about us

Founders and Team

Founders | Advertising, Sales, and Marketing | Editorial | Web Team | Operations


Greg Sullivan
CEO/Co-Founder, Editorial Director

Greg Sullivan is CEO and cofounder of AFAR Media. Greg launched AFAR in 2009 with cofounder Joe Diaz, and AFAR has already become one of the leading travel media companies in the world. Its flagship magazine has twice been named Best Travel Magazine in America. AFAR’s groundbreaking website provides distinctive travel guides for destinations around the globe and enables users to choose their favorite recommendations to build trip plans they can use on their mobile phones wherever they are. AFAR also works with top brands, hotel companies and destinations to provide content, inspiration, and advice to effectively connect with and serve discerning travelers.

AFAR also has a nonprofit foundation, Learning AFAR, which provides scholarships to lower-income high school students to go on life changing trips and a division, AFAR Experiences, that puts on travel events in conjunction with destination marketing programs around the world.

Greg started his career as a corporate securities attorney and later an investment banker before launching a series of successful entrepreneurial ventures, including the world’s largest selling coin-operated basketball game manufacturer and the second largest used car sales and finance company in the USA.

Recent Highlight: Andy Goldsworthy’s Wood Line
Next Trip: Punta Mita or Puerto Vallarta
Best Local Discovery: Gigi’s Oysteria on Green Street

Joe_DiazJoseph Diaz
Co-Founder, Chief Product Officer

Joe Diaz is Chief Product Officer and cofounder of AFAR Media. Joe launched AFAR in 2009 with cofounder Greg Sullivan, and AFAR has already become one of the world’s leading travel media companies. Its flagship magazine has twice been named “America’s Best Travel Magazine.” AFAR’s digital platform is designed to provide experience seekers with rich destination that turn their mobile phones into the next generation of travel guide and trip planner. The company also has a nonprofit foundation, Learning AFAR, that provides scholarships to lower-income high school students to go on life changing trips and a division, AFAR Experiences that puts on travel events in conjunction with destination marketing programs around the world.   Finally, AFAR works with top brands, hotel companies and destinations to provide content, inspiration and advice to effectively connect with and serve discerning travelers.

Joe was born and raised in Palm Springs, CA and grew up in a bi-cultural family with his father from Spain and mother from San Francisco. He graduated from Duke University and started his career with Teach For America where he taught 5th, 7th, and 8th grade in Phoenix, Arizona. Joe went on to found a successful real estate investment company, which he sold in 2006 before embarking on living life AFAR. He passionately believes that experiential travel is the best form of education and the more people who travel in a curious and open-minded way, the better our world will be. Joe resides between New York City and San Francisco.

Recent Highlight: Bar Agricole—Pancakes, Micheladas and More
Next Trip: Aspen, CO
Best Local Discovery: Strand Bookstore

Advertising, Sales & Marketing

Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio
Chief Revenue Officer

Prior to joining AFAR, Ellen served as Vice President and General Manager of Weekend Edition & Luxury Group at The Wall Street Journal, where she oversaw sales and developed strategies to drive revenue in the luxury categories through all properties and strategic partnerships. Ellen originally joined The Journal to launch its successful lifestyle magazine WSJ.

Previously, she spent 17 years at American Express Publishing, the last seven of which as Senior Vice President and Publisher at Travel + Leisure. During her tenure at Travel + Leisure, the magazine experienced a 55% growth in ad pages and revenue and successfully lead the category. The Travel + Leisure brand extended to six countries, TV, the Web and ancillary products. Travel + Leisure received frequent accolades as the world’s leading travel magazine. Ellen collaborated in the development of key platforms that continue to drive revenue and differentiate the brand. Some include, World’s Best Awards, Design Awards, Marketwatch conferences and strategic alliances. Ellen has sat on the boards of: NYC & Co., Taj Hotels, Starwood Hotels, Kiwi, The Caribbean Tourism Organization, and the Audrey Palmer Hawks Scholarship Fund. She graduated from Baruch College and received an AAS in advertising from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Recent Highlight: Amazing Singita – Tanzania Experience
Next Trip: Cartagena, Columbia to dance in the streets with locals
Best Local Discovery: The downstairs after-hours at Il Bagatto in the East Village

Bryan Kinkade

VP, Publisher 

With over 10 years experience creating digital and print advertising solutions, Bryan brings a wealth of knowledge about the media landscape and client-driven marketing solutions to the team. Prior to joining AFAR, Bryan was an advertising director at National Geographic Adventure, senior sales director at the New Yorker, and most recently served as the Associate Publisher at Outside Magazine.

