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TIES Board of Directors
About TIES Executive Board
TIES Executive Board is designed to utilize the strengths and expertise of supporters of ecotourism who have governance and business experience, as well as the ability and desire to support TIES' financial growth.
About TIES Advisory Board
TIES Advisory Board comprises of ecotourism experts and industry leaders. Representing diverse groups of ecotourism and sustainable tourism stakeholders, the Advisory Board serves as an effective venue to support TIES mission. TIES aims to collaborate with Advisory Board members to help increase the organization's potentials through new projects and outreach initiatives.
TIES Board Chair
Dr. Kelly Bricker
Dr. Bricker is an Associate Professor at the University of Utah in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. She also works as a Senior Research Scientist – Recreation with HDR|DTA part-time. She completed her Ph.D. research with the Pennsylvania State University, where she specialized in sustainable tourism and natural resource management. She has special research and teaching interest in ecotourism, sense of place, natural resource management, and the environmental and social impacts of tourism. Kelly has conducted research on heritage tourism, social impacts of tourism, and natural resource-related tourism environments. With her husband Nathan, she developed an ecotourism operation called Rivers Fiji. She serves as the Chair of The International Ecotourism Society and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Advisory Board Members
The Tartan Group
The owner of The Tartan Group, Deirdre has been a communications professional in Canada for 20 years. Together with her team of five coworkers, Tartan is committed to helping businesses and organizations become more sustainable and substantially raise their community, national and international profile through marketing communications and public relations including reputation management, stakeholder relations, media relations, event management, advertising, promotion and community partnerships. Today, Tartan represents clients in Seattle, BC, Alberta, Manitoba, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua and has offices in Vancouver, Victoria and New York. In 2003, Deirdre completed her MBA in PR/Communications through Royal Roads University and the focus of her MBA Occupational Consulting Project was the development of a culinary tourism program for Tourism BC.
Tony Charters and Associates
Tony Charters is the principal of Tony Charters and Associates. He has a Masters degree in protected area planning and management and over 20 years experience in nature based recreation, sustainable tourism planning, development and management across the public, private and non-government sectors.
He is on the Finalist’s Selection Committee for the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow awards. He also serves on the Destination Stewardship Committee of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and The International Ecotourism Society Advisory Board. Tony has held executive management and advisory positions for several Australian World Heritage sites. In addition, Tony headed the Queensland Recreation Areas Management Board as well as jointly chairing the Tourism in Protected Areas Working Group. Much of Tony’s protected area management experience has involved multi- tenure/multi landowner models and the engagement of all levels of government. Tony has extensive experience in strategic tourism planning, marketing and public policy at the state and regional levels and was Executive Director of Tourism Policy, Planning and Development at Tourism Queensland for 5 years.
A college exchange program took Richard to the midst of ecotourism and sustainable development in Costa Rica in the 80's. Since that time he's been working on marketing strategy, messaging, product development, CSR programs, and community development with an array of organizations, such as Gap Adventures, Belize, Korea, Discovery and Hilton. Condé Nast Traveler cites Richard as a Top Travel Specialist for his ability to bring effective travel marketing and great product together with sustainability in destinations. Through the marketing and destination firm, Ecoism, he's committed to helping companies and destinations benefit from taking a more socially and environmentally responsible approach to travel.
Shadia Garrison's interest in eco-tourism stems from her career in social justice, education in anthropology, and love of travel. With over 15 years of experience in program management and development for nonprofit organizations and institutes of higher learning, Shadia hopes to use her skills to further demonstrate to potential funders and partner organizations TIES' clear leadership role in eco-tourism and the ways ecotourism projects can benefit many constituencies: local or host community members, tourists, governments, schools, businesses, and providers. Shadia is the founder and head writer at The Mindful Tourist, an online magazine dedicated to socially conscious travel, recently named one of the ten smartest travel blogs. She is often asked to write for other travel sites and review travel memoirs and books. A citizen of the United States, Shadia is fluent in Spanish and travels frequently to Latin America where she and her Chilean husband are embarking on the development of a small eco-retreat center.
