July 2012 - Vacation Agent


July 2012 - Vacation Agent

a supplement to vacation agent

and agent@home magazines

July 2012

The Top young Travel indusTry professionals 35 and under

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Congratulations to Apple Vacations’

very own Rising Star!

Karen Spinelli, Media and Promotions Manager

Welcome to our inaugural Rising Stars for 2012. This special supplement recognizes some of the top young

professionals in the travel industry. How did we come up with this year’s list of 80 Rising Stars? We drew upon the

insights of a wide range of experts. Our editors, in the course of their reporting, are already familiar with many of the

top young executives in the business today. We also asked travel suppliers, travel agencies and destinations directly

to nominate their own candidates for Rising Stars status. The qualifications: candidates had to be 35 or under, be

recognized for their accomplishments so far and be on a track to attain more success and responsibility in the future.

So read on to find out more about the Rising Stars Class of 2012!—James Shillinglaw, Editor-in-Chief/Editorial Director


Justin Beck: A year into his second stint

as a travel agent, Beck, 31, is already one of

Avoya Travel/American Express’s top producers.

He is so enthusiastic about his work

and is eager to share his best practices with

his colleagues. His business plan includes

being an active participant in a community

of other travel professionals who also are

constantly working to learn and improve. He works to provide topnotch

customer service and to put together amazing travel experiences

for clients. “Memories are made on vacation with family,

friends and loved ones,” Beck says, and he uses that philosophy to

keep building his business.

Jason Beukema: Beukema, 35, owner

of Whet Travel in Miami Beach, began his

working life with a Fortune 100 company.

“Everyone hated their jobs,” Beukema says

of his former colleagues. His mentor told

him to find something he loved to do and

get paid for it. “I love to go on vacation!”

he says. Beukema’s specialty is the Groove

Cruise—a sailing on which he and 2,000 others his age take over

an entire ship. He sells full-ship charters through social media, using

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and, most effectively, YouTube. His

passengers become marketers through their videos, which he encourages

with such incentives as free cruises and airfare based on

page views. Whet Travel also sells destination weddings, bachelor

and bachelorette trips, and even divorce parties.

Cassandra Bookholder: Bookholder,

28, was named to Travel + Leisure’s Agent

A-List after just three years in the business.

She specializes in an area she knows and

loves—Australia, where she grew up—and

she found excellent mentors at Camelback

Odyssey Travel in Phoenix. Bookholder recently

planned a honeymoon that included

an African safari, dining in Greece and Italy, elephant rides, lounging

on Australian beaches, dancing in South America and indulging

in spas in the U.S. And she planned it all in two weeks. She invests

time in learning as much about her clients as she does about the

world. That’s a formula for success in a world with increasingly

knowledgeable travelers.

Theresa Bryan: Bryan, 32, is manager of

the Rotary Exchange Youth Department for

Tzell Park Ave. She is in charge of international

student travel and visa procurement,

which means she has to know a lot about

processing visas for numerous countries.

She’s a creative marketer, designing brochures,

posters and Power Point presentations

that resonate with her target audience. Bryan spends three

months a year traveling to Rotary Clubs nationwide to educate

students and their parents about the complicated process, and allaying

any concerns. She has acquired several additional youth exchange

districts and increased her client base, and her innovations

continue to generate growth for her program.

Julia Douglas: After a fellowship at

Lloyd’s of London, Douglas, 29, was on the

fast track to a career that promised a life of

comfort and convention. She left it for retail

travel. She had grown up traveling, and

in London, her penchant for jetting off on

weekends earned her the nickname “Jet Set

Julia.” Douglas built her concierge business,

Chicago-based JetSet World Travel, by combining her knowledge

of the globe with her understanding of the aspirations of her generation.

A 10-week, around-the-world trip for one couple included

sumo tournaments in Japan, a stay in a Kyoto ryokan and scuba

diving off South Africa’s coast.

Katie Frederick: After being in the business

for just three years, Frederick, 29, has

qualified for Nexion’s Circle of Excellence,

an award for top sellers. Her agency, Ever-

AfterHoneymoons.com, based in California,

specializes in luxury honeymoons. “People

my age are traveling a lot more than, for example,

our parents did at this age,” Frederick

says. Even though Frederick’s clients cut their teeth on the Internet,

they’re overwhelmed by the amount of travel information they find

there, and so they “really like having a professional to go to who

can really guide them,” she says. Her couples go everywhere—the

Caribbean, Mexico, the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and

all over Europe. These trips whet their appetites for more travel,

and when they come back, Frederick is ready for them.

Jennifer Maki: An aptitude test told

Maki, 35, that she’d be a great travel agent,

but her advisor told her that agents were

becoming obsolete. Fortunately, talent

overcame pessimism, and now Maki drives

around northern Minnesota in a Sandalswrapped

Honda Element, using Mother

Nature as her partner. Maki is so successful

that she is starting webinars for her host, OutsideAgents.com. She

tries to distinguish herself with service, texting younger clients

instead of emailing them. She’s also breeding a new generation of

agents: Maki’s youngest child took some of her business cards to

school. As her daughter explained, “I just wanted to let everybody

know that if they want to book a vacation, the Internet is for looking

but my mommy is for booking.”

Ryan McGredy: McGredy, 35, owner of

Moraga (Calif.) Travel, is a poster boy for relationship-based

marketing. When he bought

Moraga Travel in 2009, it had a small group

of loyal clients, but 99 percent booked once

and never returned. To combat that, Mc-

Gredy, who also owns a web-development

company, built an email marketing program

called Contact Beacon, which personalizes marketing pieces so

that he is promoting Moraga Travel, not simply a cruise line or resort.

Contact Beacon also integrates marketing with the agency’s

website. McGredy can see which customers click which marketing

pieces and have agents follow up with those clients. The result?

Most clients come back because of the ongoing dialogue.

continued on page 4


rising stars 2012


rising stars 2012

TRAVEL AGENTS continued from page 3

Kelley Moreno: Social media marketing

is vital, but there’s a gap between the vision

of using it and the reality. Moreno, 29, has

bridged that gap for Montrose (Calif.) Travel,

planning and coordinating the integration of

the agency’s website and email marketing

with social media. She has increased Montrose’s

Facebook fan base by 337 percent

since 2011. Montrose’s Twitter page has more than 2,300 followers,

and its Pinterest account generated 2 percent of its social media

referrals in its first week. Moreno’s search-engine marketing tactics

for Montrose’s corporate division generated more leads in the

first five months of 2012 than in all of 2011. Some leads have turned

into accounts that will generate an estimated $9.3 million.

