The Power of Branding
June 3rd at 12:00pm ET
As President of Advertising Sales, Rita Ferro leads advertising sales for ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime and ABC News; Disney Channels Worldwide; ESPN Networks and ESPN+; Freeform; FX; Hulu; and National Geographic. She also leads the integrated sales team for Disney Digital, the Company’s online, mobile and social offerings. Additionally, Ferro directs National TV and Regional Ad Sales for ABC’s eight owned local TV stations.
Under her leadership, Disney offers advertisers a one-stop approach to leverage the breadth of Disney’s portfolio and reach audiences across all of the Company’s media properties. Her direction has transformed Disney’s advertising strategy and influenced the industry at large – resulting in a consultative and insights-led sales approach that allows clients to drive maximum growth in their businesses.
In an industry historically dominated by men, Ferro is at the top of her profession and continues to be a disruptor and pioneer in the advertising space. In addition to her professional successes, her commitment to mentorship is paving the way for other women – especially Latinx women – to advance in the field.
Unstoppable! The Powers of Resilience and Growth
June 4th at 12:00pm ET
Gail Lowney Alofsin is a national speaker, corporate trainer, author, adjunct professor, career coach, radio show host and business development executive. She serves on several nonprofit boards focused on education, hunger, health and business. Gail’s book, Your Someday is NOW – What are you Waiting For?, now in its second printing, has raised over $42,000 for non-profit organizations. She presents and coaches throughout the country in person and virtually. She welcomes every new day and 2021 as an opportunity to live life to the fullest!
The Editors Panel
June 2nd at 1:00pm ET
Nicolas Brulliard is senior editor at National Parks magazine, which publishes travel stories and other articles related to U.S. national parks. In his current role, he assigns, edits and writes stories for all sections of the magazine. He’s also the lead editor for the magazine’s Departments section.
Sarah is a senior editor at Travel + Leisure. She co-edits Experiences, the middle-of-book section dedicated to immersive, first-person stories and essays, and she also assigns/edits feature stories. She serves as the editorial lead for the World's Best Awards, T+L's biggest annual cross-platform tentpole, and co-captains the annual Global Vision Awards. Her beats include the Western United States, Australia, New Zealand, and South America, as well as wellness/health, sustainable/responsible travel, and accessible travel.
Nikki Ekstein is travel editor at Bloomberg Pursuits, overseeing luxury consumer travel content across Bloomberg's print and digital platforms. In that capacity she hosts the show "Where To" on Bloomberg's social streaming QuickTake network, co-hosts the podcast "Travel Genius," and appears frequently on Bloomberg television and radio.
Alexander Howard is Lonely Planet's Lead Editor, Homepage. In his current role, he’s responsible for content strategy, feature and campaign development, and delivering richly reported travel stories. In previous roles, he’s worked as commissioning editor on dozens of travel guides across several continents, as well as the managing editor of Lonely Planet’s award-winning US magazine.
Don Nichols is the former editor-in-chief of Private Clubs, a quarterly luxury lifestyle magazine that won numerous NATJA, Folio and Lowell Thomas Awards under his editorial leadership. As a contract editor, he now assigns and edits stories for AARP, focusing primarily on travel content.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility: Guidance from The Associated Press Stylebook
June 2nd at 2:45pm ET
Paula Froke is editor of The Associated Press Stylebook and a manager with the AP’s headquarters Nerve Center. In her 35-plus years with the Associated Press, she has served as news editor in Minnesota and Michigan; deputy national editor at headquarters; assistant managing editor/nights on the Nerve Center; AP embedded editor at MSN News; and executive director of Associated Press Media Editors.
How Do Travel Journalists Make a Real Living These Days?
June 2nd at 2:45pm ET
Tim Leffel, Moderator
Tim Leffel is a veteran travel writer, editor, blogger, and author. He is founder of the award-winning Perceptive Travel online magazine and blog, the Cheapest Destinations Blog, Hotel Scoop, and others. He is the author of multiple books that have appeared in multiple editions including Travel Writing 2.0, The World's Cheapest Destinations, and A Better Life for Half the Price. His work has appeared in more than 50 publications and he is frequently invited to speak at industry conferences and events. See more at www.TimLeffel.com.
