, some of her favorites include inviting influencers to experience the opening of an apartment in the Eiffel Tower and a press stay at a castle in Scotland for the premier of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
In 1999, Derek Baron left home for a three month trip to Southeast Asia that basically has never ended. All of his adult life has been spent working, living, and traveling around the world nonstop, and since 2009 he has been running a successful travel blog, WanderingEarl.com. With his blog, Derek uses the experiences gained from his life of travel to help others achieve their own travel goals. He is also the founder of a tour company, Wandering Earl Tours, which offers super fun, small group trips to various countries around the world. He will be speaking on monetizing your blog.
In previous careers, Nathan Barry has been a designer, author, and blogger. After learning the power of email marketing he gave up a successful blogging career to build ConvertKit. Outside of work Nathan spends his time playing soccer, woodworking, and chasing after his two little boys. He will be speaking on successfully setting up your newsletter and email marketing campaigns.
Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbeil are the adventurous Canadian couple behind The Planet D, a popular travel blog featuring stunning photography and adventure tales. They were named the 2017 Forbes Top 10 Travel Influencers, and are the 2x winners of the Society of American Travel Writers’ Best Travel Blog. They have been on the road for nine years of adventures in 106 countries. They will be speaking on how to effectively work with brands.
James Bradbury-Boyd serves as Vice President of Public Relations – Americas for Singapore Airlines. As part of the carrier’s regional management team, his role includes responsibility for corporate communications, media relations, earned brand and product communications and crisis management.
Connect with James: Twitter
Paul Brady is the articles editor at Condé Nast Traveler, with a focus on the strategies that help consumers have better trips. He has been covering the travel industry for more than 10 years, at Condé Nast Traveler, The Huffington Post, Budget Travel, and other outlets. He graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He will be speaking about how to effectively pitch editors.
Kara and Nate are husband and wife and full-time travel YouTubers on a mission to visit 100 countries by 2020. They have spent the last two years traveling to 60+ countries, creating one of the fastest growing travel channels on the YouTube platform. Each month their videos reach over 1,000,000 unique viewers, and they were recently recognized as the best travel content creators on the internet at the Shorty Awards. They will be speaking on YouTube.
Carol Cain has always been fascinated with the way people from different backgrounds and experiences interact and take in the world around them and how it influences the way in which they share their stories. Now she gets to share those stories, as well as her own travel adventures and photography on her award-winning travel blog, Girl Gone Travel, and through various brand partnerships and publications from around the world. She will be speaking on family travel.
Emma Cakmak’s passion for cruising got her into trouble at a very early age. Fresh out of college, she wanted to travel and see the world, but she wanted to get paid for it. Not content to backpack through Europe like most of her friends, she found herself working as a Purser on board a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Once she got started, she was hooked. 20 years later, her passion and desire to cruise is just as fierce, and now she spends her days helping clients find the perfect cruise for their travel style and budget. She provides the right tools and expertise to help her clients make informed choices about the best ship for their needs. She will be speaking about working as a travel agent.
Liz Carlson runs Young Adventuress, one of the most popular travel blogs in the world, with a following in the millions. An award winning photographer and writer named “the future of tourism in New Zealand,” she is based in the mountains of Wanaka. For the past seven years she has traveled to over 50 countries, and her projects and work are routinely featured on media outlets like The New York Times, BBC Travel, Buzzfeed, Stuff.co.nz, and Forbes. An industry pioneer, Liz is a respected leader in digital marketing and social influencing and has worked with hundreds of the biggest brands and tourism boards in the world. She will be speaking on how to grow your Instagram.
Edin Chavez is a commercial photographer based out of Miami Beach Florida. His clients include Corona, National Geographic, and iHeartRadio to name a few. Having traveled the wold in the name of photography Edin holds photography workshops worldwide and his passion and hunger to teach others continues to grow. Edin is the editor in chief at ShutYourAperture.com and writes for other online publications. He will be leading a workshop on photo editing.
Chris is the creator of AmateurTraveler.com, a popular online travel website. His travel podcasts were downloaded around 1.9 million times in 2017. The Amateur Traveler is also used to teach English at Oxford University, as well as to test English proficiency for employment with the Thailand Foreign Ministry. Chris has won a Lowell Thomas Award, 4 NATJA awards, and a SMITTY Award from Travel+Leisure as the best independent travel journalist. Chris also runs a site called BloggerBridge.com which connects travel bloggers and companies. He will be speaking on starting a podcast.
Jason Cochran is an award-winning travel journalist, pop historian, and consumer reporter. He was the first person in a quarter century to win Guidebook of the Year twice in the Lowell Thomas Awards by the Society of American Travel Writers. Currently the Editor-in-Chief of Frommers.com, he has written extensively for the New York Post, Budget Travel; Entertainment Weekly; The New York Times; New York Daily News; USA Today; Travel + Leisure and T+L Family; BBC Travel, and more. He is an alumnus of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and NYU’s Graduate Music Theatre Writing Program. He will be running one of the writing workshops during the conference.
