Skift IDEA Awards 2023: Meet The Judges

Skift Take

Skift IDEA Awards judges are carefully handpicked by the Skift team and include travel industry veterans, entrepreneurs, imagineers, and global leaders.

Get ready to meet the incredible team of industry experts that will be joining the judging panel. We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome these brilliant minds who will bring their unique perspectives and experiences to assess the submissions for this year’s awards.

As you may know, each year, we select a handful of independent judges to join us in the exciting task of assessing submissions for the Skift IDEA Awards. We’re proud to say that our judges are carefully handpicked by the Skift team and include travel industry veterans, entrepreneurs, imagineers, and global leaders.

With this year’s panel, we are excited to welcome a fresh and diverse perspective to the awards. Our judges have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various aspects of the travel industry and will undoubtedly bring a wealth of insights to the table. We’re confident that they will help us identify the most groundbreaking and inspiring ideas that are transforming the travel industry as we know it.

Without further ado, let us introduce you to our incredible line-up of judges who will be assessing this year’s submissions:

Aaron Walton, CEO & Founder, Walton Isaacson:

Recognized as a trailblazer and thought leader, Aaron’s focus on innovation and cultural engagement has transformed traditional marketing and advertising strategies. As the CEO/co-founder of Walton Isaacson (WI), Aaron’s focus is squarely on identifying unseen opportunities rooted in cultural insights and connections, transforming the definition of the agency model by prioritizing diversity of thinking, and encouraging strategic solutions that defy tradition.

Aditi Mohapatra, Vice President, Global Social Impact & Sustainability, Expedia Group:

Aditi Mohapatra directs Expedia Group’s strategy across social and environmental sustainability. She oversees efforts to maximize impact while delivering business value – most recently leading the launch of Expedia Group’s new Open World™ social impact and sustainability strategy, focusing on making travel more open and inclusive for all.

Aliya Khan, Vice President of Design, Lifestyle Brands, Marriott International:

Aliya Khan, Vice President Global Design Strategies at Marriott International is an award-winning talent, and the driving force behind the disruptive and forward-thinking design approach for Marriott’s Lifestyle portfolio. In her role, Aliya helps to define the foundational elements of Aloft, AC Hotels, Autograph, Element, Le Meridien, Moxy, Renaissance, Tribute and Westin, distinguishing each with a clear design personality and focus.

Darrell Wade, Co-Founder & Chairman, Intrepid:

Darrell Wade is the Co-founder and Chair of Intrepid, the world’s largest certified travel B Corp. A highly regarded entrepreneur and sustainability advocate, Darrell and Geoff (‘Manch’) Manchester founded Intrepid Travel in the late 1980s as a new way for people to explore the world that was immersive, sustainable and gave back to the communities they visited.

Fred Reid, Senior Advisor, Surf Air Mobility:

Frederick W. Reid is an experienced global leader, executive, and board director. During his career of over thirty years in the aviation industry, he has earned a world-wide reputation as a leader who has launched, grown and strengthened businesses, with particular focus on customer service, brand-building and complex global operations.

Katalina Mayorga, Co-Founder & CEO, El Camino Travel:

As the Colombian-American founder and CEO of El Camino Travel, Katalina Mayorga has been on a mission to change the way women travel, making it more accessible and inclusive. As a veteran of the travel industry, she has led El Camino to become one of the most popular experiential marketplaces and subscription services that empower women to travel boldly and off the beaten path.

Paul Nursey, CEO, Destination Greater Victoria:

An experienced and respected senior tourism leader and progressive tourism marketing, strategy, and branding expert with 25 years of tourism-related leadership and management experience. Widely regarded as one of Canada’s top tourism policy minds, Paul has held leadership positions with the Canadian Tourism Commission, Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours, Mount Seymour Resorts and Tourism Vancouver – the Greater Vancouver Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Robin McClain, Chief Marketing Officer, Destination DC:

Robin McClain serves as Chief Marketing Officer at Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC. In her role, McClain leads Destination DC’s efforts to generate interest and visitation to the city while leveraging the latest research, technology and trends to attract consumers. As McClain leads the marketing efforts to help DC’s hospitality industry recover post-pandemic.

Shoba Mohan, Founder Partner, RARE India:

Shoba Mohan is the Founder Partner of RARE India, a company that has been promoting conservation and community based tourism with sustainability as a keystone value for tourism and hospitality. She sits on board associations like RTSOI, TTC etc. and promotes the idea that sustainable travel is future ready and luxury has to be redefined around parameters that believe in protection and preservation of the planet.

Tamara Lohan MBE, CEO & Founder, Mr & Mrs Smith:

UK tech entrepreneur Tamara Lohan MBE is the CEO of Mr & Mrs Smith, the boutique hotel booking specialists that she co-founded with her husband James in 2003. Responsible for evolving the company’s digital infrastructure, Tamara oversaw the company’s pivot from publishing house to online travel agent; as CTO, led the development of Mr & Mrs Smith’s in-house booking engine and proprietary availability-management systems, and steered the business into new markets, opening offices in Australia, the US and Singapore.

We’re delighted to have such an amazing group of judges joining us this year, and as we continue to build the judging panel, we can’t wait to see the ideas and innovations that they’ll be evaluating.

The awards recognize and celebrate the most innovative ideas in travel across categories such as hospitality, tourism, aviation, and technology. The winners will be announced in August 2023, so stay tuned for more updates and announcements as we continue to help shape the future of the travel industry.

We invite all innovators in the travel industry to submit their ideas for consideration by our expert panel of judges, as with their support, the Skift IDEA Awards are set to be even more exciting and inspiring than ever before.

Haven’t started your submission yet? Start today and celebrate your achievements.

Please note: Are you an event or meeting planner interested in world travel awards for conferences? The Skift Meetings Awards celebrate the business event industry’s most respected and innovative suppliers. More information.


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Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Tags: idea awards 2023, skift idea awards

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