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Our Team

May 6, 2014 by Wanderful Team

Beth Santos

Founder and CEO

Beth 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 daughter.

Instagram | Twitter | Website | Read Beth’s Articles

Marissa Sutera

Program Manager
WITS Conference Director

Marissa’s love for travel was sparked when she studied abroad, an experience that inspired her to launch her travel blog, Little Things Travel. Most recently she worked in marketing and served as an advisor in international education. Although she grew up in Chicago, Marissa is now based in Boulder, Colorado where you can usually find her skiing, hiking, or biking when she’s not traveling.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Website | Read Marissa’s Articles

ariel goldberg wanderful

Ariel Goldberg

WITS Creative Director

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 community 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).

FacebookInstagramTwitterWebsite | Read Ariel’s Articles

Ana Dominguez

Ana Dominguez

WITS Sponsorship Chair

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.

Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Website

Sara Weiskotten

WITS Operations & Logistics Chair
Boston Chapter Co-Organizer

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 also inspired by the idea of traveling within your own city, continually seeking to find all the hidden gems that Boston has to offer!


Erin Morawetz

Erin Morawetz

WITS PR/Marketing Chair

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.

Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Website

Local Organizers

Lauren Dolan

Wanderful Austin

Lauren fell in love with travel ever since her first international trip to Ireland in 2010 for a summer study abroad. Since then, Lauren has spent time backpacking around Europe after college, and teaching abroad in Morocco. In her spare time, Lauren is constantly looking for flights to a new destination.

Ashley Sullivan

Wanderful Austin

Hailing from Plano, Texas, Ashley got her first taste of travel in 2013, when she attended a civil engineering program in Ciudad Real, Spain. Since then, she has added 15 more countries to her list. When at home base, Ashley designs bridges throughout the state of Texas and dabbles in the startup world.

Tess Hoppenbrouwers

Wanderful Tucson

Tess is an expat partner from the Netherlands and has a passion for travel and photography. She also writes a blog about her adventures living in the States – click here to visit it!

Svitlana Ramer, Wanderful Houston organizer
Svitlana Ramer

Wanderful Houston

Svitlana Ramer was born and raised in Ukraine and moved to the US to pursue graduate education in tourism. She is now organizing the local chapter of Wanderful, lecturing at Texas A&M, and launching her own holistic health business.

Kate Baxter

Wanderful NYC

Kate Baxter works in educational administration and pursues travel as a passion project in her free time. Over the past decade since graduating from college, she has continued exploring with friends, family, and solo in order to expand her knowledge of the world and indulge her interests in architecture and art history in particular.

Beeni Jacob

Wanderful NYC

Beeni’s first international travel experience was when she moved from South India to New York at the age of 10. This began her lifelong love for travel. She’s currently a project manager in Midtown Manhattan, while also a part-time trip planner for her family trip-planning business, Javian Travels, for travelers to South Asia.

Carrie Herrera Niesen

Wanderful Phoenix

Carrie is a social commerce entrepreneur, international educator, and communications + marketing professional. Midwestern raised and Phoenix based, Carrie enjoys the heck out of her day job convincing university students to study abroad who haven’t yet discovered international travel.

Jerusha Thomas

Wanderful Kuala Lumpur

Jerusha has always dreamed of travelling around the world. She is the organizer of the first Wanderful chapter in Asia and hopes to create a strong support community and inspire many young women in Asia to be able to travel confidently. Her passion for travel is only rivaled with her passion for food-hopping in Kuala Lumpur.

Jessica Hartmann, Wanderful San Diego organizer
Jessica Hartmann

Wanderful San Diego

Jessica is a local Southern Californian, living in San Diego. Her passion in life is traveling, and she lovse helping people be able to travel and experience life around the world. Find her travel blog on Instagram at @thejessicajourney.
Laura Plasencia

Wanderful Madrid

Laura has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism & Hospitality Management and has been living abroad for years- London, Berlin and now based in Madrid. She is originally from Tenerife, Canary Islands.
When she is not traveling, she is thinking about her next trip or writing articles for her blog about travel and expat life, Hashtag #Viajeros.

