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Who we are

Meet the Team

Meet our global team

London, UK

Caroline Strachan

Caroline has worked in the travel and meetings industry for over 20 years. She has held roles as both buyer and supplier, so brings a unique perspective across the whole travel supply chain. Most recently she led the Global Consulting group at American Express, helping a broad customer base tackle complex travel programme/industry issues. Prior to co-founding Festive Road she led the AstraZeneca Global Travel Programme and was awarded the Best Travel Team category in the 2013 UK Business Travel Awards.

Her work leading travel programmes at Yahoo and Cisco is well documented and she has sat on the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Board of Directors, chaired GBTA in Europe and the Institute of Travel Managers (ITM) in the UK. Caroline has received a number of industry awards including the GBTA Luoma award in 2012 for services to the European travel and meetings industry and the Business Travel News Multinational Travel Manager of the Year award in 2013. Caroline is also the Co-Founder of LEVEL Women and Women At Work, 2 voluntary initiatives supporting women in the workplace. Caroline is often called “the most credible Business Travel expert” in the industry and was listed as an “industry influencer” in the Buying Business Travel 2016 Hotlist.

Caroline is based in Kent with her “techie” husband and twin daughters. Her home-baking obsession serves as a cover for her passion, intuition, meticulous planning and emotional intelligence in business.

Miami, US

Lora Ellis

Lora has worked in the business travel consulting sector for more than 20 years. Since joining FESTIVE ROAD, Lora’s consulting projects have focused on strategy, operating models, global TMC & micro-services sourcing, traveler/stakeholder engagement initiatives and travel program branding. Prior to joining FESTIVE ROAD, Lora was a Director at American Express GBT Consulting where she delivered amazing results for her clients through hundreds of consulting projects involving strategic sourcing, outsourced travel, total program management and demand management. One of Lora’s unique attributes is the ability to run complex projects where she can simplify and visualize the output for the client. Lora is known for getting to what matters most at speed, whilst bringing along a group of people with her.
Manchester, UK

Louise Kilgannon

Louise has worked in the travel industry for 15 years, predominantly on the buyer side. Her most recent role was Outsourcing Director for American Express Consulting, where she led multiple teams, managing global programmes for the likes of Microsoft, BASF, AstraZeneca and Philips.

Prior to this Louise was the Travel Buyer/Manager for corporates across a variety of industry sectors including Procter & Gamble, Infor and IBM. In each of these companies she was responsible for sourcing and managing TMC’s and other travel related services.

In addition to these roles, Louise has played an active role in the industry, sitting on the Board of the ITM and on various industry committees. She is a regular contributor to industry events both speaking and moderating sessions.

Sydney, AUS

Mike Orchard

Mike is in his 20th year working in the business travel industry. He has held senior supplier, buyer and consultant roles which give him a uniquely rounded view of the industry. Mike recently led the global travel program for international investment bank, Macquarie Group. He steered the travel category through a period of renewal, leading sourcing activity across every facet of the program, implementing travel technologies and consolidating to a single TMC.

Previously, Mike worked up through the ranks at HRG. He ultimately led their global travel consulting practice, HRG Consulting in London, before making the move to Australia. From Sydney, Mike ran CWT’s client consulting division for Asia Pacific - CWT Solutions Group for several years. As a consultant Mike has worked with many organisations as Shell, Microsoft, News Corp, AstraZeneca and Vodafone and UBS, as well as a large number of smaller ‘national’ companies.

Mike is an active member of GBTA and sits on the ACTE Australasia council.

As “poms" living in Australia, Mike and his wife love cricket and rugby, especially when the English have a victorious tour down under. Mike is studying for a Masters of Data Science and is also a drummer, aspiring woodworker and loves a glass of Aussie red.

New York, US

Meredith Smith

Meredith started her career in hotels in revenue management in Australia, went on to use this hotel knowledge with Expedia and then moved to Singapore to join Intel in a procurement role for Agency, Hotels and Immigration.

She joined MSD Singapore in 2008 where she implemented and managed the Asia Pacific and Japan Travel and Payment program. Whilst building a talented team accountable in the region for the ongoing operations, supplier management and stakeholder engagement of all aspects of T&E, she then set her sights on the controls and standardization of Meetings for the Region.

