JG Black Book of Travel
New York, NY 10012
Phone: +1 (212) 967-5895
Fax: +1 (212) 967-9723
JG Black Book of Travel
New York, NY 10012
Phone: +1 (212) 967-5895
Fax: +1 (212) 967-9723
Founded by Jena Gardner, an industry veteran with over 20 years of experience, JG Black Book’s elite team has more than 175 years of combined travel industry service between them and a shared passion for adventure that’s led them across the globe and back.
Entrepreneur, travel industry icon and marketing expert Jena Gardner turned a lifelong passion for travel into a thriving enterprise.
Jena is President and CEO of JG Worldwide, parent company to some of the tourism industry’s most respected brands. Those include JG Black Book, a global hospitality consulting firm, and bespoke tour operators Heritage Tours and Revealed America. Heritage Tours offers expert designed, private travel to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Africa while Revealed America creates custom trips to the National Parks, California and Alaska.
Jena’s innovative approach to business has made her a sought-after industry consultant. Named one of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing by HSMAI, Jena is an international keynote speaker, having been invited to present at the Global Women’s Forum, the Global Eco Conference, the Fortune Luxury Summit, the Luxury Marketing Council, the BVI Business Outlook Conference and the Luxury Portfolio SUMMIT. She is a contributing writer for Enterprising Women, Luxury Portfolio and Business BVI magazines, as well as co-author of the bestselling book “Women Who Mean Business”.
In 2008 Jena co-founded The Bodhi Tree Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting environmental and humanitarian efforts related to travel and tourism sustainability. Most recently, the Foundation launched the S.A.F.E campaign, which is dedicated to galvanizing and uniting the tourism industry to help end the dramatic rise in poaching of Africa’s elephants. Jena has also served on the Judging Committee for the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which recognizes and promotes best practices in sustainable tourism, and Tourism Cares’ Lifetime Achievement in Travel Philanthropy Award.
Alexandra Avila is a strategic sales and marketing specialist with 9 years of proven success in supporting young brands through hyper growth and development. With expertise in brand partnerships, public relations, hospitality sales, and digital marketing, Avila has implemented solutions across the travel, fashion and publishing industries.
Alexandra graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in Business Marketing. She began her career in travel with JG Black Book, following roles at other top brands including Travel + Leisure Magazine, The Guggenheim Museums (Venice, Italy and Bilbao, Spain), Ideeli and the Tod’s Group S.p.a. In 2015, she worked on property at Le Soleil d’Or in the Cayman Islands, as Director of Sales and Marketing, developing their US launch strategy, hosting pre-opening FAM’s, securing media placements and developing strategic partnerships with the tourism board. The property came to rank as the #2 Top Resort in The Caribbean in Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2016.
Alexandra has a strong background in the new integrated world of trade and public relations, with experience that has combined partnership development, digital marketing and social media to maximize trade and consumer exposure.
In her previous role at JG Black Book as the VP of Public Relations, she led the PR department to generate over 1 trillion dollars in PR value for clients, which include hotels, tour operators and tourism boards around the globe. Currently as VP, Industry and Media Relations, she provides strategic guidance to the PR team and leads the firm’s trade relations efforts around the globe.
Cathy Courtney brought years of marketing and branding experience from a successful career in magazine publishing to JG Black Book. Most recently, Cathy had served as the Promotion Director at American Express Publishing’s Travel + Leisure magazine where she was responsible for the publication’s brand messaging and key marketing initiatives. Prior to American Express, Cathy worked for G+J USA Publishing in the marketing and promotions departments of several national publications including Inc., Fast Company, and Family Circle magazines.
Cathy is responsible for all communications and branding for the JG Black Book Collection including the award-winning annual Black Book, extensive email marketing program, digital marketing efforts, tradeshows and all collateral, presentations and advertising.
