about us

Founders and Team

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

Founders

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

Joseph Diaz
Co-Founder, Chief Product Officer

A seasoned world traveler, Joe spent his early years growing up in a bi-cultural family, with one foot in Spain and the other in California. That early exposure to the global village propelled Joe toward what he now considers his “calling”—learning about this fascinating and quirky world we live in through travel.

After graduating from Duke University, Joe spent three years working with Teach for America in the barrios of Phoenix, Arizona, before getting his masters degree and launching a successful real estate investment firm in Arizona. His travels have taken him extensively to four of the seven continents, with a goal to visit all seven.

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

Advertising, Sales & Marketing

Ellen Asmodeo-Giglio
Executive Vice President, Publisher

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

Associate 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
Executive Director, Marketing

Anjali Virmani
Integrated Marketing Director

Anjali has worked in marketing and branding for over 10 years with experience ranging from multi-platform program development, brand building strategies, client relationship management, social media, multi-media content creation and traditional and new media marketing programs. Her experience spans high profile brands such as O, The Oprah Magazine, Town&Country Magazine, WWD and Style.com.

Recent Highlight: Holy Cow
Next Trip: Jamaica, Croatia, Beirut…I don’t know, so much to see
Best Local Discovery: Anejo Tequileria in New York City

Barry Brown
Senior 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: Pool in the Lake
Next Trip: Hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim
Best Local Discovery: Surfing or stand-up paddling the waves of Manhattan Beach

Katherine Kneier
East Coast Sales Director

Katherine has worked in publishing for the past six years and has been at AFAR for almost three years.

Recent Highlight: Double Rainbow
Next Trip: Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Best Local Discovery: The Union Square Green Market in NYC

John Galante
International Travel Director

John has worked in the travel industry for 20+ years, and from all sides—agency side, client side, and publishing side. He is a passionate traveler, and always has his next trip planned and tickets in hand.

Recent Highlight: Aspen to Crested Butte hike
Next Trip: Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita, Mexico
Best Local Discovery: Hiking and biking through Central Park, New York, now that the weather is warm.

Colleen Schoch Morell
Sales Manager, Southeast

DeniseDenise Hoo
Digital Ad Operations Manager

Denise joined AFAR in February 2014 from Sydney, Australia. She graduated with a marketing degree and quickly dove into the world of online advertising. Coming from an agency and magazine publishing background, with more than 3 years experience in trafficking and campaign management, she is all about digital! Combining both her passion for traveling and digital media is her dream. Having lived in Indonesia in her younger years, she has also travelled extensively across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, but just simply cannot get enough.

Recent Highlight: Versailles: World Famous Cuban Food in Little Havana
Next Trip: Greece
Best Local Discovery: Sofia’s Restaurant in Little Italy

Grace Kelly
AFAR Exchange Sales Coordinator

This recent college graduate’s love of travel, history, photography, and people has brought her to AFAR.

Recent Highlight: SXSW – Keeping Austin Weird
Next Trip: Galapagos

Chris Udemezue
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

Sarah Zapiler
Integrated Marketing Manager

Sarah thinks everything is interesting. But, she had to get a degree in something, so she studied Psycholinguistics at New York University where she also served as editor for several academic publications. When she joined AFAR, Sarah knew she would find herself at home among travelers who value cultural exchange, discovery and a healthy dose of adventure. In all of her travels, she has come to know that there is no better way to see the streets than with her feet, so she walks as much as possible wherever she goes. Sarah is thrilled to bring her experience in and passion for designing communication to AFAR.

Recent Highlight: Vintage Shopping Gem
Next Trip: Thailand and Cambodia
Best Local Discovery: Fiat Cafe

458459_3381697193451_1709224282_oJuliette San Fillipo
Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Juliette comes to AFAR after polishing off a bachelors degree in 2013 from Boston College in English, Environmental Studies, and French. Always curious, she’s studied at four different institutions in 4.5 years, which brought her abroad not once but twice. Besides completing several internships at magazines and publishing start-ups in Boston, Juliette opened her career at John Wiley & Sons, an academic press. Championing the idea that travel is the greatest form of education, AFAR inspires Juliette to chase the kinds of transformative experiences she’s had thus far and to never stop moving or learning. Her favorite kinds of sojourns include scenic hikes and music festivals; if she could have one super-power it would be to exist in two places at once; she loves films by Wes Anderson and a good gin cocktail; and if her landlord let her, she’d cover her walls with maps as wallpaper.

