LA Times | Travel show - 2014 Trade Day Speakers
Lillian Africano
Lillian Africano | Schedule >

Africano is cruise editor at JAX FAX, senior editor at Elegant Accents, editor-in-chief of and executive editor at She is the author of 16 books including three best-selling novels under the pseudonym “Jessica March.” She formerly served as a freelance editor and writer at AOL Travel. Her articles have appeared in, New York Magazine and the New York Post.
Mary  Barnett
Mary Barnett | Schedule >

Barnett joined SITA World Tours in 2012 with a focus on building its ever-growing Group Division and high-end, tailor-made travel. She is currently president of the Los Angeles chapter of SKAL International. Her extensive knowledge of China is based on over 70 trips including Tibet, Yunnan and the Silk Road. Joining SITA allows her to explore Africa, India, South and Central America.
Klaus Billep
Klaus Billep | Schedule >

Billep is currently the executive director of Pacific Asia Travel Association, Southern California chapter, and president of Universal Travel System. He has extensive experience and has been active in the industry since the 1960s. Billep is one of the founding members of the Asia Travel Association established in 1985. He served as the Los Angeles chapter SKAL travel association president from 2001-2002.
Lisa Bolton
Lisa Bolton | Schedule >

Now CEO of Aurora Expeditions cruise company, Lisa began her career by starting a knitwear business at age 21. After spending some time in Bangladesh and India, her passion for travel took hold and, while studying for a degree in Economics and Resource Management, she went to work for Qantas Airways, first as a reservations consultant, and then as business analyst for Qantas’ Business Travel division. She also worked at Carnival Australia (P&O Cruises).
Wesley Bosnic
Wesley Bosnic | Schedule >

Wesley is senior vice president of Revenue Management and Strategic Development at Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection in Los Angeles. A travel professional with over 30 years in the industry, he spent the last 20 in sales, marketing and development of cruises in Europe, Russia, Asia and Egypt for Uniworld. Wesley is part of a team that has overseen major enhancements to its product in services, inclusions, ship design and amenities creating an exciting and contemporary luxury product.
David Boucher
David Boucher | Schedule >

A highly respected expert in medical travel, David has examined best practices in hospital care in 27 countries. He has been quoted in more than 250 publications including U.S. News & World Reports, Business Week, Fast Company, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on “NBC Nightly News” and “Fox Business News.” He is currently president and COO of Companion Global Healthcare, Inc. and UCI Medical Affiliates, Inc., wholly owned subsidiaries of BlueCross BlueShield South Carolina.
Barbara Bryant
Barbara Bryant | Schedule >

Bryant is managing director — USA and Canada for Trails of Indochina. An award-winning travel executive, Bryant served as regional director – North America for PATA, and as chair of the PATA Southern California Chapter and the East Asia Travel Association. She was previously director of Central and Western USA and Mexico for the Hong Kong Tourism Board in Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
Bernhard S. Clever
Bernhard S. Clever | Schedule >

Clever is currently director of sales development — North American for Air China, chairman of the Southern California Chapter of PATA and past president of SKAL International — Los Angeles. He began his extensive travel career as tour director with Globus Tours and Gateway Holidays where he became regional sales manager — Midwest. He later worked for Cathay Pacific and Yemen Airways.
Jason Coleman
Jason Coleman | Schedule >

As President and Chief Visionary of Jason Coleman, Inc., Coleman’s cruise-oriented agency focuses on designing memorable travel experiences. Coleman is also V.P. of California’s Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation, serves on the Board of Directors for ASTA, and is a member of the California Coalition of Travel Organizations. Coleman was named one of the “Top 25 Agents of 2010″ by Travel Agent Magazine and received the “Industry Activist” Trendsetter Award by TravelAge West in 2011.
Clark Corey
Clark Corey | Schedule >

An industry veteran with 33 years in the travel business, Corey is currently the commercial development manager with Airworld Alliance. Airworld Alliance represents, as general sales agent for passenger sales, 12 Africa-based international airlines. He has also served on the board of APTA — Association For The Promotion of Tourism to Africa — for more than 20 years and is currently the Los Angeles chapter president.
S. Nathan DePetris
S. Nathan DePetris, MCC, CTA, LS, DS | Schedule >