David Corke serves as Senior Director of Industry Relations and is responsible for promotion to the North American Travel Trade. His partners include the Belize Tourism Board and several properties within the Caribbean and Europe. David brings a valuable insider’s perspective to his role, having served in the front office and reservations on property at The Plaza Hotel and The Pierre in New York before following a path into sales and marketing. At The Pierre and then the Langham Hospitality Group, where he rose to Regional Sales Manager, David was responsible for building brand awareness, relationships and sales within consortium, corporate accounts, FIT and wholesale. His efforts on behalf of these brands helped David develop the relationships, skills and strategic understanding required to make a meaningful and measurable impact on behalf of his portfolio.
Tania Popovic serves as Director of Industry Relations for Latin America. With over 14 years in the tourism industry, Tania brings a varied background and extensive travel experience to her position.
Tania is based out of JG Black Book of Travel’s Buenos Aires office. In her previous role as Tour & Travel Sales Manager with Faena Hotel + Universe, Tania was responsible for managing sales and marketing activities with a focus on the leisure segment.
Liz Harper brings mix of marketing and partnership expertise, industry and media connections, and supplier understanding and knowledge to her position as UK Director of Industry and Media Relations. Her travel industry experience has been built up over the past 10 years, during which time she has both managed the marketing department of UK travel publisher Footprint Travel Guides, and more latterly, headed up the traditional marketing, PR and partnership team for luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent. Liz has also written for some of the UK’s leading lifestyle and travel titles giving her a sound understanding and appreciation of the UK media landscape, and great relationships with key editors and journalists.
Yvette De Vries grew up and studied in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She spent the first 10 years of her career in public relations in the local wine industry before moving to the United States and settling in Connecticut. As the senior consultant at African Portfolio for 17 years, Yvette’s extensive travels throughout the continent and years of first-hand experience has been of great value to hundreds of travelers for whom she has tailor-made unique and memorable adventures in East- and Southern Africa. She is Past President of the Association for Promotion of Tourism to Africa, (APTA), promoting tourism to Africa through education and network-building.
In her role as Managing Director, Africa for JG Black Book, Yvette is responsible for promoting the Collection’s African portfolio within the travel trade community, building awareness, knowledge, relationships, and ultimately business for the operators and properties.
A native Californian from Newport Beach, Joanna spent 10 years living in Chile and found her love for hospitality and luxury travel by working for explora. She started as a guide in explora Atacama where she was trained and became an expert in the culture of explora. Later she spent some time with the guides in explora Patagonia and ended up leading the guide team in explora Rapa Nui. Joanna went on to open and become the General Manager for Hare Noi in Rapa Nui before returning to California to pursue an Executive MBA in Global Business which she will finish in June 2017. Currently she is studying hard and plays competitive horse polo on her polo pony, Princesa.
Julie Leventhal is an Account Supervisor on the luxury travel public relations team at JG Black Book. She began working for the company in 2016. Julie specializes in creating and implementing public relations plans for her clients and is actively involved in both long term and day-to-day efforts to help strategically grow their brands. Her career in public relations started at Berns Communications Group, and she has contributed travel articles to publications including Luxury Living, Luxe Getaways and Social Life Magazine. Julie received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from Syracuse University and completed her MBA studying at The European Business School in London and The American University in Paris.
Megan has joined the JG Black Book team as an Account Supervisor to oversee our international luxury travel and hospitality partners.
Over the course of her studies, Megan has attended the University at Albany, Dublin Business School, London College of Fashion, and holds an MA in Public Relations & Reputation Management from the London College of Communication.
Born and raised in New York City, Megan started her career working for fashion, lifestyle and luxury agencies including Mode PR, BPCM and Turner PR. Having recently returned home to NYC, she has spent the last few years living in London, working for and helping to build Fox PR, one of the city’s leading luxury travel agencies.
Specializing in luxury lifestyle, she has launched and developed PR campaigns for international brands in countries including Scotland and the Maldives and worked with numerous 5*star brands such as Nobu Hospitality, Ritz-Carlton, Fairmont and Jetcraft Corporation.
Leigh joins JG Black Book from his most recent position at Mr and Mrs Smith, where he assisted in opening the LA operation and quickly became a top seller on the global team. Prior to that, he worked in successful roles at Edward Thomas Collection, Joie de Vivre Hotels and the JRK Hotel Group and on property for Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii.
