2019 Speakers

 

Leticia Barr

Leticia Barr

Leticia Barr founded her award-winning Tech Savvy Mama site to empower parents raising a digital generation of kids. Since 2008 she’s used her background in child development, psychology, and education to advise parents and tech companies about current technology and trends. Leticia received an Iris Award for her ongoing philanthropic work in Haiti and invited to the White House Travel Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship as one of the top 100 travel and education bloggers in the US. Leticia’s Tech Savvy Mama site was also Parents Magazine’s Editors’ Pick for Best Tech Blog.

 

Gabby Beckford

Gabby Beckford

Gabby is a 23-year-old creative who has had writing featured in Business Insider, The Huffington Post, and Matador Network. In 2013, she launched Packs Light to inspire and empower her younger peers to see the world, which includes advocating for education abroad and scholarships. At the end college, Gabby won the national Boren Language Scholarship to study Middle Eastern Studies in the UAE for an academic year. In total, she won over $40,000 in scholarships to fund the venture. As a recent college grad, Gabby continues to travel the world while helping students—from middle schoolers to Ph.D. candidates—explore unique ways to fund international travel during their studies. Follow her @packslight.

 

Pete Bryant

Laura Brown

Laura Brown is the Director of Strategy for Lonely Planet’s research and development team, which is focused on understanding and serving products to global citizens. She believes society’s greatest challenge is how to build a more sustainable future. To that end, she is currently researching the sustainability of media business models at Middle Tennessee State University. She was named to FOLIO’s 30 under 30 list of innovators in 2015, and currently resides in Nashville, TN. 

 

Pete Bryant

Pete Bryant

Pete is a 20-year veteran of venture businesses with a focus on the distribution of content in B2B applications for the targeted distribution to end consumers. Currently the CEO and co-founder of Steller, the world’s largest travel storytelling platform and community reimagined for today’s mobile-first travelers, he is passionate about the power of storytelling and the mobile-first digital native generation. With his experience in the storytelling and travel business, he combines his expertise with excitement bringing these two avenues together.

 

Kevin Collymore

Kevin Collymore

Kevin Collymore traveled to Shanghai, China, in 2017 to explore cross-cultural counseling, thanks to an Explore the World travel scholarship from Hostelling International USA. The course helped him earn his Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from NYU, ultimately preparing him for his current role there as Assistant Director for Advisement and Student Services at the Graduate School of Public Service. Previously, Kevin worked for Barnard College of Columbia University, working primarily with first-generation, low-income students of color. Kevin is passionate about improving college readiness, affordability, diversity, student success, fellowship and global learning.

 

Amelia Dietrich

Dr. Amelia Dietrich

Dr. Amelia Dietrich is the Director for Research and Resources at The Forum on Education Abroad and Interim Editor of Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad. Amelia’s work focuses on data collection and research efforts in the field of education abroad. She uses that information to develop practical resources that help professionals in the field offer their students safe, high-quality educational experiences abroad. Amelia studied abroad in Italy and Argentina and has traveled throughout Europe and the Americas. Before The Forum, Amelia taught Spanish and conducted research on bilingualism and second language acquisition at Penn State University.

 

Danielle Fossett

Danielle Fossett

Danielle is a 19-year old, first-year college student majoring in Environmental Studies from Long Island, NY. She is a freelance writer and an advocate for youth empowerment and youth involvement within the environmental realm. Danielle recently traveled to India for a semester during her gap year to study the effects of pollution within the vicinity of the Ganga river, as well as climate migration. 

 

Andrew Gordon

Andrew Gordon

Andrew Gordon is the founder and CEO of Diversity Abroad. As an international education expert, he has written and spoken extensively on topics pertaining to access, diversity, inclusion, and equity in international education. Andrew founded Diversity Abroad in 2006 with a simple vision: for the next generation of young people from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds to be equipped with the skills, knowledge and global acumen to thrive in our interconnected world and global marketplace. Andrew is responsible for the daily operations at Diversity Abroad and serves as the chief national advocate for promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in international education and cultural exchange. 

 

Russ Hedge

Russ Hedge

For nearly 30 years, Russ Hedge has been serving the youth travel sector. Since 2000, Russ has been the CEO of Hostelling International USA (HI USA), the nation’s leading hostel brand and a nonprofit with a purpose to create a more tolerant world. As a thought leader within the global travel industry, Russ serves on the Boards of the UN World Tourism Organization, the US Travel Association, and the Alliance for International Exchange. He is Board Chair for the World Youth & Student Educational Travel Confederation and also serves on the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. Russ is frequently sought after to speak at conferences and events around the world for his expertise on youth travel, sustainability, and transformative travel.

 

Andrew Gordon

Zak Ivkovic

Since 2003, Zak has served as the Executive Director of the CUNY Athletic Conference (CUNYAC), after 13 years of working for the conference in different capacities. Under his leadership, CUNYAC has become the most advanced and innovative Division III conference in the country. Its membership consists of 15 institutions that compete in 24 NCAA and NJCAA men’s and women’s sports. Zak also oversees CUNYAC’s Goodwill Tour, bringing scholar-athletes, student leaders, coaches and administrators to different countries to partake in study abroad service trips. In addition to demonstrating and teaching their respective sports, participants perform humanitarian work and engage in cultural exchanges while they develop leadership skills.