Maria Haase is Editor-in-Chief of several online publications focused on various travel niches. A self-proclaimed serial expat, blogger turned publisher and spicy food aficionado, Maria grew up in Germany and now splits her time between her home in San Diego and Europe. The travel bug bit Maria early in life; she has lived in and traveled extensively to all corners of the world. In the past 15 years she has called three continents her home, traveled to almost 40 countries and eaten far too many sticks of mystery meats on the way. Europe holds a special place in Maria’s heart, and she chronicles her insider experiences from a locals perspective at Europe Up Close. She and her husband Greg also run San Diego Explorer, a site that shares some of their favorite local places. Maria’s mission has always been to show others her home from a local’s point of view and encourage them to discover the world through traveling and experiencing life outside their comfort zone.
Jeremy Jones is a full-time travel blogger based in Pittsburgh, PA. He has been publishing content on his travel blog, Living the Dream, since 2008 and has since founded several other blogs including a Pittsburgh destination blog, Discover the Burgh (2015); a wine blog, The Grape Pursuit (2020); and a weekly blogging newsletter, This Week in Blogging (2020) to name a few as a means to diversify his content and income streams. He has been blogging full-time since 2018.
Mike Shubic of MikesRoadTrip.com is an award-winning travel writer and video content producer. He is also the author of the novel Lines, Signs & Forks - Diary of a Nomadic Road Tripper. Mike frequently speaks on the subject of video content at travel conferences and has been a brand ambassador for a number of companies, from Travelocity, Allianz Travel, Thousand Trails, Dutchman RV and many others. He has been publishing his blog MikesRoadTrip.com since early 2010 and has been a long time member of NATJA. As a matter of fact, he has placed gold several times in the annual awards, most recently for his travel novel, and his video series on the Southwest.
Kita is the creative behind several websites including PasstheSushi.com and GirlCarnivore.com. She has been developing content online since 2009 and has a background in photography and marketing, has traveled the world, and is an avid outdoor junkie. She has appeared on a collection of travel/food-related websites, news segments, and shows, and has been a presenter at conferences on topics from photography to travel blogging. Kita has been working as a freelancer full-time since 2016 as a writer, photographer, and consultant.
June 2nd & June 3rd
Kimberly Schumacher is a former TV news reporter with nearly twenty years of experience who now teaches broadcast journalism as a Senior Lecturer at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. She specializes in experiential learning courses that give students hands-on experience as they learn the basics of multimedia journalism, including how to shoot, write and edit stories for television and digital platforms. In addition to teaching students how to be visual storytellers, she also shows them the skills they need to be effective storytellers when they’re on camera. Students leave her courses with competitive reels that have helped them land jobs at television stations around the country.
Before her career in academia, Kimberly was a TV news reporter for nearly two decades, working at affiliates in New York, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia. She covered several national stories throughout her career, including the Michael Vick dogfighting cases (federal and state); the Virginia Tech massacre; a royal visit by Queen Elizabeth II; murders of police officers; several death penalty cases; and many weather disasters.
Media and Press Trips: Asking the Taboo Questions
June 3rd at 1:30pm ET
Helen Hatzis, Moderator
Helen Hatzis is a multi-faceted communications strategist who is known for her award-winning travel blog/vlog called Trip Jaunt (formerly Weekend Jaunt). Trip Jaunt fulfils her insatiable need to explore our planet responsibly while leaving a minimal footprint – only taking memories while maintaining her brands four pillars: eat, play, chill and stay.
Possessing a strong advocacy spirit, she is a Governor General Award recipient for her extensive community work in the charitable and not-for-profit sector and was recognized as one of Canada’s Nicest Person’s by Roots Canada celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017.
Award-winning author and journalist La Carmina runs the leading alternative travel blog, which won "Best Blog of the Year" from Auxiliary Magazine, and was featured in the New York Times. Her journalism received an award from the SATW (Society of American Travel Writers) in 2020. Carmina is the author of three books (published by Penguin Random House), is a TEDx speaker, and appears on travel TV shows worldwide (Bizarre Foods, No Reservations, Taboo, Oddities, Better Late than Never). She contributes to travel publications including CNN, Fodor's, Business Insider, Sunday Times, The Daily Beast, BBC, and various inflight magazines (Hong Kong Airlines, Aeromexico). La Carmina is a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Law School.
