A Global Network

Planeterra is made up of a dedicated team of individuals who work in Canada, United States, Vietnam, Zambia, Costa Rica, India, Cambodia and Peru with frequent travel in the field. Our entire global community – including our in-country partners, board, and advisors – are integral to the success of our work.

Gotshezhy Wiwa Community Tourism Sierra Nevada, Colombia

Our Team

RHEA SIMMS Director- Global Programs

Rhea Simms

Director – Global Programs

Rhea is a nonprofit professional with experience working across diverse countries, cultures and industries. As the Senior Program Manager for Planeterra, she leads the global team in their mission to break down barriers that keep women, communities, and vulnerable groups from successfully engaging in the tourism industry. Rhea and her team lead community training on enterprise development, manage grants, and mediate relationships between the travel industry and communities to ensure long-term success of the programs. They launched the Global Community Tourism Network in 2021 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support communities virtually through practical resources, training and peer-to-peer support.

Rhea has a Masters in Development Practice and began her nonprofit career working for several years on livelihood development and healthcare programs for women in flood-affected communities in Pakistan with Community World Service – Asia. During her Masters, Rhea spent time with CARE Cambodia, based in Ratanakiri, studying alternative livelihood opportunities for Indigenous women impacted by illegal land grabbing. Rhea is passionate about the intersection of livelihood development programs with the travel industry as it leads to long term results, celebration of culture, uplifting of vulnerable groups and the protection of local environments. 

With Planeterra, Rhea has led the development, from start to finish, of eleven successful community tourism projects. Through the years, Rhea has mentored and supported enterprises from over 40 countries, primarily in Asia and the Middle East.

EVIE NDHLOVU Program Manager, Europe, Africa & the Middle East

Evie Ndhlovu

Program Manager, Europe, Africa & the Middle East

Evie is a native of one of Southern Africa’s most popular tourism hubs: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. From a very early age, she had a passion for ensuring that her community would benefit from the booming tourism industry. She is a graduate of Monash University, having attained the skills and certifications in Economic Development, Statistics and Business Management, but has over her career been involved in tourism and experience development. In the past, she was heavily involved in community education and cultural conservation programs, first in Roodepoort, South Africa for three years and later on in the rural areas around her hometown of Victoria Falls for a further three years. 

She is a tourism and development professional, who in her role at Planeterra, specializes in tourism experience development, enterprise mentorship and the development and implementation of Planeterra’s Regional Strategy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in accordance with the SDG’s as well as the core of Planeterra’s work. She is passionate about expanding Planeterra’s reach through sharing Planeterra’s stories to peers and influencers with the tourism industry and does so through speaking engagements in trade shows, webinars, conferences as well as regional expo’s.

Joel Callañaupa

Program Manager of the America’s

Joel has over 10  years of experience in community tourism development, leading community tourism programs for public, private and international organizations. He has worked with several Indigenous communities in Latin America, including Perú, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Belize, providing management support, technical assistance, training, and capacity building help. He holds a degree in Tourism Development and a Masters degree in Cooperation for Development. Currently, he works as Planeterra’s Program Manager for the Americas, overseeing more than 25 community projects which include rural, women and Indigenous communities. Joel has a proven and demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and to achieve results alongside Indigenous communities and different stakeholders. Joel has led projects such as Tour Operator’s Plan for Sustainable Tourism, co-financed by the IDB as well as G Adventures. During the last 10 years, he has led more than 15 community tourism projects in Latin America for Planeterra.

Sophea Sok Regional Program Manager , Asia-Pacific

Sophea Sok

Program Manager, Asia-Pacific

Sophea is a Sustainable Tourism Specialist based in Cambodia with experience managing diverse stakeholder relationships with government, private sector, and institutional donors to achieve community tourism development goals. As the Regional Program Manager for Asia-Pacific for Planeterra, she leads all programs across the Asia-Pacific Region to create the most impact.