Brian Dean is an internationally recognized SEO expert and the founder of Backlinko. After failing with his first five online businesses, Brian finally struck gold with a site in the personal finance space in 2012. He created Backlinko to teach the lessons he learned along the way. Since launching Backlinko, Brian quickly made a name for himself by publishing insanely practical strategies that marketers can use to grow their online business. Backlinko is now one of the most popular marketing blogs online. He will be speaking on SEO.
Torre DeRoche is the author of Love with a Chance of Drowning and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World. Torre has been published in the travel writing anthology An Innocent Abroad, and her work has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, Sydney Morning Herald, and Emirates’ Open Skies magazine, as well as a range of digital publications. She blogs at The Fearful Adventurer. She will be running one of the writing workshops during the conference.
Julia Dimon is a family travel expert and on-air TV travel personality who has traveled 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 and Travel Channel UK. 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, and more. She is also the author of Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel. Julia is the CEO of FUEL, a digital marketing agency, and serves as Director of Video and Influencer Marketing for Family Traveller Magazine.
David Farley is the author of of the books Underground Worlds: A Guide to Spectacular Subterranean Places and An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town, which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. He regularly writes for AFAR, National Geographic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and BBC. He is the writing mentor behind Superstar Blogging’s travel writing course. He will be running one of the writing workshops during the conference.
Pat Flynn is a father, husband, and entrepreneur who lives and works in San Diego, CA. He owns several successful online businesses and is a professional blogger, keynote speaker, Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and host of the Smart Passive Income and AskPat podcasts, which have earned a combined total of over 50 million downloads, multiple awards, and features in publications such as The New York Times and Forbes. He is also an advisor for LeadPages, ConvertKit, and other companies in the digital marketing arena.
Rachel Friedman is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure. The book was chosen as a Target Breakout Book and selected by Goodreads’ readers as one of the best travel books of 2011. She’s written for The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, New York, BUST, Bitch, Creative Nonfiction, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Bon Appetit, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Gadling, and more. She will be running one of the writing workshops during the conference.
Paula Froelich is an award-winning journalist, author, and content developer. She is the founder of the award-winning travel series and website, A Broad Abroad, the New York Times best-selling author of the debut novel, Mercury In Retrograde and a columnist for the New York Post’s Opinion pages. Most recently, from 2014-2016, Paula was the launch editor and editor-in-chief of Yahoo Travel and creator/host of the popular “A Broad Abroad” travel video show in which she skied in Afghanistan, took part in an “illegal border crossing” experience in Mexico, and out drank nomadic camel herders in Mongolia.
Brendan Gahan is founder of Epic Signal, and works with Fortune 500 brands on their YouTube influencer and community building campaigns. Gahan is on the advisory board for Vidcon, the largest YouTube gathering, he was named Forbes 30 Under 30 in Marketing & Advertising. He will be speaking on the subject of influencer marketing.
Lebawit Lily Girma is an award-winning writer, photographer, and blogger specializing in the Caribbean region. Her work is regularly published in major travel publications, including AFAR, CNN, Delta Sky, and Lonely Planet, among others. In 2008, she ditched her US corporate law career for the road and created Sunshine and Stilettos— a travel photography blog showcasing authentic ways to experience the Caribbean. Lily has since partnered with multiple travel brands and tourism boards— currently, Belize and the Dominican Republic — and authors major guidebooks on three Caribbean destinations. She will be leading a photo walk.
Stephanie Elizondo Griest is a globe-trotting author from South Texas. Her books include the travel memoirs Around the Bloc: My Life in Moscow, Beijing, and Havana; Mexican Enough; and All the Agents & Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands as well as the best-selling guidebook 100 Places Every Woman Should Go. She has also written for the New York Times, Washington Post, VQR, The Believer, and the Oxford American, and she edited the anthology Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010. An Assistant Professor of Creative Nonfiction at UNC-Chapel Hill, she has lectured across the globe. Awards include a Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting and a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Gold Prize.
Adam Groffman is a freelance writer, marketer, and travel blogger. He covers city trips around the world, expat life, LGBT issues, and nightlife. His writing has been featured in The Guardian, AFAR, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, and numerous online publications. His stories are available on his blog, Travels of Adam, and additional travel tips (and embarrassing stories!) are shared in real time through his fun and engaging social media. He will be speaking on the subject of LGBT travel.
Matt Gross is a veteran travel writer whose credits include The New York Times (where he was the Frugal Traveler from 2006 to 2010), Saveur, AFAR, Bon Appétit (whose website he edited from 2012 to 2014), New York Magazine, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and many other publications. His travel memoir, The Turk Who Loved Apples: And Other Tales of Losing My Way Around the World, was published by Da Capo Press in 2013. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters.