Carly Holbrook started Handlebar Public Relations LLC in 2014 and currently serves as a senior PR strategist for clients including the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO), Breckenridge Tourism Office and Visit Grand Junction. Carly brings 15 years of PR experience and provides strategic and creative public relations direction. Carly has interacted with hundreds of journalists through creative story pitching and media hosting and has secured coverage in top-tier national and regional outlets.
Carly was previously with MMGY Global (2010-2014) and served as an account director leading the agency’s western regional office providing strategic and creative public relations direction to the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO), Colorado agritourism, Telluride Tourism Board and Rocky Mountaineer Canadian rail-tour accounts. Prior to joining MMGY Global (formerly MMG Mardiks), Carly was the director of public relations for the Breckenridge Resort Chamber (2007-2010) and started her career in PR at LeGrand Hart in Denver (2005-2006).
Lauren Mowery is a freelance writer, photographer, and contributing travel editor at Wine Enthusiast. She has covered coffee, wine, spirits, food, and travel for national publications including Hemispheres, USA Today, Forbes, Lonely Planet, AAA, Fodor’s, Saveur, Punch, Eating Well, Time Out, among others. Mowery is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Fordham Law School and is halfway down the path towards becoming a Master of Wine.
As a Destination Publicist at Development Counsellors International (DCI), Symeria Palmer has the pleasure of telling the unique stories of destinations and individuals from around the world. She leads a variety of PR activities ranging from developing PR strategies and creative campaigns to media relations and brand partnerships. Symeria has a proven track record of generating substantial coverage in top-tier media platforms such as Conde Nast Traveler, Essence Magazine, Food & Wine, The New York Times, and many more. She believes that a smile is the best language anyone can know, and she loves connecting with strangers from around the world through this simple yet powerful expression. Symeria received a dual bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Film & Video at Georgia State University.
Building Back Better: Roles & Responsibilities of Media and PR to Reshape Tourism in a COVID World
June 3rd at 1:30pm ET
Barbara Marrett, Moderator
From author to lecturer, Barbara Marrett is experienced conveying ideas through engaging story-telling. As the Communications and Stewardship Manager for the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau, Barbara makes a compelling case for traveling responsibly. Her small team consistently garners coverage in top-tier travel publications and travel sections in the nation’s highest-circulation newspapers. You'll frequently find the San Juans on top lists for best and friendliest islands to visit in the USA -- Orcas Island was on the New York Times list of "52 Places to Go in 2019," and the San Juan Islands were #2 on the list in 2011. Since 1993, as a Contributing Editor to Cruising World magazine, Barbara has written about her long-distance sailing and teaching adventures throughout the world. She is a seasoned seminar leader, holds a 100-ton USCG Captain's License, co-author the adventure book Mahina Tiare, Pacific Passages and is a Port Commissioner in her home town of Friday Harbor, Washington.
Jonny is a sustainable travel journalist, content creator, and the founder of a purpose-driven destination marketing firm, Eco Escape Travel. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Jonny goes one step further than his written stories and uses his journalism and field experience to inspire positive change through speaking engagements.
Regenerative travel connects community, culture, and conservation to prove tourism can save the world’s remaining ecosystems and restore those that are broken, and Jonny uses the most sustainable travel stories of our time to prove this value. From domestic Indigenous tourism campaign work to remote islands of Indonesia and the depths of the Amazon rainforest, Jonny relates to his audience by showing how success stories from around the world can be implemented in any destination.
Originally from Colorado, Amy earned a master’s degree in sustainable tourism before moving to Friday Harbor in 2016 to join the Visitors Bureau staff as the Stewardship & Communications Coordinator. A self-professed “tree-hugger,” she’s passionate about encouraging travelers to lighten their footprint and practice Leave No Trace in the Islands through engaging online and video content. Navigating the murky waters between community environmental preservation and business interests, Amy engages stakeholders through presentations of various approaches and success stories of sustainable ecotourism that can be adapted to fit the San Juans.
For the past 25 years, Mitch Nichols has led the strategic planning and product development activities of Nichols Tourism Group. Mitch’s experience ranges from broad strategy planning efforts in beach destinations like Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, to special mountain settings like Mt. Hood, Oregon. Mitch understands the unique challenges of visitation to special natural and heritage destinations as he has served as a primary consultant to the U.S. Forest Service and Park Service at the Grand Canyon over a 5 year period. He recently completed one of the most in-depth Sustainable Tourism Strategies for the red rock destination of Sedona and is very active in helping destinations maximize their potential, while integrating sustainable practices in their daily operations.