Alana Simpson

Wanderful Toronto

Alana hails from Toronto, Canada and loves to see and do as much as she can. In her spare time she can be found adventuring, trying new foods and laughing at a good joke. When she’s not scouring discount flight websites or meeting with friends she blogs about her adventures on her website, Adventure Spices.

Sapphire Kharyzma

Wanderful Wilmington (Delaware)

Sapphire Kharyzma is an accomplished travel, beauty and lifestyle writer, photographer and creative designer, using the power of travel, beauty, style, and sisterhood to empower girls and women. Sapphire can be seen trending on Queens of Virtue: Travel. Beauty. Style. She’s the Chic Executive Officer of the Queens of Virtue brand – a social benefit corporation – and the Executive Director of Crowns of Glory INTL Ministries.

Ivy Morris

Wanderful Tucson

Ivy Morris is a travel writer and editor who firmly believes in the power of travel making you a good person. Wherever she roams, Tucson’s home.

Monique Gottlieb

Wanderful Vancouver

Originally from Toronto, Monique moved to Vancouver to be closer to the mountains, and she spends every moment she can hiking up them, skiing down them, enjoying sunrises from their summits and bathing in their crystal-clear lakes. When she isn’t working or in the mountains, you can find Monique running along the seawall, sharing a bottle of Argentinian Malbec with friends, or exploring her creative side at a local coffee shop.

Christine Simontacchi

Wanderful Washington, D.C.

Christine is a travel enthusiast, who’s first adventures included driving up and down the West Coast in a boat-sized station wagon. She loves contributing to Wanderful by expanding its reach through its chapters. A Seattle native and current DC resident, she loves to boast she’s now lived on both coasts!

Alyssa Johnson

Wanderful Kansas City

Alyssa is a writer and storyteller, drawn to all things adventure. Her passions for culture, yoga and scuba diving have taken her through more than two dozen countries, with longer stints in Austria, Thailand and India. Between travels, home remains in Kansas City, where Sunday brunch is a weekly staple, puppy kisses are at arms reach and there’s no such thing as too much BBQ!

Stephanie Spire

Wanderful Dallas

Born and raised in Texas, Stephanie is an administrative professional in Dallas who is curious about language and culture. She enjoys discovering new cities and towns, but never passes up an opportunity to travel to her favorite, San Francisco. As a runner and avid cyclist, she has found both to be a great way to explore new places and meet locals.

Reneé Pelton

Wanderful San Francisco

Reneé is southern girl at heart, having grown up in South Carolina, but she’s been in SF 8 years now and definitely feels like a SF local. She gets pretty antsy if she doesn’t get out of the city often, so she tries to leave at least two weekends a month to do something fun somewhere else! Her day job is in business strategy and she love to work to make people’s day jobs more fun and interesting everyday. She’s excited to restart the Wanderful San Francisco chapter to find likeminded women who are looking to go out and have adventures, and to enjoy the amazing city we already live in!

Katie Dickinson

Wanderful Boston

A native New Englander, Katie caught the wanderbug soon after moving to South Korea. After four years living in and exploring Asia, she’s back in Boston working for a hospitality non-profit. Work isn’t everything, so spare time goes to her family, her blog, exercise, looking up cheap flights, and Snapchatting all the far-away friends she’s met along the way!

Jenna Thomas

Wanderful Boston

Jenna is a copywriter and enthusiastic traveler. Some of her favorite memories have been
made while living in the back of a minivan in New Zealand, trekking to the top of Morocco’s
tallest peak, and housesitting in rural England. After a year spent traveling full-time, she is now
exploring Boston, her new home base. Originally from Colorado, Jenna loves hiking, running,
and paddle-boarding, but is equally happy searching for the best local bookstores and
coffee shops. She spends most of her downtime is searching for flights to faraway places.

Jenny Stankowski

Wanderful DC

Jenny is a master’s graduate in international relations and has lived in Italy and Spain, among other places. By day, she works for an international development contractor and by night, she dallies between indie concerts, local brews, and Netflix. As a Midwest native, she always makes equal time to travel the world and to travel home.

