Aditi Hardikar, Associate Director of Public Engagement,
Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, The White House
Aditi Hardikar serves as an Associate Director of Public Engagement in the Office of Public Engagement. In her role, she is the White House’s primary liaison to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Prior to joining the White House, Aditi served as Director of the LGBT Leadership Council and Director of the AAPI Leadership Council for the Democratic National Committee, where she raised resources and mobilized community leaders around Democratic issues. She also served as the LGBT Finance Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee in 2013, and the Deputy Director of LGBT Voter Outreach and LGBT Finance for the 2012 Obama-Biden Presidential Campaign. Aditi planned events and organized progressive young Americans for the Campus Progress team at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. She also served as a White House intern in the Office of Public Engagement, where she worked on LGBT issues. Aditi is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she earned her B.A. in Economics and Political Science.
Director of UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme, UNWTO
Yolanda Perdomo is the Director of the UNWTO Affiliate Members Programme. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability, and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide. The Affiliate Members Programme has over 400 Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities. Yolanda has experience in both the public and private sectors and is an expert in tourism destination promotion and distribution. She has been Vice-Councilor for Tourism of the Government of the Canary Islands and Managing Director of PROMOTUR, the organization in charge of the promotion of tourism in the Canary Islands. Born in the Canary Islands (Spain), Yolanda attended the American University of Paris, lived for five years in France, one in the United States, three in Italy and now works in Madrid.
Eric Garcetti, Mayor, City of Los Angeles
Eric Garcetti is the 42nd Mayor of Los Angeles. His “back to basics” agenda is focused on job creation and solving everyday problems for L.A. residents. Garcetti was elected four times by his peers to serve as President of the Los Angeles City Council from 2006 to 2012. From 2001 until taking office as Mayor, he served as the Councilmember representing the 13th District which includes Hollywood, Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Atwater Village — all of which were dramatically revitalized under Garcetti’s leadership. Garcetti was raised in the San Fernando Valley and earned his B.A. and M.A. from Columbia University. He studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and the London School of Economics and taught at Occidental College and USC. A fourth generation Angeleno, he and his wife, Amy Elaine Wakeland, have a young daughter. He is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy reserve and is an avid jazz pianist and photographer.
Tanya Churchmuch, President, MuchPR
Based in New York City, Tanya Churchmuch is the founder of MuchPR, a public relations agency specializing in tourism/hospitality, lifestyle and LGBT markets. Prior to launching MuchPR, Tanya lived in Montreal, Canada and was Tourism Montreal’s Assistant Director of International Media Relations and Leisure Markets, while also overseeing their LGBT outreach. She was also the founder of the (former) lesbian travel website www.girlports.com. In 2008 Tanya was elected to the IGLTA Board of Directors and currently serves as Immediate Past Chair. An expert in LGBT travel, she has spoken at numerous travel industry events around the world and written travel articles for many LGBT and mainstream publications. Prior to working in travel, Tanya was a television journalist and news anchor.
Terry Dale, President & CEO, United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA)
A well-known and respected travel industry leader, Dale has had a distinguished career, most recently as President & CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) since 2003. His previous positions include five years with NYC & Company – The NYC Convention and Visitors Bureau– where he was Executive Vice President; and ten years as President & CEO of the Greater Providence Convention and Visitors Bureau, as well as President of the New England Society of Convention and Visitor’s Bureaus. Dale has also served on the Board of Directors of the US Travel Association, HSMAI, and Visit Florida. He has been a course instructor and Grossinger Lecturer at NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, and served as a Distinguished Lecturer at Johnson & Wales. Among Dale’s responsibilities at USTOA are developing the association’s strategic marketing initiatives, managing the association’s government advocacy on issues affecting tour operators, and working with other leaders and decision makers in the travel industry to identify mutual challenges and opportunities. Dale also serves as a key ambassador and spokesperson for USTOA. He holds the distinction of being the third president in USTOA’s nearly 40 year history.
