Meet the 2019 Platinum List Panel of Experts
Celebrated Living’s panel of experts helped us choose the world’s top hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars and travel adventures. Here's a quick look at each.
Vice President of Global Marketing for American Airlines
Janelle Anderson is vice president of Global Marketing at American Airlines. She leads all marketing efforts across advertising, brand, product development, promotions and sponsorships. Additionally, she collaborates with the airline’s operational departments—reservations, airport customer service and inflight service—to champion industry-leading marketing campaigns and strategy across the entire travel journey.
Prior to joining American, Anderson served as the vice president of Shopper Marketing at PepsiCo where she accrued 15 years of experience leading the cross-divisional marketing team for three divisions—Frito-Lay, Pepsi Beverages and Quaker. While at PepsiCo, her increasing levels of responsibility were centered on building marketing strategies, brand visioning and positioning as consumer needs evolved. In leading a geographically diverse team, she especially excelled in developing winning strategies, sports marketing partnerships and activations.
Anderson holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and bachelor degrees in Arts and Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas.
Food and travel writer and regional academy chair for World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Asia’s 50 Best
Born, bred and educated in Singapore, Evelyn Chen is a food and travel writer/editor and one of the regional academy chairs for The World's 50 Best Restaurants. She is a contributing editor to the Phaidon book Where Chefs Eat (2018 edition) and as the Singapore Destination Expert for Telegraph Travel, she reviews all hotels in Singapore for the site. In between dinners and writing assignments, the former Zagat editor blogs about food at bibikgourmand.com
Bruno del Granado
Music agent, Creative Artists Agency
Bruno del Granado is an agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and represents many of the most accomplished musicians working in Latin music, including Maluma, Gloria Estefan, and Luis Fonsi, among others. Del Granado works out of the Miami office, and also represents actors/music artists Danna Paola, Jen Carlos Canela, and Isabela Moner, and works across the agency helping to create opportunities in the multicultural marketplace.
Del Granado joined CAA in 2013 from RM Entertainment Group, which he formed in partnership with Ricky Martin. He was an integral part of the team that orchestrated the joint venture between RM Entertainment Group and Zodiak Entertainment to establish RM 5to Elemento. This new company helped to spring board RM Entertainment in to the television space, by allowing it to sell and produce Zodiak Entertainment’s range of products to the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets.
Previously, del Granado founded Entertainment Media Factory, Inc., a music, television, and film production and programming company specializing in content for Latin America, Europe, and Asia. Prior to Entertainment Media Factory, Inc., he was the President of Maverick Recording Company’s Latin Division, where he signed and developed artists, such as Jorge Moreno, Chilean singer-songwriter Nicole, and Jose Padilla, among others, and Vice President of Programming for MTV LatAm. He has also served as a marketing advisor to Enrique Iglesias; spearheaded a music video channel for RTVE, Spain's state-owned television network; and held senior executive positions at EMI Music Publishing and CBS/Sony.
Executive Editor of Travel, CNN
Brekke Fletcher is the executive editor of travel for CNN. Fletcher oversees CNN’s worldwide coverage of travel, managing a network of more than 800 travel contributors and insiders around the globe, and a dedicated international team.
Prior to joining CNN Digital, Fletcher was at The Wall Street Journal, where she served as managing editor of WSJ Magazine for five years. During her time at WSJ, she managed the magazine’s editorial team, oversaw travel news coverage and frequently wrote destination and entertainment stories. She has worked at various publications, starting with the launch of Lucky Magazine in 1999 and later taking on managing editor roles at publications such as Jane Magazine, Men’s Journal and Newsweek.
Fletcher graduated from Northwestern University and is based in New York.
Editor-in-Chief of Travel + Leisure
Jacqueline Gifford has been editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure since November 2018. Most recently, she was Travel + Leisure's travel director, and has held various senior editorial positions since she joined the leading travel media brand in 2013.