Morgan Nicholson-Bishop: As a

child, Nicholson, now 30, worked in her

mother’s agency, Manassas Travel/Travel

Leaders in Salt Lake City. After college, she

worked full time at the agency, overseeing

the implementation of contracts. She then

created an after-hours call center; now

bigger agencies want to outsource their

call centers to her. Nicholson became owner/CEO in 2006, while

her mother remains director of contracting. She does a weekly

travel segment on the local ABC station, and is a regular source

for local news radio. In addition, she keeps bringing in business.

Manassas already had contracts with the EPA and U.S. Forest

Service, and has added the Department of Defense, doubling the

size of the $15 million agency.

Brian Shultz: Shultz, 34, is president

of information technology for Cruise Planners,

the top host agency and cruise-selling

powerhouse. He may not be strictly a travel

agent, but Shultz is pushing the envelope

when it comes to innovative technology in

the travel industry. Since joining Cruise Planners,

he has completely overhauled all of the

company’s technology, including a comprehensive redesign of its

web features. He created an application-programming interface

(API) that allows clients to effectively communicate and interact

with shore excursion providers. In his three years with the company,

Shultz also has rebuilt Cruise Planners’ direct booking engine

and developed backend software that helps travel agents effectively

run their businesses.

Leah Smith: Smith, 30, needed money

for a trip, so she took a bookkeeping job

at Coastline Travel, a luxury agency in

California. One day, when the phones were

ringing off the hook, Smith took a call—and

sold a $15,000 cruise. She soon became

the agency’s top cruise seller, with nearly

$2 million worth of cruises annually. She

sold cruises until she went to graduate school, getting a Masters

of Management in hospitality at Cornell. She then started Tafari

Travel, partnering with Coastline’s owner, Jay Johnson. A heavy

online component allows customers to do a lot of planning on the

agency’s website. Smith’s advice: “Sell what you love and create as

much of a niche as possible.”


Anne Marie Ayunan: Ayunan, 32,

is online marketing manager at Uniworld

Boutique River Cruise Collection. Her responsibilities

include developing a road map

for existing and emerging digital, social and

mobile channels, and implementing online

initiatives. This has involved redesigning

and managing Uniworld’s website, online

advertising, search-engine marketing and web analytics, as well as

executing social media campaigns. Ayunan also is a volunteer for

KCRW, a National Public Radio station in Santa Monica, Calif., and

a marketing consultant with Helena Wirth Cakes, a noted bakery in

Sherman Oaks, Calif. Before entering the river-cruise industry, she

worked for Sony Music Entertainment and as an account executive

for Killer Tracks Production Music BMG.

Beth Bodensteiner: Bodensteiner, 35,

was promoted to vice president-revenue

management and product marketing for Holland

America Line as part of a corporate reorganization

following the relocation of Seabourn

to Seattle. She previously was Holland

America Line’s director of cruise marketing

for voyages, responsible for development,

pricing, marketing and communications for the company’s products

in Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand and Asia, and

Grand Voyages around the globe. Prior to that, Bodensteiner served

as director of cruise marketing for Caribbean and North America.

Before joining Holland America Line in 2002 in the public relations

department, she worked as a program manager with Zebra Hill

Marketing in Bellevue, Wash.

Jordan Corredera: Corredera, 31, is

director and general manager of Carnival

Online, the e-commerce and digital marketing

arm for the world’s largest cruise line.

Corredera joined Carnival in 2003, holding

positions within the sales, operations and

marketing groups before establishing the

company’s first digital strategy team in January

2007. Carnival Online focuses on all aspects of the company’s

online presence, including B2B, B2C, e-commerce, mobile, social

media, digital production and analytics. Corredera also oversees

GoCCL.com, Carnival’s agent portal. In his spare time, he speaks

to small businesses and students in South Florida regarding online

marketing strategies. In addition, he is a member of the South

Florida Interactive Marketing Association.

Megan Crowley: Crowley, 33, vice

president of market research for Norwegian

Cruise Line, began working in the market

research department in 2006. Since then she

has built a strong data-driven research team,

with sophisticated research capabilities that

have helped shape the company’s marketing

and guest-experience improvement strategies.

She has been instrumental in establishing several programs

that gather and monitor feedback from guests, team members and

travel partners, feedback that has enabled better decision-making

capabilities across the organization. Prior to working in the travel

industry, Crowley held a number of positions at Procter & Gamble

and AT&T. She has a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount

University and an MBA from the University of Southern California,

Marshall School of Business.

continued on page 6


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H 6

rising stars 2012

CRUISE LINES continued from page 4

Alicia Cummings: Cummings, 34,

is director of product marketing for Paul

Gauguin Cruises. She oversees all marketing,

which encompasses online/email marketing,

direct mail, product and brand marketing,

print advertising and buying, public

relations and social media. She supervises

a marketing staff of four, and multiple

vendors. Highlights of the past year include leading the marketing

team for the unveiling of the $7 million renovation of the Paul

Gauguin cruise ship; the launch of the Tere Moana and its Europe,

Caribbean and Latin America itineraries; and branding and website

initiatives. Prior to joining Paul Gauguin Cruises, Cummings

held positions in reservations and marketing at Windstar Cruises

before being promoted to director of marketing in 2009.

Nathan Hickman: Hickman, 33, was

promoted to vice president of national accounts

for Oceania Cruises in January 2011.

He has been with the line since its earliest

days, starting as manager of inside sales

in 2003 and later taking on international

sales. In 2005 he accepted his first position

in national accounts. Just one year later, he

was promoted to director of national accounts, followed by another

promotion in 2008 to senior director. His responsibilities include

growing Oceania Cruises’ business through its consortium, cooperative

and marketing partners, as well as generating onboard

sales. Hickman entered the cruise industry in October 1996 working

for Renaissance Cruises, rising through the ranks from reservations

agent to manager of inside sales.

Marie Krafft: Krafft, 33, director of sales

at Star Clippers, grew up with the company

as the daughter of the founder, and she

worked in almost every position on board the

line’s three tall sailing ships before moving

shoreside to the head office in Monaco. She

divides her time between Monaco, the three

ships and her core European markets. In

addition to sales, her responsibilities include analyzing marketing

strategy and yield management; overseeing advertising, promotional

and public relations campaigns; developing charter, group and

incentive initiatives; contracting with and training tour operators

and agencies; and itinerary planning.