 

Natalie Jesionka

Natalie Jesionka

Natalie is a professor, media professional and human rights advocate. She has served on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA and penned the column "Travel Mirror” for The Daily Muse, focusing on best practices in volunteering and international development. She serves as the Editor of Shatter the Looking Glass, an online magazine that focuses on ethical travel. Natalie is a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow, and served as a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand researching stateless Hill Tribes and examining the origins of human trafficking. The work led to a partnership with Shine Global, an Oscar Award-winning non-profit production company, on the documentary film The Wrong Light. In 2019, Natalie launched Global Elective, a travel and learning platform that encourages students and lifelong learners to travel ethically and gain access to the world.

 

Kelley Louise

Kelley Louise

A travel entrepreneur passionate about storytelling and sustainability, Kelley is the founder of Impact Travel Alliance, a nonprofit and community aimed at teaching travelers how to spend their money mindfully so that they have a positive impact on our world. She also runs Elsewhere Agency, a boutique creative agency for travel/impact brands. She has held several keynote speaking positions, and presented at the United Nations, MMGY’s Vail Summit and the NTA’s Travel Exchange. Kelley has been interviewed for the New York Times, Fast Company and Forbes, and won the 2019 Bessie Award for Social Impact from the Women in Travel Summit. She is based in Brooklyn, and you can follow her on Instagram @kelleytravels.

 

Mark Overmann

Mark Overmann

Mark is the Vice President of External Affairs at InterExchange. After studying abroad in France and teaching English in China, Mark was hooked on cultural exchange. He’s worked in the international exchange field for nearly 15 years. Prior to joining InterExchange, Mark served for seven years as Deputy Director at the Alliance for International Exchange in DC, advocating for the health and growth of exchange programs. He's also worked as the Director of College Communications at Georgetown University and the Program Associate for Communications at Global Ties U.S.

 

Tinabeth Piña

Tinabeth Piña (Emcee – Day 1 & 2)

Tinabeth is an EMMY award winning broadcast journalist and travel vlogger who has worked in front of the camera and behind the scenes for ABC, FOX, A&E, The History Channel & Oxygen, to name a few. When she isn’t vlogging at TinabethTravels.com, Tinabeth is the creator and executive producer of Globe Scholars, a travel show and web series that follows students on their study abroad trips around the world. Tinabeth is also the Managing Editor at CUNY-TV in New York City and the author of CHA-CHIING! The Unemployed's Guide to Finding Your Next TV Production Job. Follow her @tinabethpina.

 

Stephen Revetria

Stephen Revetria

Stephen Revetria oversees the strategy and vision for Giants Enterprises – the entrepreneurial arm of the San Francisco Giants and one of the top hospitality, event, entertainment and sports consultancy teams in the world. Now serving as President, Revetria joined the company in 1999. Under his leadership, Giants Enterprises hosted Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, featuring 40 teams from 28 countries, making it the largest and most highly attended rugby event ever to be held in the U.S. Among his many roles, Stephen is on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Travel Association and Meeting Professionals International, as well as on the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board.  

 

Brooke Roberts

Brooke Roberts

Brooke is a 4x start-up founder, former travel industry executive, author, and TEDx speaker. She’s currently founder and CEO of Brazenist, an online business training and educational travel company helping people create location-independent businesses. Additionally, Brooke is co-founder of The Study Abroad Journal, a practical goal-setting field guide for savvy study abroad students. Throughout her career, Brooke has served as Sr. Vice President at GoAbroad.com, directed a university study abroad office, worked for Semester at Sea, developed international internship programs, and served as faculty for short-term programs abroad. Brooke has lived in 17 different cities worldwide, visited 54 countries on 6 continents, and been to 47 US states. Follow her on Instagram @thenewdorothy.

 

Beth Santos

Beth Santos (Emcee – Day 3)

Beth Santos is founder and CEO of Wanderful, a global community that connects over 40,000 women together through events in 45 global cities, an international homesharing network, dynamic online content and forums, and inspired, focused campaigns with international travel brands. She is the creator and host of the Women in Travel Summit, a leading event for women travel influencers and industry members, happening on two continents each year, and co-founder of #AtTheTable, a national dinner series and community for female founders. She is a graduate of the Kellogg School of Management and Wellesley College, and is an acclaimed thought leader in entrepreneurship and travel. She lives in Boston.

 

Beth Santos

Eric Shepard

Eric is a travel and hospitality technology veteran. His travel startup TRILL, which turned social content into bookable travel experiences, was recently acquired by Lonely Planet. Eric now acts as VP of Lonely Planet Ventures. Eric was named Phocuswright 35 under 35 for most influential people in travel technology in 2017. 

 

Dylan Thuras

Dylan Thuras

Dylan is the cofounder and creative director of Atlas Obscura, and co-author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders and the New York Times bestselling kids book An Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid. Dylan has appeared as a host on NPR’s All Things Considered and featured in the New York Times, New Yorker, CBS Sunday Morning, and Science Friday, among others. His pursuit of the unusual began as a teenager exploring abandoned buildings in the Midwest and eventually took him to Budapest for a year, where he explored Eastern Europe’s obscure and wondrous locales. Follow him at @dylanthuras.