Meet the Team

At PEAK DMC, our offices span the globe – from Budapest to Bangkok, Cusco to Cairo.

Our 25 DMCs collectively employ more than 450 people across Operations, Sales, Finance, Contracting and Human Resources. In addition to our office staff, we also work with over 1000 tour leaders and local guides.

We’re a diverse bunch, but we’ve got a few things in common: our commitment to responsible business; our spirit of innovation and, more importantly, our love of creating and delivering the best travel experiences for your brand.

To get to know our regional teams, please read through their profiles below.  

Global

Celia Brennan

Celia Brennan

Global Operations Manager

With over 15 years working in the travel industry Celia has a strong background in global product and operations. Responsible for supporting the global network of PEAK DMCs in a multitude of tasks including safety compliance, commercial performance, training, development and procurement.

Angelika Zimmer

Angelika Zimmer

Global Contracting Manager

Angelika started in the travel industry in 2005 and has wealth of experience in product, contracting, customer service, reservation & sales. Originally from Germany, her passion for travel brought her to Asia, Africa, North America, Caribbean and of course Europe. She live in London for 9 years where she worked for a global travel company specializing in FIT experiential travel for students & young adults. Her aim is provide PEAK DMC partner passengers with a great experience they love to talk about.

Chris Godrich

Chris Godrich

Regional Business Development Manager - UK

15 years ago, after a successful career in retail business development, Chris decided to take a sabbatical to travel the world.  Little did he know that this would lead to him embarking on a huge change in direction by being inspired to work in travel and lead tours to over 50 countries across the globe. The last five years has seen Chris successfully lead a team of BDMs to deliver huge growth numbers across the EMEA region in the adventure travel sector.  With a strong work ethic built on providing exceptional customer service, forging long term working relationships and with a unique first-hand operational knowledge of the adventure industry Chris thrives on building successful, mutually benefiting business partnerships across the globe. 

Asia

Carl Needham

Carl Needham

General Manager, Vietnam, Cambodia & Myanmar

What started as an 18-month commitment as a tour leader in 1996, led to a 17-year long, travel love story. Carl’s passion for learning a new culture began way back then and still continues today. Having worked in all areas of PEAK’s business, he knows what it takes to deliver inspirational travel experiences for our clients. It is this challenge – of bringing new and innovative travel products onboard – that he thrives on. Well, that, and sharing the wonders of South East Asia with everyone he meets.

Mike Stewart

Mike Stewart

General Manager, Thailand

Mike's love for adventure saw him travel the world until 2003 when he decided that Asia was the place to be. Starting out as a tour leader and having worked across all departments within the DMC business, Mike enjoys nothing more than working with the local team in Thailand creating and delivering innovative and sustainable experiences for your clients.

Aye Mya Mya Soe

Aye Mya Mya Soe

General Manager, Indonesia

Aye has been in the tourism industry since she graduated and brings a wealth of experience to her role. Aye is detailed, patient, customer-focused and willing to go the extra mile to ensure our guests have a fantastic experience in Indonesia and to play a key leadership role in our success as a world-class adventure travel operator.

Chris Hardy

Chris Hardy

General Manager, Malaysia

Chris has been working in travel since 2007 – starting out as a travel agent, he then took the plunge and became a tour leader before moving into Product and Operational roles across five of our different DMCs. These broad experiences have given Chris a detailed knowledge and understanding of the full customer journey. 

Anu Karunatilaka

Anu Karunatilaka

Regional General Manager, North and South Asia

Anu’s passion for exploring the world led him to move to Melbourne from his home country of Sri Lanka. Taking up an IT consultancy role with the Intrepid Group in 2008, Anu got his first taste of the travel industry and developed an in-depth understanding on how our business works . Eight years after he left Sri Lanka, Anu took his team-leading abilities and passion for travel to come full circle with his move back to head up our Colombo office.  After growing the business almost 10 fold in just four years, Anu has now taken on the challenge of managing the North and South Asia region. Anu clearly loves rising to challenges, so what is next on his list of things to conquer? A climb to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro of course.

Ravindra Singh Shekhawat

Ravindra Singh Shekhawat

General Manager, Nepal

Trained in hospitality and service, Ravindra started as a sales manager for a large hotel. His passion for travel took him towards the travel trade where he started leading trips throughout India/Nepal. After being a tour leader for three years, he was promoted to Deputy Operations Manager then to Operations Manager in the India DMC, and currently heads our Nepal DMC as General Manager. He is hailed as a great communicator with various business partners, and his focus remains on the safety aspect of the trips and strong performance of teams. Ravindra, along with his team in Nepal, ensures an unforgettable sustainable travel experience for our passengers supported by a great experienced team of tour leaders.