Joe Leon: Leon, 34, director of business

development and travel agency sales for

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, was promoted

to that position in September 2010. He is

responsible for business development and

managing the account executives, and

tasked with strengthening the relationships

between travel partners, the sales team

and the corporate office. Leon, who joined the line in August 2008

as a sales manager, knows something about the agency partners

he works with, having started his career as a sales supervisor for

Cruises Only in Miramar, Fla. He later served in the same capacity

for Online Vacation Center in Plantation, Fla. From there he joined

Luxury Cruise Center as its director of sales.

Brooke Lepisto: Lepisto, 27, is

SeaDream Yacht Club’s director of business

development-South Central and Northeast

U.S. She has a degree in business administration

with an emphasis in marketing from

the University of Florida, and she began her

career at SeaDream in 2007 as a reservations

agent/inside salesperson. Promoted to

manager of business development for the Northeast region in 2008,

Lepisto moved to Boston, and a year later she transferred to Dallas

and added the south-central states to her territory. She has a large

region under her direction, and is consistently recognized as a top

producer. As the daughter of SeaDream President Bob Lepisto, she

was fortunate to experience many SeaDream holidays with her

family over the years.

Francisco Mallmann: Mallmann, 30,

is manager of revenue management for

Azamara Club Cruises, a position he accepted

in December 2009 when the brand

was relaunched. Mallmann has led Azamara

Club Cruises’ small brand-dedicated

revenue-management team through a threeyear

rapid-growth period and continues to

coordinate the brand’s global revenue-management efforts. He has

a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Bentley University

in Massachusetts, a master’s degree in finance from Florida

International University and an MBA from Bentley’s Elkin B. McCallum

Graduate School of Business. Mallmann was Azamara’s employee

of the year in 2011 and is part of Royal Caribbean’s “Building

on Talent” leadership development program.

Neil Palomba: Palomba, 31, is the

worldwide COO of MSC Crociere SA, rising

through the ranks after starting as a

summertime shipboard employee at the

age of 15. He became COO at the age of 29.

Palomba works with MSC’s worldwide CEO,

Pierfrancesco Vago, in shaping strategy and

future expansion while overseeing a variety

of corporate functions. Prior to joining the corporate offices in

Geneva, he worked in the U.S. for the company’s North American

division as COO. In this role Palomba was responsible for managing

day-to-day operations, working closely with the sales and marketing

teams to grow the business in the U.S. and Canada.

Brooke Patterson: Patterson, 32, is

director of marketing strategy and communications

at Celebrity Cruises. Patterson

received a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration

from Cornell University in 2001

and joined Celebrity that same year as an

analyst of process efficiency. In 2004 she

was promoted to senior business analyst-innovations,

and one year later was promoted to manager of onboard

revenue operations. In 2009 Patterson was promoted yet again, this

time to director of product development, a role she held until last

year, when she transitioned to the Celebrity marketing organization

as director of marketing strategy and communications.

Khanh Tang: Tang, 32, marketing director

at AmaWaterways, has been with the line

since 2006, involved with a variety of projects,

including brochures, branding, agent

awareness and graphic design. A native of

Vietnam, Tang immigrated to California

continued on page 8



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H 8

rising stars 2012

CRUISE LINES continued from page 6

with her family as a child. While attending University of California-

Irvine, Tang worked as a hotel reservations sales agent. After graduating,

Tang pursued her curiosity for the travel industry and accepted

a job with a European river-cruise line. Starting as a production information

coordinator, she moved up the ranks to customer relations

supervisor. By this time she was hooked, and took graduate classes

to further develop her education in product marketing and branding.

Sean Treacy: Treacy, 35, director-global

market planning for Royal Caribbean Cruises

Ltd., is responsible for leading and directing

all activities associated with the planning and

coordination of market development across

the 57-country network of Azamara Club

Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean

International. Treacy joined Royal Caribbean

Cruises Ltd. in July 2006 as a manager in revenue management

for the Royal Caribbean International brand. Prior to joining Royal

Caribbean, he worked for United Airlines, holding multiple management

positions in revenue management and sales planning. He has a

bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame.

Constantine Venetopoulos: Venetopoulos,

31, is director of sales and marketing

for the U.S. operations of Variety Cruises,

a company started by his grandfather in

Greece in 1949 as Zeus Cruises. He joined

the firm in 2007 after studying marketing at

City University London and Surrey University.

He works with a sales team that was

expanded this year as the company took on new sales and trade

initiatives. Among his tasks is promoting the new 36-cabin Variety

Voyager, which is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ Preferred

Boutique brand. Venetopoulos also is spearheading the drive

of Variety into social media, and he is instrumental in promoting

theme cruises, including gay and yoga cruises.

Kara Wallace: Wallace, 34, is director

of global consumer insights and marketing

strategy for Royal Caribbean International.

She is responsible for consumer insight

development, plus marketing planning and

strategy. Wallace joined Royal Caribbean

International as a market research analyst

in 2005. Over the past seven years, she

has acted as a consumer advocate, representing the voice of the

customer in decisions affecting deployment, product development,

operations and marketing. She has established measurement and

tracking systems that drive strategic business decisions across the

company. Prior to Royal Caribbean, Wallace was employed at Diagnostic

Research International in New York.


Alycia Bar-Av: The 31-year-old Bar-Av is

the director of Hilton Brand Online Marketing

at Hilton Worldwide, driving strategy and

overseeing the implementation for Hilton

brand’s global digital marketing initiatives.

She leads the brand’s digital advertising

plans in display, search, mobile and social

media. She also works to enhance the user

experience with advancements in content and functionality on

Hilton’s global websites, and oversees iAd advertising and iPad

sponsorship with USA Today. Bar-Av is the driving force behind

social media campaigns surrounding Hilton’s partnership with the

Grammy Awards (she grew the fan base by 90,000) and Hilton’s

brand campaign, as well as the website content for Hilton Resorts,

Stay Hilton Go Everywhere, eforea spa and Hilton Huanying.

Rafael Chapur: The 27-year-old Chapur

is COO and oversees the expansion of the All

Inclusive Collection, the marketing arm of the

all-inclusive Hard Rock Resorts, which was

formed earlier this year when it branched off

from Palace Resorts. He launched the world’s

first all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel in the

Dominican Republic and will open Mexico’s

first Hard Rock Hotel properties this year. Hard Rock Hotel Cancun

and Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta are set to reflag on Aug. 1, and Hard

Rock Hotel Riviera is scheduled to reflag in early 2013. Chapur has a

long hospitality background, having worked closely with his father,

Roberto Chapur, as part of the family-owned and -operated Palace

Resorts hotel brand launched 27 years ago.