Whilst there she sat on the Board for ACTE, United Airlines and Marriott Hotels, was a frequent speaker and thought leader with deep subject matter expertise on the unique landscape of each of those 14 countries.

In 2014, she moved to the US Merck headquarters in NJ, as Global Head of Operations for Travel, Meetings, Payments and Creative Studios. Her primary responsibility was to implement a robust Strategic Meetings Management Program and continuing to challenge the status quo on aspects of the established Travel and Payments programs. She is used to managing large organizations of 100+ people and getting the best out of her people by always listening and making rapid decisions.

Meredith is passionate about ensuring knowledge is shared, has a very energetic open direct style and since joining FESTIVE ROAD has managed some of the most complex deliverables requested.

When Meredith is not working she enjoys embracing Vermont Mountain life with her husband, two boys and 3 x 4 legged children

Cleveland, US

Katie Virtue

Katie is Head of Sales and Marketing at FESTIVE ROAD, the only people first and purpose led company providing consulting and outsourcing services for global travel, meetings and expense programs. Our mission is to create better experiences for our clients, environments for our people, and thought leadership for our industry. Katie creates better as she leads the sales and marketing functions and supports the industry as a speaker and in a variety of volunteer roles. She is a GBTA Ladders mentor and Chair of the GBTA Technology Committee. She was named to the 2023 GBTA WINiT Top 50 in the category of Women Innovating the Way We Travel.
San Francisco, US

Barbara Arena

Barbara is a travel professional with over twenty-five years in the industry. She has a strong background in global procurement and supplier management, along with the passion and ability to build and sustain positive relationships with team members and business partners globally.

Most recently she comes from Oracle as Principal Category Manager, Global Travel Sourcing where she managed the global sourcing cycle, project management, identified strategies and global opportunities, delivered solutions to improve workflows and processes to drive automation. She led strategic supplier reviews, identified cost savings, collaborated with internal stakeholders to support their priorities, and aligned with Global Corporate Safety & Security Policies. She also spent another eight years as a Team Lead for the Oracle VIP Travel Desk while at Rosenbluth International.

Over the last 14 years, Barbara has held several roles for the Silicon Valley Business Travel Association, including Professional Development Director, VP, President, and Chairman.

Barbara is based outside the Silicon Valley in Northern California where she and her husband spend much of their free time with their two adult children and spouses, or with extended family and friends relaxing in the mountains.

Orlando, US

TRACI AULTMAN

Travel Category Analyst

Traci has worked in the travel industry for more than 20 years, holding positions on both the corporate and consulting side. Prior to joining Festive Road, Traci was Senior Manager of Global Travel at RELX. She has held previous positions at Accenture, CenturyLink and WorldCom in the areas of category management, procurement, operations, and meetings and events.

With a passion for improving the traveler experience and continuing to evolve a corporate travel program to be best in class, Traci has the keen ability to envision the big picture of how a corporation’s travel program could look, while also having the detail-oriented ability to dive into the project specifics.

Traci is based near Orlando, where she enjoys traveling, relaxing on the many Florida beaches, and spending time with family and friends.

London, UK

Asif Bashir

A passionate business travel professional with over a decade of experience in consulting and data analytics roles with various players of the industry. Asif has helped optimise some of the most complex travel programmes and advised some of the biggest global buyers of business travel, driving tens of millions of dollars in savings and value. He has supported prominent organisations across professional services, financial services, technology, and media (among other industry sectors) to optimise their travel spend. When he’s not crunching numbers he can be found out enjoying life with his friends and family in East London.
San Diego, US

Kristen Casillas

Kristen comes to Festive Road from the car rental industry, where she worked for Avis Budget Group for more than 18 years. Her most recent role as a Business Activation Specialist saw her collaborating with TMCs, Travel Managers, and Buyers to ensure their programs were set up for success. Before this, she supported a portfolio of many global accounts, including Amazon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and Microsoft. She was recognised for her exemplary contribution to client retention, customer experience, and team collaboration. She won Best In Class in 2016, the first time a non-sales team member was awarded this prestigious honour.