Judy Dlugacz, President & Founder, Olivia Companies
Judy Dlugacz has been fighting for equality and human rights for over 40 years, serving as a spokesperson and voice for the women’s community, which for too long has been underserved and once, even invisible. In 1973, along with eight other women, Judy founded Olivia Records to provide a voice to women artists in the then male-dominated recording industry. The all-female label released more than 40 albums and sold more than one million records, cassettes and CDs. By 1983, Olivia’s artists were selling out venues like Carnegie Hall. In 1990, the company began its metamorphosis to a travel company when it held its first concert at sea. Today, Olivia is THE pre-eminent travel company for lesbians and has taken over 200,000 women on vacations all over the globe. Olivia charters entire ships and resorts so its guests can be completely out and feel free. Entertainers, sports stars and social justice pioneers have been a hallmark of most every Olivia vacation. This list includes Billie Jean King, Edie Windsor, Grethe Cammermeyer, Maya Angelou, Melissa Etheridge, Wynonna, k. d. lang, the Indigo Girls, Lily Tomlin, Jane Lynch, Whoopi Goldberg, Wanda Sykes and more. Despite her many achievements, today Dlugacz is more active than ever. Just before Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and DOMA were overturned, Judy was the driving force behind six women’s roundtable discussions with first Lady, Michelle Obama, to create a voice on issues that impact LGBT women. Judy and Olivia contribute to, and actively participate with, dozens of human rights organizations including the Human Rights Campaign and the National Council for Lesbian Rights, and global organizations including the Nepal Youth Foundation and the Red Cross Relief Fund (where Olivia raised over $250,000 to help the people of Haiti after its devastating earthquake). Judy, through Olivia, is also one of the founding partners of the USAID LGBT Global Development Partnership. Judy Dlugacz is a true leader, influencer, and through her hard work and determination, has indubitably changed the course of lesbian and human history.
Michael Goff, CEO and Co-Owner, TOWLEROAD
Michael Goff is the CEO and co-Owner of Towleroad and AskTell Media. Goff has spent the last 25 years launching and building media and digital media properties. In 1992 he founded Out magazine and built it into the leading gay title as its first President and Editor-in-Chief. He went on to Microsoft where as General Manager he coordinated MSN’s move to an internet-based network of services. He has advised startups including Treehugger.com and (pre-Google) Blogger, and led the Clinton Foundation AIDS initiative in Haiti for 18 months. Goff has served on the boards of Outfest and CRIA, was an early member of ACT UP, and one of the columns he wrote for Outweek magazine inspired the creation of the AIDS Red Ribbon. The son of two diplomats, he grew up traveling and living around the world. In 2014 he walked the coast of California between Tijuana and San Francisco; drove his camper van from Los Angeles to Provincetown; visited Montreal, Miami, New Orleans, Ogunquit, Rome, London, Seattle, Boston, among other destinations; and estimates he spent 250 nights in hotels and vacation rentals.
Ranjan Goswami, Vice President West Global Sales, Delta Air Lines
Ranjan is responsible for the West Region, including Los Angeles as well as the other strategic markets of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Phoenix. In addition to leading Delta’s sales efforts, Ranjan also manages and coordinates relationships with Delta’s alliance partners in the West Region and Delta’s Marketing efforts in the West Region. Prior to joining Global Sales, Ranjan led Delta’s eCommerce efforts in third party merchandising, personalization, and content management as Director, eCommerce Commercial. Ranjan also led Delta’s product development team as Director – Customer Experience Planning & Development, where he was responsible for merger integration product alignment between Delta and Northwest and long-term customer experience strategy including the Sky Priority ground product for high value customers, Sky Club airport lounges, Delta’s flat bed business class seat product design in BusinessElite, inflight wi-fi and entertainment, and Sky Magazine. Ranjan has also worked in the airline’s Asia-Pacific Network, Domestic Network, and Alliances departments. Prior to Delta Ranjan worked as a management consultant at Katzenbach Partners LLC in New York City and attended Yale University where he earned a bachelors and masters degree in Political Science. Ranjan is a native of Hong Kong and lives in Los Angeles.
Adam Groffman, Publisher, Travels of Adam
Adam Groffman is a freelance writer and travel blogger based in Berlin, Germany where he covers city trips in Europe and around the world, expat life, LGBT issues, festivals and nightlife. His work has been featured in Vanity Fair, Condé Nast Traveler, DETAILS, USA Today Travel and numerous online publications. When he’s not out exploring the coolest bars and clubs, he’s usually enjoying the local arts, food and culture scene. His travel stories are available on his top-rated blog, Travels of Adam which includes a popular collection of city guides for millennial travelers (in both English and German).
Xiaofeng “Charlie” Gu, Director, China Luxury Advisors
Xiaofeng “Charlie” Gu is a communications strategist with professional experience in global PR firms, nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 companies. Fluent in Mandarin, English, (some French) and three other local Chinese dialects, he possesses a deep understanding of the Chinese culture, especially the diversity that is inherent within segments of the Chinese community. Charlie is a director at China Luxury Advisors, a global consulting boutique that advises luxury brands, retailers and travel destinations on attracting, engaging and retaining Chinese consumers. At CLA, Charlie is responsible for crafting and executing Chinese award-winning tourism marketing strategies for Beverly Center, a premier fashion destination in Los Angeles. He also leads travel trade partnership and Chinese media outreach for other CLA clients, including Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board and Malibu Family Wines. Recently, Charlie is working with China’s tech giant Alibaba on a special Valentine’s Day campaign to bring 10 Chinese LGBT couples to Los Angeles to get married. Before joining the CLA Team, Charlie worked at David Lang & Associates, a boutique public relations firm specializing in Asian community outreach and public affairs in Los Angeles, managing clients including Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority, LA Metro, Southern California Association of Governments and Hong Kong Tourism Board. Charlie has also worked for international PR firms including Weber Shandwick (in London) and Golin Harris (in Shanghai and Los Angeles), serving clients in a spectrum of industries from healthcare, government entities to food and international luxury brands. Charlie holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Public Relations from the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Southern California, and a B.A. in Journalism from Shanghai International Studies University. In his leisure time, Charlie likes to volunteer for LGBT non-profits. He has served leadership positions at organizations including Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Immigration Equality and USC Lambda LGBT Alumni Association.