Sarah Dayboll: For Fairmont Hotels &

Resorts’ Green Partnership program, Dayboll,

27, director of environmental affairs,

has created ways to reduce the brand’s

impact on the environment. She worked

with the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Savers

program to help the company meet its

pledge to reduce operational carbon dioxide

emissions by 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2013. Based on

this program, in 2011 Fairmont cut its carbon dioxide output by 8.4

percent—almost halfway to its ambitious reduction target. Also in

2011, Fairmont introduced the Sustainable Design Policy to establish

a worldwide approach to address recognized environmental

certifications, such as the the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership

in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for development

projects and renovation programs.

Chrissy Denihan: Denihan, 30, is a

worthy successor to her grandfather, New

York-based Affinia Hotels founder, Benjamin

“Bud” Denihan. In her present position as

chief comfort officer, Denihan serves as

the leader of the Tender Loving Comfort

(TLC) program, which focuses on customer

service. Denihan oversees the TLC Crew

at each hotel, and works with guests and staff on all matters related

to comfort, including collecting feedback on initiatives and

programming. She motivates and inspires the TLC crew to find out

what guests want and need. She also identifies items to be offered

brand-wide and serves as the “curator of comfy content” on the

company’s social networks.

Erica Doyne: As director of marketing

for AMResorts, Doyne, 31, has been with

the all-inclusive management, sales and

marketing company for more than six years,

overseeing all global marketing and public

relations strategies for North America, Latin

America and the U.K. She also conceives,

develops and opens luxury resorts throughout

Mexico and the Caribbean. She is dedicated to identifying,

executing and analyzing marketing opportunities to further develop

AMResorts’ five luxury brands: Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts,

Secrets, Dreams, Now and Sunscape Resorts & Spas. Doyne also

oversees AMResorts’ Master Agent program, which has seen

year-over-year growth since its launch, including an increase of 62

percent in enrollment and certification since last year.

continued on page 10

More than

just a

Rising Star


Brian Shultz

VP of Information Technology

Cruise Planners American Express Travel

Join The





Your Leadership, Initiative and Creativity has spawned

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Cruisitude TM [krooz-i-tude, -tyood]—noun

manner, disposition, feeling, or position,

with regards to cruising and cruise vacations;

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mind: a positive cruisitude; group cruisitudes.

Love Travel. Make Money.

H 10

rising stars 2012

HOTELS & RESORTS continued from page 8

Rogelio Franchey: Franchey, 32, national

business development manager at

Karisma Hotels, and sales and marketing

director for Lomas Travel, has changed the

philosophy of Lomas Travel from that of a

ground operator to that of “a boutique offering

visitor services.” This included changing

the company’s online image, growing

its social media networks and creating alliances within the retail

community by assisting agents in increasing sales and providing

marketing tools and commission. To enhance the physical services

offered by Lomas Travel and, particularly, the Luxury Collection

by Lomas Travel, which is dedicated to private luxury transfers,

Franchey is overseeing the addition of such amenities as Wi-Fi in

luxury Lincoln Navigator transfers in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Jerome Hiquet: Hiquet, 34, vice president

of marketing, Internet and digital strategy

at Club Med North America, joined the

company in 2008 as the head of the global

Internet and CRM department. In that role he

was responsible for worldwide management

of online initiatives, client relations, database

management and the launch of Club

Med’s first loyalty program. Most recently, Hiquet was instrumental

in the launch of Club Med’s iPhone and iPad app. His involvement

with the enhancement of Club Med’s online strategy has helped

contribute to strong revenue growth and the site’s redevelopment

in 27 countries and 15 languages. In 2011 he was appointed to his

current position in North America from the company’s worldwide

headquarters in Paris.

Alberto Martinez: Martinez, 35, who

first began working in Riu Hotels & Resorts’

Mallorca headquarters as advertising

manager-Europe in 2005, was promoted

to advertising director in 2009. Since then

he has been managing all facets of the

company’s advertising in the U.S., Canada

and 10 countries across the Caribbean and

Latin and South America. Martinez works in tandem with a dozen

departments across Riu, ranging from operations and food-andbeverage

to contracting, e-business, group and consumer marketing,

and direct sales. He has successfully united Riu’s communications

team in the Americas into a single operating department

with a unified budget that allows for maximizing investments and

achieving greater value.

Abel Matutes Prats: In 2007, 35-yearold

Matutes Prats was named CEO of Fiesta

Hotel Group, and he began implementing a

strategy for the company that doubled the

number of rooms, standardized the product

and furthered development in additional

destinations. In July 2008, two resorts were

inaugurated in Jamaica: the Grand Palladium

Jamaica Resort & Spa and the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton

Resort & Spa. Also in 2008, the company enhanced the Royal Suites

by Palladium brand through offering butler service, VIP beaches

and 24-hour room service. In 2009, Fiesta Hotel Group expanded its

Ayre Hotels brand with the Ayre Hotel Rosellón (Barcelona), Ayre

Hotel Córdoba and Ayre Hotel Sevilla.

John Schultz: Schultz, 31, is marketing

and advertising manager for the U.S.

at Barceló Hotels & Resorts, for which his

core responsibilities include promoting the

company’s Latin America leisure hotels to

the U.S. market. He was instrumental in the

2009 launch of the “Say Hello to Barceló”

campaign. That same year, he also oversaw

the launch of Barceló’s agent loyalty program, B Partner, in North

America, and, simultaneously, the ad campaign that drove the

launch of the Hotel Barceló Los Cabos Palace Deluxe. More recently,

Schultz has also been the driving force behind the campaign

promoting the $330 million renovation of the Barceló Bávaro Beach

Resort in Punta Cana.

Claudia Simon: Simon, 31, joined

Iberostar four years ago as the company’s

luxury Grand brand was launching, and she

has led the marketing initiative for all three

Grand properties—in Jamaica, Mexico and

the Dominican Republic—since then. Now,

as director of marketing for the U.S. and

Canada, she oversees marketing programs

for Iberostar’s first and only Cancun property. In her four-year

tenure, Simon has been in charge of virtually all of the brand’s

trade and consumer marketing efforts in the U.S. and Canada. She

also directs the agent co-op marketing programs and manages all

trade projects, including print, collateral, merchandising, virtual

shows and promotions.