DePetris is owner and COO of Pride Travel, catering to gay and lesbian clientele, and is an IGLTA Ambassador to the USA. He’s sailed on over four dozen cruises, traveled to almost 40 countries and was awarded a WAVE TrendSetter for Travel Agent Sales Superstar. Tapping extensive GLBT travel knowledge DePetris founded, an online travel magazine featuring information and colorful narratives from a gay perspective.
Anne Dimon
Anne Dimon | Schedule >

Founder and editor-in-chief of the nine-year-old Travel to Wellness Magazine, Anne has been a professional journalist for the last 20 years. Contributing to both consumer and industry publications in Canada, the U.S., Asia and the UK she has traveled the world. She is often asked to speak on the subject of wellness travel and, in 2009, was emcee of the Leading Spas of Canada conference.
Kathy Dragon
Kathy Dragon | Schedule >

Since 1998 Kathy has created and led small-group cultural walking adventures worldwide through her company, The Dragon’s Path. She is also executive director of Whole Journeys. As a professional in the adventure/experiential travel industry for more than two decades, she has personally escorted more than 3,000 guests on life-changing adventures. Kathy’s trips allow for authentic experiences involving rich cultural connections. Attendees stay at boutique properties, work with expert local guides, sample traditional cuisines and engage in active excursions.
Doug Duda
Doug Duda | Schedule >

Doug Duda is the Immediate Past President of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is the host of the ground-breaking AETN International culinary travel television series, The Well-Seasoned Traveler, and produces culinary travel events around the country. Doug develops events and venues for clients looking for ways to use the sizzle of the current culinary scene to market their products and services.
Richard G. Edwards
Richard G. Edwards | Schedule >

As co-founder, Richard has traveled, worked and lived in Costa Rica for more than 25 years. Condé Nast Traveler magazine has recommended him as the Costa Rica Top Travel Specialist since 2006. Also an economist, Richard spent years working in sustainable development. He regularly works with corporations such as Discovery Communications and Hilton Worldwide on subjects surrounding green and sustainable travel.
Lolis Eric Elie
Lolis Eric Elie | Schedule >

Lolis Eric Elie is a New Orleans born, Los Angeles based writer and filmmaker. Most recently, he joined the writing staff of the AMC television show, Hell on Wheels. Before that, he wrote for the HBO series Treme. Working with the award-winning director Dawn Logsdon, he co- produced and wrote the PBS documentary, Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans. His essay, “America’s Greatest Hits,” is included in Best African American Essays: 2009.

A former columnist for The Times-Picayune, he is the author of Smokestack Lightning: Adventures in the Heart of Barbecue Country and co-producer and writer of Smokestack Lightning: A Day in the Life of Barbecue, the documentary based on that book. He is editor of Cornbread Nation 2: The Best of Southern Food Writing.A contributing writer to The Oxford American, his work has appeared in Gourmet, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Bon Appetit, Downbeat and The San Francisco Chronicle.
Susie Ellis | Schedule >

As president of SpaFinder® Wellness, Inc., Susie is recognized as a leading global authority on spa and wellness. Director of the company’s annual Spa and Wellness Trend Forecast and author of the popular Susie’s Spa and Wellness Blog, she is a prominent writer and speaker, and a respected industry analyst. Susie is also chairman and CEO of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit and a member of the board of the Center for Medical Tourism Research.
Alana Hayden
Alana Hayden | Schedule >

Alana created and led the first Born Free Safari to Africa to raise funds for the Elsa Wild Animal Appeal, founded by artist and “Born Free” author, Joy Adamson, and introduced the public to affordable private safaris. She later founded the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa (APTA) – an organization that educates the travel industry about how to select the best safari for each. APTA now operates worldwide and has over a thousand safari professionals as members.
Dave Herbert
Dave Herbert | Schedule >

Dave grew up in Africa and has been deeply involved in African tourism all his business life, guiding tours and safaris throughout southern Africa. He developed, built and managed game lodges in remote areas of Botswana, Mozambique nd South Africa, establishing his first tour business in the U.S. in 1976. Dave is also the founder and CEO of Great Safaris, a luxury tour operator to southern and east Africa and Egypt. He received the South African Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award.
Michael Hodson | Schedule >

Michael is an attorney that took off on his birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, he made it home. Now a permanent traveler, writer, photographer and social media consultant, he is also the founder of the travel site, Go, See, Write. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is his most memorable travel moment and the most memorable single moment in his life, period.
Rob Holmes
Rob Holmes | Schedule >

