Our writers share an in-depth look at the "who's who" of group travel leaders, business owners and suppliers.
The International Inbound Travel Association recently announced that it extended Lisa Simon's contract, naming her Executive Director. Chairman Gary Schluter stated that the IITA Board of Directors and Associations International, the association's management firm, have been beyond impressed with Simon's leadership, forward thinking, and dedication to the organization over the past six months.
Jessica Pociask | Owner/Expedition Guide, WANT Expeditions
With hundreds of expeditions and 80 countries under her belt, Jessica Pociask is considered the most "adventurous woman in travel." From guiding travelers up a volcano to view an active lava lake in Congo (Virunga), to crossing the Greenland ice sheet via dogsled, Jessica's field experience is unparalleled. Her awards include 50 Tours of a Lifetime from National Geographic, DC Modern Luxury's Brightest Entrepreneur's Under 40, and being declared "your tour guide for crazy destinations" by the Washington Post.
Kaycee Sanford | Travel Specialist, Group Travel Network
Kaycee Sanford is a proud alumnus of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. While studying Event Management in college, she accepted an internship at Group Travel Network and fell in love with the industry. After graduation in 2013, she accepted a full-time position and is working on the logistics side of Student Tourism. Kaycee enjoys planning each customized group package and attending tradeshows such as SYTA and FMEA.
Jane Tougouma | Group Tour Sales Manager, Destination Cleveland
A "boomerang," Jane Tougouma returned to Cleveland from Los Angeles and found love in more ways than one. "Traveling is my passion and planning tours for others is my pleasure, especially sharing the unexpected gem that is Cleveland." She joined Destination Cleveland in 2010, serves on the ABA Marketplace Advisory Committee and is CVB co-chair liaison of the ABA 2017 Host Advisory Committee. Her personal travels have included visits to West Africa, Republic of Georgia, Japan and Iceland.
After 10 years of teaching at Harlem Children's Zone (New York) and DSST (Denver), Ryan Sparzak discovered that a learning environment based on values, service and experiences outside of the school are vital to a well-rounded education for all students. In Ryan's current role, he and his team develop company culture and educational trips around certain values, as well as innovative service partnerships with schools so students will take informed action now and in the future.