President and CEO of award-winning creative agency Mekanism, Jason Harris works closely with brands through a blend of “Soul & Science” to create shareable and provocative campaigns that engage audiences. Under Harris’ leadership, Mekanism has been named to Ad Age’s “Agency A List” and twice to their “Best Places to Work”, as well as been listed on Creativity “The Creative 50” and recognized by Effie as one of the “Most Effective Independent Agencies”. He has been profiled by The New York Times, Fast Company and ABC’s Nightline. In 2017, Harris was honored by the 4A’s as one of the “100 People Who Make Advertising Great”. He will be speaking on how to work with brands.
Dalene and Pete Heck spent eight years traveling the world and chronicling their journey on HeckticTravels.com, earning recognition as National Geographic Travelers of the Year and one of NATJA’s Best Independent Travel Blogs. Their side hustle is as co-founders of Hecktic Media Inc, a company dedicated to connecting influencers with travel brands and delivering real results with social media marketing. They will be speaking on the subject of working with brands.
Dani Heinrich is the vagabonding writer and photographer behind GlobetrotterGirls.com. Dani, originally from Germany, left her home country in 2006 and has been nomadic since April 2010. What was intended to be a one-year trip turned into an indefinite journey. With the motto ‘One Globe. No Regrets’, Dani has since travelled through over 60 countries on four continents and has no plans to stop any time soon. She decided to chronicle her adventures on a blog and co-founded Globetrottergirls.com, growing it into one of the leading independent LGBT travel websites. She will be speaking on the subject of LGBT travel.
Spud Hilton is the travel editor of The San Francisco Chronicle, where since 2000 he has written about, reported on and been hopelessly lost in destinations on six continents. His attempts to defy the expectations of places — from Havana’s back alleys to Kyoto’s shrines to the floor of a hippie bus in Modesto — have earned 13 Lowell Thomas Awards for travel journalism.
Ryan Holiday is a writer and media strategist. At 19 years old, he dropped out of college to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power. Nowadays his creative agency, Brass Check, advises clients like Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as many prominent bestselling authors, including Neil Strauss, Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. He is the author of six books, including The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, The Daily Stoic and Perennial Seller. He will be giving one of the keynotes.
Rob Holmes is the Founder & Chief Strategist of GLP Films, the award-winning content marketing agency dedicated to full-service and ROI-based campaigns for the travel industry. Rob has a diverse background in multimedia storytelling, sustainable tourism, and global business strategy. With GLP, Rob has spearheaded global partnerships with leading government ministries, media companies, trade organizations, and corporate brands. Rob is a board member of the Global Ecotourism Network (GEN) and Maine Huts & Trails. Rob has a BA in Wildlife Management and an MBA in International Business, Marketing, and Environmental Management. He will be speaking on sustainable tourism.
Raimee Iacofano is the Creative Director for Nomadic Matt. From editing videos, designing graphics, and writing copy to dissecting analytics and creating viable marketing strategies, Raimee knows how to creatively engage audiences and drive traffic through a multitude of social media and digital platforms. She will be speaking on organic Facebook and Pinterest marketing strategies.
Steve Kamb is the founder and rebel of Nerd Fitness, a worldwide community of average joes and jills looking to live better lives. The site receives over 2 million unique visitors monthly and over 50,000 customers have joined the Rebellion. Steve lives in New York City, has traveled around the world, and hopes to one day become Captain America. He is also the author of the best selling book, Level Up Your Life. He will be speaking on community building.
Matthew Karsten is a professional adventure photographer and travel blogger at ExpertVagabond.com. He’s been exploring unusual and beautiful locations around the planet for the past 7 years, visiting over 50 countries including places like Greenland and Afghanistan. His images have been featured by publications like National Geographic and The Travel Channel, and he works for national tourism boards, airlines, and large international brands on a regular basis.
Matt Kepnes, aka Nomadic Matt, is the authority on cost-conscious travel. As the author of his blog and the NYT-best selling book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter, Matt teaches people how to travel on a budget. An intrepid globetrotter, blogger, writer, and entrepreneur, Matt has branched out into several industries over the last decade. A few of his endeavors have included: running tours through Europe, the US, and Asia, co-owning a hostel in Texas, and creating the media school Superstar Blogging. Matt also founded the non-profit FLYTE, which sends high school classes overseas to bring their educational experiences to life. He will hosting this event and giving a keynote.
Peep Laja is the founder of CXL and CXL Institute, training marketers in all things data-driven. His specialty is conversion optimization – helping companies get more revenue from their website. He was voted the #1 most influential conversion rate optimization expert in the world. He will be speaking on conversion optimization.