Rama Mahendru

Rama Mahendru

General Manager, India

Rama has been a part of the PEAK DMC family for over eleven years. Joining the team as a finance executive, Rama worked her way up and was made Finance Manager for India in 2012.  Having successfully implemented a whole host of improvements during her time in Finance, Rama became General Manager for India in 2019. Proud to be part of such a diverse organisation, Rama is incredibly passionate about our business and looks forward to driving growth in the years to come. 

Maggie Tian

Maggie Tian

General Manager, China

Maggie started her journey with PEAK DMC China way back in 2008 as one of the company's very first employees. Working as the Finance Manager for ten years, Maggie was appointed General Manager at the beginning of 2019. Born in Beijing, Maggie's favourite local experience is cycling through the Hutong area. Her passion combined with her deep knowledge and experience in the travel industry makes her an indispensable asset to the business. 

North Africa & Middle East

Sameh Tawfik

Sameh Tawfik

General Manager, Egypt

Sameh has worked his way up from tour leader to General Manager of the Middle East at PEAK DMC. His experience of every department, including purchasing, reservations and operations, has allowed him to gain an in-depth knowledge of the business and empowers him to develop creative solutions for his clients. He strives for the highest level of service by inspiring his team of highly experienced and talented tour leaders to deliver great customer service and safe, enjoyable tours. His goal? To design tours that leave clients with long-lasting memories of the people they meet and the destinations they experience.

Sami Behar

Sami Behar

General Manager, Turkey

With over 31 years working in the travel industry, Sami has a strong background in sales and business. Over his career, he is proud of developing programs, achieving company targets and leading a team.  An avid traveller, Sami has travelled to over 25 countries in four different continents. As well as travelling, he also enjoys cooking and spending time with his family. 

Mohamed Mahrous

Mohamed Mahrous

Contracting Manager, Egypt

Mohammed started as an Italian-speaking tour guide in the travel industry in the 1980s. Since then, he’s witnessed the industry in Egypt develop considerably. He is highly experienced and sought-after for working closely and professionally with brands from various markets. It’s his aim as Purchasing and Reservations Manager to provide the most competitive prices and the best experiences for clients.

Hala Benkhaldoun

Hala Benkhaldoun

General Manager, Morocco

Born in Casablanca, Hala grew up in the beautiful city of Marrakech before moving abroad at the age of eighteen to attend university in Paris. After finishing her degree, Hala spent five years between France, UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands working for a consulting company but in 2015 Morocco called her home. After four years working in corporate banking for an international institution, Hala has turned her passion for travel into her career, joining PEAK DMC Marrakech as General Manager in September 2019. 

FatimaZohra Benhenia

FatimaZohra Benhenia

Sales Manager, Morocco

Tourism has always been FatimaZohra’s passion and working with PEAK has made it that much more exciting, especially when it comes to the adventure and responsible travel market. Working in this environment is not only interesting, stimulating and fun, but it makes FatimaZohra want to provide excellent customer service and an unforgettable experience for all.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Samuel Karani

Samuel Karani

General Manager, East Africa

Sam joined PEAK East Africa in 2014 with over ten years managerial experience in tourism. After four successful years as Finance Manager, in 2019 he was promoted to General Manager. He has closely worked with every department including operations, contacting, sales and human resources giving him a wide understanding of the industry. Sam is passionate about developing and working with teams to deliver memorable adventures across the region. 

Gideon Langat

Gideon Langat

Contracting Manager, East Africa

Originally from the hotel sector, Gideon worked for some of the oldest and largest players in the Kenyan hotel industry before joining PEAK East Africa in 2012. Drawing on a formidable network of hotel and lodge contacts throughout the country, Gideon is in charge of contracting and negotiating the very best deals for PEAK East Africa and our partners, as well as heading up our reservations team.

Ashleigh Bester

Ashleigh Bester

Sales Manager, Southern Africa

A passionate advocate for South Africa, Ashleigh has been designing tours across the country for over ten years. She loves to make her customers’ travel dreams come true, and to share her knowledge of her homeland. She recommends all travellers partake in a walking safari, as this allows you to get really close to the wildlife.

Europe

Kristijan Svajnzger

Kristijan Svajnzger

General Manager, Europe

Kris left his native Slovenia with a thirst to see the world. Working in various industries he soon discovered a passion for adventure that continues to this day. After four years working as a tour leader in Europe, Kris became the Operations Manager for PEAK DMC Marrakech in 2012. Kris has now taken on the newly created position of General Manager for Europe to focus on the growth and quality of our European operations.