Most Recent Highlight: Hiking to Monterosso Al Mare
Next Trip: It could go one of two ways: Mallorca, with a stopover in Iceland, or Chile to explore Patagonia and the Atacama Desert.
Best Local Discovery: The W 25th Street Antiques Garage in NYC

Editorial


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

Elizabeth Spiridakis Olson
Creative Director

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

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.

Jen Murphy
Deputy Editor

Jen has worked in the journalism world for the last ten years. She got her start at the Wall Street Journal, and continues to write a fitness column called “What’s Your Workout” for the paper. She spent seven years at Food & Wine magazine. During her three-year tenure as travel editor, she wandered the globe uncovering rising star chefs, trendsetting restaurants, and life-changing meals.

Recent Highlight: Break for Bubbly on the Slopes
Next Trip: Copenhagen
Best Local Discovery:  Black Jet Baking Co.’s Pop Tarts. The Jalapeño Cream Cheese when I want savory or the Nutella & Salty Hazelnut when I’m craving sweet.

Derk Richardson
Senior Editor

Before joining AFAR’s founding editorial team in 2008, Derk had written about music, food, and travel for nearly 30 years. He turned to editing in 2003, first at Acoustic Guitar magazine, then at Oakland and Alameda magazines. He hosts a weekly free-form music program on KPFA radio in Berkeley.

Recent Highlight: “Bird Houses” in Borneo
Next Trip: Laos and Cambodia
Best Local Discovery: First Fridays Art Murmur in Oakland

Andrew Richdale
Senior Editor

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

Aislyn Greene
Associate Editor

Dani Vernon
Photo Assistant

Dani graduated with a degree in Photojournalism from SFSU and has worked with various media outlets in the Bay Area, including KQED and the Palo Alto Weekly. She also had the opportunity to travel around the world with a study-abroad program called Semester at Sea, which inspired her to work with a magazine that encourages the same form of travel that she was able to experience while abroad.

Recent Highlight: U Bein Bridge
Next Trip: Australia
Best Local Discovery: Giordano’s Bros restaurant in North Beach. Amazing sandwiches!

Liv Combe
Editorial Intern 

 

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 hike for reflection
Next Trip: Vienna
Best Local Discovery: 850 Montgomery Cigar Bar

Davina Baum
Director of Digital Content

Davina has 15 years of experience in journalism, eight of those years in online content. During her tenure as managing editor at CHOW.com, the site won a James Beard Award for Best Food Website and was twice nominated for National Magazine Awards. She has also worked for San Jose-based Metro Newspapers and edited books for Peachpit Press and Sybex.

Recent Highlight: Mezcal in Mexico
Next Trip: Amsterdam
Best Local Discovery: Tule elks at Point Reyes

Rachael Posnak
Senior Visual Designer

Rachael has been designing for over 10 years. Before AFAR, she worked at Mint.com, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, and Hallmark Cards. She enjoys making pleasing and easy-to-use products. Rachael studied creative writing at Macalester College and design at California College of the Arts. Her extracurricular interests include writing kids’ books and cheesy songs.

Recent Highlight: Students’ Parade at Tainan National University of the Arts
Next Trip: Cuba
Best Local Discovery: Lucky Mojo Curio Co. in Forestville, CA

Evan Arnold
Lead Software Engineer

Evan, a Chicago native, recently moved to San Francisco. Professionally, he’s swooped from the desktop app to the web and from closed source to open. He’s not very good at typing when other people are watching.

Recent Highlight: The Hopleaf
Next Trip: Holland
Best Local Discovery: Zomg! I found an apartment! Guys? Are you listening, guys? An apartment! I can finally put my stuff down! Guys?

Kevin Favro
Software Engineer

Kevin started programming the web while living in Nepal as a means to share his experiences and creations with friends and family back home. He has since worked for various startups and large corporations around Northern California as a Software Engineer, and is currently helping AFAR build out their mobile and tablet applications.

Recent Highlight: Winter Garden
Next Trip: Kauai
Best Local Discovery: Placerville Waterfalls

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Rafael Alba
Senior Rails and iOS Engineer

Rafael’s professional career began at Orbitz. It continued at Thoughtworks, a consulting company. His next place of employment, Socialcast, had a successful exit when VMWare acquired it. Currently, he is employed by AFAR.