Kristen lives in Southern California’s wine country with her teenage daughter, a Frenchie named Radar, an orange tabby named Nani, and a bearded dragon named Mushu, who runs the zoo. She enjoys spending time with her daughters, travelling, reading, and (of course) sampling the local wines.

Manchester, UK

Abi Cummings

Abi has worked within the travel industry for the past 19 years where for much of that time she was part of AstraZeneca’s award-winning business travel team. More recently, Abi has worked at American Express GBT where she has held project management roles with clients including JTi, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson.

With a passion for customer satisfaction and a tenacious approach to all of her work, she has earned a reputation for integrating seamlessly into established teams and delivering success in the areas of travel technology, crisis management, traveller engagement, process improvement and optimisation.

Abi is based in Manchester where she lives with her partner, two young children and Juno the cat. Abi loves spending time outdoors with the family, dinning out with friends and at weekends can be found watching her other love in life - Football!

London, UK

Fenella Cusack

Fenella has worked in the finance industry for over 20 years. After graduating with a first class degree in chemistry, she qualified as an accountant with Deloitte in London, and is now a Fellow of the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

She has advised public and private companies on a variety of finance and legal issues throughout her career, including a number of large UK inbound and US outbound listed groups. Specialising in international taxes, Fenella’s work has encompassed the increasingly high profile areas of tax compliance, tax advisory and tax controversy.

Her most recent role was EMEA Tax Manager for Jones Lang Lasalle Inc, a role she excelled in, before taking a career ‘break’ to raise her two small children.

Based in Royal Tunbridge Wells, she is happiest enjoying long walks in the countryside with her family (despite the protestations from little legs!), but now marries this with her alter - ego as ‘Fenella Finance’ – another important asset in the FESTIVE ROAD family.

Gloucestershire, UK

Naomi Darch

Naomi brings her experience with content creation to the FESTIVE ROAD client solutions function along with her proactive approach to optimizing processes and her diligent project management. She loves identifying solutions to problems and curating the right content for the sales process. Her expertise lies in streamlining project workflows and nurturing strong client relationships, with experience managing several Enterprise support contracts, ensuring service delivery and client satisfaction.
London, UK

Sandra Deregoski

Before joining FESTIVE ROAD in October 2019, Sandra had been in the travel industry for over 20 years. Working at the HRS Group for over 10 years, Sandra managed global projects for well-known multinational organisations, having previously led teams as Director of Hotel Solutions.

She has an analytical and data lead approach to monitor performance and to recommend and help create the strategy to meet the client’s objectives and a proven track record of negotiating rates and closing complex contracts with global suppliers.

Keeping up-to-date on the latest disruptive technology in the travel space, Sandra has an extensive product and industry knowledge, and has helped global brands deliver complex projects in fast paced environments. She believes in creating strong business relationships based on open and honest communication, a high attention to detail and accuracy, and focusing on achieving objectives that meet the client’s needs.

Throughout her career, Sarah has held Global and European management positions in consulting, client management, product and project management, supporting a variety of prestigious clients with their extensive and often complex travel requirements. Her well proven history of problem solving, client management, programme re-design and implementations gives her a comprehensive and broad outlook enabling her to identify and evaluate new solutions and strategies to increase customer satisfaction, streamline processes and/or reduce costs.

Sarah has been recognised for her strong leadership skills and is known for being forthright, fair, open, enthusiastic and honest.

Based in Holmfirth, Yorkshire with her husband, Sarah enjoys travelling and fine dining, preferring to combine the two whenever possible!

New York, US

Nicole DiSarno

Nicole is a dynamic storyteller with a background steeped in communications, as well as relationship, project, and change management. She excels in crafting compelling narratives and executing strategic, engaging communication and marketing campaigns.

In her recent role at a unicorn fintech startup, Nicole established a communications department from the ground up and spearheaded the company's communications and public relations efforts. Prior, during her seven-year tenure at Goldman Sachs she expertly managed intricate workplace experience strategies, forging valuable partnerships across divisions and tailoring programming to meet specific business goals. Notably, she led communication campaigns for corporate real estate and business services projects spanning the Americas and Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), with New York and London as her operational hubs.