Rob is founder and Chief Storyteller of GLP Films™, producer of award-winning films in over 20 countries that focus on important local and global travel-related issues, including adventure, sustainability, wildlife, food, culture, and education. He is also one of the original founders of, a leading digital content resource for the travel industry. Rob has a diverse background in photography, multimedia production, storytelling and global travel.
Jay Johnson
Jay Johnson | Schedule >

After running the successful Virtuoso agency Coastline Travel Advisors as president for 11 years, Jay founded Tafari Travel as a way for travelers to build their own personalized journeys based on their desire for adventure, willingness to be culturally immersed and their physical ability. Jay is a well-respected leader in the travel industry and belongs to Virtuoso’s Member Advisory Board. He is an accredited space agent for Virgin Galactic and a top travel specialist for Condé Nast.
Karin Jones
Karin Jones | Schedule >

Karin is managing director of Anastasia’s Africa, a highly personalized safari operator. She has 26 years in travel and tourism focused on exotic and luxury travel. Her first journey to Africa was in 1987 and she has continued to explore the continent since then. In addition to African Travel, Born Free Safaris, Gametrails Ltd. and Wildlife Safaris, Karin has held management positions with operators specializing in India, Middle East, Europe, Asia and Oceania, and has traveled throughout these regions.
Marc R. Kassouf
Marc R. Kassouf, ECC, CTIE, LS, DS | Schedule >

Kassouf is owner and CEO of Pride Travel, has sat on two board committees of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, traveled dozens of destinations. He is a four-time recipient of the WAVE TrendSetter award recognizing excellence and exceptional achievements among travel agencies. Kassouf and Pride Travel also provide product design and marketing expertise for destinations and tourism companies wishing to reach gay and lesbian travelers.
Greg Keraghosian
Greg Keraghosian | Schedule >

Greg has been acting editor at Yahoo Travel since February 2013, managing all content and writing staff. He has been editing and writing with Yahoo since July 2011, contributing to Yahoo Travel, Shopping and Homes. A menswear enthusiast, he has been a contributing writer to Yahoo Shopping’s Fashionate blog. Before coming to Yahoo, Greg spent the previous decade as a copy editor, including almost seven years on the San Jose Mercury News sports staff.
Luis Palacios Larranaga
Luis Palacios Larrañaga | Schedule >

Luis is director general of the Board of Tourism of Baja California Sur, one of the top tourism states in Mexico that includes the world-renowned destinations of Los Cabos, La Paz and Loreto, and adventure destinations like the gray whale sanctuaries on the northern peninsula. He has also served as marketing sub-secretary of tourism for the Secretariat of Tourism of Baja California Sur. When he is not surfing, paddleboarding or exploring the peninsula, he spends time with his family.
Joe Maloney
Joe Maloney | Schedule >

A travel industry veteran, Joe serves as vice president of U.S. sales and marketing for Scenic Cruises. He is responsible for leading the growing U.S. sales and marketing efforts for Scenic Cruises and its award-winning river cruises, and will have overall responsibility for Scenic’s marketing development. Joe has served as V.P. of customer engagement at The Travel Corp, and as V.P. of national accounts and CRM at Insight Vacations (a division of The Travel Corp.).
Don Mankin
Don Mankin | Schedule >

An award-winning travel writer, Don has authored four books in management and organizational psychology, including “Teams and Technology” from Harvard Business School Press and “Business Without Boundaries” from Jossey-Bass. The Wall Street Journal called his latest book, “Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic Ocean: A Guide to 50 Extraordinary Adventures for the Seasoned Traveler” one of the best travel books of 2008. Don’s travel articles appear in the Huffington Post, in regional magazines for active seniors, and elsewhere.
Kier V.B. Matthews
Kier V.B. Matthews | Schedule >

Matthews is the vice president of sales, travel industry, at Europe Express, where he is responsible for travel agent sales and marketing. Prior to his job at Europe Express, Matthews was a manager of member sales and service at Virtuoso, the travel industry’s leading luxury travel network. Before Matthews entered the travel industry, he worked in Scheduling Office at the White House.
Jennifer Miner
Jennifer Miner | Schedule >

