Educators & Trainers
Billy Kolber is the co-founder of HospitableMe, and a leading voice in the LGBTQ+ travel industry. He co-founded OUT&ABOUT, the first gay + lesbian travel magazine in the US, and ManAboutWorld, one of the first mobile-only magazines of any kind. He and his team provide education and training to empower destinations and brands to provide more inclusive, authentic, personalized and welcoming service to diverse travelers. Billy has a B.S. in Biology from Yale, and sang around the world with the Yale Whiffenpoofs. He has worked as a commercial photographer, chocolatier, top-selling Avon Representative, author and guest experience consultant. Billy has visited 71 countries, but still lives in New York City, where he was born.
Connect with Billy on LinkedIn.
Kenny Porpora is the co-founder of HospitableMe, and editor-in-chief at ManAboutWorld magazine, a pioneering travel publication built for mobile devices.
He graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University, where he studied journalism and philosophy, and holds an M.S. from Columbia in investigative journalism, where he wrote his master’s thesis on professional wrestling.
In addition, Kenny is The New York Times best-selling author of The Autumn Balloon and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Buzzfeed, Salon and others. He has curated content for some of the largest destination marketing organizations in the world.
Connect with Kenny on Instagram
Educators & Trainers
Meg Ten Eyck
Meg Ten Eyck is an LGBTQ+ advocate and community educator. After finishing her MPA and research practicum focusing on LGBTQ+ urban youth policy, Meg went on to inform educational programming at three of the largest LGBTQ+ nonprofits in the US. Meg’s first book, “Slacktivist: Using Digital Media to Create Change” will be released in 2017. Meg’s LGBTQ+ subject matter expertise has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Go Magazine, Out Traveler, Gay Star News, Matador Network, Elite Daily, Korea Observer, and India’s The Quint. Her passion lives at the intersection of travel, queer culture, and new media.
Connect with Meg on Instagram
Merryn Johns oversees Curve Magazine and curvemag.com, and has done since 2010. As an award-winning journalist, Ms. Johns also engages in public speaking at many LGBT conventions, on panels and forums, both nationally and internationally. She is currently based in New York and travels the world to promote lesbian culture, visibility, and equal rights.
Connect with Merryn on Instagram Merryn on Linked In
José Enrique is a destination marketing professional with 8+ years of experience. He also possesses a certification on Fundamentals of Destination Marketing and Management from Destinations International and was featured on their “30 under 30” in 2017. His tourism industry expertise includes guest experience management, group, conventions, and trade show planning and support.
Born in Atlanta, Jhoni Jackson is a first-generation U.S.-born Cuban, as well as a queer, cis woman, who works full time as a freelance journalist. In 2012, she relocated to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where her writing evolved to focus on queer and Latinx issues, culture, and
sociopolitical movements. Her work has been published by a range of outlets: The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Teen Vogue, Remezcla, PAPER, and others.
Giovonni Santiago is a Northeast Ohio-based transgender activist. As the founder of META Center Inc, a non-profit for transgender and gender nonconforming youth, he focuses on providing them with a safe space, resources, and an education on self-advocacy. Giovonni is a disabled veteran of the US Air Force and is responsible for assisting the Cleveland VA in opening the first transgender specific clinic in the country. Cleveland Magazine named Giovonni one of their Most Interesting People for 2018 and he was one of 30 to make NBC Out’s #Pride30 List. Giovonni also walked the runway during New York Fashion Week for dapperQ showing there’s no limit to his ability to make an impact just by being his authentic self.
Alysse Dalessandro Santiago
Alysse Dalessandro Santiago is a queer plus size fashion and travel blogger. Her blog, Ready to Stare, focuses on making travel and fashion more accessible for all. It’s a space where individuality is celebrated and breaking the rules is encouraged. Alysse was named one of NBC Out’s #Pride50 for 2019 and one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People in 2018.
Donnya is the CEO and Founder of Pink Coconuts – a platform that connects LGBTQ travellers with LGBTQ friendly accommodation, tours and activities across the world while empowering LGBTQ local LGBTQ lives. She was given the prestigious Queen’s Young Leader Award by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for her work as an LGBTQ Caribbean Advocate and the co-founder of B-GLAD. She has spoken at forums like TEDx Bridgetown, Heineken’s National Conference, UK Black Pride, One Young World, Human Rights Campaign, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta & London, The Economist in New York, International Gay and Lesbian Association Conference in New Zealand In 2017 she became a Watson University Scholar where she studied Social Entrepreneurship in Boulder, Colorado. In 2019, Donnya was named the winner of the Sustainable Development Goal 10 Challenge by One Young World – a world wide competition which saw thousands of entries from all over the world.
Ed is co-author of the Handbook of LGBT Tourism & Hospitality Marketing: A Guide for Business Practice distributed by Columbia University Press. He is an adjunct instructor at NYU’s Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, teaching tourism & hospitality marketing. Ed served for six years on the Board of Directors of the IGLTA (as well as five years on the Executive Committee as Treasurer) and on the Board of Directors of the IGLTA Foundation. Previously, Ed was editor in chief of Out Traveler, OUT & ABOUT and ManAboutWorld magazines. Ed graduated from Harvard College with a degree in mathematics and economics and received his MBA from Northeastern University in marketing research. Connect with Ed on LinkedIn @Ed Salvato or Twitter @EdSalvato.