Nicole's journey is underscored by an unwavering commitment to excellence, adaptability in the face of change, and a fervent dedication to effective communication. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and History from The George Washington University.

Fueling her zest for life, Nicole is an avid globetrotter and enjoys exploring the great outdoors, fine food and wine, watching live music, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Birmingham, UK

SALLY HIGGS

Sally has worked in the travel industry for 22 years, starting off as a children’s holiday rep in Italy and Spain. After her summer seasons in Europe Sally spent 3 years working in a hotel whilst studying for her Tourism Business Management degree.

Sally’s career saw her working at Thomas Cook pricing holiday brochures in the yield department and then designing package trips at Thomas Cook Sport for the Football World Cup and Rugby Lions Tour in South Africa.

Sally stepped into business travel in 2010 when she joined GSM Partners working in supplier relations, based out of the Reed and Mackay office in London. Since then Sally held various roles in consultancy, account management and outsourced travel manager at Capita Travel and Events. Before moving to Festive Road, Sally was a global client general manager at AMEX GBT for nearly 6 years. During her time at GBT, Sally co-founded and ran the UK Sustainability team at GBT and worked on several sustainability initiatives, earning her the enviable name “Sustainable Sally” with her colleagues, clients and suppliers.

Sally lives in the Staffordshire countryside with her partner and her Staffy, Rolo. In her spare time Sally “attempts” CrossFit, goes hiking and enjoys being in the great outdoors. Sally is always trying to live a more sustainable life whilst balancing her love for travel.

Gurgaon, India

Preeti Iyer

Preeti has spent most part of her career in the consulting space in the corporate travel industry. Her focus being the Finance and accounting domain. She also has led projects and programs in the Meeting and Events space. These projects were related to Quality Audits, Business compliance, Business Transition and Change management. She has proven experience at balancing relationships with stakeholders to drive optimum performance delivery. Her biggest strengths are Data Analysis, reporting & solutioning, Identifying relevant transformation opportunities with consideration on the ‘human factor’, Project Management. She has worked with American Express Global Business Travel, Dell Inc and Tata Global Beverages. She post graduated in the UK specializing in Corporate Finance.
Washington, D.C., US

Frasier Johnson

Learning and Design Content Manager

Frasier has more than 10 years of training and development experience and is known as a highly creative professional who can always be trusted to come up with a new approach. Most recently she was with the U.S. Courts managing the development of training programs, educational manuals and other workshop material, and coaching groups online and face-to-face. She has consulted with many organizations, including the Defense Health Agency, General Services Administration, Department of Defense, Veteran Affairs, Homeland Security, a major banking institution, and a non-profit assisting young adults with learning life skills.

Frasier holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from Johnson C Smith University, a Master of Education in Educational Technology, and Master of Science in Human Development from Arizona State University. In addition, she is attending a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program at the University of Florida.

Based in Washington, DC, Frasier enjoys spending time with her husband and baby boy, trying all the new sushi spots and traveling anyplace the weather is warm and the water is blue.

London, UK

Anu Kuchibhotla

Anu has been working in Business Travel for over fifteen years. Initial working as a Travel Category Manager at Procurian, which was acquired by Accenture in 2013, she progressed into various roles: Hotel Programme Specialist at Cvent, Head of Sourcing - EMEA at HRS, and Director of Sales Strategy – RoomIt at CWT. Most recently, Anu was with Amex GBT Consulting, where she was the global lead for their Hotel Practice Line.

She focuses on complex global accommodation programmes in various industries, such as Financial Services, Technology, Telecommunications, Professional Services, Life Sciences, and Pharmaceuticals. She has enjoyed partnering with Technology, Innovation, and Development counterparts in her various roles to enhance product offerings and is looking forward to continuing this collaboration at Festive Road.

Anu lives in a Northwest suburb of London with her husband and daughter. A linguaphile at heart, she likes to travel, read, and cook in her spare time.