Palitha Gurusinghe earned his Post-Graduate degrees from the University of Ceylon (presently University of Kandy) in Sri Lanka and started his career as a teacher in high schools and universities in Sri Lanka from 1970-1979. After working as a tourism consultant and holding various public and private positions, he founded Sri Lanka Ecotourism Foundation (SLEF). Presently, Palitha is also the Managing Director of the travel agency Sri Lanka Eco Tours, and Director of the Research and Training Institute, managed by SLEF. He continues to lecture at Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka and the Travel and Tourism Institute of Sri Lanka.
In 1985, Glenn founded and created the first "Boutique" hotel in Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Costa Rica, based on the best sustainable standards of the day, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, which is now considered one of the best hotels in the world, according the New York Times, Conde Naste Traveler and others. The hotel also has 35 acres of certified shade grown organic coffee which is grown, picked and roasted on premises. In 2003, Finca Rosa Blanca won the coveted Tourism for Tomorrow Award, and in 2009 was chosen as one of the top 10 eco-resorts in the world by the readers of TripAdvisor. Glenn was on of the founding members and team in the development of the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST). In 2003, Finca Rosa Blanca became the first and only hotel to earn the highest classification of 5 green leaves in the CST program and in 2008 received a perfect 100% ranking. Glenn is presently the president of the board of directors of the National Chamber of Ecotourism (CANAECO).
Ariane Janér is a Dutch zoologist with a MBA who has been living in Brazil since 1988. Working in the area of ecotourism and sustainable development since 1991, she has consulted projects in many parts of Brazil. In 1993, she helped found EcoBrasil, the Brazilian Ecotourism Society and has been actively involved with this NGO since 1993. As a consultant she looks for challenging projects that become a practical benchmark or mean constructing a platform for change and often remains involved after completing her assignment. Ariane builds on her wide experience in marketing and finance acquired through a previous career at Royal Dutch Shell, as a free-lance consumer market researcher for Euromonitor, as a financial analyst for Baxter Straub and as owner/director of a small ecotourism operator. She is a regular speaker at events in Brazil and also internationally and has contributed to various publications.
Judy Kepher-Gona is Chief Executive Officer of the Basecamp Foundation in Kenya, and a former Executive Officer of TIES Association Member Ecotourism Kenya. The Basecamp Foundation is a not for profit organisation whose vision is to provide tourism based solutions for conservation and sustainable development in tourism destinations. Born out of Basecamp Explorers’ practical experience in championing a sustainable tourism concept that acknowledges the significance of local people and conservation in destination development, the foundation provides a link between the non-economic and economic activities in tourism destinations.
In 1990 John and Karen Lewis, former Peace Corps Volunteers and avid Minnesota birdwatchers, founded Lapa Rios: a 1,000 acre private conservation reserve in the tropical rain forest in Costa Rica’s remote Osa Peninsula. They built the country's preeminent ecolodge to maintain the reserve’s bio-diversity and to propel sustainable development in this region. Today, Lapa Rios is a model of social and environmental responsibility, dedicated to education, continuous environmental improvement, and cultural interchange between local people, international travelers and global business. Karen dedicates herself passionately to teaching, as "Education is the best tool to uphold a local culture, its natural resources, and the medium to empower self-determination." Her experience and dedication proves that education can foster community cohesion and instill a pride of place in feelings and confidence for locals and travelers alike. In 1991 Karen formed La Asociación de Educacíon to build a community-based primary school. This Lapa Rios guest-supported travelers’ philanthropy project continues to build and maintain several rural Osa Peninsula schools. The Lewises, with guidance from The Nature Conservancy and Costa Rica’s CEDARENA Land Trust organization, recently created the region’s first conservation easement to protect in perpetuity the 950-acre Lapa Rios Reserve, now part of the Osa Campaign. Karen lives part-time in Seattle and Costa Rica.
Rick MacLeod Farley
Rick MacLeod Farley has twenty years of experience in developing and securing financing for ecotourism, heritage tourism and community economic development projects. Rick has both Irish Canadian and French Canadian ancestry. As a youth, Rick had a volunteer work opportunity living for three months in a remote Quechua village in southern Bolivia. This had a profound impact on him, kindling a passion for working together with Aboriginal communities. From 1990 through 1994 Rick lived in Moose Factory, Ontario working as a Regional Economic Coordinator for Mushkegowuk Cree Tribal Council. Since then, through his firm MacLeod Farley & Associates, he has specialized in Aboriginal ecotourism development and financing. Rick has helped his clients secure over $50 million in grant funding to date. In 2007, his firm placed in the top ten in the Proposal Writing World Championships. Rick has an Honours Bachelor Degree in Economics, and has completed courses towards a Masters Degree in Rural Planning and Development. He has appeared as a speaker at numerous TIES events and Aboriginal tourism conferences.