Recent Highlight: Maan, Jordan
Next Trip: Lucerne, Switzerland
Best Local Discovery: The Gowanus Yacht Club

Maggie Gould HeadshotMaggie Gould
VP, Marketing

Maggie has worked in the publishing industry for 10 years with a focus on growing digital and mobile revenue for traditional media brands. Prior to joining AFAR, she served as Vice President of Client Solutions for USA TODAY and USA WEEKEND, where she oversaw the ad sales marketing strategy for the national sales team. As an enthusiastic traveler and magazine junkie, landing a role at AFAR has been an exciting and welcome adventure for Maggie.

Most Recent Highlight: Feast of St. Anthony
Next Trip: Basque Country, Spain
Best Local Discovery: Casa Adela on Avenue C

Elizabeth Allerton
Executive Director, International Sales


Terry Deegan
Executive Director, International Sales

Barry Brown
Executive Sales Director

Barry Brown joined AFAR in 2010. He has been serving the travel industry for over 20 years, starting at DDB Needham Advertising in the late 1980’s. Barry counts among his greatest professional accomplishments the conception and development of the Bermuda Music Festival, now one of Bermuda’s largest consumer events. He was at Amex Publishing for 10 years, where in addition to Travel + Leisure he took on roles with Travel + Leisure Family as Advertising Director and Director of Strategic Partnerships for Corporate Sales, managing corporate and global programs for Australia Tourism, Canada and others. He serves the industry tirelessly the as a longtime member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Board of Directors, CTO Allied Committee Chairman, Audrey Palmer Hawkes Foundation Board, and CTO Foundation Board, Association of Travel Marketing Executives Board of Directors in addition to other travel associations.

Recent Highlight: Sunset at Halong
Next Trip: New Orleans Jazzfest
Best Local Discovery: The Fort Greene (Brooklyn) Flea Market

Onnalee MacDonald
West Coast Sales Director

Prior to running West Coast Sales for AFAR magazine and AFAR.com, Onnalee served as the West Coast Sales Director for billboard.com, focused on integrated sales, events, and digital. Prior to this she handled digital media sales for Hearst, Warner Bros and Sugar inc., selling to brands across all categories. Onnalee began her career in print sales, and helped launch several titles, most notably, Time inc., Teen People Magazine, consequently running the west coast office for eight years. Always seeking out her next adventure, she now gets to combine her skill set with her personal passion for travel.

Recent Highlight: Adventure in the Andes
Next Trip: Croatia and Greece
Best Local Discovery: Surfing or stand-up paddling the waves of Manhattan Beach


Veronica Baesso
Travel Manager

Veronica hails from the picturesque town of Verona, Italy and considers herself a true global citizen, having lived and worked in several major cities including Milan, London, Berlin, and most recently New York. Prior to joining AFAR as Travel Manager, Veronica was Marketing Manager for the hospitality brand Il Mulino New York and Founder of her own travel and lifestyle digital platform Ronnie Spirit, dedicated to the solo female traveler. She completed her studies in Economics at the University of Verona and received her Master’s in International Marketing at the prestigious European School of Economics in London and her experience spans across media, lifestyle and luxury. Veronica has a serious case of wanderlust and is always ready to travel deeper.

