Our Team

Michelle Papas
Luxury Brand Strategist

Kick starting her career in international sales with luxury hotel groups such as Starwood, InterContinental and Shangri-La, Michelle sought to broaden her tourism industry experience with marketing roles for elite tourism attractions and within destination development and marketing.

 

She oversees the brand strategy for Luxperience and ensures that the event remains innovative for the carefully selected participants and provides opportunities to tap into emerging trends and luxury brands. Travel experiences are an inspiration for Michelle whether they are cultural, artistic, culinary or simply 'feel-good', and along with the relationships in the global travel industry she has cultivated over the years, her expertise and skills complement the Luxperience philosophy.

Portia Brown
Director of Operations

Portia joined Luxperience in November 2012 after a career spanning 15 years in the tourism and hospitality industry.  Previously working in a variety of operational roles, Portia began her career in Corporate Travel Management whilst working within the Catering and Events space. Her career achievements include the successful opening of a new corporate travel branch office; extensive market research for potential new offices; implementation of a dedicated client implant cell and assisting with a company buy out and merger.

 

She spent two years working in London where she diversified her skill set and worked on major infrastructure projects including the London 2010 Olympic Games facilities and HS2, the UK's newest high speed rail network. Portia is fortunate to have travelled the world and experienced some of the best-kept secrets there is on offer.

Emma Kim
Marketing Manager

Emma is no stranger to Luxperience having attended as a buyer in 2012 when she was Fine Hotels & Resorts and Communications Manager with American Express Platinum & Centurion Travel Benefits. Since then she's spent time as Marketing Manager at InterContinental Sydney and freelanced to various travel and tourism providers in Australia. Emma has over 12 years specialising in marketing communications predominately in financial services and the Travel & Tourism market; holds a post graduate certificate in Marketing Management from Macquarie Graduate School of Management and is currently in her last year of a Diploma of Interior Design.

 

Whilst she has been fortunate to have experienced bespoke luxury experiences, her dream travel experience is to take a year off travelling and volunteering; participating in efforts to make a difference to the lives of the disadvantaged or in under-privileged communities. 

Bronwyn Wilson (nee Towers)
Event Operations and Marketing Executive

Bronwyn joined Luxperience in 2014, bringing with her over 15 years of travel, hospitality and customer service experience. Bronwyn holds a degree in Business Administration, amongst many other industry qualifications. A passionate event professional, Bronwyn enjoys the fast paced, multi-faceted nature of the industry. She is also passionate about the Luxperience Intern program, and delights in teaching the industry’s up and comers.

 

Her travel experience is many and varied, and these days her travel is generally fuelled by mountain biking by day, wining and dining by night and lush hotel surroundings. Her most memorable trips include exploring Tasmania’s, Freycinet National Park, sailing the Croatian coastline and experiencing hygge in Copenhagen. 

Arnie Lautaimi
Business Development Executive - Buyer Relations

Arnie joined the Luxperience team in early 2016 assisting with recruitings local buyers for Luxperience 2016, after working in Guest Services at Hilton Sydney whilst studying. Recently Arnie has secured the role of Business Development Executive (Buyer Relations) and continues to study a Bachelor of Commerce at The University of Notre Dame Australia, majoring in Human Resource Management.

 

He is still putting together his travel wish list, but his time with Luxperience has inspired him to visit Bhutan to see Buddhist temples and the sweeping views of the Himalayas, as well as to Italy to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Julie Romania
'EVENTS by LUXPERIENCE' AMBASSADOR

Founder of Imaginative Events Pty Ltd, with over 15 years of experience working in one of the world’s largest financial institutions and recently recognised internationally for her expertise in events planning, as seen in the Daily Mail.  Julie’s renowned for her flair in adding unique and never-before-seen touches to intimate gatherings, luxury incentive trips, corporate dinners, conferences, roadshows, sporting events, group travel and much more.

 

Julie felt the alignment of Events by Luxperience was a perfect match given both business’s are in the forefront of luxury, unique and experimental travel.

Julie continues to set herself apart from the competition through her attention to detail and personalized approach to client relationships within the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events Market.  Julie will spread the word throughout her network to educate her clients and suppliers the importance of showcasing their brand at Events by Luxperience.

Julie’s favourite destination of choice is the exquisite island of Santorini.

Lucy Jones
Editorial and Content Manager

After spending her late teens and early 20s living in the UK and travelling around Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America, Lucy returned home to Sydney to turn her passion for travel into a career. She has worked as a journalist and travel writer for the past six years, and was most recently the Editor of Luxury Travel magazine. She joined the Luxperience team to develop the editorial and social media content whilst continuing to work with the world’s best luxury providers.

 

Her favourite destination is Thailand, but she is also partial to a luxury lodge or a boutique river cruise.

Virginia Haddon
Media Relations and Founder Cascade Communications

virginia@cascadecommunications.com.au

With tertiary qualifications in travel, tourism and small business management, Virginia has broad experience in media and public relations, event management, product and destination representation, writing and strategic planning. During her 20+ years in the travel industry, Virginia has gained a wealth of knowledge and developed a large and diverse network of contacts. Virginia has worked with an enviable list of clients including Peninsula Hotels, Silversea Cruises, Sea Cloud Cruises, VisitScotland, German National Tourist Office, Switzerland Tourism, Philippine Department of Tourism and TripAdvisor and spent time as Associate Editor for American Express Departures and Centurion magazines.

