Speakers

Dr. Donathan Brown, co-founder of the consulting firm, Adirondack Diversity Solutions, is also an Associate Professor, a 2017 U.S. Fulbright Professor, and the inaugural Director of Faculty Diversity and Development for the School of Humanities and Sciences at Ithaca College. A recognized expert in race and public policy, and author of four books, Brown has worked with various Adirondack groups including, the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Foundation, the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, and the Adirondack Nonprofit Network on creating diversity and inclusion initiatives along with strategic planning. His passion and interest in the Adirondacks alongside his experience and expertise are the driving factors behind his efforts. Since his initial visit to the Park as a graduate student at Syracuse University, Brown can be found hiking throughout the Adirondacks, especially the High Peaks.

David is a Digital Strategist that has spent the majority of his career developing digital marketing and product strategies for numerous Fortune 500 companies. However, his personal passion is travel, and after spending 17 years in an agency environment, his career is now focused on the Travel and Tourism industry, where he helps clients implement effective digital marketing and content tactics that build engagement among travelers. 

 

David’s focus is on sustainable tourism, where his goal is to bring his skills more proactively to organizations that effect some positive change in the world. David is a member of Impact Travel Alliance’s global team and co-lead of the group’s Media Network, which connects sustainable travel brands with a team of travel influencers, and which provides that media community with a business and marketing educational platform. In addition to his time in the nonprofit sector, David is a Digital Strategy Director at The Culture Collective, ITA’s sister boutique creative agency, which provides marketing and social media services to sustainable tourism and social impact clients.

 

Jeannette Ceja is a bilingual Travel Journalist, Travel Host, Travel Consultant and a Global Public Speaker whose work has appeared in television, magazines and newspapers around the nation. She graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Journalism from Belmont University and UCLA’s Professional Producing Program for Film & Television. Jeannette has interviewed countless of celebrities, athletes, politicians and travel experts including: Anthony Bourdain, Samantha Brown, Pauline Frommer and Rick Steves. Recently, Jeannette was officially named a Global Ambassador for several non-profits including Synergy of Empowered Women, Kind Traveler and the Free Wheelchair Mission. Jeannette’s passion for travel has taken her to over 50 countries to date. Today, she is frequently called upon as a Travel Expert and an International Public Speaker around the world.

Laura DiBetta is Director of Outdoor Recreation at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, overseeing the agency’s Adventure NY initiative launched by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in 2017. Through Adventure NY, DEC is expanding access to healthy, active outdoor recreation; connecting people with nature and the outdoors; protecting NY’s natural resources; and boosting local economies. Laura has 20 years of experience working for nonprofit organizations on environmental issues, program development, and communications. Laura has an undergraduate degree in Public Affairs and a Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy from the University at Albany.

Since the late 1980s, Ethan Gelber has patrolled all corners of the travel industry, most recently as a freelance writer, editor, communications strategist, content marketer and translator focused on travel and culture. He specializes in family travel, responsible and sustainable travel practices, keeping things local, and quality and relevance in publishing and destination marketing.

His written work, including as a Lonely Planet author, AFAR Ambassador and Huffington Post blogger, has appeared (credited and uncredited) in dozens of print and digital outlets. Other recent entrepreneurial undertakings include his work as the first travel editor of Green Matters; the founding editorial director of the Family Travel Association; co-founding Outbounding; and editing The Travel Word, a website he founded in 2009 that showcases responsible, sustainable and local travel.

He is also on the Board of Travel Unity and a media team member of two groups working to further awareness of responsible and sustainable travel — the Impact Travel Alliance and Green Travel Media.

 

 

Romey Louangvilay is the Communications Director at ELMNTL (Elemental), where he leverages more than a decade of experience in social media strategy and PR to establish relationships with brands and their target audiences. His primary role is ensuring that there is a seamless integration of all marketing disciplines within campaigns, as well as provide overall strategic guidance and account management for the agency’s marquee accounts, such as Tourism Authority of Thailand, Guana Island in the British Virgin Islands, and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). His accomplishments earned him a spot as a finalist in Forbes’ 2016 Top 30 Under 30 in Marketing & Advertising.