Cory Lee was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two. He has traversed six continents and blogs about his accessible (and sometimes not so accessible) adventures on his website. From trekking through the Amazon Rainforest to hot air ballooning over the deserts of Israel and everything in between, Cory shows that anything is possible with enough determination. Since starting his blog in 2013, he has won the 2017 Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Blog and is a proud member of the Society of American Travel Writers. Cory hopes to inspire others to break out of their comfort zone. He will be speaking on traveling with a disability.
In addition to blogging about his miles and points obsession, Gary Leff co-founded InsideFlyer.com, a place for frequent flyers to meet and learn using the latest technology. He has been called “the godfather of the [frequent flyer] hobby” in Rolling Stone. Ron Lieber in the New York Times describes him as “a travel industry blogger with a specialty in spanking companies that devalue their loyalty programs.” He has appeared on The Colbert Show, The Today Show, CNN’s The Situation Room, and many more.
Kristin Luna has worked in the magazine industry for more than 15 years, contributing travel, food and celebrity features to 50+ titles including Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Real Simple, USA Today, Forbes, Southern Living, Entertainment Weekly and AFAR, as well as authoring more than 15 guidebooks. She launched her travel and lifestyles blog Camels & Chocolate in 2007 and through it has partnered with countless DMOs and travel brands, from Fairmont Hotels to Airbnb.
Anna Lysakowska Karsten is a US-based European travel influencer behind the blog Anna Everywhere. For the past 11 years, she has lived in various places and traveled to over 80 countries on 6 continents, studying foreign languages, culture, law, and history of places she visits. Through her blog and social channels, she has been encouraging people to live abroad and travel to some more known and off the path places, despite having chronic diseases. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, FOX News, and Daily Mail. She will be speaking on Instagram.
Kristen Malaby is Tourism Australia’s Marketing Communications Manager, The Americas overseeing the communications strategy across the US, Canada and Latin America. Kristen has been with Tourism Australia (TA) since 2003 and enjoyed many roles in both PR and advertising as well as spearheading campaigns around Oprah and Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, and most recently working on the Dundee campaign featured in this year’s Big Game. Prior to joining TA, she held various marketing and PR roles, including with luxury LVMH jeweller FRED, film and TV production, and as a publicist managing celebrity talent and events. Kristen graduated from the University of California Los Angeles with degrees in International Economics and French.
Jaume Marin is the Marketing Director of the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board in Spain. As one of the most innovative destinations on the online Marketing, Costa Brava is now known as a home for many travel bloggers from all over the world. Jaume has been leading successful projects as a pioneer in relations with travel bloggers, including more than 100 blogtrips and the co-organisation of TBEX 2012 and TBEX 2015. Lecturer in the University of Girona and speaker at many tourism conferences, Jaume is a proud supporter of storytelling and engagement, and has a strong trust in the power of blogging, communication and relationships. He will be speaking on how bloggers can work with tourism boards.
Liam Martin is the co-founder and CMO of TimeDoctor.com and Staff.com. After graduating with a masters in Sociology from McGill University, Liam opened a small tutoring company which grew to over 100 employees, and looked to solve a problem with remote employees not reporting accurate work data. He consults on outsourcing and process design and is passionate about the inner workings of how people work. After working with remote employees for over 10 years, Liam works on furthering the remote work movement. He will be speaking on how to hire the best people.
Colleen McDaniel is Senior Executive Editor of Cruise Critic, the world’s largest online cruise resource. She considers cruising to be a true passion, having traveled the world by water — from Alaska and the Caribbean, to Europe’s rivers and the Panama Canal — on ships of all shapes and sizes. She’s been quoted by media outlets across the country as an expert in cruising, including Fox News, Yahoo!, NPR and The Miami Herald.
Neville Medhora figured out in his early career that you can get a bunch of very-targeted people to come to your website, consume your material, and even buy. He then applied this to businesses he was a part of including a rave company, the first financial blog online, AppSumo, TheHustle, and more. He currently advises numerous companies and runs a copywriting company called KopywritingKourse.com. He will be speaking on copywriting.
Chris “Mercer” Mercer, co-founder of MeasurementMarketing.io, is a sought after measurement marketing expert. For the past 5 years, Mercer (as he’s known) and his team have been helping marketers, marketing teams, and agencies know, trust, and grow their numbers. First by planning out what’s important to measure in their marketing, then how to actually measure it (using tools like Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics), pulling actionable insights from what’s being measured, and finally predicting future results. He will be speaking on Google Analytics.
Ben Mutzabaugh is a travel reporter for USA TODAY. He has written Today in the Sky, a daily blog about air travel and the airline industry, since 2002. He has detailed knowledge of aviation and airline news and trends, plus airfare tips from a consumer perspective. Mutzabaugh appears regularly on a number of national networks to discuss the latest air travel topics. He has appeared on the NBC Today Show, the CBS This Morning, the PBS NewsHour, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News and numerous local stations across the nation. He will be speaking on airline reporting.