Mr. Hitesh Mehta is one of the world’s leading authorities, practitioners and researchers on ecotourism physical planning and both the landscape architectural and architectural aspects of ecolodges. He also has vast experience in protected area physical planning and has worked on sustainable tourism plans for national parks that protect the last remaining endangered species such as Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda and DR Congo, Chimpanzees in Uganda and Rwanda, Giant Pandas in China, Tigers in India and Rhinos in Kenya. After ten years of working with EDSA (Florida), the world’s largest landscape architecture and planning firm, he has re-started his firm HM Design which began in Kenya in 1991. He is the main editor of the International Ecolodge Guidelines and the author of the chapters on "Site Planning" and "Architectural Design."
Paul is the Tourism Development Planner for the Government of Alberta where he is responsible for working with federal and municipal jurisdictions as well as industry stakeholders to develop and represent sustainable tourism positions during land and resource management policy, planning and implementation processes. Originally trained as a teacher, Paul went on to specialize in outdoor education and sustainable tourism management, concentrating his studies in ecotourism and nature-based tourism while based in Australia. Upon his return to Canada, he successfully led an Ecotourism and Outdoor Leadership college degree program in southeast Alberta where he combined his technical experience with his commitment to student-centered education. As program director and full time instructor, he facilitated interactive and engaging learning experiences designed to prepare students for careers in the field of sustainable tourism and ecologically friendly practices.
Wolfgang Strasdas, PhD.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Strasdas is the director of the bilingual Master’s program Sustainable Tourism Management at the Eberswalde University of Applied Sciences near Berlin. This program is the only one of its kind in Germany and has a strong focus on ecotourism, sustainable business management, and integrated destination development. He holds a Master’s degree in environmental management and a PhD in ecotourism management. He has worked for many years as a freelance consultant, researcher and trainer in Latin America, Africa and Central Asia, mostly on behalf of German development cooperation agencies (GTZ, InWEnt) and the Ministry of the Environment of Germany. The environmental and social implications of mass tourism, outdoor recreation, nature-based tourism and community-based tourism have been major topics throughout his work. He is an avid ecotourist, hiker and cyclist himself and a member of several non-profit organizations such as Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) and the German Cycling Club (ADFC).
Mr. Masaru Takayama founded the first ecolodge association in the world, Japan Ecolodge Association (ECOLA), to promote the concept of ecotourism and ecolodge uniting responsible tourism and green buildings in Japan. The environmentally-friendly accommodations standard developed by ECOLA is now recognized by Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) to bottom up the industry standards in the Japanese marketplace. Working as a global community-based ecotourism consultant, ecolodge advisor, and responsible tour operator‘Spirit of Japan Travel’in Kyoto, Masaru serves a number of key positions in the organizations both home and abroad pertinent to ecotourism and protected areas. His latest agenda is to demonstrate that a responsible tour operator can help bring the tangible benefits to the communities for conservation of nature, recovery from natural disasters, and improvement on the well-being.
Albert Teo Chin Kion
A graduate in Economics (Honours) from the University of London in 1977, Albert Teo has been in the tourism industry for over three decades, as a hotelier, tour operator, lodge and backpacker owner and operator, photographer, author, publisher, conference organizer, ecotourism consultant, speaker and lecturer. He has trekked over 1,000 km in Borneo and published over 150 postcards designs of Borneo, published ten books including the best selling Sabah -Land of the Sacred Mountain, Journey through Borneo, Saving Paradise-The Story of Sukau Rainforest Lodge and the latest book, A Souvenir of Sabah Malaysian Borneo. His companies Borneo Eco Tours and Sukau Rainforest Lodge have won numerous international ecotourism awards. The success of Sukau Rainforest Lodge has encouraged him to share his experience of running the lodge in "Saving Paradise" which he co-authored with Carol Patterson in 2005 which documented the ten years of operation of the lodge.