Sophea has a Bachelor of Arts in Tourism Management and an Executive Masters degree in International Development Studies. She started her career working in community-based ecotourism development to uplift nature conservation, and preserve local wisdom and culture through tourism. Sophea was one of the founders of the Cambodian Chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA – Cambodia Chapter) in 2011, establishing a strong position of PATA Cambodia Chapter with relevant stakeholders. 

Before her role at Planeterra, Sophea worked for ASEAN Secretariat based in Jakarta, Indonesia for more than 3 years to coordinate and support the ASEAN Member States to implement the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals to promote Southeast Asia as a quality tourism destination. She currently also serves as an International Board Member of the Asian Ecotourism Network (AEN).

In the Field

Planeterra’s team extends into the field, with part-time staff members around the world assisting our partners in their regions. At Planeterra, we call these individuals Community Development Specialists, and they are an integral component of our regional work. These individuals can communicate with Planeterra’s partners in local languages, understand local customs, and their proximity to the communities they work alongside means Planeterra can be more effective as a global organization.

Priyanka Singh

Community Development Specialist, South Asia

Priyanka is an avid traveller and passionate development worker. For Priyanka, Planeterra provided the perfect synergy to continue doing what she loves while spreading the benefits of tourism. With almost 15 years experience working with communities and a Masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building, Priyanka’s work has brought her to remote locations across India, as well as Cambodia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. These experiences made her see the kindness and desire to provide a healthy life for our families that connects us all. As the Community Development Specialist for South Asia, Priyanka works closely with our partners across India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In her free time, Priyanka likes to make travel plans (if not already travelling), and spends most days keeping busy with the theatrics of her toddler and her furry baby (dog!).

CARLOTA MORALES Community Development Specialist, Central America

Carlota Morales

Community Development Specialist, Central America

Carlota Morales has more than 10 years of experience in community development, with communities all over her home country Costa Rica, and across Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Carlota has experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors in both development and project management. Her approach to community development is supported by her degree in psychology and a Masters’s in Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development.

As a Community Development Specialist for Planeterra, Carlota coordinates and stewards the relationship between Planeterra, community projects, and stakeholders in the region, ensuring smooth operations, that community needs and goals are being met, the impact goals, and monitoring and acting as the main point of contact for Planeterra on the region.

Rosselin Rodriguez

Rosselin holds a degree in Tourism from the National University of Cusco, and has more than 10 years’ experience in the travel industry, focused on responsible travel and quality service. She has worked in hospitality, tour operations, and as a tour leader leading tours in Bolivia, Argentina, Chile and Brazil, working directly with community tourism enterprises selecting and giving technical advice to their experiences. 

As a Community Development Specialist for Planeterra in South America, Rosselin coordinates and stewards the relationship between Planeterra, community projects, and stakeholders in the region, ensuring smooth operations, that community needs and goals are being met, and acting as the main point of contact for Planeterra on the continent.

IUCN Sustainable Tourism project

‘Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas in a Post-COVID World’ is a project led by IUCN on behalf of GIZ and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It is implemented by the IUCN Global Protected and Conserved Areas Programme in collaboration with Planeterra. Planeterra has grown to have team members join in the countries of focus, Peru and Vietnam to lead this impactful project!

This team works exclusively on this project with the goal of  sustainable tourism development, with a focus on 4 flagship protected areas across Peru and Vietnam, building on – and informing – international best practice.

Phuong Tran Community Tourism Project Manager, Vietnam

Phuong Tran

Community Tourism Project Manager, Vietnam

Phuong leads Planeterra’s work in Vietnam related to a GIZ-funded tourism project, ensuring the project’s goals are successfully delivered and communities in protected areas can begin to restore benefits from tourism after the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

With an educational background in political economics and linguistics, Phuong has cultivated her passion to work with communities since the early days of her career when she worked in a remote mountainous area of Vietnam for an international NGO. Later on, despite moving to the for-profit sector but with a purpose, her passion grew even stronger. Her work spectrum focuses on sustainability and sustainable development, of which community development is an integral part. Over the years, she has sharpened her expertise in the facilitation of public – private partnership, social impact assessment (framework establishment and M&E), market research & analysis, community engagement, and sustainable private sector development.