Judi 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 that 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 has given her the perfect insight to give AdventureWomen travelers the exceptional, active experiences that they have come to expect!
Nicole 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.
Owner, Ambassador Manager
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 twice climbed Kilimanjaro and Ol Doinyo Lengai, spent two weeks orienteering in the Arrigetch Peaks with four women. She has also 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.
Prior to joining AdventureWomen, Heather 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.
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!
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 a 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!
Women’s Adventure Manager
Heather developed her passion for travel, adventure, and the outdoors at a young age. As a “Navy Brat,” Heather and her family moved frequently and took advantage of any opportunity to explore the U.S., whether on foot, in a car, or on bikes.
Heather continued to discover new trails and mountains across the U.S. as an avid hiker and mountain biker, but it was a trip to Peru that opened Heather’s eyes to new cultures, trekking at high altitudes, and getting out of her comfort zone. Since this trip, Heather has backpacked the “O” Circuit in Torres Del Paine, watched the northern lights in Iceland, enjoyed fondue in Switzerland, and summited Uhuru Peak on Mount Kilimanjaro.
In 2015, Heather had an amazing opportunity to turn her love for adventure travel into a career after taking her first job in the travel industry at Andean Treks. In 2017, Heather joined Thomson Safaris, and after four years as part of the safari prep team, Heather made an exciting transition, joining the AdventureWomen team. Heather is honored to draw on her skills and experiences to help other AdventureWomen explore the globe, get out of their comfort zones, and make life-long connections.
Women’s Adventure Manager
Mary’s passion for travel started at age 12 when her family moved to the Middle East, living as ex-pats for several years. The experience opened her eyes to the world, traveling extensively with her family exploring new countries, encountering different cultures, and meeting people.
Enjoying the experience and learning of new cultures is what excites Mary the most. Her travels throughout the world have taken her to over 20 countries with memorable experiences that include a camel ride to the Pyramids in Egypt, rug shopping in Istanbul, a wedding in India, zip-lining in Costa Rica, and living with family in France for a year during college. Raising an adventurous family offered Mary the opportunity to explore domestic US travel. Favorite family trips include Alaska, ski trips to Utah and California, and exploring the many National Parks the US offers.
While Kristi’s career has spanned the roles of training and development, non-profit leadership, and environmental education, it consistently had one theme in common: creating a foundation for others to thrive, learn and protect the world.
Before AdventureWomen, Kristi worked at Tourism Cares as Marketing Manager during their website rebrand and assisted in the launch of the Future of Tourism during COVID.
Kristi was also the visionary behind the Savvy Women’s Alliance, a national non-profit organization focused on environmental health and women, and was a national speaker and author. Her book, Little Changes, was awarded the Living Now 2014 Evergreen Medal for being a ‘world-changing book of this millennium.
From camping in the Redwoods as a child to taking her children camping across New England, the outdoors is where Kristi finds her balance, clarity, and excitement for life.