chris cole

Chris Cole has a truly individual and eclectic background full of adventure, travel and cultural diversity.  Born and raised in the wide-open spaces of Abiquiu, New Mexico, Chris rubbed elbows with famed artist Georgia O’Keefe.  He graduated from New Mexico Military Institute and studied cultural anthropology at the University of Arizona.  His passion for travel and exploration took him across continents, where he used his multilingual talents to build friendships and experience a variety of local cultures.


Cole’s passion for exploration, people and their cultures is matched only by his passion for automobiles. During the 1980’s, Chris guided tours from the American Southwest to Alaska.  He later moved to Honduras where he became a founding stakeholder in the Honduran Tour Operators Association.  Cole merged his two passions – tourism and vehicles – becoming a consultant to Land Rover and assisting the Land Rover team in mapping the route for the Honduras portion of La Ruta Maya in 1994 and the Camel Trophy Mundo Maya in 1995.  Chris also co-founded a chain of automotive dealerships importing Russian UAZ vehicles into Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize. 


The rugged off-road 4×4 UAZ vehicles were used in the original Maya Odyssey tours developed by Cole in the 1990s in Honduras, Guatemala and Belize.  In 2010, Cole designed a series of expedition tours throughout the Southwest part of the United States to include Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.  He also developed and implemented numerous cultural and historical tours throughout the State of Florida. Cole has been involved in a multitude of Tourism Development projects in New Mexico, Texas, Alabama, Florida and Honduras. He splits his time between Sarasota and Santa Fe with his family and continues to be an avid adventurer.   Chris was awarded “The Excellence in Tourism” award in 2012 from the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association for his work in Sustainable Geo-Tourism Initiatives.  


Kimberly Taylor is the CFO of Outbound Expeditions. With the financial background of a former CPA, expertise in Professional Communication, and as a university instructor in New Mexico and Texas, Kimberly brings a variety of adaptable experience to Outbound’s endeavors.


Working for BDO Seidman in Chicago and Fred C. Thieme, Inc., her public accounting career included auditing and taxation practices. As a senior internal auditor for United Biscuits, the parent company of Keebler foods, she traveled the United States to audit and consult with personnel at warehouses, distribution centers, and bakeries.


Broadening her skills, Kimberly received her MA in Communication from the University of New Mexico. She instructs Professional Communication, Strategic Social Media, and Public Speaking at UNM. Kimberly is also a Lecturer in Management for the MBA program at the Jones School of Business at Rice University, teaching Strategic Business Communication online.


Founding The Kimberly Corp, a consulting firm, Kimberly uses communication, strategic planning, accounting, and networking skills for real estate development, media production, social media strategy.


Kimberly’s passion for New Mexico includes hiking the Sandia Mountains, biking, rock climbing, running, and exploring the beautiful landscapes in the Land of Enchantment.


Director of Business Development & International Accounts, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Tourism Division


Tracy Vaughan joined GDEcD’s tourism division in August 2014 as the director of business development and international accounts. In her position, Ms. Vaughan provides leadership in developing and implementing Georgia’s global tourism sales and marketing plan. She is responsible for building relationships with key international and domestic travel trade and international media to increase product and brand awareness, ultimately driving positive growth of inbound leisure travel to Georgia. 


Prior to joining GDEcD, Ms. Vaughan advanced through the ranks at VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing corporation, in a career that spanned for over 22 years. Ms. Vaughan was promoted to director, international marketing in 2008. In this role, she led the design and implementation of multiple strategic, industry-supported and cooperative marketing ventures which generated more than $3 million in revenue annually. Ms. Vaughan was also instrumental in the development and implementation of VISIT FLORIDA’s air service development program designed to secure new international routes for the state. In the course of her duties, Ms. Vaughan travelled extensively on 5 continents, building a network of industry colleagues that she is now introducing to Georgia tourism.


Ms. Vaughan received her business degree from the University of Texas. She has been actively involved with the U.S Travel Association having served on the IPW planning committee and currently is co-chair of the Domestic and International Trade Professional Development Network.  Ms. Vaughan has quickly adopted Atlanta as her new home, becoming one of the City’s biggest boosters. She is an avid cyclist and runner, activities that have allowed her to explore Atlanta and embrace the city’s many charms.


Jane Desgrosseilliers established and incorporated Mountain View Media in Arizona 2001 which is currently operating in Florida as well.


International work includes marketing for Stratco and Ecopath designing national and international graphics for ads, tradeshow graphics, brochures, pocket folders and other collateral materials. Jane’s company also successfully managed printing, negotiated the add placement and editorial placement nationally and international for 4 years from 2004-2008. Mountain View Media was recognized by the C200 group for outstanding service for the work done with Stratco and Ecopath. 


Working for the Westgate grand opening at the Glendale arena, Mountain View Media placed TV and radio adverting and designed and distributed marketing materials for this event.


In 2014 Jane’s company created all branding and logos, marketing materials and the website for AERO Federal Credit Union working with Honeywell board members and organizing focus groups results.


Recent work includes building a national farm to table website and implementation of the marketing for this nationwide client.


Jane has a wide background in business strategy, customer service and art direction. Combined with some of the best technical and internet strategies she is able to help her clients in many marketing areas.