Adam Stewart: At 29, Stewart is CEO of

one of the industry’s most iconic companies,

Sandals Resorts International, which operates

Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts,

The Royal Plantation Collection and Grand

Pineapple Beach Resorts. He has held this

position since 2006, but as the son of Sandals’

founder and chairman, Gordon “Butch”

Stewart, he has been preparing for it his entire life. He has held jobs

across the company, from reservations to meetings and incentives

to technology and public relations. Prior to becoming CEO, he was

director of resort product for Sandals and Beaches. Since his appointment,

SRI has experienced unprecedented growth. He directed

the transformation of the flagship brands from all-inclusive to “Luxury

Included” and launched a fourth, value-conscious brand.

Matthew Tippins: Tippins, 35, director

of marketing for SuperClubs, has made

a swift rise, showing both dedication and a

strong grasp of marketing technology and

customer relationship management (CRM).

Tippins began his career with Certified

Vacations, and after joining SuperClubs’

sales operation in 2001, he quickly moved

to operations, designing systems to handle and report bookings.

Shortly afterward, he redesigned the company’s email marketing

program and initiated its first CRM program. The email marketing

program is now a significant source of online revenue. Tippins last

fall designed and launched SuperAgent Concierge, which features

a communications platform that delivers messages to travel agents

directly from their rep. This summer, Tippins will roll out Super-

Clubs’ first mobile websites and solutions for agency partners.

Ivanka Trump: Trump, 30, executive

vice president of development and acquisitions

for the Trump Organization, is charged

with the domestic and global expansion of

the company’s real estate interests. Along

with her father, Donald J. Trump, and her

siblings, Donald Jr. and Eric, she directs all

areas of the company’s real estate and hotel

management platforms. She actively participates in deal evaluation,

predevelopment planning, financing, design, construction,

sales and marketing, and ensuring that physical and operational

standards are met. One of her primary focuses has been to bring

the Trump Hotel Collection, which she founded with her brothers

in 2007, to global markets.


Kasey Austin: Austin, 23, was born into

the travel industry. She’s the daughter of

Dan Austin, founder and director of Austin-

Lehman Adventures, and so travel was the

daily fare. She has explored Ecuador, Peru,

Mexico, the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica,

Germany and Holland, as well as much of the

western U.S. and Canada. Starting at the age

of 11, she spent her summers working with the company, though

she doesn’t think of it as work. Now a college graduate, she has

thrown herself full-time into the company, responsible for running

guide operations within the office and leading family trips in Yellowstone

and the Tetons.

Emma Beckerle: Beckerle, 24, has

travel in her blood. Her mother is from Dublin,

and her family often traveled to Ireland,

as well as to other places. She spent her first

years of college in London before returning

to the States, then spent the summer

between her junior and senior years doing

an internship in Cape Town, South Africa.

Beckerle’s mother was in finance, and that was the course she

thought she herself would follow, but she found her dream job at

Insight in 2009 and quickly worked her way up to her current position

as marketing manager.

Megan Bryant: Bryant, 30, Africa director

for Cox & Kings Americas, early in life

became accustomed to travel, as her family

moved around the southern U.S. for her

father’s career. She considered pursuing a

career in hotel management, but in 2005 she

found Cox & Kings, the world’s oldest tour

operator. She started as a tour consultant

for Africa, and she was instrumental in developing the Seychelles

for the company. In 2010, when the product manager for Africa

left, Bryant was given the job. She created a Cox & Kings Dream

Trip called “Primates and Birding: Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe”

that was selected by National Geographic Traveler as one of its 50

Tours of a Lifetime.

Jennine Cohen: Though some put in a

40-hour work week and then find time for

their passion, 31-year-old Cohen, senior director

of Latin American programs for Geographic

Expeditions, finds meaning in her

work. A graduate of UCLA, Cohen was introduced

to adventure travel through UCLA’s

Outdoor Leadership program, through

which she led backpacking and camping trips. After college she

moved to New York and managed events for Elite Traveler magazine,

but she needed to get outside again. Cohen resigned, and

within two weeks was trekking through Central America as a trip

leader for Outward Bound. After that she worked with Backroads,

managing its Latin America operations. She then took her current

position with Geographic Expeditions.

David DiGregorio: It took a while for

DiGregario, South African Tourism’s 30-yearold

marketing manager, to realize that travel

could be a career. After college, he worked

in web development, then advertising, before

moving to Sydney. There he promoted Israel

as a trade destination, and his success led

to a job with the French wine industry, then

he worked as media liaison with the U.S. Olympic Committee in

Beijing. Returning to the U.S., he started working for South African

Tourism a year before the 2010 FIFA World Cup. DiGregorio has

served on the regional board of the Association for the Promotion

of Tourism to Africa, and is marketing advisor to the Southern African

Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds.

Diana Ferro: For Ferro, product manager

for Perillo Tours and ItalyVacations.com,

traveling to Italy is as natural as breathing.

While the 35-year-old was born in America,

her family is from Italy, and she visited every

summer. She earned a double major in

psychology and international languages and

culture, but after an internship in a hospital,

she decided to emphasize the cultural side of her education, and

took a job with the Italian Tourist Board. She caught the attention

of Steve Perillo, who offered her the job she has now. Ferro has

helped the company evolve by meeting the demands of sophisticated

clients, and she created itineraries that are regionally focused.

Caroleen Leverrier: At 30, Leverrier

is product development manager for Eurobound.

She moved to Los Angeles after

graduating from La Sorbonne Nouvelle

University in Paris with a degree in English

and American Literature and History. About

tourism she knew little. “My experience in

the travel industry started in Paris, where

I was working in reservations for a French hotel chain during my

college years,” she says. “I quickly developed my own client base

at Eurobound and learned to work on both sides of the spectrum:

hotel contracting and buyer on one side, and exhibitor and agency

sales calls on the other.” As product development manager, Leverrier

negotiates hotel contracts and develops programs.

Steve Lima: Lima, a 31-year-old Rhode

Islander, is marketing manager for G Adventures,

the adventure tours operator.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree

in marketing, he took a job with a marketing

company working with large pharmaceutical

companies to help further advancement

in medicine. It gave him insight into global

business and helped him develop marketing skills, but it didn’t inspire

him. Instead, he became interested in adventure travel. Lima

planned a climbing trip with a group of friends, and today he is the

marketing manager for one of the world’s largest adventure travel

companies. He’s been with G Adventures for nine years, putting his

marketing skills to work for a product he is truly passionate about.

continued on page 12

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TOUR OPERATORS continued from page 11

Erin McCarthy: McCarthy, 35, senior

director, digital and American Express

Vacations marketing for Travel Impressions,

joined the company in 1998 as a reservations

agent and was quickly promoted to

marketing specialist. She worked her way

up the organizational ranks rapidly over the

next 13 years, continually taking on additional

responsibilities. When Travel Impressions needed a tightly

focused team to provide marketing for American Express Vacations,

McCarthy stepped up. In 2011 she was promoted to her

current position. She brought together individuals in the areas of

promotion/merchandising, email, search-engine marketing, new

media and social media, and within three months had them working

as a cohesive team.