Next Trip: Thailand or Cambodia
Best Local Discovery: The Mobile Vintage Shop – 28 Scott in Bushwick


Colleen Schoch Morell
Sales Manager, Southeast


Cathryn Mahoney
Sales Planner

Cathryn comes to AFAR after spending some time working at Condé Nast’s Food Innovation Group and DuJour Magazine. After graduating from Le Moyne College in 2015, she made her way back home to Connecticut with dreams of working in media in NYC. Cathryn’s love of traveling began at a young age where she attempted to convince her parents to agree to one of her many elaborate vacation plans. It wasn’t until 2013 that she was able to FINALLY make it out of the states and over to Italy with her Grammy to kickstart a permanent case of wanderlust. In her spare time, Cathryn enjoys laughing, cracking open a cold one with the boys and cruisin’ around the LES.


LouLouis LaGrange
Content Partnerships Director

Lou joins AFAR from Lonely Planet where he spent 7 years in global marketing and sales, with a focus on developing custom programs for client partners. A true experiential traveler, Lou has been to over 120 countries and all 50 states.

Most Recent Highlight: Great Food, Architecture, and Food!
Next Trip: Zanzibar
Best Local Discovery: Preston Family Vineyards

KateAppleton_1 copyKate Appleton
Branded Content Director

Kate comes to AFAR with more than a decade of experience in creating engaging lifestyle content. She worked previously as a digital editor and writer for LearnVest, Travel+Leisure, Budget Travel, and New York. Along the way, she’s overseen award-winning features and brand platforms, moonlighted as a restaurant critic, and put her Italian to good use – reporting on agriturismi in Piedmont, how to order coffee like a Roman, and where to shop in Florence. (Apart from Italian, Kate has studied four languages of varying utility, most recently muddling through basic Mandarin with her husband.) Some of her favorite and earliest travel memories involve escaping sweltering New York summers for the Pacific Northwest.

Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next Trip: Barcelona and San Sebastián, Spain
Best Local Discovery: Razza pizzeria in Jersey City

Charles Moran
Digial Ad Operations Manager


Taylor Schuurmans
Campaign Manager

Taylor comes to AFAR with almost five years of digital experience and a background in ad operations and market research. After receiving a B.A. in English from University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA (where he learned to write some pretty great emails!), he interned at Nickelodeon, fulfilling a childhood dream. He went on to work at DoubleVerify, About.com, and Operative. Since he was 2 years old, he spent most summers at Lake George in Hague and Silver Bay, NY, and still tries to make it up at least once every season to see family and friends.

Most Recent Highlight: Laid-back Ocean Beach
Next Trip: Tibet, Germany, Hawaii, or Cuba
Best Local Discovery: He’s not telling!

Katie_Image copyKatie Galeotti
Marketing & Special Projects Director

A New York City native, Katie got her start in publishing when she interned at Esquire Magazine while attending school full-time at Fordham University. She went on to work at some of the world’s top media brands, including Cosmopolitan, Allure, REAL SIMPLE, and, most recently, VOGUE – where she won Marketer of the Year in 2013. Katie’s love of travel and languages began at a very early age, when her father – who was born and raised in Italy – took her back to Tuscany each summer to spend time with family and immerse herself in the culture. Insanely obsessed with food, fitness, and all things beauty, Katie also contributes to health & wellness site, project: CLEAN FOOD.

Most Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next Trip: The Beautiful Beaches of Belize
Best Local Discovery: Incredibly authentic pizza at San Matteo on the Upper East Side

Maggee Dorsey
Events Director

Maggee is a creatively scrappy, entrepreneurially spirited, human-loving events nerd who has spent the past few years traveling the globe bringing a digitally native brand to life with events. Maggee joins AFAR with nearly seven years of event experience spanning the financial, tech, and media industries. Prior to joining AFAR, she led events at Quartz, producing events on four continents including Quartz’s The Next Billion. She’s thrilled to join AFAR, which naturally blends her passion for news, adventuring, eating, and meeting new people. When she’s not on a plane or in the office, you can find Maggee dreaming of her future puppy, getting overly competitive at board games, figuring out shoe storage in her apartment, or in Virginia with her family.

Most Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next Trip: Cuba (hopefully)
Best Local Discovery: Little Neck in Gowanus, Brooklyn

Chris Udemezue
Senior Graphic Designer

Chris graduated from Parsons School of Design with a BFA in Fine Arts and Graphic Design. In recent years, Chris has worked with the likes of Jack Spade, Gourmet Magazine, and Ogilvy & Mather. With a varied interest in travel, food, fashion, and design, Chris is excited to bring his experience to AFAR.