Leigh is a native New Yorker with a passion for traveling and culture that ultimately took him far beyond the five boroughs – he’s already visited 34+ countries! As a student, studies abroad in Scotland, Ghana and Spain fostered his love of connecting with people around the globe, so it came as no surprise that he found himself drawn to a path that enabled him to do so each and every day.
When he isn’t behind his desk, you’ll likely find him with his nose in a book, his feet in a pair of hiking shoes or something new on his fork.
Nicole Introcaso graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing. After studying abroad at an art school in Florence, Italy, she discovered her love for travel. In 2010, Nicole launched a social media and creative marketing agency, providing services to clients across lifestyle industries. Over the course of 6 years, as she operated her own business, Nicole gained extensive experience in social media, PR, event management, SEO and email marketing.
Nicole found her way into the travel industry when she took a job as Digital Marketing Manager for an online start-up focused on Caribbean travel. She successfully created digital content and campaigns that brought further awareness to the region and helped consumers make informed travel decisions.
Nicole joined the JG Black Book team in 2017. As the Marketing Manager, she works with Collection Members on a daily basis to oversee social media, website and email marketing initiatives. She also offers support in event marketing, monthly reporting and miscellaneous client projects.
With over 6 years of experience in sales and business development, Karin brings strong industry knowledge and connections, from previous experience at Fasano Hotels and L’Hotel, to build effective relationships, viable connections, and ongoing support to agents within the global travel trade.
Karin works as JG Black Book’s Latin America Sales Manager, aiding our ongoing efforts in promoting key clients to the travel trade in the Latin America.
Jackie Magid is Executive Director of The Bodhi Tree Foundation, JG Black Book’s official Foundation Partner, founded by President and CEO Jena Gardner in 2008.
Prior to the Bodhi Tree Foundation, Jackie Magid held a variety of senior management roles in marketing, business development and strategic planning in the hospitality industry for a span of over 20 years, including American Express Travel Related Services, Zagat Survey, Leading Hotels of the World and Kasel Luxury Marketing Group. She is well-versed in the NGO sector as well, having formerly served as the Director of Development and currently sitting on the Board for the U.S. Friends of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Jackie holds an M.B.A. in Finance/International Business from New York University, a B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University, and a Graduate Certificate in Hospitality Industry Studies at NYU’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.
Dre started with JG Black Book as an intern and is now a Sales Manager representing Heritage Tours and Revealed America – two of JG’s sister companies. In his current role, Dre is responsible for client relations and development, while also facilitating cross-company communication.
Dre is a recent transplant to the East Coast and is determined to make his mark on the world of luxury travel. Dre received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Melissa is responsible for media relations and outreach, reporting, clippings, and other long-term and day-to-day logistics to support JG Black Book Collection’s PR clients. She joins the team with coordinator experience, business development skills from her time as a Proposal Lead, and a strong creative thinking ability from her experience in the fashion industry. Melissa is a Columbia Scholastic Press Association award-winning author and has contributed a travel article to an international publication. She recently graduated from Marist College earning a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising with a concentration in Promotion and a double minor in English and Journalism. While at Marist, she completed two study abroad programs at Mod’Spe in Paris, France and Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence, Italy where her passion for travel grew.
Ellie has joined the JG Black Book team as an Account Supervisor to oversee our international luxury travel and hospitality partners.
Ellie graduated from the University of Miami with a BS in Public Relations and Marketing. She brings a depth of experience in luxury travel, hospitality, spirits and real estate. Ellie began her career with agencies in South Florida specializing in luxury lifestyle and hospitality. She managed client-agency relationships and media outreach strategy for Morgans Hotel Group, W Hotels, Acqualina Resort & Spa, Viceroy Anguilla, Grand Residences Riviera Cancun, LDV Hospitality, William Grant & Sons and Moët & Chandon. Ellie also has experience managing crisis communications and public affairs for global commercial and residential real estate companies including Jones Lang LaSalle, Skanska, and CMC Group.
Ellie was born in The Netherlands and grew up living in different countries around Europe. Her multi-cultural background and international upbringing inspired her passion for travel at an early age.
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