Meet the presenters for the 2017 Travel & Words Conference.
Dan Weeks earned an MA from the University of Iowa’s nonfiction writer’s workshop. He spent 20+ years as a feature writer, editor, and editorial manager for magazines ranging from Better Homes and Gardens publications to The Iowan, a 65-year-old regional. For ten years, he freelanced full-time as a writer, photographer, editor, and editorial consultant specializing in travel and adventure travel. His 2009 book Deadliest Catch: Desperate Hours was a Discovery Channel best seller; he won an award for travel writing and photography from the International Regional Magazine Association in 2016. He’s currently producing a bookazine on the record-breaking 2008 Iowa floods.
Sophia McDonald Bennett is an Oregon-based freelance writer, editor and communications consultant. Her work has appeared in over two dozen magazines, newspapers and websites including TheAtlantic.com, All About Beer, Association Conventions & Facilities, Cheese Connoisseur, VIA, Sip Northwest, 1859 Oregon’s Magazine and Oregon Home. She also provides communication and social media services to a handful of small businesses. Sophia has spoken at numerous conferences and special events in the Northwest and the United Kingdom. Learn more about her at sophiathewriter.com.
Jade Helm, DWS, CS, CSW is a writer, consultant and educator. She is the primary author of Tasting Pour and a freelance contributor to several print and online wine publications, including American Winery Guide, Oregon Wine Press, Wine Press Northwest, The SOMM Journal, Tasting Panel, Wine Industry Advisor and Northwest Travel & Life. She carries credentials from the Society of Wine Educators (Certified Specialist in Wine), Court of Master Sommeliers (Certified Sommelier) and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (Diploma in Wine and Spirits). Jade is an instructor in the Northwest Wine Studies Program at Chemeketa Community College and resides in the Willamette Valley. She believes in real food, great wine, and the importance of sharing both with family and friends. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and Instagram.
Virginia Smyth is the executive editor of Seattle Magazine where she oversees the magazine’s travel coverage, among other things. Her role includes working with many freelance writers and regularly evaluating pitches. Virginia’s career has included reporting and editing roles at weekly and daily newspapers, as well as a few years working on corporate publications. She’s an enthusiastic traveler whose has fond memories of her family’s first road trip when she was 9. They crisscrossed the United States by car in 33 days logging close to 10,000 miles and visiting 20 states and many national monuments and parks along the way. She hopes to repeat the trip soon.
As President of Leading Edge Public Affairs, Niki Terzieff draws upon a decade of experience in Oregon politics – both policy work and on the campaign trail. Her campaign career helped to shape the current landscape and resulted in long-standing relationships with caucus leaders in both parties and both chambers. In a relatively short time, Niki has developed a network of direct contacts to today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. Over the last decade, Terzieff has been a growing force in Salem by shaping, negotiating, and passing legislation on behalf of a broad spectrum of clients and perspectives. She has built a solid foundation for success in the healthcare and public safety sectors, working issues from all sides, engaging with all 90 Legislators. As a result of her experiences, relationships, talents and tenacity, Terzieff has amassed a rather impressive list of past legislative successes. When not in the hallowed halls of the Capitol or working on the campaign trail, Niki is fundraising for the Political Action Committee she founded to End Violence Against Women (VAW-PAC) and keeps busy as Chairwoman of the Board of Directors at the Cascade Forest Conservancy.
Dale Miller is the current editor-in-chief of British Columbia Magazine and Pacific Yachting, and the former editorial director of Canadian Traveller and Explore —all long-standing and respected niche magazines in the travel and lifestyle sector of the Canadian market. He specializes in creating compelling and useful content for niche audiences.
Mattie John Bamman is a culinary travel writer focused on the Pacific Northwest, Italy, and the Balkans. Wine, wilderness and words brought him to Portland, Oregon, where he serves as editor of Eater Portland and regularly contributes to culinary and travel publications, including Edible Portland, Northwest Travel & Life Magazine and Eater.com. Mattie began his travel writing career while living in Italy and writing and updating travel guides for Northstar Travel Media, as well as writing for the travel blog, EuropeUpClose.com. He interned at ZYZZYVA literary journal and McSweeney’s publishing house.
Allen Cox serves as co-chair of Northwest Travel Writers Conference. He is Editor-in-Chief of Northwest Travel Magazine, author of two guidebooks on day hiking, and a freelance travel and lifestyle journalist whose work had appeared in dozens of regional and national publications. In addition, he presently serves as VP, board member and Awards Committee Chair for International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association.