Recent Highlight: Amazing French Food in … Bushwick!
Next Trip: UK, Sweden, Berlin and (fingers crossed…) Cape Town
Best Local Discovery: Mominette

1dacb31Maci Wachtel
Integrated Marketing Manager

Maci joined the AFAR team in Spring of 2015 with previous experience in Creative Services and Marketing at TUMI Inc. Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Maci received her Humanities degree from the University of Louisville while actively competing on their Division I Volleyball team (Go Cards!). An insatiable curiosity paired with a spontaneity to try new things, led to her new home at AFAR – which quickly became evident as a perfect fit, both professionally and personally. Although new to the Travel Publishing world, she remains inspired by her perpetual wanderlust promoted by her role with such a world-widening company. With emerging adventures on the horizon, Maci is anxious to share unique stories of her own.

Next Trip: Cape Town, South Africa
Best Local Discovery: A Magic from Bluestone Lane

Irene Wang
Integrated Marketing Manager


Andrea Pardo
Associate Integrated Marketing Manager

Andrea’s passion for media started when she interned at W Magazine while attending Parsons the New School for Design during her undergrad. In recent years she has worked at NBCUniversal and most recently Condé Nast before starting at AFAR. When she is not found instagramming pictures of food you will find her planning her next travel adventure. Her passion for travel started at a young age, as her Colombian parents encouraged her to travel and see the world – since then there has been no turning back. She has traveled across every continent except for Antartica (it’ll happen soon!). Though native to Long Island, Andrea has spent time living, working and studying from Bogota to Paris and Shanghai.

Next Trip: Croatia & Cuba
Best Local Discovery: Saigon Shack, NYC & Diane’s Bakery, Roslyn, NY


Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 4.20.10 PMLucy Flanagan
Marketing Coordinator

New to the world of media, Lucy joins AFAR with a background in Marketing and Social Media Campaigning for International Relief Funds. Her past experience includes internships with Save the Children, ONE, and The Brave Collection- a New York based, fair-trade fashion brand that supports Cambodian artisans to combat human trafficking. Lucy studied International Affairs and Oil Painting at Skidmore College, with a focus on International Law and Scandinavian Prostitution, much to her parents’ embarrassment at cocktail parties. Determined to live life AFAR, she is lucky to have already called Rome, London, and Copenhagen home. When she’s not in the office she’s painting and planning her next trip. 

Recent Highlight: Railway through Norway
Next Trip: Roadtrip from Vancouver to Portland
Best Local Discovery: The “pop-up restaurant” at BoxKite in the East Village.

Emily Zerella
Sales Coordinator



Julia Cosgrove
VP, Editor in Chief

Julia joined AFAR as executive editor in 2008, and was promoted to editor in chief in 2011. She last served as deputy editor of the DIY design magazine ReadyMade. During her tenure, the magazine was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in general excellence. Before making stuff at ReadyMade, Julia was part of the original launch team behind Time Out New York Kids, a spinoff of Time Out New York. She started her career as a writer at Business Week and the New York Daily News. Her obsessions include the writer Joan Didion, palm trees, and Paris in the 1950s.
Recent Highlight: Totems in Stanley Park
Next Trip: Sweden and Russia
Best Local Discovery:  The Best Hometown Pizza in Oakland


Jeremy Saum
Executive Editor

After working for four years in custom publishing, Jeremy took off with his wife to travel the world for a year and a half. Having slept in the shadow of Mt. Everest, slid down a Chilean volcano on their rear ends, and innertubed with glowworms in New Zealand, they returned to San Francisco. There, Jeremy worked as the managing editor of Diablo magazine and then as the associate managing editor of Via, a regional travel publication published by AAA.