Willie Montano: Montano, 34, was born

in Colombia, a long way from where he is

today, working as the director of advertising

and online marketing for CIE Tours. After

graduating high school when he was only

14, he moved to the U.S. to live with his uncle

and pursue educational opportunities. His

uncle provided maintenance for CIE’s office,

and one day Montano asked if he could be put to work. CIE gave

him a job in the mailroom, though he was quickly promoted, working

in accounting, then brochure development and pricing. He took

college courses, learning Web design and e-commerce.

Kenneth Pringle: Pringle’s passion

for travel began when he was a child, as

he traveled and moved back and forth from

Germany, where he was born, to military

installations in the U.S. The 33-year-old’s

travel horizons expanded again when he

was 16 and lived in Finland as an exchange

student. After earning degrees in economics

and European studies, Pringle moved to Portland, Ore., and started

his travel career in Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s management training

program. After working his way up to the job of branch manager, he

was hired by Avanti Destinations as a rail travel consultant. By 2007

he had advanced to call center manager and in 2011 he was named

director of reservation sales.

Ashish Sanghrajka: Sanghrajka, 34,

president of Big Five Tours, was born in Kenya,

where his parents operated the tour operator,

so he developed an awareness of the

business early. As a schoolboy, he learned

from the bottom up, stuffing envelopes in the

mailroom and typing itineraries. After graduating

from the University of Arizona with a

degree in political science focused on international economics,

Sanghrajka did a stint on Wall Street. But he began to look back

at the family business, and in 2002 he returned. He started in the

Asia and Orient division, took charge of the division, then began

overseeing marketing for the company. In 2005 he was named vice

president of sales and marketing, and in 2008 became president.

Karen Spinelli: As manager of media

and promotions, now in her eighth year with

Apple Vacations, Spinelli, 31, oversees the

advertising strategy in many of the company’s

markets. Her colleagues praise her ability to

create and execute high-profile marketing

campaigns at the corporate level. “Karen is a

high achiever with a great soul and a positive

attitude,” says Sandy Babin, vice president of marketing at Apple

Vacations. “She helps everyone she meets in her personal life and

in business.” During her tenure, Spinelli has worked with multiple

media outlets to conceptualize ideas that benefit the company’s hotel

and tourism partners. She also has established relationships and

collaborated with brands such as Corona and Walgreens to create

larger reach for the Apple Vacations brand.

Ian Swain II: At 24, Swain serves as marketing

manager for Swain Tours, his family’s

tour operation. Since becoming a full-time

employee last year, Swain has updated

the company’s website and redesigned the

South Pacific travel brochures for 2012. His

father and mother started this Philadelphiabased

tour operator in 1987, and the company

is now a leading provider of customized trips to Australia, the

South Pacific, India and Africa. The younger Swain started off as

an intern and managed the company’s social media accounts. Now,

he oversees the day-to-day marketing operations and is preparing

for an expanded role within the company. “Swain Tours has been

around for 25 years now with my father firmly at the helm,” he says.

“It’s hard to know what the future holds, but Ian Sr. is happy that

there are family members involved who continue the tradition that

he and Linda Swain started.”

Jim Tedesco: Tedesco, 27, began his

travel industry career in April 2007 as a

marketing coordinator in the sales and promotions

department of Liberty Travel. After

Flight Centre acquired Liberty, Tedesco was

named team leader for the newly formed retail

marketing department, leading marketing

initiatives, ensuring that the stores met the

minimum standards of the company and working with retail locations

to build local awareness and sales. He then accepted a position

with Liberty’s sister company GOGO Vacations as the business

development manager for its top producing territories. In May 2011

he was named director of marketing for GOGO.

Sandra Thomas: At 33, Thomas serves

as e-marketing and web manager for Celtic

Tours World Vacations. After starting her

own marketing and design business at the

age of 26, she joined Celtic Tours, where she

now manages the company’s growing digital

presence. Earlier this year, she developed a

creative campaign that rewards randomly

selected travel agents with a 100 percent commission. During her

two years with the company, Thomas has devised a plan to augment

online traffic through search-engine optimization, social

networking and blogging. Her efforts have increased web traffic by

40 percent and doubled quarterly revenue. Thomas is traveling this

summer to a remote village in India where she will teach enslaved

children and young women about the Gospel.


Ronella Tjin Asjoe-Croes: At 34, Asjoe-Croes

is already CEO of the Aruba Tourism

Authority (ATA). Educated in both Aruba

and the Netherlands, she first demonstrated

her professional capabilities as a marketing

associate at the Aruba Hotel and Tourism

Association before joining the Tourism

Corporation Bonaire as director of tourism.

There she was successful in increasing airlift to the island from

key international markets. Her outstanding track record in Bonaire

led her to return to her home country to join the ATA in her present

post, charged with developing and implementing a global marketing

campaign, with an emphasis on the visitor experience to the island.

Damion Crawford: Jamaica remains

the top Caribbean destination, thanks in

part to its officials supporting and promoting

tourism, among them Crawford, who

at 33 is Minister of State in the Ministry

of Tourism and Entertainment. Crawford

has held crucial political positions and is

already an experienced tourism professional.

He has served as a lecturer on Tourism Studies and

Marketing Management at the University of the West Indies, the

Mona School of Business, the University College of the Caribbean

and Excelsior Community College. He also has been a project

consultant for the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and the

Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust. Crawford has authored

numerous papers and presentations on tourism, consumer

demographics and destination selection.

Teresa Faudon: Faudon, 34, managerpublic

relations for the Austrian Tourist Office

in New York, started working in tourism for

Austria in 2003 in various capacities. “Being

intimately involved in shaping the brand of a

destination is an exciting experience,” she

says. Because Austria’s identity shifts between

culturally rich Vienna and the healthy

aspect of the Alps, it presents a serious challenge to the Austrian

Tourist Office. “The rapid pace of change in the media landscape is

a big challenge but also an opportunity to grow, connect and spread




For centuries, navigators have found their way by following the stars.

