The Family Travel Advisor Forum team is delighted to work with some of the best travel sellers in the family/multigenerational vacation arena, to help develop content, special engagements and other particulars that will positively impact the overall event experience. Please meet the 2019 FTAF Advisory Board:
Kim DalPonte, President/Travel Consultant, Pixie Dust & Paradise Travel, Inc.
Kim DalPonte is the owner and lead travel consultant at Pixie Dust & Paradise Travel in Chicago, IL. She opened her agency in 2011 after a health scare that made her realize that she wanted to see the world and create lasting memories with her two young daughters. She is passionate about helping families create those same types of magical memories. Kim specializes in Family, Multi-Generational, and Group Travel. She’s a recognized authority in the industry and has numerous accreditations and certifications with many destinations and suppliers.
Kim owned a hair salon for 25 years, and through word of mouth from her existing clientele, she was able to create a thriving travel business. Her business now consists of mainly repeat and referral clients. She also has a growing team of motivated agents who are helping her to grow her brand. Team work makes the dream work!
She is a frequent speaker within the travel industry, as well as often quoted and featured in several publications. Kim has been a TPI Ambassador for several years, and also hosts supplier meetings with her local networking group. She loves helping new agents become successful entrepreneurs.
Kim believes that educating herself on the properties she sells is of the utmost importance. Kim has traveled all over Mexico and the Caribbean, and is an expert in all things Disney. She is often traveling to new and exciting destinations to learn, first hand, about the product and location that she is sending her clients to. She also thinks forming relationships with the suppliers and BDM’s that she partners with, is invaluable to her business, and her clients.
Valerie Gossett, Owner & President, Premier Resources Travel Group
Valerie Gossett is the Owner & President of Premier Resources Travel Group, with travel agents in 15 states, is a multi-million dollar producer, speaker, trainer and mentor to many travel agents in the industry. Valerie has started boot camps where agents and agency owners wanting to grow their business can come for assistance. Helping others be successful in business is one of her passions!
Prior to travel she was in the corporate world as a VP of Sales for 25 years. She had over 200 outside sales reps and 75 inside recruiters she worked with in the staffing industry. They placed IT and Accounting professionals in positions throughout the country. When she went through a recession in 2005 she transitioned to an industry she always knew she’d be a part of – travel.
She has really been training for this career her whole life. She started at age 7 making plane reservations over the phone and from then on took a big part in planning trips for her family and friends.
Valerie loves training and working with agents and clients, travel, family and celebrations of any kind! She is now leading large consumer groups all over the world. She is always thinking of innovative ways she and her agents can grow.
Gregg Kaminksy, Founding Partner, R Family Vacations
Gregg Kaminsky began his career as a travel entrepreneur more than 20 years ago, creating specialty cruise and resort vacations all over the world. Formerly the Vice President of Atlantis Events, the world’s largest gay tour operator, he co-founded R Family Vacations in 2003, helping create the first company to offer customized vacations for LGBT families and friends. R Family Vacations was featured on HBO’s “All Aboard!” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Emmy Award.
More than 20,000 guests have traveled with R Family, which now offers adult-only LGBT vacations. R Family Vacations has recently partnered with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, and together they will offer full-ship LGBT sailings aboard the brand new “U by Uniworld” ships and its fresh approach to river cruising.
He also served as a travel consultant for Nickelodeon and produced five full ship charters on Royal Caribbean’s biggest ships featuring SpongeBob, Dora and Nick’s live action stars. R Family recently joined the prestigious Tzell Travel Group in NYC expanding their business to include FIT travel and tours.
Kaminsky was named as part of the “OUT 100”, an annual list of the most influential members of the LGBT community He graduated from the University of Texas and earned his MBA from the University of Southern California. He splits his time between NY and Aspen with his husband Dan. They were featured on the Bravo television series “Gay Weddings”. He loves traveling so much if he’s not at an airport every couple of weeks he begins to shake from withdrawal.
Kelly Ortiz, Owner, Guru Travel
Kelly Ortiz is the founder, owner and head guru at Guru Travel LLC, a boutique travel agency specializing in Disney Destinations, a Preferred Sandals Agency, along with special performance awards from Apple Vacations and Disney Destinations. By keeping the team the size of a large family and focusing the collective expertise with like-minded vendors, Kelly and her team provide concierge level services to travelers, regardless of the budget.
Like many Disney fans, Kelly wanted to share her love for Walt Disney and all that he accomplished. First came the blog. Second came the travel business. Then everything exploded from there. Over the past five years the business has grown by leaps and bounds, due to Kelly’s commitment to have the highest trained team members and then putting her passion to work. She is a leader in social media, an influencer in family and all-inclusive travel and advocate of over the top guest services. There is a huge retention rate among clients because of Kelly’s commitment to service and education.
Guru Travel is built on the foundation of knowledge. As a former teacher, Kelly’s passion for teaching permeates into every aspect of her life and Guru Travel is no exception. A well-educated traveler is a happier traveler and a well-educated team can provide every traveler with the perfect vacation.
Kelly and her family reside in Elgin, IL.
Certifications: Disney College of Knowledge Graduate; Universal Certified Travel Agent, Sandals – Certified Sandals Specialist; Hawaii Destinations Specialist Certification; Royal Caribbean Expert; Celebrity Cruise Five Star Academy Graduate; CLIA – Cruise Line International Association Certified; AMResorts Master Agent; Atlantis Certified; Mexico Specialist Certified; Outrigger Expert Agent; Xcaret Parks Certified; Oasis Resorts Certified; Discovery Dolphin Certified; RIU Resort Certified; Jamaica Travel Specialist; Palladium Pro; and Nassau Paradise Island Specialist.
Thank you to our 2017 Family Travel Advisor Forum Advisory Board!