Peter Jordan, Founder, Gen C Traveller
Peter Jordan is a consultant specialised in helping destinations and multinational corporations understand and capitalise on the emerging trends in global tourism that are led by Millennials – the young consumers who are turning global travel and tourism on its head. His career experience includes the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and the World Youth & Student Travel Confederation. He has authored a wide range of travel trends reports including the UN’s first ever report on LGBT travel which has gained global recognition for its pioneering content and educational value. In recent years he has emerged as one of the leading thinkers in the area of NextGen travel trends and is an accomplished speaker on Millennial travel at international events. In 2014 alone he was invited to speak it Sydney, Tokyo, Berlin and at the prestigious Global Tourism & Economic Forum in Macau. Originally from the UK, and a fluent speaker of French and Spanish, Peter is currently based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Zane Kerby, President & CEO, American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA)
ASTA President and Chief Executive Officer Zane Kerby heads the national trade association solely responsible for promoting and defending the travel agent profession. He is the chief steward and primary spokesman for ASTA, which represents members who are responsible for 80 percent of all travel sold in the U.S. through the travel agency distribution channel. Kerby joined ASTA in February 2013 after a successful career with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). He began his career at GBTA in 1999, and was promoted to Senior Vice President with responsibility for all aspects of GBTA’s annual global convention in 2009. Kerby earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Maryland, and a Bachelor of Arts from Brigham Young University. He currently resides in the Washington, D.C., area with his wife and five children.
Christy Mallory, Senior Counsel, The Williams Institute at UCLA
Christy Mallory oversees state law and policy work at the Williams Institute. In that capacity, she focuses on a variety of topics, including sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination protections, state-level recognition for same-sex couples, and other state and local level laws and policies impacting LGBT people. Her work has been published in several media outlets, journals, and books including When Mandates Work (UC Press, 2013), the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, the LGBTQ Policy Journal at the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Albany Government Law Review. Christy received her J.D. from UCLA School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Arizona.
Jack Markey, Division Chief, U.S. State Department
Jack Markey currently works in the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management within the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. His office publishes a wide array of safety and security information for the U.S. traveling public, including the State Department travel warnings, travel alerts, and country specific information, which contains reporting on LGBT issues and concerns in every country. It also provides policy and program guidance to ensure U.S. embassies offer the best possible assistance and services to U.S. citizens in need. Jack began his career with the State Department in 1975 at the Washington Passport Agency. In 1979, he was appointed a Foreign Service Reserve Officer, and has worked in a number of offices within the Bureau of Consular Affairs and at U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 1974 with a degree in government, and resides in Washington, D.C., with his fiancé.
Auston Matta, Editor & Co-Founder, Two Bad Tourists
Auston grew up in Phoenix before escaping to Chicago in 2008. After 4 years working as an engineer, he sold his belongings and embarked on a round-the-world trip. After traveling non-stop for a year, he finally settled in Spain with his husband where he now calls home. When he’s not traveling or writing guides about events, festivals or the best LGBT destinations, he enjoys the long sunny days and nightlife of Madrid.
Chris McGinnis, Founder, TravelSkills.com blog
Chris has been offering money-saving, comfort-enhancing travel tips and advice for over 20 years. Nearly 100,000 travelers read TravelSkills.com every month. Chris has been a travel correspondent for CNN, a travel columnist for BBC, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He’s also penned two books about travel. Based in San Francisco, he jumps on a plane traveling across the country or around the world at least 25 times a year– at the front end of the plane as often as he can!