Recent Highlight: Hawaiian Music
Next Trip: Canadian Rockies
Best Local Discovery: The Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda

Arabella Bowen
Digital Executive Editor

Arabella brings over 15 years of consumer-facing travel media experience to AFAR. She was most recently Editor in Chief at Fodor’s Travel, where she led editorial strategy across the publisher’s website, books, apps, and social. Previously, she served as Editorial VP of ShermansTravel Media, where she introduced guides, news, and trends to the site. Her first foray into digital was at IgoUgo.com, one of the web’s first online travel communities, and she started her travel career by writing guidebooks for Rough Guides. Before moving to New York from her native Canada, Arabella covered arts, style, news, books, and culture for national newspapers and was a city columnist for the Montreal Gazette. A passionate traveler herself, Arabella’s been to 85+ countries to date and is always planning her next adventure. In the last year alone, she Airbnb hopped in her beloved Paris, road-tripped with her mother along the Cabot Trail, learned to surf in Nicaragua, and volunteered in Haiti.

Recent highlight: Friday-night jazz on the steps of Malta’s Bridge Bar.
Next Trip: Washington, D.C.; Toronto; San Francisco; Lake Tahoe; Tulum…
Local Discovery: The exquisite portraits in New York’s Frick Collection.

Tara Guertin
Director of Photography

Tara has been working as a photo editor since 1998 when she began her career at BlackBook Magazine in NYC. She has been involved with several national publications, among them Talk, Seventeen, InStyle, and Lucky. Going from the fashion world in New York to the world outside my door here in California has been an amazing transition. I am equally passionate about both and feel lucky that each magazine I’ve been apart of has reflected that.

Recent Highlight: Worth the Drive North
Next Trip: Tanzania.
Best Local Discovery: The thousands of miles of trails crisscrossing California’s state and national parks. Anderson valleys Vineyards.

JF_PicJennifer Flowers
Deputy Editor

Prior to joining AFAR, Jennifer spent eight years at Travel+Leisure magazine, most recently as hotels & food editor, concurrently serving as travel correspondent at Food & Wine. A self-described hotel brat, she grew up as an hotelier’s daughter in Asia and the U.S., and even got to be real-life Eloise when she lived in New York City’s Plaza Hotel. Things she loves: foreign supermarkets and room upgrades. Things she detests: impersonal service and hotel bedspreads. Jennifer is based in Manhattan. Find her on Instagram at @jenniferleeflowers and on Twitter at @jennflowers.

Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next Trip: Coming soon!
Best Local Discovery: For some of the best Sichuan food in New York City, take the 7 subway line into Flushing, Queens, and visit Spicy & Tasty.

Ann Shields
Digital Managing Editor

In these quiet days leading up to her Powerball win, Ann lives in New York with her husband and two teenaged children. She likes road trips, local bars, getting lost, and laughing, so Ireland ranks high on her list of favorite places. Ann is a fan of literature, museums, history, high-minded cinema, and bad television.

Recent Highlight: A Day in Denali
Next Trip: College tours with my kid.
Best Local Discovery: Porsena (especially the Sunday night movie series. Or the Tuesday regional prix fixe dinners. Or the nightly risotto specials)

Natalie Beauregard
Editor, Travel Guides

Natalie comes to AFAR after time as an editorial assistant at ARTnews, a senior editor at Gilt City and a food and travel writer at her apartment. In addition to an obsession with trying every new restaurant in New York, she suffers from a constant case of wanderlust. She also believes she should’ve been born in Italy, wishes she lived through the 1960’s and wants to be a professional ballerina when she grows up. The Met is her happy place but she’d trade it for the ski slopes any day.

Next Trip: Peru, Croatia or Vietnam
Best Local Discovery: North Brooklyn Farms (it has some of the best skyline views that nobody knows about)

Lyn Horst
Photo Editor

Lyn began her love of travel photography at age ten, on the day her mom gave her a Kodak instamatic camera (which she still has) just before the family trip to Yellowstone. The photo albums have grown in size ever since, from Yellowstone to Galapagos, to the remote wilderness of Utah. She has been lucky enough to have combined her joy of photography to her career for over the past ten years.