At G Adventures, we’re lucky enough to have a bright one all to ourselves.

where to next? gadventures.com

your message,” Faudon says. “With the shift in modern communication

strategies and the Internet as an instant but often unreliable

information source, the role of destination management is key.”

Kedsarin “Kate” Hasenfus: Hasenfus

33, manager of public relations and marketing

in the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s

New York office, studied and worked in both

Thailand and the U.S., experiences that gave

her strong cross-cultural skills. She knows

Thailand and what Americans are attracted

to in the country. She also knows a thing

or two about connecting nations, drawing from her background

in international relations and from working at the United Nations.

She joined the New York office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand

(TAT) in 2009 after working in Thai Airways’ marketing department.

Her success in attracting ABC’s “The Bachelorette” to Thailand

won the TAT one of HSMAI’s Adrian Awards. Hasenfus also has

spearheaded the hosting of “Extreme Chef,” which showcased the

country as a luxurious and adventurous destination.

Christina Heinze Johansson: At

32, Johansson is public relations and press

manager for VisitDenmark USA. Her first job

in New York was as an intern in the United

Nations’ Department of Public Information.

She also worked at an agency, organizing

events and pitching interviews. She has also

done public relations for major brands but

found that wasn’t what interested her. “Writing about gadgets or apparel

did not get under my skin. With tourism I found the right shelf,”

Johansson says. “The U.S. media is so fragmented, diverse and

continued on page 14

Congratulations on the award, Steve.

And thanks to Travalliance for recognizing one of our own.


Travalliance Rising Star 2012


rising stars 2012

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rising stars 2012

DESTINATIONS continued from page 13

hybrid. From a P.R. perspective, the new media reality is challenging,

but it gives us new amazing ways of reaching out, which I find exciting.

In the U.S. everything happens so fast, but it still comes down to

telling a good story. I see myself as a ‘story midwife.’”

Andrea Knecht: Much of the experience

that Knecht, 30, brings to her post as

account manager-trade relations North

America for Switzerland Tourism stems

from decisions that her family made, as it

was a priority of her parents that she know

Switzerland thoroughly. They also took her

to New York, where they lived for a year and

explored the U.S. Knecht studied tourism in Switzerland and then

moved back to New York to work for Switzerland Tourism. “I love to

share the beauty of our country, and through my job I can actively

support tourism to Switzerland as well as the travel industry in

North America by helping tour operators and agents sell Switzerland

and allow their customers to explore a country with an incredible

diversity,” she says.

Carmen Laborin: Laborin, 32, romance

director for the Mexico Tourism Board, is

a driving force behind the organization of

Love Mexico, an annual educational and

networking event developed by Mexico

Wed in partnership with the Mexico Tourism

Board. Love Mexico showcases the

country as a premier destination for weddings,

honeymoons and romance travel. The event takes place

in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, New York and, for the first time this

year, Dallas. Laborin previously worked as a wedding planner

with Mexico’s Velas Resorts before taking on her current position

in 2010, when it was created. She reports to the Mexico Tourism

Board’s executive director-meeting industry.

“Cris” Luna Infante: During the first

three months of 2012, the number of visitors

to Chile rose 14 percent from the same period

a year ago. At the forefront of the efforts

is Infante, 35, global market director, Chilean

Tourism Promotion Corporation/Turismo

Chile. Luna joined Turismo Chile in 2010 with

the responsibility of developing the country’s

tourism promotion business plan. His relationships with key industry

stakeholders in public and private sectors in Chile and worldwide

have been key to his success in building the country’s tourism

profile. Luna also understands the importance of travel agents.

Under his leadership, Turismo Chile operates a program that has

trained and certified 9,000 agents in the past three years.

Meredith Pearson: The eyes of the

world are on Britain, thanks to the Diamond

Jubilee, World Pride, the Paralympics and

the London Olympics, and at the center of the

coverage is Pearson, 31, director of public relations

and communications-USA for VisitBritain.

She spent four years in public relations

in Cardiff and London, then returned to her

native Canada to start her own travel company. Looking for a challenge,

she accepted the role of VisitBritain’s Canadian public relations

manager. Within one year Pearson was working in the regional

head office in New York, and shortly after was appointed to her

current role. In just 12 months, she has launched the largest image

campaign in the organization’s history, spearheaded a partnership

with the U.S. Olympic Committee and surpassed coverage targets.

Andre Rojer: Rojer, 34, marketing manager-North

America for the Curaçao Tourist

Board, is a native of the small neighborhood

of Barber on the island. He followed

extensive hotel, restaurant and tourism

management training with four years at

the Curaçao Hospitality and Tourism Association.

In 2007 he joined the Curaçao

Tourist Board, serving as marketing coordinator in the Northeast

U.S. office and as marketing representative in the Miami office.

Within five years, his talent resulted in his present position, working

out of Newark, N.J. Rojer has always emphasized Curaçao’s

diversity, and he has successfully placed the marketing focus on

the island’s many environments, from its many beaches and dive

sites to the dynamic city of Willemstad, which he describes as “a

cleaner, warmer Amsterdam.”

Rosina Shiliwala: At 32, Shiliwala is

used to the looks she gets when she is introduced

as director-North America for the

Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions

(NBTC), because she’s the first American

(and woman) to lead the NBTC in this

market. In 2000 she received a fellowship at

the University of Amsterdam and spent time

exploring the country. After moving to New York in 2006, she started

in public relations. In 2009 Shiliwala was hired as the NBTC’s public

relations director for North America, and led her team in leveraging

Holland’s icons in engaging ways. In January she was promoted to

her current post and now oversees all marketing, public relations

and business development in the U.S. and Canada.

Yuki Yamagishi: Yamagishi 31, director

of the Japan National Tourism Organization’s

New York office, found herself dealing

with the worst catastrophe in decades, and

kept steady communication with the press

to ensure hysteria didn’t infect the accounts

of the tsunami and nuclear crisis in

Japan last year. “As a result of our aggressive

campaigns with a number of fam trips, consumer and media

events, and joint promotions with our partners, the travelers are

coming back, and I hope we see a total recovery and even more

growth in 2012,” she says. Yamagishi spent her youth in Singapore

and Australia, which allowed her to see Japan from different

perspectives. Though she started her career as a travel agent

in Japan, she felt more motivated to bring visitors to the country

than to send travelers out.


Vicky Anh Cao: Vicky Anh Cao, 32,

is manager of national Internet accounts

for Hertz. Although she earned a degree in

electrical engineering, she didn’t want to be

an engineer, and took a job at Hertz as an

account service representative. She moved

swiftly up the ranks, and her accounts now

include major corporations and travel agencies.

