The Kiwi Experts
Your cinephile pal gives you the 411 on what films are worth the 120 minutes. You mine the wine snob you know for the best Pinots (which you then pour for your friend in finance hoping his stock market tips pour out). The good news is, when it comes to travel, you’ve got a whole portfolio of pundits—The Kiwi Experts. Our collection curators, they pick the perfect properties for doing business, the hottest hotels for honeymooners and the best boutiques for design admirers. Now it’s time to get to know your new friends.
Brian is our Zoomer Kiwi Expert (Zooming Boomer!). After a very successful career building infrastructure across western and northern Canada, Brian was looking forward to continuing his passion for travel around the globe in a much more relaxed manner with his lovely wife Karen. Other circumstance prevailed however, and since co-founding Kiwi Collection in 2003 he has been hard at work building the company while still continuing to zoom around as the President. A golf resort is Brian’s perfect getaway, regardless of location.
Federica is a Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, and that eye for high-quality trickles over into her role as Director of Hotel Programs EMEA (but we assure you, she's much less temperamental). Educated at the prestigious École hôtelière de Lausanne, she worked as market manager for Splendia.com before coming on board with Kiwi Collection. While she expertly plans her sojourns before taking off, upon arrival she takes everything as it comes. Including cocktails. Find her drinking in every ounce of Mezzatorre Resort & Spa in Italy, Armani Dubai or Morukuru Lodge South Africa.
Natalie's passion for the industry started from childbirth. Born and raised in Kenya, she spent her early years enjoying safaris in the Masaii Mara and making friends with the locals. Graduated from the leading Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, Natalie was invited to join the Eta Sigma Delta honour society. Starting her career with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, she was then introduced to Kiwi Collection where she has since been promoted to Director of Hotel Programs. Natalie works closely with hotels at the brand level to strategically increase exposure via various marketing channels. Her favourite hotels include the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris and Evason Ma'in Hot Springs in Amman.
Orissa has a wide hospitality background, having worked at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Mason Horvath (personal travel advisors), and Cruise Connections Canada. Her biggest passion lies in exploring new countries and meeting new people – learning about the local traditional customs, languages, and culture. You can often find Orissa riding her bike along the seawall or hiking one of the local mountains of Vancouver. Although born in Canada, Orissa frequently visits her family in Costa Rica and speaks Spanish. Her favorite hotels include the Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay and Aria Resort & Casino.
Renuka spent ten years at the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver before taking on her entrepreneurial spirit, creating and then selling her own company of beautifully designed social stationary and an aromatherapy line. She then spent over a year as a Luxury Hotel Specialist on the Kiwi Collection Reservations team, before moving across the company to the Hotel Programs team. When she isn't indulging in the hospitality world, Renuka's interests include community volunteer work, interior design, and architecture.
David brings to us extensive experience from the luxury hotel industry, including from the W Hotel Mexico City, Live Aqua Cancun and Grupo Mayan in the Riviera Maya. After moving to Vancouver, he spent 3 years at The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver before working for ski resort Whistler Blackcomb, and now finally coming onboard as Account Manager for Kiwi Collection. David has a BA in Hospitality & Tourism and is also a certified fitness trainer and nutritionist. When not at the gym, he enjoys playing sports, snowboarding, listening to music, reading and being a big movie fan, and his favourite hotels include Live Aqua Cancun, Fairmont Mayakoba, Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Aria Resort & Casino.
Karen is always an avid traveler and in 1995 decided it was time to follow her passion by making a career in the travel business. She received her Travel and Tourism Diploma at Canadian Tourism College which kick-started that journey. She was instrumental in the founding of Kiwi Collection and participated in all the hard work to get the company off the ground. She has traveled extensively throughout the world but has a particular affinity for South America. Karen professes to actually like being in airports, no doubt because that means she’s off on another trip, yet again.
Anna has been passionate about luxury travel from a very young age, and often had luxury hotel guides as her bedtime reading. She has been fortunate enough to travel the world growing up with her family, and made sure that her professional life would have luxury hotels at its core. From safaris in Africa to skiing in the Alps to long drawn out beach days in Barbados to living in the beautiful city of Madrid, Anna is truly international and her love for luxury travel led her to Kiwi Collection, where she was Regional Director of Sales for the EMEA region and more recently as Director of Sales for The Wellesley on Knightsbridge, London's first boutique-grand hotel. Her favourite hotels include JK Place in Capri, Trisara in Phuket and Palais Namaskar in Marrakech.
John Nielsen is a true Renaissance man who’s been part of the Kiwi family since 2006, which included a two-year stint as our Regional Director in Asia Pacific. His love of travel began with extensive travels as a child, continued with education throughout Europe and Asia, and working in senior management with respected hotels like The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and Crown Towers in Melbourne. As if that wasn’t enough, he also co-founded Liquid Assets Wine Storage in Melbourne and completed his Masters of Business with an added Master Degree in Tourism. Now based in Sydney with his family, John is the GM of a high-end catering company – that is when he’s not finding an excuse to seek out new destinations with stunning hotels and unique wines.