When you have discerning clients like we do, your team has to be discerning too—but also creative, well informed, perceptive, and above all, passionate about travel. Our creative team comes to work each day with a tall order: to craft unique travel itineraries that embody our clients’ individual attributes and core values. This often means teasing out pertinent themes—from architecture to military history to culinary traditions—or putting a fresh spin on iconic places. They know how to craft seamless and engaging travel experiences, build strong relationships with our overseas partners, keep up with current events and foresee the unexpected. And they have to wear all kinds of hats: researcher, events coordinator, negotiator, dreamer, writer and diplomat.
We’re excited to introduce you to three new program managers on our team. Two are familiar faces at ATA, and one comes to us from the world of environmental consulting. Between them, they have lived in Costa Rica, England, and Madagascar; visited 34 national parks on one road trip; sailed to 12 ports during a semester at sea; and set out on a bucket-list trip to seven European cities as far-flung as London and Istanbul. Without further ado, we present our newest travelsmiths:
Jennifer Kefer, our new Senior Program Manager, joined us this past January. An inveterate traveler, she spent three months in an immersive field studies program in Costa Rica, has been to five continents, and takes summer road trips all over the U.S. with her family, exploring everything from factories and roadside attractions to national parks. Her love for travel and her passion for preserving the planet drove her into environmental consulting, where she spent nearly two decades working on climate change and energy policy. Jennifer earned a BA from Brandeis University in environmental studies, a master’s in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a law degree from Yale Law School. She considers herself a life-long student with a deep curiosity about the world—which is what led her to put her skills to use at ATA, researching, building coalitions, and inspiring others to care about the world by experiencing it firsthand.
There’s a chance you or your travelers have already spoken to one of our new program managers, Megan Burden. She joined ATA in 2012 as a reservations agent, booking travelers on the trips we operate for our clients. In 2016, she was promoted to manager of the entire Guest Services team. Her experience directly communicating with our clients’ guests gives her a valuable perspective when crafting itineraries. A native of Seattle, Megan developed her passion for travel during a Semester at Sea, when she explored 12 ports on four continents. After achieving a B.A. in international affairs and history from the University of Colorado, she joined the Peace Corps as an English as a foreign language teacher in Madagascar, and was posted to a village in the island’s remote central highlands. She has worked as a staff intern at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and at International Peace Initiatives, a non-profit in Kenya that works to improve local livelihoods.
Baltimore native Julie Elias came to ATA in 2015 as a program assistant, helping the team with background research and development for new and existing trip concepts. She was promoted to program coordinator in 2017 and became a full-fledged program manager this January. Julie has a B.A. in American Studies from Dickinson College, and a wide range of interests that include cooking, film production, books, trivia nights, and of course travel. She studied abroad in Norwich, England, and set off after college on a far-ranging trip that took her to a number of places on her bucket list, including Istanbul, Israel, Salzburg, Budapest, France, Germany and back to England.
We are pleased to welcome Julie, Megan and Jennifer to our team of program managers, and look forward to the compelling adventures they concoct for our clients!