She has set a pattern of exceeding her goals, and because

of that, she achieved Hertz President’s Circle status in 2008. In

2010 she became one of the top 25 global Hertz salespeople.

Because of her contributions, she was selected to be a Global

Leadership Award winner, which recognizes the achievements of

40 top global performers.

Kristine Elkin: Elkin, 32, started with

Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Chicago in 2001 and

worked her way through the rental ranks and

up to corporate sales. In 2005 she moved to

London and launched Enterprise Entertainment

Europe, which was so successful that

she was promoted to oversee national sales

for Enterprise’s business lines in Ireland.

She returned to the U.S. two years ago to build the Alamo, National

and Enterprise brands from North America to Europe and oversee

agency partnerships in the Northeast. Now Elkin is working on

developing retail business lines to Enterprise’s growing European

operations. She also is the “Cash-In-Club Ambassador,” spreading

the news about the company’s agent rewards program.

Eric Pearson: After six years in the

healthcare industry, Pearson, 29, joined

Hertz, where he marries his passion for cars

with his experience in brand management.

He has been instrumental in managing the

marketing for many programs, including the

young renters’ program as well as the Prestige,

Adrenaline and Green Traveler collections.

He worked on Hertz’s partnership with Live Nation, a search

engine for concerts and tickets, something that is helping Hertz

reach an entirely new population. Pearson, who is part of the product

management team, has been active in the development of some

cutting-edge programs, and he’s helped orchestrate the marketing

efforts on cars using Clean Diesels, EVs and CNGs.

Lothaire Ruellan: Ruellan, 32, director

of online marketing for Rail Europe, has

been with the company for the past eight

years. His brief career has taken him from

web analyst/designer to project manager

of the Web Redesign Plan, which included

raileurope.com and agent.raileurope.com.

Not bad for a guy who got into travel as a

flight attendant for Air France back in college. In his current role,

Ruellan oversees all online marketing channels: paid search (SEM),

organic search (SEO), email marketing, affiliates, social media and

content development. He championed several key web projects

for the company—booking engine redesign, customer experience,

interactive maps—and received Rail Europe’s innovation award in

2011 for ongoing work on rail maps.

Jenna Steggles: With the Queen’s

Diamond Jubilee now over, Steggles 30, marketing

communications manager for Virgin

Atlantic Airways based in Norwalk, Conn., is

spearheading her company’s ongoing marketing

campaign called “London by Virgin Atlantic”

in anticipation of this month’s 2012 Summer

Olympics. Her team created a special

version of the Union Jack flag featuring a Virgin Atlantic cabin crew

surrounded by iconic symbols of the city. Earlier this year, Steggles

helped develop a program that offered a select group of travel agents

the opportunity to check out London before the celebrations. She

manages Virgin Atlantic’s business-to-business marketing, which includes

dealing with travel agents and corporate clients. “I’ve learned

an awful lot in my four years with the company,” she says.

Tom Villani: Villani, 30, director of

business development for online travel

for the Avis Budget Group, is responsible

for a large portfolio, and among his

achievements is the launch of Groupon

campaigns for Avis. He oversees relations

with Expedia, which encompasses

managing Expedia, Hotwire and Carrentals.com. He also manages

the Priceline account, which includes Priceline and Rentalcars.

com; Orbitz, which includes Cheaptickets; Travelocity and

Travelocity for Business; Kayak; CarTrawler; TripIt; and Traxo.

Villani began at Avis Budget as a pricing analyst trainee and over

the years worked his way into a number of posts in pricing and

revenue management. Most recently, he was senior manager of

business development focusing on online agencies.


Sean Carapella: Carapella, 35, director

of software engineering for Amadeus

North America, has had a key role in several

projects, including Amadeus One, a suite

of IT solutions and services for corporate

agencies. He’s also played an important part

in Amadeus Cryptic Magic, a “translation”

feature that lets agents enter the cryptic

commands they are used to at the point of sale and obtain the same

policy-compliant results as agents operating in a graphic environment.

He’s worked on Amadeus Fare Analyzer and Amadeus Flexible

Air Flow. Carapella also is involved in the development aspects

that relate to hot topics in distribution, including direct connections,

ancillary services and XML standards.

Phil Donathy: As product director,

Donathy, 35, is responsible for Travelport’s

portfolio of developer tools. This includes

product management for such classic APIs

as Galileo Web Services and XMLPro, as

well as the global rollout of Travelport’s

universal API, the Travelport Developer Network

and Universal Desktop SDK. Donathy

and his team have zeroed in on understanding the needs of developers

in travel agencies as well as independent software vendors.

He wins rave reviews from colleagues because he has created an

environment that cultivates collaboration and innovation, and he

took a complex assignment and furthered its development while

working in an industry that’s fast-paced and competitive.

Sarah Kennedy Ellis: Ellis, 30, director

of Sabre Studios, has been something of an

evangelist when it comes to preaching social

media to agents. She’s a techie who can

talk about social media in plain English, and

she does it with infectious enthusiasm. The

Agent Stream site was her baby when she

was manager of special solutions for the Sabre

Travel Network. Agent Stream is more than a business-to-business

Facebook. It’s a place where agents can network and connect

with suppliers. In her new job, Ellis continues to bring technology

to agents, working to learn their needs while researching trends to

provide tools for working faster, smarter and more profitably.

Bob Ford: Ford, 32, regional vice president

of sales for Travel Guard, spends 80

percent of his time visiting agencies to

consult with them on sales and marketing

strategy. He brings a combination of youthful

energy as well as a wealth of knowledge

to his job, having worked in the airline and

hotel sectors. Ford is investing his time in the

travel industry as well by serving on the College of DuPage Travel

& Tourism Committee to help make sure that students going into the

industry do so with a solid educational foundation. He is results oriented

and wants to excel, and he wants those with whom he works

to do their best as well.



rising stars 2012

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ®

Francisco Mallmann

Manager, Revenue


Azamara Club Cruises

proudly recognizes

our Rising Stars

These amazing leaders demonstrate passion

and dedication every day.

We’re proud to have them on our team.

Brooke Patterson

Director, Marketing Strategy

& Communications

Celebrity Cruises

Kara Wallace

Associate VP, Consumer

Insight & Marketing Strategy

Royal Caribbean International

Sean Treacy

Director, Market Planning

& Performance

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

©2012 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Azamara Club Cruises ships’ registry: Malta. Celebrity Cruises ships’ registry: Malta and Ecuador. Royal Caribbean International ships’ registry: Bahamas.

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