Mark Walgemoet

Mark Walgemoet

Sales Manager, Europe

From a very young age Mark developed a curiosity about discovering other cultures and meeting people from all over the world. He managed to get a dream job as a Tour Leader in South East Asia 11 years ago and in the years since has led trips in South East Asia, the Middle East, Russia and Europe, before becoming a Sales Consultant at PEAK Marrakech. Currently working as a Sales Team Leader from the Budapest office, he looks after sales for Europe and Iceland, he enjoys sharing his passion, knowledge and experience with current and future partners to help them create incredible experiences for their travellers.

Masha Smirnova

Masha Smirnova

Ground Manager, Russia

Masha first started in travel back in 2008. Fresh out of university where she studied Russian literature in the hope of becoming a Russian teacher, Masha soon realised that showing travelers around Russia was a much greater educational experience. Masha spent eight years leading trips in Russia, Mongolia, China and Central Asia as well as a number of expeditions to Tajikistan and Tibet. Now based on the Black Sea coast in Sochi, Masha looks after our Russia operations.

Ekrem Seyhan

Ekrem Seyhan

Operations Manager, Turkey

Ekrem is a qualified tourism professional with a strong commitment to sustainable tour practices and focus on contributing team growth and development. He is a creative operations manager with is wealth of experience in tour guiding in Turkey for years; continually looking for new and innovative approaches to tour delivery. Strengths in team building, incident management and responsible travel across a wide range for demographics, cultures, levels and styles. His aim is to ensure tour leaders to deliver best travel experiences to travellers in Turkey.

Latin America

Gary Cohen

Gary Cohen

Regional General Manager, Latin America

Gary's passion for travel started early. He was born in South Africa and then moved to the UK when he was 10. After graduating from university, he started travelling all over Latin America and eventually worked for Exodus as an overland expedition leader from 2003 to 2005. After leaving the travel industry for a few years to live in Spain, he then joined PEAK DMC as the Ground Manager in Buenos Aires at the end of 2010, later becoming our Operations Manager in Peru. He is now our Regional General Manager for Latin America, based in Lima.

Fausto Sarango

Fausto Sarango

General Manager, Ecuador

Fausto joined PEAK at the end of 2011. With an extensive background in travel, and more than 25 years in the travel industry, he is currently the General Manager for PEAK DMC Ecuador and the Galapagos. Fausto’s experience comes from leading successful adventure businesses, as well as contracting and managing operations in the Galapagos, and as such, is widely respected locally. Fausto is focused on delivering consistently high-quality, safe, transparent and trusted product for our DMC partners.

Tom Smith

Tom Smith

General Manager, Peru

Born in Germany and spending much of his childhood in the back of a car driving around Europe, Tom’s passion for travel started early. He has spent the last six years working in the travel industry across a variety of commercially-focused roles in Australia, Morocco, the UK and now Peru. Working for the Intrepid Group since 2015, Tom was most recently the Marketing Director for the EMEA region and is now putting his leadership and Spanish skills to the test by leading our team in Peru. If he’s not working or travelling, he likes to be surfing somewhere that has warm water! 

Hernan Acevedo

Hernan Acevedo

General Manager, Colombia

Born and raised in Bogotá, Hernan was lucky enough to travel from an early age but never thought he could make a career out of his love for discovering new places. After studying electronic engineering at university, quite by accident Hernan ended up working as a tour leader for Colombians travelling to the Caribbean – which led him to see the opportunity for inbound tourism to his mother country. Initially juggling his tour leader role with a job in the telecom industry, in 2010 Hernan was able to take the leap to a full-time position developing new products for international travellers to Colombia. Nine years later, he has seen first-hand the power of tourism to transform the lives of both travellers and local communities.

Carlos Cardona

Carlos Cardona

General Manager, Central America

Originally from Puerto Rico, Carlos grew up in Costa Rica and then pursued a career in international economic development providing program design services to national and multinational development agencies. In 2003 he returned to Costa Rica to establish an adventure tour operator and since 2011 he has led product development, operations and quality control initiatives for several international operators serving the North American market. Carlos is a photography and cycling enthusiast.

Noelia Moya

Noelia Moya

Sales Manager, Central America

Noelia has been working in the travel business for over 12 years. Having previously enjoyed roles in operations, product, marketing and customer service, she has now found her path with sales. Noelia loves to create amazing experiences for our travellers all over Central America. 

Yanira Caldera

Yanira Caldera

Contracting Manager, Central America

Yanira first discovered the world of travel and tourism in 2002. One of our first team members in Central America, Yanira brings not only a wealth of experience and knowledge to her role as Contracting Manager, but also a deep love for the region. Born in Costa Rica, Yanira's parents are Nicaragua and Salvadorian; Central America runs in her blood. She sees the ability to create new experiences for our clients as well as development opportunities in our destinations as an honour. 

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