Dan Melesurgo, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, ASAE
Dan Melesurgo is the Vice President, Strategic Partnerships for ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership. As part of the leadership team, he is responsible for the management and strategic direction of the Alliance Partnership Program. This program was created to provide the industry partner community with opportunities to align itself with ASAE through customized marketing platforms. These comprehensive bundled packages are designed to assist industry partners in building and maintaining year round relationships with our 20,000 plus members in 50 countries. He also works closely with the Global Development Team at ASAE as the organization seeks to be the leader in developing/tailoring and delivering products and services to different markets around the world. Prior to joining ASAE, Mr. Melesurgo was the founder and principal of Plural Solutions, which provided marketing solutions to destination marketing organizations and the association community. He has also held executive leadership positions with the Canadian Tourism Commission and the Puerto Rico Convention Bureau. Earlier in his career he was part of the opening team at the Hotel InterContinental Los Angeles and held senior positions with Sheraton and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Mr. Melesurgo currently sits on the board of directors for the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and is part of the executive committee currently serving as chair. As an active member of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), he has served in a variety of committee leadership and task force capacities.
Mark Murphy, Founder/CEO, TravAlliancemedia
Mark Murphy is a modern-day Renaissance man with a thriving drive for all things travel. From being a go-to media maverick and trusted travel expert to a best-selling author and skilled speaker, Murphy is recognized by his peers as an innovator at the forefront of online publishing, social media, advertising, and brand marketing. He is the founder and CEO of TravAlliancemedia, a cutting-edge travel trade media group that provides both agents and their customers unparalleled customer-driven solutions. TravAlliancemedia is also the publisher of two top industry publications, Agent@Home and Vacation Agent magazines as well as TravelPulse.com, the most visited travel trade website in the world. He provides professional commentary for both consumer and business travelers and is a frequent expert guest on major networks and news stations such as The Today Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, and The Travel Channel.
David Paisley, Senior Research Director, Community Marketing & Insights
David Paisley is the Senior Research Director with Community Marketing & Insights (CMI). He has been with CMI for over 20 years. David coordinates the company’s quantitative and qualitative client research projects and professional educational programs. With decades of experience, organizations utilize his expertise that comes from coordinating over a hundred LGBT-specific research initiatives and personally moderating CMI’s LGBT focus groups. His work represents a wide variety of corporate, nonprofit and government entities including Wells Fargo, Target Brands, Aetna, Northstar Memorial Group, Prudential Financial, NYC & Co., Chicago History Museum, WNBA, E&J Gallo Winery, Kaiser Family Foundation, American Cancer Society and the United States Census Bureau to name just a few.
Thomas Roth, President and Founder, Community Marketing & Insights
Thomas Roth, President and Founder, launched Community Marketing, Inc. in 1992, and has served as its President for over 20 years. Tom and his team have developed a spectrum of products and services to skillfully lead the company’s global clients to their goals. Tom is now primarily dedicating his industry-leading expertise to head up the Community Marketing & Insights division, which produces the annual LGBT Community Survey®, as well as custom consumer research studies for a variety of market leaders. Tom engages in strategic consulting to CMI’s diverse clients in tourism, hospitality, banking, retail, pharmaceutical, beverages, real estate, insurance, government, etc., and conducts educational seminars for corporations and organizations.
Matt Skallerud, President, Pink Banana Media
Matt Skallerud, president of Pink Banana Media, specializes in LGBT online marketing, targeting gays & lesbians via content marketing, social media, programmatic ad banners, mobile smartphone apps and more. He also specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), key word / search advertising (PPC) and social media analytics. He’s been in the LGBT online industry for over 20 years now. Matt Skallerud began his online career in May 1995 with the launch of GayWired.com, which became one of the top 3 LGBT websites worldwide. Having worked with companies, large and small, for more than 20 years to reach the LGBT online consumer through this site and others, he is now focused on the most cutting-edge global innovations in programmatic ad buying, social networking and Web 2.0 technologies. He empowers his clients to reach the LGBT market using the most advanced techniques taking hold in the online marketing world today, including Real-Time Ad Bidding (RTB), Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube, blogs and others. In addition, Skallerud is the former Board Chairman of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) and Travel Gay Canada (TGC). He is actively involved with key national LGBT organizations including the NGLCC and Lambda Legal, just to name a few.
Marquita Thomas, Executive Director, Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
Marquita Thomas has been with the LAGLCC for 6 years serving as the chamber’s board president before taking on the role of ED. Her company is Branding With Style where she implements branding and marketing strategies for non-profits as well as small business owners.
Daniela Wagner, Connecting Travel, Director, International Partnerships
Connecting Travel is a unique platform designed exclusively for the growing global travel and tourism community. It will bring the global industry together through a business network driven by the latest industry news and information sharing. In contrast to the generic nature of other professional networks, Connecting Travel is a bespoke solution designed specifically for our industry, and tailored to the unique way in which professionals engage with each other around the world.
Davey Wavey, YouTuber, Davey Wavey, Inc.
Davey Wavey is a YouTube personality and travel guru with more than 250 million video views in more than 160 countries around the world. Using his platform to spread a message of love, acceptance and the occasional penis joke, Davey has become one of the leading online voices for the LGBT community.