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USTOA Announces Marketplace Speakers

NEW YORK – A world famous photographer, White House correspondent, American Olympian and other celebrated experts both in and outside the tourism industry will speak at the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) Annual Conference and Marketplace. Terry Dale, president and CEO of USTOA recently announced the lineup, which will take place December 5-7, 2014 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club.

Annie Griffiths, one of the first women photographers to work for “National Geographic,” will deliver the keynote speech at the Opening Session. Griffiths has contributed to dozens of magazines and book projects, as well as founded Ripple Effect, which aids programs that empower poor women and girls.

“Today’s traveler craves deep cultural immersion and throughout 2014, USTOA has focused its marketing efforts on showcasing how its members deliver these types of live-like-a-local experiences,” said Dale. “After documenting more than 100 countries through the lens of a camera, Annie Griffiths will bring a remarkable global perspective to the topic at this year’s conference.”

The conference will present these speakers in a new TED-style format called USTOA Talks. The talks will be hosted by Anita Mendiratta, founder and managing director of Cachet Consulting.

Jessica Yellin, another speaker for the USTOA Talks, previously served as CNN’s chief White House correspondent. A political journalist with an award-winning career, Yellin has interviewed numerous notable politicians.

Another speaker, Steven Michael Mesler, served as a three-time American Olympian in a four-man bobsled. His team won gold for the first time in 62 years for the U.S. at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. Mesler help found Classroom Champions, which connects top athletes with students in high-need schools to help inspire and motivate them.

Other speakers include Will Seccombe, president and CEO of Visit Florida; Robin Chase, founder of car sharing networks such as Zipcar; and Peter Ricchiuti, professor of finance at Tunlane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business.

USTOA’s marketplace provides a forum for USTOA Associate members to meet with top executives of USTOA’s Tour Operator members. For more information on the annual conference, visit