Next Trip: Bay of Fundy, or Iceland
Best Local Discovery: The Roundhouse, Beacon NY

Jason Seldon
Art Director

A New Jersey native, Jason worked at Out magazine and Good Housekeeping magazine in New York City before moving to San Francisco to join the AFAR team. Diving into editorial design right out of college, he has assisted on a number of magazine redesigns, and has won Merit Awards from the Society of Publication Designers. Jason has also created illustrations for Money, Manhattan magazine, and Out magazine in his spare time.
Next Trip: Peru, or Greece
Best Local Discovery:  Domo Sushi in Hayes Valley

Emily Blevins
Junior Designer


Rachel McCord
Assistant Photo Editor

Ever since Rachel and her dad built a darkroom in their garage in high school, she was hooked and hell-bent on making a career out of the passion she’d found. After growing up barefoot and always outdoors in gorgeous southern Oregon, and earning her BFA from Biola University in California, she moved to a new city every few years, went on cross-country road trips and studied art in Italy. With a background in fine art photography and small business management, Rachel freelanced her way through Los Angeles, Portland and San Francisco as a photographer + editor while aiming to jumpstart her print editorial career. She now finds herself over the moon at AFAR – powered by espresso, puns & the desire to see the world more clearly. You can often find Rachel collaborating on films or projects with fellow artists, shooting with medium format cameras as often as she can, or getting outta town to spend time with friends, family & her growing tussle of nieces and nephews.

Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next Trip: London or Belize
Best Local Discovery: The Napoleon at Mara’s Italian Pastry in North Beach


3576_10203301662924010_1630268876_nAislyn Greene
Senior Editor

After a few years spent tracking the dizzying rise of technology for a Seattle tech and business journal, Aislyn headed south (as in California) to return to her first love: travel and magazines. She spent two years digging into all things Washington and Oregon as the NW travel editor for Sunset magazine, before hopping to AFAR.

Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next Trip: Kauai, Vancouver B.C., Tokyo
Best Local Discovery: Post-cycling beers at the Presidio Yacht Club


danielle-headshotDanielle Walsh
Senior Editor 

Danielle joined the AFAR team in October 2014, a newbie to the travel journalism space. It’s no surprise that when she does jet off an adventure, though, her focus is on food. Formerly the associate Web editor at Bon Appétit, she’s written and edited a wide variety of online stories and gained quite the understanding of social media. She has an embarrassing obsession with Instagram, but still makes friends and family wait before digging into their dinners to snap the perfect photo (trust her, all the likes are worth the eye rolls).

Recent Highlight: It’s a Bookstore! It’s a Bar!
Next Trip: Dubrovnik, Croatia or Santiago, Chile
Best Local Discovery: The NYC wine bar, Terroir, serves $2.50 glasses of Sherry during happy hour

white shirtNicole Antonio
Associate Managing Editor

Before joining AFAR, Nicole worked on geology books as a project manager and wore multiple hats at Counterpoint Press, working on everything from inventory to acquisitions. There, some of her favorite projects included a two-pronged travelogue about Tibet, the memoir of a young woman making a living as an art installation in Los Angeles, and a political thriller based in Shanghai. When she’s not nerding out in Excel or planning a whirlwind getaway, Nicole can be caught writing Attenborough-inspired captions for Instagram photos of her absurdly fluffy cat.

Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next Trip: Portland, Oregon
Best Local Discovery: Tanpopo in San Francisco’s Japantown

1545721_10102731724713583_368896296_nMaggie Fuller
Assistant Editor

Maggie has always had a habit of traveling, a knack for getting side-tracked, and an inability to keep her stories to herself. After 10 years of exploring from the mountains of Nepal to the waters of the Caribbean, a few attempts at travel blogging, and experience in freelance social media consulting for small Bay Area companies, she joined AFAR in September 2015 as a digital intern. Now, she could not be more thrilled to continue with this community as an editorial assistant. Her favorite travel moments usually involve finding out what’s around that corner, climbing on rocks, and anywhere with a beach and a book.

Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next Trip: Turkey
Best Local Discovery: China Beach on a sunny weekday or the San Gregorio General Store for live music on a weekend.