San Antonio, US

Michelle Lemire

Michelle Lemire is a collaborative insights and strategy leader with more than 20 years experience designing and executing end-to-end research initiatives, building insights frameworks, and translating complex data into actionable recommendations. She honed her insights skills across many industries, including Travel and Technology, specializing in innovation and white space research, product development, and customer experience. Known for being a forward thinker and challenging the status quo, she often finds opportunities not considered by others.

In her spare time Michelle enjoys organic pollinator gardening with her husband, as they look forward to the seasonal monarch migration each year. Every morning she plays the highly-anticipated shoelace game with her cats. And she’s usually reviewing the latest science news or reading/watching a new sci-fi series!

Dallas, US

Cat Maxwell

Cat is a creative analytic who enjoys applying people and data insights to drive strategy. For over 20 years she has worked in research and analytics to support and drive corporate initiatives in highly matrixed organizations. She brings and applies insights to support the C-suite strategy and the supporting employee tactics. Crossing departments, she applied her skills in IT, design, pricing, product and market development, logistics, strategy, and others. She has worked in multinational 100-plus-year-old organizations and small 100-people start-ups in manufactured goods, telecom, energy, retail, transportation, fintech, CPG, and food and beverage. Cat is the go-to person for brainstorming creative solutions for complex issues that impact different teams. She asks questions and points out the connections that get people thinking in new directions.

Beyond work, Cat is a maker. She loves learning and is currently learning to use her grandmother's 80-year-old Singer Sewing machine. She also gardens madly, refurnishes furniture, and explores the kitchen, always to various music. She takes breaks to pet her four cats and three dogs on a regular basis.

Boston, US

Sean Melchionno

Travel Category Analyst

Sean joins Festive Road with eight years of travel industry experience, having worn many hats along the way! From running travel operations for the New England Revolution, a Major League Soccer team, to building robust dashboards and company metrics for senior leadership at Atlas Travel & Technology Group, Sean’s travel IP is wide-ranging and comprehensive.

Sean’s biggest strength is data analytics and airline contract management – skills he refined while working as a Senior Analyst within FCm Travel Solution’s consulting division. With a knack for augmenting traditional methods and thinking, Sean ensured clients across industries received maximum savings while reducing traveler friction.

In addition, Sean has been coaching soccer as an assistant at Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology for the past seven years. A former student athlete himself, coaching has been a great opportunity to help other student-athletes navigate collegiate sports as they prepare for their professional careers. When not coaching, Sean can still be found on the fields competing at the highest level possible.

Sean lives in Greater Boston with his fiancée and two cats. When not on the soccer field or traveling himself, Sean is a secret nerd and avid gamer, playing challenging games with friends or solo.

New York, USA

Allison O'Sullivan

Allison brings diverse travel expertise to Festive Road. Having been too tall to become a flight attendant – back when that mattered! – she redirected her wanderlust instincts in a corporate direction.

Over the course of a 30-year career, she achieved an exceptional reputation with clients and suppliers alike, for her ultra-professional management of complex global initiatives – be it strategic sourcing, contract negotiation, incentive travel or category management consulting.

Her entrepreneurial background is equally impressive. Following a two-year stint in managing the women’s tour division of New Jersey’s largest tour agency at the time, she launched her own company, Away for Women, offering high-end experiential travel to the niche market of solo women travelers. Frequently she accompanied her small-sized tours, providing her group with her own well-traveled insights to the hidden charms of a destination.

In 2012, Allison was recruited by UBS to lead a newly created position in the Americas region. As the Director of Sourcing Travel and Events, she was responsible for sourcing 50% of the bank’s category spend. Quickly known for consistent delivery of best practices in procurement, while surpassing all goals for cost avoidance/reduction, she was chosen to singularly lead all global Travel RFPs. During her tenure in this role, she successfully led the sourcing and contract negotiation of every major initiative, covering every category of the bank’s third-party travel spend.

Prior to joining Festive Road, Allison was the Global Category Manager of Travel at Chain IQ, a leader in indirect procurement, with more than 60 international clients in over 49 countries.

When not working or speaking at industry events, Allison enjoys the culture of New York City. Having been a scuba diver in the past, she is now taking flying lessons and trying to learn how to dance Argentine Tango (flying is easier!).