Jennifer is a travel writer and co-creator/editor of The Vacation Gals, an award-winning travel blog featuring family travel, romantic escapes and girlfriend getaways. She also created and is co-chair of the Los Angeles Consortium of Online Travel (LACOT) that brings travel writers and other members of the travel industry together to highlight Los Angeles area activities and attractions. Chris Elliott of named LACOT’s blog, Los Angeles Online Travel, one of the “11 Best New Blogs of 2011.”
Anne Marie Moebes
Anne Marie Moebes | Schedule >

Anne Marie is executive vice president of both Well-Being Travel, a wellness and medical travel resource for travel professionals, and of Acclaim Meetings, which helps travel agencies and managers plan and implement meetings and events. She has been named one of “The 200 Most Powerful Women In Travel” by Travel Agent magazine for six consecutive years, and has been recognized as one of the “Top Association Executives of the Year” by Association Trends magazine.
Mark Murphy
Mark Murphy | Schedule >

Mark is a successful entrepreneur, author, speaker and online media impresario who advocates for the travel industry and for the travel agent. A 20-year industry veteran, he is recognized by his peers as an innovator working at the cutting edge of online publishing, social media, television and brand marketing. He has appeared on NBC, CNN, Fox Business, Fox News, ABC and CBS. He is currently in development on his first TV pilot.
Judith von Prockl
Judith von Prockl | Schedule >

Founder and managing director of Gourmet On Tour, Judith worked for the award-winning travel series “Insight Guides” and Mercedes-Benz magazine before joining in international marketing. In 2000, Judith organized a three-month culinary adventure tour through Europe which led to the founding of Gourmet On Tour, a culinary adventures company that has since won the 2011 IACP Award of Excellence for the Entrepreneur Category and Experts’ Choice: Best Culinary Tours in Saveur’s 2013 Culinary Travel Awards.
Joe Robinson
Joe Robinson | Schedule >

A writer, author, productivity leader, trainer and speaker, Joe is one of the country’s most quoted experts on work-life balance and stress management. He has appeared on “The Today Show,” CNN, “NBC Nightly News,” National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” and in the Wall Street Journal, Time, Fortune, the Los Angeles Times, and dozens of newspapers and radio stations around the country to discuss how to work smarter and break out of the burnout cycle.
Raj Sanghrajka
Raj Sanghrajka | Schedule >

Raj is the founder and president of Alluring Americas, offering exceptional experiences in Latin America. Respected throughout the industry, he personally serves as the go-to Latin America travel specialist for the most elite of travel agencies. In 2011, South & Central American Travel Association (SATA) awarded Raj the prestigious Oscar Lobo award, recognizing him for his heartfelt commitment to the promotion of tourism to South and Central America.
Linden Schaffer
Linden Schaffer | Schedule >

Linden is the founder and director of Pravassa Wellness Travel. As a certified wellness expert and consultant, she and Pravassa have been featured in, New York Magazine,, Organic Spa Magazine, Travel Age West and elsewhere. Shortly after launching, Pravassa was recognized by British Airways as a winner in its Face-of-Opportunity contest.
James Shillinglaw
James Shillinglaw | Schedule >

A veteran travel editor and journalist, James is editorial director and editor in chief for travAlliancemedia which produces two monthly travel industry trade magazines: Agent@Home ( for agents working from home, and Vacation Agent ( for leisure travel agents covering cruises, hotels and resorts, and tours and packages. He also oversees TravelPulse, a daily online and emailed newsletter that sums up the day’s top travel industry news and product information.
Mok Singh
Mok Singh | Schedule >

Singh is country manager USA and Canada for Kenya Airways, and president of Skal International, the largest organization of professional travel and tourism leaders around the world. Skal promotes global tourism and friendship, and supports sustainable development and responsible tourism. Kenya Airways is the flag carrier of Kenya, headquartered in Nairobi and with destinations in over 55 cities in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Cheryl Smith
Cheryl Smith | Schedule >

Cheryl is medical and wellness tourism manager for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. She is responsible for marketing and promoting Las Vegas as a premier health and wellness travel destination. Prior to joining the LVCVA she was the president and managing partner of Banyan Communications Group, LLC, a niche consulting firm specializing in health care, physician practice marketing, and strategic business development. She has a 20-year background in the health care industry.
Michael Yessis
Michael Yessis | Schedule >

Michael leads the editorial team for AOL Travel, MapQuest and Gadling. He previously worked as an editor at USA Today and and is the co-founder and former co-editor at the Webby Award-winning which publishes travel stories by well-known authors, photographers and a diverse collection of contributors with a passion for travel.