Sara Button
Editorial Assistant

Born and raised in the dry heat of the Sonoran Desert, Sara spent a previous life teaching middle school Latin and excavating ancient Italian artifacts before embarking on a year of solo travel. She made hostel beds in Ireland, attempted to eat every dessert in Istanbul, and hiked volcanoes in Costa Rica, writing along the way for Go! Girl Guides. By the time she’d earned her MFA from the University of Pittsburgh, her work had appeared in BBC Travel, Travel + Leisure, and Pittsburgh Magazine, among others. These days Sara is celebrating her new digs at AFAR. She’s always on the hunt for excellent ghost tours, funky museums, and every manner of food.

Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next trip: Iceland or Thailand
Best Local Discovery: Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia


Web Team

Derek Butcher
Chief Technology Officer, VP Digital

Derek Butcher has over 12 years of experience in media and technology with companies such as The Industry Standard, IDG, Disney Internet Group, and Infoseek. As Vice President and General Manager of The Industry Standard, he relaunched the internet brand as a new form of online media property. Prior to that, Butcher served as Vice President and CTO of InfoWorld Media Group, where he spearheaded technology initiatives including web publishing systems, content redistribution and syndication, and web serving capacity. Derek also served as Senior Engineering Manager at Disney Internet Group, where he was responsible for the development of the Infoseek search engine portal, as well as assisting with the integration of espn.com and abcnews.com.

Recent Highlight: A Patagonian day hike
Next Trip: Vienna
Best Local Discovery: 850 Montgomery Cigar Bar

DSCF6171 - Version 2Yue Weng Mak
Rails Developer

Yue Weng joined the AFAR team in October 2014 with a passion to develop the best product for AFAR’s online properties. Yue Weng started his career after graduating from Madison, WI, focusing on bringing web designs to life through the use of front-end technologies. He eventually grew his skill set to help with the development efforts at the back-end through the use of Ruby to help support his front-end work. Prior to AFAR, Yue Weng worked for a Bay Area company that aims to revolutionize the fashion scene. In his free time, he loves to sip a Blue Bottle coffee while strolling along San Francisco’s Embarcadero walk way.

Recent Highlight: Takara Sushi
Next Trip: Liverpool, UK to watch a Liverpool Football match
Best Local Discovery: Sa Jai Thai

Sean Nakamura
Digital Audience Development Director

Sean has over 10 years of digital audience development experience, working most recently with some of the largest tech media brands in the industry: TechCrunch and Engadget, respectively. Sean has always had a strong interest in experiential travel, having lived, studied, or worked in Italy, Germany, and Brazil. Besides travel, interests include hiking in the Berkeley hills, restoring 1950’s coke machines, and enjoying Negronis.

Recent Highlight: Lobster Roll in San Francisco
Next Trip: Maui
Best Local Discovery: Sutter Station

samanthajudaSamantha Juda
Audience Development Manager

After fully immersing herself at AFAR as the Community Intern, Samantha is excited to continue working with the digital and print teams as the Audience Marketing Specialist. With a background in journalism, marketing, graphic design, photography, newsstand app development, and of course a love for travel, AFAR is a perfect spot for Samantha. She has traveled a bit of the world, having lived in the Galapagos, and roamed through parts of the US, Israel, and Europe, but she certainly hasn’t seen enough yet. In her spare time, she enjoys walking through the neighborhoods of San Francisco, hiking, making music, and training for triathlons.

Recent Highlight: Best Sandwich in Town
Next Trip: Brazil!
Best Local Discovery: Seward Street Slides, San Francisco

cwallace_greyscale_adjustedCricket Wallace
Software Engineer

With over 15 years experience in the technical field Cricket has devoted most of his professional and personal life to helping people solve the problem at hand with technology solutions. He started his career freelancing as a web designer/developer and online marketer. He later went on to oversee the technology infrastructure as IT Director for the Jane Goodall Institute. Cricket comes to AFAR with a passion to create and inspire via human-centric technology and storytelling.