London, UK

Carol Peter

Carol has over 26 years’ experience in the travel industry. She previously worked for American Express as a Travel & Expense Consulting Manager where she worked with clients to focus on ensuring delivery of project objectives. More recently she was the Travel Program Manager for American Express and was responsible for supporting the stakeholder lead in key sourcing activities, supplier management and assisting in the operational management of the EMEA & JAPA travel program.

During her career, she has worked on a variety of engagements including hotel & air sourcing, programme management optimisation, policy redesign and change management projects.

Based in central London, Carol enjoys travelling, playing badminton, and loves nothing more than spending quality time with her family.

Texas, US

Cori Prasifka

Cori brings more than 25 years of marketing and communications experience, with 8 of those years in the meetings and events industry. Most recently, Cori served as Marketing Director for a locally-based, mission-driven telecommunications company. Her professional experience spans client management, digital and print advertising, design, strategy, content development, web UX, internal and customer communications, and partner development. As the product of an Air Force family who moved frequently, Cori has enjoyed a 25-year home base in the Dallas, Texas area. She has 3 sons, Jake (22), Harrison (19) and Cash (10). In her free time, Cori enjoys reading, off-roading her Jeep, and serving as the team photographer for Cash’s travel baseball team.
Seattle, US

Haripriya Ramesh

Nabina is a customer-oriented technical professional with strong business acumen. She received her Master of Business Administration degree from University of Washington with double specialization in Product Marketing Management and Marketing Analytics.
Dallas, US

Ginger Rippley

Ginger has worked in corporate travel as both a supplier and buyer for 30+ years, 20+ years of her career have been in global program management. She has a proven track record of leading strategic global travel programs, integrations and sourcing.

Most recently, she led a large Travel Management Company implementation in 56 countries with several system integrations and interdependencies with a big bang five month go live time period.

As one client commented “In my career, I've worked with many project managers. I can unequivocally say Ginger is one of the best. She committed to the project and executed it beautifully… While Ginger was actively engaged in the present, she maintained an awareness of future requirements and next steps.”

A highly motivated, positive and goal-oriented professional, she is committed to performance excellence. She enjoys life on a small ranch outside of Dallas, Texas with her boyfriend, several rescue animals, spending time with family and friends and volunteering.

London, UK

Charlotte Rogerson

Charlotte is a natural born organiser who thrives on building relationships based on trust. Working in a variety of industries including law, insurance and financial services, her career as a Personal and Virtual Assistant has spanned over 24 years.

Charlotte has a wealth of experience in complex inbox and diary management, intricate travel itineraries, event management along with other day to day administrative tasks. Through her experience as a Virtual Assistant, she has supported with HR matters including contract management and implementing onboarding processes. She has also provided social media support and loves to go the extra mile for client by offering bespoke lifestyle support in the form of personal appointments, gift purchases and lifestyle management.

Charlotte is based in Essex and lives with her three children. She is a keen paddleboarder and loves being near the water. She is also studying in her spare time and is in the process of completing an Master's degree in Art Psychotherapy.

Atlanta, US

Kelly Schimke

Kelly Schimke brings over a decade of corporate travel expertise to FESTIVE ROAD, supported by a track record of success in designing and refining travel programs for her clients. Renowned for her steadfast commitment to improving customer experience and streamlining processes, Kelly is dedicated to advancing the travel industry.

Prior to joining FESTIVE ROAD, Kelly spent the past five years leading strategic initiatives, achieving organizational goals, and cultivating winning team dynamics. Her approach prioritizes people and aims to instill a culture of success. Her active engagement with industry organizations like GBTA Ladders and GBTA WINiT fuels her dedication to fostering collaboration and driving innovation within the travel community.

London, UK

Ami Taylor

Ami Taylor brings insights from 30 years of experience in the business travel industry. Her career journey spans multiple sectors and job functions, with a significant focus on SaaS-based businesses in recent years. Ami's deep understanding of the travel ecosystem and her strategic thinking have continually added value to her work and contributions.