Sean Nakamura
Digital Audience Development Director

0893609Allison Murray
Guides Editor

Allison is a curious explorer who travels for the unknown and lives with a general joie de vivre. In 2011 she joined AFAR’s digital product team and has since become an editor, writer, curator, and community leader. Amongst other things, you’ll find her creating city guides, advocating for maps, perfecting spreadsheets, and refurbishing furniture.

Recent Highlight: Prohibition-Era Fashion in North Beach
Next Trip: India
Best Local Discovery: The carnivorous plant store in Sebastopol, California Carnivores.

bkitch

Bryan Kitch
Guides Assistant Editor

Bryan is an artist and writer with a keen interest in sports and the outdoors. Having grown up in a family of travelers, he visited Europe at an early age, sparking his own interest in exploration. As an undergraduate, he studied abroad in Greece and Turkey. Prior to arriving at AFAR, Bryan earned an MA in Classical Art & Archaeology at King’s College London, delved into the world of antiquarian books, and later worked as a correspondent and staff writer for ROWING Magazine, covering the 2011 world rowing championships in Bled, Slovenia, and the 2012 Olympic Games. Now, he gets to combine two of his great loves—travel and writing—in his work for AFAR.

Recent Highlight: Birthplace of a Roman Emperor
Next Trip: Amsterdam
Best Local Discovery: Rapha Cycle Club, SF (great for coffee and bike lovers alike!)

nickNick Rowlands
Guides Assistant Editor

Nick came down with The Travels early in his life, and has climbed the Mountains of the Moon in Uganda, stayed with a rickshaw driver in the slums of New Delhi, hitched around Syria, and hiked the Camino Francés to Santiago de Compostela. From 2006–2012 he lived in Egypt, working as a tour leader, travel writer, magazine editor, and online news video producer. He moved to San Francisco in summer 2012, and has been greedily assembling the trappings of a Settled Life. As well as traveling and writing, he enjoys green smoothies, aikido, and playing poker.

Recent Highlight: The Book of Kells: Turning Darkness into Light
Next trip: Currently taking bets on Mexico
Best local discovery: Borderlands Books and Cafe

 

Operations

bio.lauraLaura Simkins
COO

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
Senior Accounting Manager

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

Jenny Burbank
Audience Marketing Coordinator

Jenny comes to AFAR from the world of book publishing, where she spent nearly 6 years at Ten Speed Press, most recently as an Associate Marketing Manager. During her time there, she worked on a variety of projects, including the David Lebovitz app, and was introduced to some of her favorite interests including food, wine, and travel. Before getting her start in publishing, she worked on Google’s Book Search team and at the law firm Downey Brand.

Recent Highlight: Early Morning in Oia
Next Trip: Turkey or Thailand
Best Local Discovery: Vida y Vino Wine Bistro in Fremont

Brianna Bascherini
Office/Accounting Coordinator

Brianna joined the AFAR team in October of 2012 as the Office & Accounting Coordinator.  She has always dreamed of seeing the world and is overjoyed to be around wonderful people who feel the same way about culture, travel, and nature. When she’s not at work you can find her hiking, playing board games, seeing the latest movies and hanging out with her miniature dachshund, Jasmine.

Recent Highlight: A Visit to the Jaguar Rescue Center
Next Trip:  Athens/Greek Isles
Best Local Discovery:  Sol Food in San Rafael, there’s nothing better.

photo[1]Breanna Rhoades
HR Manager

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.

Next Trip: Montreal
Best Local Discovery: Lake Merritt

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!

Jordan Robbins
Program Officer, AFAR Foundation

Growing up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Glastonbury, England, Jordan was immersed in nature and travel from the start. Jordan’s passion is two-fold: helping youth to better understand themselves and their connection to the planet, and working with strategic partners to create the support systems that help youth reach their life goals. Over the past 12 years, Jordan has worked with the Kenya Wildlife Service and as California Manager of the Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots program. Today, Jordan brings the power of experiential travel to low-income youth in her dual role as Program Officer for the AFAR Foundation and Director of Scholarship Programs for Global Explorers.

Recent Highlight: Biodynamic Farming in the Fertile Soil of Arenal Volcano
Next Trip: Stockholm Archipelago
Best Local Discovery: Jasper Hill Farm cheeses, Greensboro, VT