Finalist - Luminaries, Legends, & Leaders
2022 Virtuoso Travel Week
Family + Celebration Category
Jen is our founder & CEO, so there is a lot of info about her already splattered across the pages of this website, but here is a little summary for you.
When she found out that she was having twins, her plans of globe-trotting with a baby in tow did not seem so simple anymore, but she had to try! She is so glad she did because not only did she realize not only was it possible, it was enjoyable. More importantly, it led her to create a family travel company that helps busy families prioritize travel.
Prior to creating Explore More Family Travel, she was a Financial Analyst and spent most of her professional career at Gulfstream Aerospace. Thus, she knows a thing or two about luxury travel. She also knows about ensuring that a financial investment yields favorable returns, and there is no greater return on investment than memories that last a lifetime!
Jen’s style of travel has changed over the years. From her luxury travel experiences as a sales coordinator for Gulfstream Aerospace to her days pushing two strollers around Europe, her fascination with culture has remained constant. These travels give her insight into creating luxury family vacations with an emphasis on authentic experiences that will forever link her clients to their destinations.
Dana is local to the Lake Norman area. She has been married for 27 years and has three children – two sons who live in Florida and a daughter in her last year of high school, so Dana has been busy overseeing college applications and essays. She is also the mother of 3 rescue pups and is a volunteer at Rescue Ranch both working on-site and helping with fundraising efforts. Dana is always up for new adventures and recently enjoyed a shopping trip to Girl Supply in Birkdale so much that she started working there part-time. Her newest adventure is working for Explore More part-time!
What is particularly exciting about the addition of Dana to our team is that she comes to Explore More with six years of travel industry experience including working for the woman who advised Jen when she decided to enter the industry and at Explore More’s host agency, Gifted Travel Network. What are the chances? Not only has she worked in the industry, but she has traveled with the assistance of a Virtuoso travel agent so she understands how the industry works from multiple angles. This wealth of knowledge makes her the perfect choice for our new Client Experience Manager position. She will ensure that all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted once a booking is completed by Jen. They will work together to keep clients excited about their trip and ensure that clients have all of the details needed prior to departure.
While Dana loves exploring new places, her favorite travel destination (so far!) is Vienna, Austria. She is ready to ‘explore more’, and we are excited to be part of her journey.
A millennial at heart, and traveler by passion, Cass is a lover of all things Enneagram and a seeker of drool-worthy food. Originally from Columbia, South Carolina, Cass’s love for travel started brewing during her annual trips to Northwestern Ohio to see her great grandparents. As a college junior, she found her way to Cuba, doing philanthropic work with the locals of Matanzas. With no plan to stop, Cass made her way to Gabon, Africa her senior year to teach underprivileged women a craft, from which they earned a profit as Cass sold their product in the U.S.
Cass currently spends most of her days working in the Emergency Department of a local hospital, caring for her fiance and two kids and crafting delicious desserts and bites in the kitchen. She has spent most of her career serving others and looks forward to doing the same for Explore More’s clients!
We have not even mentioned her drive and love for planning yet! Every family has one but she is THE planner. She plans her family’s annual vacations and is always looking for ways to ‘explore more’ With a plethora of administrative skill sets, Cass is perfect as our Client Support Specialist. She assists Jen in the creation of itineraries and all of the other tasks involved in finalizing a booking. Her role will grow as she learns the travel industry, and she is ready to hit the ground running giving our clients the best travel itineraries to date.
Kelli’s most important job is being a mommy to two adorable toddlers,. She is originally from Michigan and a graduate of Michigan State, but her family relocated to Ohio last year. Her absolute favorite things are the water, travel, and kids which makes her the perfect fit for Explore More! Prior to becoming a mommy, she was an event planner for the American Cancer Society. She also teaches swim lessons on the side (she’s basically a mermaid).
Much like Jen, she was not sure how her passion for travel would work with young children. However, she took her firstborn to Punta Cana when he was only 8 months old and was sold on family travel!
Heidie is the mom of two girls, a toddler and a first-grader. Like the rest of the team, she did not let having kids slow down her travels. Her favorite destination is France, and her eldest is even attending a French immersion program at a language school. One of her absolute favorite words is fernweh, a German word that translates to an intense longing to visit faraway places. As Heidie puts it, “I feel this in my bones … an aching to travel and constantly experience and explore“, which is why her position as our Destination Specialist is basically the perfect job for her! She will assist with the destination research that we use to enhance our clients’ trips. By helping Explore More’s clients see the world, she will quell her fernweh and discover new places to add to her bucket list!