Ankur Nagpal is the founder and CEO of Teachable — an online platform used by over 10,000 creators to monetize their skills and expertise. Teachable has allowed businesses like The New York Times, Shopify, Intuit, The University of Pennsylvania and individuals like Seth Godin, Simon Sinek and Pat Flynn create and sell online courses worth over $125m+ to over 8 million students.He will be speaking on how bloggers can monetize their websites.
Elena Nikolova is an international speaker, author and the editor-in-chief of MuslimTravelGirl.com, the largest Western Muslim-friendly travel site for Muslim millennials. It helps Muslim travellers explore the world without breaking the bank. As a thought leader in the halal travel industry on Muslim travel and millennials, she has spoken at several national and international conferences including the Arabian Travel Market, Global Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai (GIES) and the Middle East & Africa DutyFree Association. Her work has been featured by international media outlets, including The Times, Business Traveller Middle East, and Thomson Reuters. She will be speaking on traveling as a Muslim.
Laurence Norah is a full time professional travel photographer & blogger, who has been traveling the world since 2009. His photos have appeared on the National Geographic homepage, the BBC, USA Today, Buzzfeed and CNN, amongst many others. He runs two travel blogs with his wife Jessica: the photography and adventure focused Finding the Universe, and the couples travel focused Independent Travel Cats, and has over a million followers on Facebook. He’s also the teacher of the Superstar Blogging Photography Course. He will be speaking on travel photography.
Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott are the husband-and-wife storytelling team behind the award-winning travel blog Uncornered Market, recognized as Best Responsible Tourism Blog at WTM. They are writers, speakers and consultants whose work helps partners better understand their core strengths, tell their story to new audiences, and deliver innovative experiences focused on local culture, cuisine, and environment. Their work focuses on using travel as a force for good with the belief that mindful travel can benefit both travelers and local communities. They will be speaking on sustainability in travel.
Stephen is a serial travel industry entrepreneur, having co-founded multiple companies in the tours & activities sector since 2005. He co-founded WalksofItaly.com, an online travel company for visitors to Italy offering sightseeing tours, in 2009. Walks has become one of the largest operators of travel services in Italy, a success he attributes largely to social media and content marketing strategies. Walks has since launched tours in New York, Istanbul, Paris, Barcelona, London, and San Francisco, rebranding as TakeWalks.com in late 2017. Stephen oversees 9 offices around the world, is an expert on digital strategy and has spoken at a number of industry events on influencer marketing.
Shannon O’Donnell is a responsible tourism advocate, and named a National Geographic Traveler of the Year for her work helping travelers use grassroots tourism as a force for good. Through her writing, photography, and speaking she shares stories that encourage other travelers to not only explore the world, but to understand how travel impacts local communities and cultures. She founded both A Little Adrift and Grassroots Volunteering, which is the world’s largest database of social enterprises empowering travelers to connect to causes and communities in the places they travel. She will be speaking on sustainable travel.
Chris is the Community Manager for Nomadic Matt and the author of The Dogs of Nam, a collection of outrageous and insightful tales from over a decade of backpacking the world. Responsible for the interconnected communities under the Nomadic Matt flag (Superstar Blogging, the Community Forums, and The Nomadic Network), Chris knows what it takes to manage and engage communities of all sizes. With an ever-expanding To-Do list, he has learned what it takes to conquer checklists and overcome procrastination. He will be speaking on time management and productivity.
Cailin O’Neil is a travel blogger and videographer with a large focus on creating social video content on Snapchat and Instagram Stories. While blogging, creating social media content and Snapchat vlogging daily, she has worked with brands such as Lonely Planet, Expedia, American Express, South Africa Tourism, Germany Tourism, Universal Orlando Resort and more. Those partnerships and more have helped her now be one of the top travel Snapchat influencers in the world. She will be speaking on how to create engaging Snapchat content and Instagram stories.
Angie Orth is a recovering agency publicist, the creator of AngieAway.com and the producer and co-host of The Jet Sisters, a video brand focusing on Millennial travel. Angie and her travel adventures have appeared on the Today Show, the New York Post, Cosmopolitan, Yahoo Travel, Buzzfeed, AFAR and Glamour, among many others. In 2015, AngieAway.com was named one of Southern Living’s “30 Best Blogs to Follow.” Prior to quitting her PR job in New York in 2010 to travel around the world, Angie was chosen out of 30,000 to be a top 50 finalist for Australia’s Best Job in the World campaign. She will be speaking about how bloggers and PR can work better together.
Sam Parr is the founder and CEO of The Hustle and Hustle Con, one of America’s fastest-growing media brands focusing on millennials, tech, and culture. He started the company in his kitchen in 2014, and has done a little bit of everything from writing, sales, growth, and keeping the office running. Nowadays, The Hustle gives 500,000+ young people a day all the business news and information they need to start their day. He will be speaking on how to grow your email list.
