Master These Crucial Skills

Participants in this innovative and thought-provoking program will gain the skills, knowledge and experience needed to excel in their careers and thrive in leadership roles.

  • Agility... Skillfully modulates thinking and behavior across diverse situations; purposeful self-regulation

  • Innovative Mindset... Intensely solutions oriented; creates instead of critiques; envisions plausible alternative futures on both small and large scales

  • Continuous Learning... Seizes challenges where failure is possible; learns from and is resilient in the face of failure; tolerates personal discomfort to enable growth and development in self and others

  • Action-Oriented... Complete engagement with a bias for action; acts deliberately and with courage; takes full steps to address problems and opportunities (no half measures)

  • Inclusivity... Deep appreciation of differences; seeks out and incorporates alternative perspectives

Guest Lecturers

Tourism and destination leaders, sharing their insight exclusively with enrolled students

Peter Pantuso

CEO at American Bus Association

Butch Spyridon

CEO at Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

John Percy

President and CEO of Destination Niagara USA

Instructors & Facilitators

Highly recognized academics and subject matter experts on leadership development

Samantha Keene

Executive Coach & Educator

Samantha Keene is a coach and certified educator and school administrator with over 15 years of experience in diverse educational settings. Her expertise is primarily in supporting schools with curriculum development and ensuring literacy achievement for early learners, having most recently worked with educators and school leaders throughout New York City. As a coach, Samantha supports adult learners in creating strategic goals for personal and professional growth. She has extensive training in Executive Functioning skill development, and a deep understanding of evidence-based behavior change methodologies. Samantha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Davis, a Master of Arts in International and Transcultural Studies from Columbia University and Advanced Certification in Education Leadership from Bank Street College. She currently lives in New York City with her partner, Roberto, and their two daughters.

Dr. Eric Canny

Senior Lecturer, University of Southern California

Dr. Canny has nearly three decades of experience in higher education as a senior administrator as well as a faculty member. He is a faculty member at the University of Southern California, Rossier School of Education in the Doctoral Programs for Organizational Change Leadership and Education Leadership. Dr. Canny has also taught at Stetson University and Grand Canyon University. Dr. Canny serves as Director of Higher Education Partnerships at nextSource, aligning the needs of contingent labor with tertiary. He was a Founding Director and Chief Innovation Officer for the Global Risk Mitigation Foundation, the only entity of its kind globally that administers large-scale development projects identifying the risk gaps that often occur when risks from pre-planning through outcomes are not looked at holistically and longitudinally. Previously, Dr. Canny served as Vice President for Program Management at CEA Study Abroad, as well as Dean of Global Education at Augsburg University, overseeing the nationally award-winning Center for Global Education and Experience. Other positions held include Stetson University, University of North Texas, New York University, Columbia University, and The Hetrick-Martin Institute. He presents globally on topics relating to international education; diversity, equity, and inclusion; adult learning; higher education trends and recommended practices; leadership; cultural transmission; risk assessment and mitigation; holistic large-scale program development and implementation; and gap analysis. Dr. Canny has been an invited delegate to the World Innovation Summit for Education, where he has presented multiple times. Dr. Canny was team-lead for opening US educational institutions in Argentina, China, Costa Rica, France, Ghana, Israel, Myanmar, Palestine, and the United Kingdom. He has overseen expansion of existing programs in Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Nicaragua, Spain, and Thailand as well as other countries. He received his B.F.A and M.A. from New York University, and his Doctorate from the University of Southern California.

Stephen Ekstrom

CEO & Co-founder at The Nonprofit Tourism Academy

Stephen Ekstrom is the embodiment of a passionate lifelong learner and a seasoned professional in the tourism industry, serving as the CEO and co-founder of the nonprofit Tourism Academy | With over 25 years of experience, he has cultivated a deep understanding of tourism development and education, driven by his commitment to advancing the industry and fostering sustainable economies. Stephen's insatiable curiosity and love for knowledge have led him to be a proud nerd, constantly seeking to expand his expertise and share his insights with others. Alongside his faithful furry companions, Rudy and Marjorie, he embraces the digital nomad lifestyle, traversing the globe and immersing himself in diverse cultures. A dedicated advocate for continuous improvement, Stephen is a professional member of the Association for Talent Development, a member of Skal International, and holds prestigious certifications in Inclusive and Ethical Leadership from USF and Sustainable Business Strategy from Harvard Business School.


Developing strong leaders has never been more important to the tourism industry in particular.

“Workforce development and education has always been an important part of destination management, but as we rebuild our workforce and respond to industry-wide staffing shortages it is even increasingly so.”

Al Hutchinson, CEO Visit Baltimore & Destinations International Chair

“The Tourism Academy is important as the success of retaining and attracting diverse talent to this industry is directly correlated to the level of involvement in outreach, education and opportunities.”

Elliott Ferguson, CEO Destination DC

“A constant thing that I found is that no matter where you are or what the situation is, people have the capacity and ability to make it better or worst. By focusing on developing the people involved in the industry, the Tourism Academy is setting up a strong foundation that will allow the industry to build reliable and knowledgeable professionals capable of making every travel experience unforgettable. ”

Juan Alberto Villareal, Ed.D.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is this program entirely virtual?

    Yes! This program is entirely virtual. You'll be given access to new modules on a regular basis. Your coaching session for the week will be held via Zoom.

  • How much time will I spend on this program each week?

    The coursework is self-paced, but generally you should expect to spend about 2-3 hours each week on the program. Your course will take about an hour to complete, your coaching session is an hour each week and any online discussions will comprise the remaining 30 minutes.

  • Will my company cover the cost of this course?

    Most likely, yes! There’s good chance your employer will pay for it 💸 AND think more highly of you for enrolling 👍. Most companies offer employees a professional development budget that can be used for our program.

  • How do I enroll my team?

    Send each of your teammates this page and ask them to enroll. Have 3+ employees enrolling? Email us at: [email protected] to ask about team discounts.