In between our own globetrotting, the WITS ’17 planning team is already hard at work prepping for the Summit. But don’t worry, we’re not working too hard (yet), and we have plenty of fun too (as can be seen in the goofy grins of the WITS ’16 planning team above).
Along with our prep calls, program organization, and all sorts of event planning, we wanted to take a few minutes to introduce ourselves. We’d like to be as accessible as we can to this awesome community of WITS attendees and friends, and we hope that you feel comfortable coming to us with any questions or suggestions, or even just stopping by to say hi at the Summit (although we’re generally quite busy during WITS weekend, so we apologize in advance if we don’t have as much time to chat as we’d like!).
Each year we’ve relied on a large team of volunteers to make WITS run smoothly, and this year we’re lucky enough to be able to hone our strengths into a smaller, more agile team. We couldn’t be more thrilled to work together to bring you the best WITS yet. You can follow us all on Twitter here!
If you’re interested in joining our larger group of volunteers for WITS ’17, keep an eye out for our volunteer applications!
Don’t Forget: You can purchase your ticket to WITS ’17 here. We can’t wait to see you in Milwaukee in April!
WITS ’17 Chair
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Marissa has a background in marketing and international education, and she currently works as a travel writer and is the creator of Little Things Travel Blog. Although she grew up in Chicago, Marissa is now based in Boulder, Colorado, where she can never seem to get enough of the multitude of outdoor activities. She is also Wanderful’s blogger relationships manager.
Ana is a Chicago-based entrepreneur and creator of the travel blog, The City Sidewalks. She comes from a background of fashion marketing, sales, and business management. When she’s not traveling, she enjoys trying new foods and hunting down designer goods at thrift stores around the city.
The resident Canuck, Erin is currently based in Toronto but has previously lived in Ottawa, the U.K., France, and most recently Thailand, where she worked in online travel marketing and navigated eating Thai food with a peanut allergy. With a background in human geography and journalism, Erin loves to meet and learn from people around the globe. Her life goals include mastering the Spanish language and going wine tasting in every possible country.
Operations & Logistics Chair
Sara is a travel enthusiast, coordinator at heart and lover of all things travel related. Based in Boston, she is lucky enough to travel within the States for work, but jumps at the chance to hop across the pond whenever possible. She went on her first 2 week solo trip to Germany and Ireland in 2014 after becoming inspired by a Wanderful-hosted event on the subject the previous year! Sara is inspired by the idea of traveling within your own city, continually seeking to find all the hidden gems that Boston has to offer. She is also a Wanderful Boston chapter co-organizer.
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Ariel is a queer writer, activist, and traveler who grew up outside of NYC and lived in Boston and the southeast Netherlands before settling in Brooklyn. She runs digital strategy for an LGBTQ-focused social justice nonprofit and is Wanderful‘s digital content manager. She also consults, eats a lot of chocolate, and blogs on body acceptance and travel, but most often dreams of running away to Paris (and is frequently a mouse-click away from booking a one-way ticket).
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Beth is the Founder and CEO of Wanderful. She created Wanderful while cruising her blue motorcycle through the streets of São Tomé and Príncipe, a small country in Africa’s Gulf of Guinea. She comes from a background in international development and community building, working on the One Laptop per Child project in São Tomé and around the Caribbean, then serving at Rotary International as a regional grants officer. She has also worked at a number of international organizations such as Voice of America and the Embassy of Portugal.
In 2014, Beth was named by the White House as one of the top 100 travel bloggers in the US and invited to the White House Travel Blogger Summit on Study Abroad and Global Citizenship. In 2015, she was named a Chicago Scholars 35 Under 35 Young Leader Making an Impact. In 2016, she was selected as a prestigious Zell Fellow at the Kellogg School of Management, where she received her MBA, and was listed as one of the 50 Influential People in Tech to follow by BuiltInChicago.
Beth is originally from New Hampshire and has lived in Washington, DC; Coimbra, Portugal; Topsail Island, North Carolina; and Chicago, with briefer stints in São Tomé and Haiti. She currently lives in Boston with her husband and three fur babies.
WITS ’17 Advisory Board
WITS ’17 Advisory Board
Ann Becker runs Travel With Ann, leading experiential trips to Costa Rica and, periodically, neighboring countries. After falling in love with the people, the land, and the spirit of Costa Rica during a trip in 2005, Ann vowed to show others what an incredible country it is. Building on her years of experience as the owner of a meeting/events management company, she started her first tour in 2006 and will be leading her 12th annual women’s trip in 2017. Ann’s personal friendships and relationships with a myriad local providers take you “off the beaten path” and make you feel like you are both visiting local friends and entirely taken care of throughout your trip. Find out more at abecker.com/travel.
WITS ’17 Advisory Board
With more than 20 years of media relations, communications, travel writing, and on-air television journalism experience, Tanya Churchmuch is the founder of MuchPR, a New York-based PR agency focusing on travel, hospitality, and LGBT markets. She presently represents clients from the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Iceland in the North American market. Tanya launched the company in January, 2015 after working for Tourisme Montreal for several years, overseeing their in-house International Media Relations and Travel Trade team. During her time with Tourisme Montreal, many of the projects that Tanya oversaw received industry awards and recognitions including Lonely Planet naming Montreal as a Top 10 City to Visit in 2013. A lifelong traveller, fluent in French and with a working knowledge of Spanish, Tanya is passionate about experiencing and communicating stories of global culture. She began her career as a television journalist and news anchor with Global Television in Canada, but it was through her freelance work as a travel writer that she eventually transitioned into travel PR. A recognized expert in the industry, Tanya has spoken at many travel conferences including TBEX, the Women in Travel Summit, FITUR, ASTA Global Convention, ITB Berlin, Salón de Turismo Sao Paulo, GNetworks 360 Buenos Aires, Community Marketing Annual Travel Conference, and several International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Conventions.
Katy is the communications manager at VISIT Milwaukee and is responsible for working with regional and national media who are interested in covering the city. During her time at VISIT Milwaukee, Katy has had the opportunity to attended dozens of travel and writer conferences where she has worked to build relationships with both media and industry contacts. In her (limited) spare time, Katy is working on starting her own blog, Windward traveler, but has a hard time justifying any more time sitting at a computer and usually just ends up outside somewhere.