Recent Highlight: Coming soon!
Next Trip: Turkey and other points in the historic Ottoman Empire
Best Local Discovery: Ohgane Korean BBQ in Oakland, CA

Maria Stegner
Senior UX Designer

Maria hails from the sunny shores of coastal Greece, where she spent her early childhood enjoying the great outdoors with her family before moving to New York. A literal tree hugger, Maria got her Master’s degree in environmental engineering so that she would someday be able to design systems that protect the environment from human activity. After a brief stint as an engineer, she returned to school to study art with a focus on sculpture (mostly welding and metal casting), and later graphic design at SVA. She began her career as a designer working for media companies like Time Out New York, Travel + Leisure, Time Inc., and Meredith Corp. At AFAR, Maria’s goal is to leverage her love for travel and exploration, along with her expertise in visual and UX design, to create delightful, user-centric digital experiences and products. After hours, Maria participates in UX hackathons that benefit non-profits or civic organizations; attends design and front-end web development meetups to keep up with what’a happening in the tech scene; teaches front-end web development at General Assembly; and hacks together side projects with fellow designers and developers. When not working or teaching, Maria is happiest when she is outside being active: running and biking around New York, skiing in Vermont, kayaking in Lake George, or surfing in Rockaway Beach.

Next Trip: Minneapolis/Outer Banks (for some surfing action)/Santa Cruz (more surfing)
Best Local Discovery: Amdo Kitchen, a Himalayan momo food truck in Jackson Heights

22e11a9Jonathan Chu
IT Manager

Before coming to the U.S., Jonathan had years of experience in computer sales and customer support in Taiwan. Later on, he worked for Ogilvy and Mather and Giant Creative Strategy in San Francisco as their IT support point of contact. By day he does IT stuff. By night, as an avid toy collector with an art background, he has been working with fellow collectors, artists and toy companies, like Sideshow Collectibles, on subjects (Terminator, Alien, Predator, etc.) that he is familiar with to come up with ideas for collectibles. It is a great balancer for Jonathan. Oh, and he is one of those who gets in line to see the first screening of films like Star Wars!


bio.lauraLaura Simkins

A media veteran of over 17 years, Laura’s had involvement in finance, digital and events strategy, audience development and research. She has a soft spot for launches and was part of the original team not only for Afar, but also Dwell and 8020 Media. She’s also learned some valuable lessons from tenures with more established players such as Health and Mother Jones. Mostly, she just loves a good challenge and enjoys collaborating with teams with diverse talents.

Matthew Fenster
Director of Finance

Matthew has worked in the accounting field for 8 years and got started in the publishing industry during his tenure at Dwell Magazine. When he isn’t completing month-end closes, budgets, and monitoring the AFAR bank accounts he enjoys hiking, listening to records, and working on the record label he started with friends, Voltaire records.

Recent Highlight: View from Nevada Falls, Yosemite
Next Trip: Barcelona and Paris
Best Local Discovery: Hog Island Oyster Company


Breanna Rhoades
HR Director

Breanna comes to AFAR with over 10 years of Human Resources experience in Finance and IT Consulting in both California and New York. She is excited to combine her love of travel with her HR expertise and knowledge. When not working, Breanna is often out exploring all the Bay Area has to offer.

Recent Highlight: A Unique Bar Experience in the Heart of Shinjuku, Tokyo
Next Trip: Montreal
Best Local Discovery: Lake Merritt – on sunny Sundays you can expect an eclectic group of Oaklanders bbq’ing, playing music and enjoying the warmth on the best side of the Bay.

Erika Stallworth
Staff Accountant


Jill Greenwood
Director, AFAR Experiences

Jill is a seasoned marketing and event production specialist who gets to combine her two loves—travel and creating memorable experiences—through the programming and execution of all AFAR Experiences events. Jill came to AFAR from TED Conferences, where she directed multiple facets of the event operations for its major US and international programs. Prior to becoming an event producer, Jill spent her formative years in Whistler, BC, where she was director of marketing for Tourism Whistler.

Recent Highlight: Magical Oasis
Next Trip: Buenos Aires
Best Local Discovery: The monthly letter writing club at Vancouver’s Regional Assembly of Text, where this gorgeous, yet lost, art is celebrated—paper, pens and Smith Coronas provided!