As Director of Public Relations for Visit California, Angie Pappas leads the team responsible for developing global media and influencer relations and public affairs strategies that support the organization’s mission to inspire demand for the California brand and promote how much travel matters to the Golden State’s well-being. She joined the organization in 2014.
Angie previously served as Director of Communications at the California Restaurant Association where she developed the association’s overall messaging strategy and served as spokeswoman for the CRA and its Educational Foundation. She also oversaw its portfolio of publications, marketing initiatives and digital presence. She has also worked as an editor at The Sacramento Bee, and as a news designer at the Albuquerque Journal.
She lives in Sacramento with her husband and a Shih Tzu named Apple.
Jack Paxton is the co-founder of VYPER. Jack’s background is scaling businesses using online paid media channels like Facebook, Adwords etc. He’s worked with small startups to large companies managing spends from $100/day to as large as $100k/day spending over $100 Million in total on direct response accounts. After working in paid acquisition for years he identified a under utilized strategy for scaling through incentivization and gamification using contests, giveaways and form captures. That’s when the growth hacking tool VYPER was created.
Rolf Potts has reported from more than sixty countries for the likes of National Geographic Traveler, The New Yorker, Slate.com, Outside, the New York Times Magazine, The Believer, The Guardian (U.K.), Sports Illustrated, National Public Radio, and the Travel Channel. Potts is perhaps best known for promoting the ethic of independent travel, and his book on the subject, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, has been through twenty-eight printings and translated into several foreign languages. He will be a keynote speaker.
Photographer, Philanthropist, and World Traveler, Erick Prince is blazing a new trail in travel and business. Combining his love for photography and travel, he created MinorityNomad.com. One of the premier travel blogs for African-American and Latino travelers. Inspiring low-income communities to explore the world and document their travels. Currently on a quest to become the first African-American to visit every country in the world, Erick has turned a hobby into a thriving business. Visiting 93 countries along the way. Through his blog and digital marketing company, Erick has worked with brands such as Facebook, Singha Corp, LAN Airlines, InterContinental Hotels, and Sony. He is leading a photo walk.
Mari Ramirez is an experienced CPA who has been in public accounting for over 7 years. She has worked in various industries ranging from small to medium business models such as web developers, restaurants, retail stores, non-profits, real estate, and engineering firms. She is proficient in Quickbooks, ProSystems software, all Mac and Microsoft Office programs, EASY Accounting Professional Software, MYOB, and more. Mari has received both a bachelors and a masters degree in Accounting.
Connect with Mari: Website
Oneika Raymond is a media personality, journalist, and public speaker. She’s also a host for Travel Channel, an on-air travel expert for CTV Canada, and an award-winning blogger who has partnered with global brands such as Hyundai, Star Alliance, and Alamo Rent-A-Car. She’ll be discussing how she leveraged her personal travel blog and turned it into a lucrative career in travel media.
Carmela is the Executive Director of Nomadic Matt’s non-profit FLYTE (Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education), an NGO consultant, and RTW trip veteran. She has been on FLYTE’s Board of Directors since the organization’s founding in 2015 and has helped to send over 50 students and their teachers overseas on transformative educational experiences. Through FLYTE, she combines her love for travel with over a decade of experience working in education, child welfare, and youth development. She believes that empowering young people through travel will create the next generation of global citizens. Carmela will be sharing about FLYTE’s future.
Kiersten Rich is the “blonde” behind The Blonde Abroad, a popular female travel blog featuring travel tips, videos and photography from around the world. The Blonde Abroad was listed on Forbes’ Top 10 Travel Influencers of 2017, has been featured in The New York Times, VOGUE, AFAR and Travel + Leisure, and has amassed a loyal following of over 1 million people. The California native now resides in Cape Town and runs all-female travel tours and educational retreats in Indonesia and South Africa, with new destinations announced this year!
Chris Richardson is the founder of RTW Labs. After spending hours performing free technical support for his fellow travel bloggers, he discovered a passion for this line of work and decided to build it into a new career. Chris established himself as the “Tech Guy” for many in the travel blogging community. Since then, RTW Labs has expanded to provide support to independent bloggers and other businesses. Chris makes sure NomadicMatt.com is working properly at all times and is the tech guru behind Superstar Blogging. He will be running multiple sessions on setting up and optimizing your website.
Annette Richmond is a blogger, writer, and the creator of Fat Girls Traveling. She’s currently a contributor at Ravishly and On She Goes. This self-proclaimed Fat Girl is a staunch supporter of the Body Positive Movement. Her Fat Girls Traveling Instagram and Facebook Groups have recently been featured in Teen Vogue, Allure, Self and Shape Magazines. From dressing top models and celebrities to traveling to over 18 countries, her goal is to continue to be a voice for Fat Travelers and Fashionistas. She will be speaking on the subject of diversity in travel.
