A Global Network
Jamie Sweeting – President
Jamie has spent the last 25 years working in tourism, conservation, development, and business management. He is passionate about Planeterra because in his decades of traversing the globe, he has yet to encounter another organization that is so effective at using tourism to improve the lives of some of the most under-resourced people on this planet — especially marginalized women, disadvantaged youth, and rural communities (with a priority focus on indigenous communities.) Prior to Planeterra, Jamie was Global Chief Environmental Officer at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and headed up the travel industry program at the Center for Environmental Leadership in Business at Conservation International. He was formerly Chairman at Sustainable Travel International and has served on the boards of The International Ecotourism Society, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Travel. When Jamie is not working, you can find him enjoying time with his family or fishing (unfortunately rarely both at the same time!).
Kelly Galaski – Director of Global Programs
Kelly loves working for an exciting, ever-changing, fulfilling organization, that is changing people’s lives, including her own. Working at Planeterra has afforded her many opportunities that she would never have imagined. Kelly is responsible for the development and implementation of our community projects globally, and also focuses on sustainability strategies for Planeterra. She has been in the tourism sector since 1998, graduating with a Masters, which focused on community tourism planning in Costa Rica. This experience set the foundation for her to understand the dynamics of community tourism planning. She loves to travel (surprise, surprise!) … but when she’s not wearing her backpack, you can find her flying down the Canadian Rockies on her snowboard!
Joel Callañaupa – Program Manager, Latin America and The Caribbean
Joel believes that Planeterra’s philosophy and approach to community tourism is one of the most appropriate models to minimize impacts on the environment, respect local people and culture, and create economic benefits for local communities — this is why Joel works for Planeterra. Joel manages our South America projects and works closely with the Indigenous communities in Colombia, Peru and Bolivia. Joel holds a post-secondary degree in Tourism and has worked in the sustainable tourism sector since 2007. He has worked with a number of stakeholder groups, which include public, private and international organizations. A native speaker of Spanish and Quechua, Joel loves to learn new languages in his free time, especially native language’s sayings and slang.
Alanna Wallace – Program Manager, Africa, Europe & North America
Alanna is passionate about finding new ways to engage travellers in making positive, lasting impact on communities across the world. Holding a Masters in Global Development Challenges from the University of Edinburgh, and having worked across Africa in youth travel and voluntourism since 2011, Alanna sees unlimited opportunity in Planeterra’s strategy to empower social enterprises to create sustainable livelihoods. She’s a strong advocate for protection of culture and wildlife on any adventure abroad. As a Program Manager for Planeterra, Alanna focuses on the implementation of projects in Africa, Europe and the Americas. Alanna loves combining her passions for being active and outdoors, so you’ll find her (rain or shine!) on a hike with her rescue dog, Goose.
Rhea Simms – Program Manager, Asia Pacific
Rhea strongly believes that the creation of sustainable businesses across the developing world can open doors for the next generation to think bigger, create more, and change the world. Rhea has a Masters of Development Practice from the University of Waterloo, focusing on interdisciplinary solutions for sustainable development. She is passionate about preserving environmental integrity and empowering at-risk groups, particularly women and indigenous populations, and in 2012 began working in Pakistan and Cambodia in the non-profit sector. As a Program Manager for Planeterra, Rhea focuses on project development and communications for Asia and Oceania. Rhea spends her free time whipping up desserts that are too healthy to be delicious.
Panot Pakongsup – Field Manager (Asia)
Vanessa Valenzuela – Development Lead
Vanessa fell in love with travel at a very young age, on family trips to Colombia. After completing an interdisciplinary degree in Humanities, with a focus on philosophical and practical approaches to contemporary social issues, she explored Europe and Asia. Vanessa first learned about Planeterra while working in Product Development for our partner, G Adventures. Inspired by Planeterra’s leading work in community development and motivated by her passion for responsible tourism, Vanessa became a volunteer fundraiser and advocate for Planeterra before officially joining the team in 2018. After living and working in Japan for two years, Vanessa loves all things Japanese and can often be spotted feasting at Japanese restaurants around Toronto.
Evie Ndhlovu – Community Development Specialist
Evie is a Zimbabwean with a passion for community development and Indigenous tourism. From a very young age she has been actively engaged in social work and developmental roles that saw her pursuing a career in community service and global development. She holds a degree in Economic Development and Management from Monash University South Africa and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Global Development. Evie is very passionate about sustainable tourism and micro-economical business training for Indigenous entrepreneurs. She is an activist for gender-based equality and has been involved with key organizations that are firm in raising awareness and aid for young women and children in Zimbabwe. Evie believes that there are a very few problems in life that can’t be fixed with a smile or a hug.
Sheyla Olivera Flores – Community Development Specialist
Sheyla has a degree in tourism, and is passionate about living with and learning from local cultures. She first started working in community development in 2013 in rural areas of Peru with community and women’s organizations as well as non-profit and government organizations in programs related to community based tourism. Sheyla believes that tourism is a great tool for local development, that it brings great opportunity for people who live in tourist destinations, and that the industry can be a life-changing force when it is well-managed. Alongside the Planeterra team as the Community Development Specialist for South America, Sheyla is committed to rural development, women empowerment and nature conservation.
Our Board of Directors
Bruce Poon Tip – Founder
Tenzin supports Planeterra because he believes that travel is a pathway to peace. His experiences have enabled him to see that people are more alike than not, and that travel can genuinely connect and benefit local communities when innovation is promoted and done collaboratively. Tenzin is the Principal of Snowlion Ventures. In his previous roles, he has acted as an Executive Advisor for leading technology, energy, finance, real estate and travel companies, as well as many years at the Government of Canada. Tenzin dreams of being able to dunk, play competently in an ice hockey league, audition for The Voice and grow up to be at least six feet three inches tall.