Riding with savvy, showmanship, and spirit, Chavela Trujillo has spent much of her life on horseback in the beautiful pastures of Abiquiú, New Mexico. As Equestrian Guide and Event Director for Outbound Expeditions, Chavela’s lineage of history, culture, and love for nature contribute to her passion for connecting horses with people.


Chavela’s organization, Extreme Abiquiú Horseback is one of the rare, female Native American-owned, equine education programs in New Mexico. Instruction includes horseback lessons in Western pleasure riding and rodeo event and showmanship training, as well as pair trail rides. Several of her students have won event buckles as rodeo and showmanship prizes. Chavela, herself, was a multi-year Senior Buckle All Around Grand Champion in Rio Arriba County. In addition, she served as Rio Arriba County Fair and Rodeo Queen, representing her region in full traditional attire, educating youth on positive growth in connection with public speaking and horsemanship.


As a member of the Trujillo family with generational roots in Abiquiú, Chavela knows the rich history of the area from farming to movie making. With almost 300 years of Native American settlement in the northern New Mexican region, Chavela practices her cultural traditions of ceremony, dance, farming, and horsemanship. These rich customs enhance her ability to educate visitors about the diverse people living in Abiquiú. She has contributed her time to the El Pueblo de Abiquiú Library and Cultural Center, the Española Farmers’ Market, and as a student aide for the Mesa Prieta Petroglyph Project, University of Berkeley, CA Field School of Archeology, and NM Acequia Association Sembrando Semillas.


In addition, Chavela serves her community at the New Mexico Acequia Association through research, geodatabase setup, data analysis, and school education programs. Her work contributes to the knowledge, focus, and training involved in water collection and consumption – a priority in the Western states. Along with responsible water usage, she is trained in GIS mapping and noxious weed invasion. Working for the East Rio Arriba Soil and Water Conservation District Youth Conservation Corp, Chavela added mapping and soil erosion knowledge to her skills.


History, culture, and nature guide Chavela’s passion as an equine instructor and event director. Her love for her community and visitor experiences enhance Outbound Expedition’s team leadership.


Justin Fernandez, a native to New Mexico, serves Outbound Expeditions as Operations Manager. Justin’s uniquely combined experiences in hospitality, outdoor adventures, and proficiency in Jeep culture and mechanics contributes to his passion for tourism and client-centered events.


Justin’s love for outdoor exploration began in his youth as an avid member of the Boy Scouts of America. Attaining the top rank of Eagle Scout, he also served as a four-year Boy Scout Camp Counselor. Through hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting, he developed a love for nature and collaborative teamwork. Justin is also an expert angler and fly fisherman.


In addition to regular weekend outdoorsman expeditions, the Jeep culture of road trips, off-roading, meetups, and perpetual mechanical upgrading has allowed Justin to meet people from all parts of the globe. Tracking down parts like a bloodhound or networking with other Jeep lovers, Justin is a problem solver.


With over thirteen years of hospitality experience in service and retail commerce, Justin has worked from entry level up to General Management. This variety provided opportunities in customer relations, employee recruitment, development, scheduling, and management, supply acquisition, asset maintenance, inventory and accounting procedures, event planning, organization, and execution, as well as regulation compliance.


Whether it is sharing of knowledge, fixing a broken axle, cooking the best breakfast burritos in camp, reminiscing with stories by the campfire, or planning the perfect vacation, Justin uses his people skills to connect with others and create meaningful experiences.


Robyn K. Levin is the founder of Robyn Levin Media, Inc., a strategic marketing & PR consulting firm, created in San Fransico and based in Sarasota, Florida. Levin specializes in celebritizing™ entrepreneurs, travel/tourism companies and CEO’s in helping them attain name recognition and expert status in their industries. Her efforts land clients in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Time Magazine, CBS MarketWatch, Fortune Small Business and more. She guided PENSCO Trust, a financial services client in tripling their assets to $3 billion in less than three years.


As a passionate connector of small business owners to big brands, Levin has forged strategic partnerships with Citibank, NHL, Women Sports Foundation, sports celebrities and many others to raise awareness and revenue.


A graduate of Temple University & Netherlands School of Business, she guest lectures at Temple University & Wharton’s Executive Program for Working Professionals on Marketing Strategy & PR.


Mark has developed worldwide contacts and has become well-versed in the international tourism market during his 27 years in the tourism industry.   He has served as Director of Indian Tourism, Tribal Liaison, and Director for New Mexico’s North American Tour Trade for the U.S., Canada and Mexico for the past 15 years. 


As Director of the North American Tour Trade, Mark created a Five-Year Strategic Plan for growing New Mexico’s tourism industry with an emphasis on cultural tourism that focused on New Mexico’s history; Native American peoples, customs and art; natural features of the State and National parks and the different cultures that have contributed to the State and its culture.   Under his leadership, the New Mexico tourism industry grew from $3 to $5.5 billion per year and tourism from Mexico and Canada increased by 50%. 


Mark has coordinated familiarization tours (FAMS) for travel writers, meeting planners, tour operators, travel agents and other tourism-related entities to develop New Mexico as a tourist destination.  As Director of the Santa Fe Film Office, he recruited films to the Santa Fe area.  Mark and Chris have been friends since middle-school and have maintained contact and a mutual passion for tourism throughout the years.