Kara Rosner is a founding partner and Vice President of Diamond Public Relations, directing strategy across the agency’s roster of clients, which focus exclusively on travel & tourism. The ideal combination of PR professional and media insider, Rosner constantly has her finger on the pulse of the state of the industry, applying the latest trends to effectively guide agency teams in the execution of creative and impactful PR campaigns that resonate with clients and the media alike. A South Florida native, Rosner is a graduate of the University of Florida and resides in Ft. Lauderdale with her husband and two children. She will be speaking on working with tourism boards.
Helen Russell is a British journalist, speaker and bestselling author. Formerly the editor of marieclaire.co.uk, Helen swapped the world of glossy fashion magazines in London for rural Denmark in 2013 and became Scandinavia correspondent for the Guardian and a columnist for the Telegraph, UK. She now writes for magazines and newspapers around the world including The Times, Metro, Stylist, Grazia and The Wall Street Journal. Her first book, The Year of Living Danishly, is now published in 20 countries worldwide and she’s also the author of Leap Year – How small steps can make a giant difference. Her debut novel, Gone Viking, was published in April 2018. She will be keynoting.
Dan Saltzstein as worked at The New York Times since 1999, and has been an editor at the Travel section since 2009. He edits the Frugal Traveler and 52 Places Traveler columns, manages the section’s digital presentation, and has written about taking his family on a Disney cruise, a search for noir culture in San Francisco, exploring creative neighborhoods in Quebec City and eating seafood in Scotland. His writing has also appeared in the Arts & Leisure, Book Review, Food and Metropolitan sections.
Patricia Serrano is a travel blogger (FreshTraveler.com), travel host and film/video producer with a passion for one-of-kind life experiences and off-the-beaten path sustainable travel adventures. She has also teamed up with luxury travel agency Protravel International to curate unique, off the beaten path sustainable travel itineraries for clients interested in traveling the globe as sustainably as possible. Growing up in Bangkok, Thailand, her father was a hotelier and spent a lot of time in and around hotels. She has a passion for good hospitality, cultural immersion, and sustainable travel.
Six years ago, while living and teaching in Japan, Travis Sherry knew he wanted to travel more. He started learning about all the ways to travel for less, including the golden goose: frequent flyer miles. In six short years, he was able to earn over 4 million frequent flyer miles and traveled to over 40 countries, all for much less than he ever dreamed. He started Extra Pack of Peanuts to share this knowledge with the world, and he now runs one of the top-rated travel podcasts on iTunes. He will be speaking on the topic of podcasts.
Ryan Stewart is a digital marketing professional and entrepreneur. He has over 10 years of client facing experience helping brands like Target, Best Buy and VISITFLORIDA get more exposure through digital channels. He has also built and sold a number of businesses, including WEBRIS, a digital marketing agency and Laces Out, an ecommerce streetwear brand. He current serves as a partner at From The Future, a technical SEO and UX agency as well as running a number of online training and software platforms to help marketers grow their businesses.
Claudi is a life enthusiast & founder of GreenMe Berlin – a city guide connecting travellers and locals with the heroes of the local “green scene”. Through podcasts, maps & events, she inspires people to explore the city from a creative, sustainable angle – while still having heaps of fun. No preaching, no dogma. As a believer in the power of face to face, Claudi organizes immersive guided tours in Berlin – and most recently in Melbourne, OZ. She also co-founded a brand new concept called Circular Economy Tours and is now merging both the online and offline world, using experiential travel as a force for good. She will be speaking on a panel about sustainable tourism.
Thomas Swick is the author of Unquiet Days: At Home in Poland; A Way to See the World: From Texas to Transylvania with a Maverick Traveler; and, most recently, The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them. His work has appeared in The American Scholar, Oxford American, North American Review, Missouri Review, Southwest Review, Wilson Quarterly, Ploughshares, Smithsonian, National Geographic Traveler, Roads & Kingdoms, Los Angeles Review of Books and The Best American Travel Writing 2001, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2014. Swick teaches an online travel writing course as part of the MFA program of Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. He will be running one of the writing workshops.
Nadine Sykora is one of the top travel videographers and travel video content creators in the world. Since 2008 she has made over 900 videos gaining over 40 million+ views, and has accumulated over 258,000 subscribers to her Youtube channel. She has been named one of US Today’s Top Travel Experts, TripAdvisors Tripkey’s Top 10 Travel Vloggers, and is listed as one of Hufﬁngton Post’s Top Travel Bloggers. She will be speaking on how to achieve success on YouTube.
Michael Tieso has been traveling the world since 2009 and currently lives in Italy. He specializes in WordPress and WooCommerce development and formally worked at Automattic, creators of WordPress.com and WooCommerce. He also blogs over at ArtofAdventuring.com. He will be speaking on WordPress and eCommerce.