As a consistent advocate for sustainability, Ami has been instrumental in driving green initiatives during her career, reflecting her commitment to fostering responsible practices within the sector. Ami has been quoted in various industry articles, sharing perspectives honed from decades in the field.

Ami has been invited to speak at a number of industry events, including the Concur Travel Industry Summit, Business Travel Show, and ITM Conference. Covering a wide range of topics, her presentations are known for their strategic insights and practical takeaways, sparking meaningful dialogue about the future of business travel.

Ami strikes a balance between her demanding professional life and personal interests. She cherishes time spent with her family and eagerly looks forward to moments she can nurture her passions for dancing and reading. Her personal commitment to sustainability is a perfect complement to her professional endeavours, demonstrating her holistic approach to life and work.

Driven by a steadfast commitment to the business travel industry, Ami remains devoted to sustainability and is eager to contribute to positive change in her field. She dedicates her unique combination of industry knowledge, strategic thinking, and personal integrity to evolving the landscape of business travel.

Eindhoven, Netherlands

Esther van der Aa

Esther is a results driven Global Travel Manager with over 20 years of experience in the dynamic travel industry, on the travel agency and buyer side. Her ability to forge meaningful connections and provide guidance as coach is underpinned by a steadfast commitment to professionalism, integrity, and ethical conduct.

Having previously served as the Global Travel Manager at Vanderlande, Esther currently channels her expertise into various travel-related projects.

Prior to this, she held a hybrid position at American Express Global Business Consulting, where her responsibilities were twofold. As the EMEA Travel Manager at Medtronic, she orchestrated travel management operations while simultaneously overseeing the sourcing of multiple hotel and ground projects. Her adeptness extended to policy redesign, optimisation initiatives, and change management projects, collaborating with clients such as Philips, ASML, and SKF.

She also served for 8 years at Carlson Wagonlit Travel in various roles and ended with the role of Manager Traveler and Transaction Services. Here, her focal point lay in catering to the needs of large corporate clients.

In addition to these roles, Esther is a regular contributor to industry events in panels and speaking.

Outside work, she enjoys motorcycling and kickboxing and occasionally indulges in wellness retreats to recharge her spirits.

Manchester, UK

Sarah Van Dyke

Sarah has worked in the travel industry for over 25 years. Most recently, as Global Client Manager for American Express GBT, Sarah was responsible for leading a global team to deliver a highly successful travel programme for one the world’s leading consulting firms. Prior to this, as European Account Manager at GBT, Sarah was part of Astra Zeneca’s award winning travel team.

Throughout her career, Sarah has held Global and European management positions in consulting, client management, product and project management, supporting a variety of prestigious clients with their extensive and often complex travel requirements. Her well proven history of problem solving, client management, programme re-design and implementations gives her a comprehensive and broad outlook enabling her to identify and evaluate new solutions and strategies to increase customer satisfaction, streamline processes and/or reduce costs.

Sarah has been recognised for her strong leadership skills and is known for being forthright, fair, open, enthusiastic and honest.

Based in Holmfirth, Yorkshire with her husband, Sarah enjoys travelling and fine dining, preferring to combine the two whenever possible!

Sarasota, US

Jackie Visnic

Hotel Category Analyst

Jackie brings more than 30 years of experience in the travel industry. Most recently, Jackie was at American Express Global Business Travel, where she served as a Senior Consulting Manager. In addition, Jackie held roles at Apple Vacations and Rosenbluth International. Her experience encompasses client management, consulting, product management, business development, procurement, contract negotiations, and project management for some of the biggest companies in the world.

Jackie is based in Florida, where it is blue skies and white puffy clouds most days. In her free time, she enjoys biking, morning walks, beach and sand therapy, baseball, getting together with friends and family, and of course searching for that next travel adventure.

