judi_1Judi discovered her passion for adventure travel in 1969 while taking part in a USO tour that traveled to Vietnam. In 1978 she invested $300, rented a converted bathroom in Harvard Square, and founded Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). In 1981, she and Rick Thomson, her now-husband, co-founded Thomson Safaris, which operates exceptional safaris in Tanzania. They have also founded Thomson Treks, Thomson Family Adventures, and most recently, Thomson Collection. Judi also helped found and serves as a Director for Focus on Tanzanian Communities (FoTZC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which works on education, women’s empowerment, water, and health projects in northern Tanzania.

Judi’s passion for international travel and her many years as a female pioneer in the male-dominated adventure travel industry have given her the perfect insight to give AdventureWomen travelers the exceptional, active experiences that they have come to expect!

Nicole Wineland-Thomson

Owner, Director of Programming

Nicole-Baffin IslandsNicole has been traveling the world her entire life, and with a mother like Judi Wineland, it’s no wonder! She joined the family business as Director of Family Expeditions at Thomson Family Adventures and in 2015 launched Thomson Collection, a new brand of hand-tailored, bespoke experiences around the world.

She has been to Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Nepal, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Iceland, and Vietnam, along with many others. She has a sharp eye for unique experiences for women, and continues to passionately search the world for her next adventure.

Nicole is excited to use her experience to plan exceptional itineraries designed just for AdventureWomen travelers. With Nicole on board, we know that each AdventureWomen trip is a remarkable experience, and she looks forward to meeting you on a trip soon!

Erica Landerson

Owner, Ambassador Coordinator

Erica began traveling the globe with her parents who were pioneers in adventure travel. She has visited nearly a quarter of the countries in the world. This early travel experience gave her a strong sense of independence. Erica loves to explore places that are off the beaten path. She has climbed Kilimanjaro and Ol Doinyo Lengai twice, spent two weeks orienteering in the Arrigetch Peaks with four women, and traveled to Pakistan as an environmental ambassador where she was one of six people to climb and summit an unnamed peak. She has traveled to many other exotic destinations, including Egypt, Japan, Morocco, and Indonesia.

Erica is an accomplished photographer, which is a passion she pursues during her adventures around the world. Her experiences traveling as a woman on rigorous, exotic adventures have helped shape who she is today. She is excited to help you plan your next AdventureWomen trip!

Heather Heverling


Prior to joining AdventureWomen, Heverling worked at National Geographic as the Senior Vice President of Product Management where she had oversight of Programming, Trip Development, Partnership Management, Sustainability, Talent, Legal & Risk Management, and Business Systems. Over the course of her career, she has held numerous roles at several other tour operators, including as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations for Grand Circle Travel and, prior to that, as Vice President of the Overseas Adventure Travel brand. In addition to extensive experience in tour operator product management and development, Heather also has a broad background in finance and operations and a strong marketing orientation.

“I believe the best way to learn about yourself is by getting out of your comfort zone mentally and physically by experiencing different cultures while traveling the world and AdventureWomen allows women to do that safely, especially with their ‘challenge by choice’ approach.”

Heather graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bowdoin College with Dean’s List and James Bowdoin Scholar recognition and was the recipient of the Michael S. Harper Award. She is an avid traveler, music-lover, birder, reader and sports fan, and she is a proud mother to her daughter.

Emily Vaden

Women’s Adventure Manager

Born and raised in the Midwest, Emily developed a keen sense of wanderlust at a young age, and she felt that to truly understand the world, you must go out and experience it. Yet it wasn’t until her first international experience studying abroad in Paris that she fell in love with traveling. Since then, Emily has traveled to over 20 countries including Hungary, Greece, Morocco, Russia, and India. Some of her favorite travel memories are backpacking through Europe, teaching soccer to young girls in Brazil, snorkeling off the coast of Zanzibar, hiking in the Tatra Mountains in Poland, and meeting and connecting with local women from different backgrounds throughout her journeys.

In 2009, Emily’s passion for international travel inspired her to complete a master’s degree in International Development, which offered her the opportunity to spend a summer working with women entrepreneurs in Tanzania. This deep connection to Tanzania led her to join the sales team at Thomson Safaris. After spending 5 years as the Sales Manager at Thomson, Emily made the leap to AdventureWomen and the rest, as they say, is history. Emily specializes in helping guests find the right adventure and looks forward to helping you plan your next trip!


Katie Bartel

Women’s Adventure Manager

Katie joined AdventureWomen after a year in South Africa and a 12-year career at the Harvard Kennedy School, where she worked on African agricultural policy outreach and helped edit an academic journal, among other things. She finished her master’s degree in International Development in 2014 and has traveled extensively abroad and throughout Africa in particular.

Katie’s fascination with other cultures started at a multicultural holiday folk festival when she was 10. She then studied abroad in France in high school and college, which cemented her love of foreign places and meeting new people. With family living abroad and working in the travel industry, it’s no wonder that Katie developed a keen sense of wanderlust, a strong sense of independence, and spirit of adventure.

In 2008, Katie discovered the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Since then, she has hiked and backpacked all over the United States and the world. Katie is happiest when she’s deep into planning her next adventure, whether it’s to an exotic international destination or figuring out the details of a multi-week backpacking trek! Travel and adventure are in her blood, and there’s nowhere she won’t go. She is excited to bring her skills to AdventureWomen and help you plan your next adventure!


Jacqui Ibbitson

Director of Marketing

Jacqui’s very first adventure happened in high-school when she went to France on an exchange. She was blown away by the beauty of Paris and its history, the countryside of Reims and its champagne caves and of course, the food!  But the real travel adventure bite happened when she decided to take a 6- day mountain biking trip to the Grand Canyon after graduating college. She was petrified when first getting into the outfitter’s van to head out, not knowing one other person. Now, more than two decades later, she still calls most of them her dear friends.  As Jacqui says: “That trip changed my life.”

Since then, she’s explored too many states throughout the US to mention on both her road and mountain bikes, sailed around the British Virgin Islands, scuba dived the islands of the Eastern & Western Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii,  and most recently did an 8-day hike on the “refugio circuit” in Argentina’s Patagonia region.

She is passionate about building brands and is excited to be part of the AdventureWomen team helping other Adventure Women discover the world and make true connections.