Christine Tran is a travel & lifestyle blogger at Tour de Lust who inspires others to live a life of adventures. She has gained over 200k followers on social media in just two years and has been partnering with tourism boards and luxury hotels and lifestyle brands, from Travel & Leisure to ANA Airlines.
Brent Underwood is a partner at Brass Check, a creative advisory firm that has marketed, written, and advised on dozens of bestselling books including projects with Robert Greene, Tim Ferriss, John Grisham, Tony Robbins, and many others. His work has been featured by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The LA Times, Publisher’s Weekly, VICE, ESPN, Wired, Newsday, Slate, Inc., among others. Brent is also the founder of “HK Austin,” a hostel in the heart of Austin. He currently lives in Austin, Texas. He will be speaking on the subject of book marketing.
Chris Vasquez is the director of product at AWeber, where he works with a team of product managers and UX/UI designers to create tools and experiences that enable entrepreneurs, bloggers, podcasters and businesses to connect with their audiences in remarkable ways. He’s most passionate about identifying and helping to unlock super powers in product people, from becoming data-whisperers to prototyping mad scientists. He’s almost equally passionate about building things that enable people to do incredible things and feel amazing doing them. He will be speaking on how to set up an email list.
Erica is the Director of Global Operations at Nomadic Matt and has been helping people get on the road for nearly 5 years. Her tips have been featured in publications such as Levo and Forbes. She loves the thrill of living in countries people have rarely heard of (hello Qatar, St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Zambia) and encourages others to step outside of their comfort zone. At 15 years old, a school trip to Nicaragua changed her view of the world. 15 years later, she helped high school students do the same through a transformative trip to Ecuador with FLYTE. Erica’s greatest passion is helping others and connecting people around the world. She will be speaking about Nomadic Matt’s non-profit FLYTE.
Ryan Whaley is a communications professional with experience that ranges from national media relations and major event production to crisis communications. At Green Door Mediaworks, he focuses on developing and implementing strategic communications plans that encompass national and local media relations, community relations, video production, special events planning, crisis communications and digital PR. He will be speaking on the subject of working with brands.
Ernest White II is a storyteller and explorer, and the producer and host of global reality-travel television series Fly Brother. He is also host of the travel- and culture-focused Fly Brother Radio Show, and publisher of multicultural travel portal FlyBrother.net. Ernest’s writing has been featured in Time Out London, USA Today, Getaway, Ebony, The Manifest-Station, Sinking City, Lakeview Journal, Matador Network, National Geographic Traveler’s Brazil, and more. He will be speaking on the subject of video and presenting.
Amanda Williams is the former-journalist-turned-blogger behind A Dangerous Business, a travel blog that aims to inspire people to fit more travel and adventure into the lifestyle they already have. Since starting her blog in 2010, Amanda has traveled to more than 50 countries on six continents from her home base in Ohio, and has been featured by major publications and websites like AFAR, The Huffington Post, and USA Today Travel. She will be speaking on partnerships and affiliate marketing.
Myste Wylde is a highly awarded luxury travel advisor for Protravel International and the author of Forever Wylde. She has been featured in Luxury Travel Advisor, Virtuoso Life, Travel Weekly, TravelAge West, and Travel Agent Central. She is the former Head of Development and Officer of Membership for Millennials in Travel LA as well as the former Co-Chair for SoCal ASTA’s Millennials & Mentors. She has just returned to the U.S. after half a year abroad celebrating her 30th in S.E. Asia, India, Abu Dhabi, and Europe. She loves books, food, and getting lost. Her philosophy, “If we’re not friends yet, we should be!” She will be speaking on ‘The Modern Day Travel Agent.
Nina Zadeh is the co-founder and Director of Partnerships at Sidewalker Daily, a marketing consulting agency who works on both sides of the influencer equation. On one hand, she works with destinations and hospitality clients on their influencer marketing initiatives and social media strategy. On the other hand, Nina works with influencers and bloggers to help transform their travel influence, provide opportunities through Sidewalker Daily’s signature Press Trip Program and create sustainable businesses online.
By managing influencer press trips for clients such as the Costa Rica Tourism Board, Nina is able to shed light on the client perspective to the Sidewalker Daily community of bloggers and influencers. Nina’s unique position on both sides of the industry helps bridge the gap between travel brands and influencers to ensure every partnership is a win-win for all involved.
Since 2009, Nina has also worked as a brand strategist and strategic partnership consultant to fashion and lifestyle companies. She has helped her clients land partnerships with major brands such as Whole Foods Markets, Lord & Taylor, Drybar and Contiki Tours, among many others.
Nina received her MBA in Marketing from Fordham University in New York City and holds a B.A. in Economics and Communications from Boston College. Fun fact: Nina grew up between the Bahamas, France, Miami and Dubai and speaks four languages. She now lives in South Florida with her husband, daughter and beagle mix Riley.
Connect with Nina: Website