Sofia Martin

Wanderful Chicago

Sofia was bit by the travel bug back in 2006 when she went on her first trip abroad. Since then she’s been to over 17 countries (and counting!) and particularly enjoys exploring cultures through her love of food.

Karisma Shackelford
Karisma Shackelford

Wanderful LA

Karisma fell in love with travel as a young child watching the popular 80’s and 90’s PBS show, Reading Rainbow. When she is not traveling the world, she’s thinking about her next trip, helping others make their dreams of traveling come true, running her online business and writing articles for her lifestyle & travel blog. – hashtag: #gottahavekarisma

Nailah Hayward

Wanderful LA

Even before her first experience abroad in Tokyo as a college student, Nailah had an unceasing passion for travel. A project manager by trade, she also writes for her travel blog called There’s So Much to See which focuses on international travel and teaches and trains the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira.

Gabriela Nivela
Gabriela Nivela

Wanderful Barcelona

Born in Ecuador, Gabriela has loved travel since she first moved to Spain at age 3. She loves to collect languages – she’s working on her 5th – enjoys connecting people, is fiercely passionate about social justice and sustainable & ethical travel. Gabriela is currently living in Barcelona and working in the tourism sector.

Stephanie Kempker Edri
Stephanie Kempker Edri

Wanderful Puebla

Steph is a serial expat who has settled in Puebla, Mexico. She’s a travel and expat lifestyle blogger and part-time master’s degree student in counseling. She’s full-time obsessed with dogs, gardening, and vegetarianizing every cuisine she experiences.

Megan Arzbaecher

Wanderful Chicago


Dina Yuen

Dina Yuen is a serial entrepreneur who founded her first business at 7 years old. Yuen went on to found three successful companies after studying Industrial Engineering and Operations Management at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. She led her first company- Dragon Music International at 20 years old, netting US $20 million in under three years. With AsianFusion, she became an international bestselling cookbook author, widely respected lifestyle journalist of hotel, restaurant and product reviews and interviewer of leaders, with over 300,000 global fans. As Vice President of Business Development and Acquisitions at Arcadia Chandra International, Dina played an instrumental role in negotiating acquisitions of luxury hotels as well as developing successful rebranding strategies.

Prior to founding KYC Hospitality, Yuen held the CEO position at AsianFusion simultaneous with the Chief of Staff position at Arcadia Chandra International, where both companies allowed her to establish invaluable connections with hotel owners and managers while witnessing critical issues in the hospitality industry.She is a regular contributor to The Next Women business magazine, a speaker on women and travel issues, and holds Board of Director and Advisory roles in Arcadia Chandra International, non-profit organization SheHeroes and women-focused travel startup Wanderful.

Kelly Uller

Kelly Uller brings over twenty years’ of experience in accounting and finance from global Fortune 5 companies, global asset managers and hedge funds to start-up ventures. Kelly provides financial leadership to her clients through her strategic thinking, continuous process improvements, thought leadership and strong controls background.

Currently, Kelly launched her own CFO consulting practice, New Ventures, where she provides consulting and advisory services to a variety of asset managers of hedge funds, private equity and venture capital. Kelly served as Vice President of Finance with Bain Capital’s multi-billion dollar hedge fund affiliate, Brookside Capital. While at Brookside, Kelly was responsible for the accounting and finances for the Brookside funds, its investors and the management company. Prior to her time at Brookside, Kelly held multiple leadership roles at PwC from auditing Fortune 5 companies and global asset managers and successfully led the early adoption of Sarbanes Oxley regulation. She also spent time with PwC’s National Office consulting engagement teams on complex capital structures and provided thought leadership during the onset of the global financial crisis of 2008.

Jessica Ainlay

Jessica Ainlay is a world-traveler with an entrepreneur’s heart. Currently based in New York City, Jessica is the Director of Tourism and Hospitality Marketing at the Alliance for Downtown New York. Her destination marketing experience extends to her time in marketing at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, VisitBritain, Enjoy England and VisitBrighton. She also served as the VP of Content Strategy at a travel tech startup based out of Austin after living abroad for a decade in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Germany and England, and traveling nomadically for four years to the end of the earth and back as the co-founder of GlobetrotterGirls, at the time, one of the world’s top travel blogs for women.