 

Virginia founded Cascade Communications as a specialist full service PR and Marketing Consultancy for high-end travel and lifestyle brands.

WORLDWIDE AGENTS

ASIA

Jennifer Spark – Co Founder & Director, ReadySetGo China

With a career in China spanning two decades and across multiple industries, Jennifer has a genuine passion and curiosity for the Chinese culture and language and a desire to help Australian brands make a real and lasting impact in the market.

Jennifer spent five years intensively studying Chinese language, culture and media including two years in Chinese universities.

 

Her career following graduation included working in advertising, public relations and event management for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, the Australian Embassy in Beijing, managing two Australian Film Festivals, and many high profile Australia art institutions. Her  clients included The Sydney Opera House, Bangarra, The West Australian Ballet, Garry Van Egmond, The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and many other small and medium sized artistic companies and individual artists.

 

On returning to Australia in 2006 Jennifer developed a career in management consulting, initially with PricewaterhouseCoopers managing the China desk, helping Australian companies gain insight into market entry strategies in China, and then at Accenture Australia, managing marketing strategies to support the growth of the practice across North Asia.

Yin Yu – Co Founder & Director, ReadySetGo China

Yin has enjoyed a dynamic international career with a passion in building meaningful connections between Western and Chinese businesses, people, and cultures through her extensive professional reach and unique trilingual mix.

 

Co-founder of ReadySetGo China, Yin has 15+ years of interntianl market experience in business development, advertising, client relationship, learning & development. Yin has worked for some of the world' s biggest global corporations, and also recognised as a serial entrepreneur.

 

Yin has called Sydney home since 2008 after spending four years in France and many years in various cities in her native China.

 

A highlight of her travelling experience is a 10-month round-the-world tour with her family including a toddler in tow. She is also the founding president of the not-for-profit Chinglish Bilingual Toastmasters Club in Sydney, and an advocate for multilingual parenting in her spare time.

Meeko Tien – Owner of Meeko Tourism Connections

With extensive and highly  respected connections with the Australian and Asian travel industries Meeko is an enthusiastic traveller and plays an essential role to our growth in the Asian market. She has visited many of the great cities of the world, learning about local cultures, meeting fascinating people and enthusiastically engaged in the sights, sounds, smells and especially tastes of India, China, Japan, Korea and South East Asia.

 

A keen with photographer, Meeko has captured thousands of photographs from the cinematic landscapes of New Zealand and China, to the classical beauty of the major European capitals and the romantic, rustic cities of Southern France, Spain, Italy and Malta.

USA

Karen Stotz – North American Agent for Luxperience

Travel is Karen's passion and for the past 25 years she has been fortunate to pursue this passion through working with some dynamic and interesting destinations and product suppliers. She believes experiencing the authentic heart of a destination is key. Taking the time to uncover unique qualities of each location, engaging with the locals and learning about their culture – this makes for a lifetime of memories.

 

Karen's favorite travel experiences include walking amongst wild wombats and kangaroos on Tasmania’s Maria Island; aerial sightseeing over New Zealand ; rum punch in hand, gazing out at the turquoise Caribbean Sea from the pool deck of a private villa, saying "wherever you travel, have an open mind and an open heart and the memories will stay with you forever".

INDIA

Deepika Chowdhry – Founder and CEO Candid India

Deepika is a highly reputed and respected professional marketer with more than 18 years’ experience in the world of hospitality and tourism. She is very well connected, not only with MICE and leisure buyers but also within the wildlife, adventure and travel agent community in India and abroad.

 

Her extensive experience includes roles with renowned international exhibitions such as IMEX, ILTM, and IT&MA. She is the Founder CEO of Candid India, a tourism and hospitality representation company based in New Delhi, India.

LATIN AMERICA

Ruben de la Fuente – Owner of Latinos DownUnder

A seasoned professional, Ruben has worked for some of the largest tour operators in Australia and has the confidence, experience, network and knowledge within the tourism industry to connect Latin Americans with Australasia and the Pacific.

 

Career and travel experience highlights include his regular travels to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico and Chile. He believes the joy of sharing his knowledge of his adopted home of Australia and its amazing experiences with the Latinos during his travels is an added bonus.

CONTINENTAL EUROPE

Dimitris Athanasopoulos – Business Development Manager - Europe

di.athanasopoulos@luxperience.com.au

Being in the travel industry for more than 10 years, Dimitris draws upon his experience as a professional travel journalist and photographer, Business Development Manager and Hotel Consulting specialist to source, as well as enhance, the positioning of exclusive luxury and boutique hotels and experiences.

 

With such credentials and a passion for travel, Dimitris is driven by the life motto that regardless of the extent of the journey each discovery can be a unique travel experience. Focusing on both established and emerging tourism markets across Europe Dimitris is working to enhance the Luxperience footprint with suppliers and buyers from these regions.