Romey has also previously spoken at PR News Digital PR Conference in 2011 about social media and he continues to serve as a marketing industry expert for LuxuryDaily.com.

Pete Nelson is a proud Adirondack resident and co-founder of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative. He has been involved in diversity issues as an activist and teacher since the 1970’s, including social justice programs in his home town of Cleveland, Ohio, tenants’ rights and inner city housing in Chicago and equity in education in Madison, Wisconsin. Pete is a mathematics teacher and member of the college Diversity Task Force at North Country Community College. He is also an avid writer, lecturer and Adirondack history buff whose articles appear regularly in numerous regional publications. In 2016 Pete co-founded Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, which is dedicated to protecting and preserving the wild heritage of the Adirondack park.

Stephanie Ratcliffe is Executive Director of The Wild Center, a placed-based interactive science museum and 81 acre campus interpreting the extraordinary six million acre Adirondack Park. As an active participant and catalyst in the community, the museum has been a leader in driving climate change awareness and acting as a convener of climate change and green building conferences targeting regional and youth audiences. Stephanie was a key member of the start-up team that developed the new museum now entering its 10th year. Most recently she led the construction of The Wild Center’s is new outdoor treetop experience called Wild Walk which opened July 2015 and tripled museum attendance. Active in the science museum field for over 30 years, Stephanie serves on the Executive Committee of the Association of Science Technology Centers.

Laurel Remus is Special Assistant for Recreation Diversity and Public-Private Partnerships in the Office of Outdoor Recreation at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, working with the agency’s Adventure NY initiative. Laurel has been involved with promoting diversity in Conservation throughout her 36 years at DEC. She was previously the Director of the division of Public Affairs and Education and served in several positions in the Division of Lands and Forests as a Forester in both NYC and the Southern Tier. Laurel has an undergraduate degree in Resources Management from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Masters of Business Administration from NY Institute of Technology.

Cindy Rodriguez, co-founder & human resources consultant, has over nine years of experience in human resources, policy review and implementation, along with business process improvement solutions. Most recently, Rodriguez was a Human Resources and Business Analyst for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. With experience and expertise spanning higher education, human resources, business administration, social policy, as well as environmental policy and energy, Rodriguez brings a unique lens to ADS. Rodriguez has worked to provide innovative human resources solutions promoting transparency, improving communication, and streamlining workflows, all while encompassing the essence of each organization’s values. With a firm belief that the beauty of the Adirondacks should be accessible to all regardless of socio-economic status, race, gender, and ability, Rodriguez seeks to dismantle such barriers with forward thinking innovations.

Roni Weiss is the Executive Director of Travel Unity, a 501(c)(3) focused on increasing diversity in the world of travel.

On the for-profit side, Roni’s company, RW Social, provides event management and social media/marketing management/consulting services, including management of the New York Travel Festival, which will complete its 7th annual event in 2019.

He lives in Westchester County, NY with his partner, Lauren, and their four children.

Ernest White II is a storyteller, explorer, and proponent of reasonable recklessness who has circumnavigated the globe five times. He is the producer and host of global reality-travel television series Fly Brother, host of the travel- and culture-focused Fly Brother Radio Show, and publisher of multicultural travel portal FlyBrother.net. Ernest’s writing includes fiction, literary essay, and travel narrative, having been featured in Time Out LondonUSA TodayGetawayEbonyThe Manifest-StationSinking CityLakeview Journal, Matador Network, National Geographic Traveler’s Brazil and Bradt’s Tajikistan guidebooks, and at TravelChannel.com.

He is also nonfiction editor at literary travel journal Panorama, former assistant editor at Time Out São Paulo, and founding editor of digital men’s magazine Abernathy.