Sydney, AUS

Jon Webster

Jon started his career in telecommunications, building pricing strategies across European markets, developing new products and driving internal process improvement projects. When Jon emigrated to Australia, he went on to use his pricing experience with American Express and subsequently set up the Commercial Payments Insights and Advisory business, leading teams across Asia Pacific and Europe, enabling organizations to optimize their payment processes, enhance efficiency and develop strategies to navigate the dynamic landscape of corporate payments. Guided by a relentless pursuit of excellence, Jon leverages his expertise and knowledge of corporate travel and payments, together with deep industry insights, to deliver strategic consultation and program benchmarks and assessments drawing on best practices that he has helped multiple programs implement.
Birmingham, UK

Michelle Wheatley

Michelle has worked in the meetings & events industry for almost 15 years, the majority of which were spent as a key member of the EY Travel, Meetings and Events team, delivering flagship global events, and managing ground breaking projects.

Michelle pivoted to BCD Meetings & Events in November 2019, where she led clients, and global meetings delivery team through the challenges of COVID, re-implementation and optimisation projects.
Most recently, Michelle turned her hand to freelance event delivery, where she learned a huge amount about how different agencies operate, the future and innovation of meetings and events, and the power of strategic thinking and teamwork.

Michelle's ultimate passion is getting the best from people, events and a process. She integrates into any team she works with and her performance across the elements of events gives her a 360 approach to her work, which has led to her wonderful reputation for delivering simultaneous customer satisfaction and team respect across meetings innovation, process optimisation and team performance.

Michelle lives in Lichfield with her husband, 9 year old daughter, 1 year old twins and Romanian rescue Amber the dog. She is obsessed with empowerment, and how unlocking our own power and self- belief contributes to success. She loves running and is running the Manchester marathon for the 3rd time in April 2024, and somehow squeezes more time out of the day to speak at industry events about unlocking empowerment.

Dallas, US

Amy Williams

Technical Program Manager @ Amazon

Amy has more than 20 years of experience in software architecture, development, training, and mentorship. She began her career in corporate travel technology 10 years ago at Concur where she was a Supervisor / Senior Technical Consultant responsible for Compleat implementations. She next worked with Atriis as a Customer Solutions Architect for GTP, and then continued as an independent consultant focused on mid-office and booking tool implementations for regional and multi-national TMCs. In all her roles, Amy specialized in the full software implementation lifecycle, from technical business analysis and solution design through configuration, testing, and delivery.

Amy is thrilled to be working alongside the brilliant Festive Road team (whom she's been fangirling for years). She feels fortunate to be in an innovative corporate travel technology space where relationships are valued and the "art of the possible" is the driving force.

Based in Dallas, Amy enjoys traveling with her family, finding hilly places to hike in flat north Texas, having her teenagers roll their eyes at her (she says she's a pro!), and tending her garden.

London, UK

Holly Windsor

Holly’s previous experience includes 7 years with HRG/AMEX GBT in Operational Analyst and Operational Support Consultant roles, and 2 years as a call handler for NHS 119 (the UK’s health service). Based in Kent, Holly has a 3.5 year old adopted Border Collie called Patch, and outside of work enjoys renovating property, travelling, and spending time with family and friends.
London, UK

James Windsor

James Windsor has more than 14 years of experience in all things data. His knowledge around data analytics enables him to transform complex data feeds from multiple sources into easy-to-understand stories that drive tangible strategies and results.

Most recently, he was a Business Intelligence Analyst at MWI Animal Health responsible for dashboard creation and KPI benchmarking. Prior to that he led a team of data analysts working on sourcing projects at HRG Consulting; and he has held data roles at American Express Global Business Travel and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

James is based in the UK and enjoys playing football, playing video games, travelling, and spending time with his family.

Seattle, US

Nabina Yea

Nabina is a customer-oriented technical professional with strong business acumen. She received her Master of Business Administration degree from University of Washington with double specialization in Product Marketing Management and Marketing Analytics.

Nabina has several years of experience working with some of the biggest tech companies in the world. In her most recent role, she was a Senior Product Analyst at Amazon where she managed all things related to data and metrics for the team and led process improvement programs. She has also worked at SAP Concur as a Support Engineer and with Microsoft as an MBA Consultant in Product Management and Business Strategy.

Nabina is based in Seattle and lives with her boyfriend, Golden Retriever dog, and Siamese cat. She loves animals, summers in Seattle, hanging out and travelling with friends, retail therapy, and watching Netflix.

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Ready to create better
travel & meetings management