Prior to joining the team at Travel + Leisure, Gifford worked at Brides as travel editor; OK! as features and travel editor; and Vanity Fair as editorial associate. Born in Japan, and raised in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Philadelphia, Gifford has traveled the world extensively. She graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in English.
Editor-in-Chief of DestinAsian
Fresh from a master’s degree in publishing and a stint at Canadian Geographic, Christopher P. Hill left his native British Columbia in 2001 to become a founding editor and associate publisher of DestinAsian, a luxury travel bimonthly circulated throughout Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. Now with three decades of experience in magazine journalism and an award-winning writer in his own right, he continues to manage a stable of worldwide contributors from his base in Jakarta, Indonesia. He also remains a passionate traveler, and has yet to miss a summer back on Canada’s west coast.
Instagram travel influencer
After living across the United States and across the globe, Patrick settled in New York in the fall of 2011. Following several years working in the art department at Bon Appétit magazine, he stepped out on his own to forge brand partnerships, co-produce secret pop-up gatherings across Manhattan, and pursue a lifestyle worthy of the constant photos he posts on Instagram. Patrick has been recognized by The New York Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian as a top Instagrammer and was awarded the inaugural Fashion Instagrammer of the Year award by the CFDA. As a creative director, Patrick continues to work with clients on projects that leverage his expertise in branded content, experiential marketing and event production. He is also a co-founder of The Liquor Cabinet, an authoritative mobile app dedicated to the world of spirits and cocktails.
Executive Editor of Forbes Travel Guide
During her time as vice president/executive editor at Forbes Travel Guide, Jennifer Kester has visited nearly 200 luxury hotels. Her journeys have brought her everywhere from Shanghai to Tasmania to the Baltics, and she's always on the lookout for the next great city to visit. Her finger is on the pulse of the latest in luxury travel, spanning hotels, food, culture, top destinations and more.
Founder of Nota Bene Global luxury travel service
Anthony has always had sharply attuned antennae for shifts in taste, and is himself a highly authoritative tastemaker, whose opinions are sought out and valued by the most discerning travellers.
His background originated in real estate. He founded what, in its time, was arguably London’s most prestigious brokerage. He specialized in the marketing and sale of some of the capital’s exceptional landmark homes. He subsequently went into development of turnkey projects in similar super-prime locations.
His entrance into the world of travel came out of a challenge from his wife, whose career started in modelling, then fashion design, and now fashion and lifestyle consultation. They have spent much of their lives travelling to, and being fascinated by, the world’s finest places, exotic destinations, world-class hotels, cool restaurants and beach club etc. always critiquing and advising friends. He made notes everywhere he went, checking out best rooms and suites, finest views and most coveted tables.
The original beautifully colored Nota Bene destination review books were subscribed to by many celebrities, captains of industry and important names from media, film and fashion, more than 70 percent of whom came from the United States. They built up a very impressive database. Their focus turned to the bespoke management of travel as an annual fee-paying service for the UHNWs. As a result of further client demand, they have recently introduced a super-prime real estate advisory buying service focusing on Europe, North America and the Caribbean.
Founder of Jet Black luxury travel service
Jessica Nabongo is a writer, photographer, entrepreneur, public speaker and travel influencer currently on a mission to become the first black woman to visit every country in the world. Her travels have taken her to more than 170 countries and territories and she has lived on four continents, giving her a wide range of global expertise. Jessica was recently named one of the 30 most powerful women in travel by Condé Nast Traveler. In 2009 she launched her blog, The Catch Me If You Can and in 2015, she created Jet Black, a boutique luxury travel company that hosts group trips and curates itineraries to countries in Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Mark C. O’Flaherty
Travel columnist at The Telegraph
Mark C. O’Flaherty is a photographer based in London and New York. He has shot for Issey Miyake, Hermès, Knoll, Nobu, Diane von Furstenberg, Established & Sons, Richard James and Rupert Bevan as well as international editions of AD, Esquire, Elle Decoration, Marie Claire Maison, Ideat, Vogue Living, Interview, Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph, Financial Times Weekend and Financial Times How to Spend It.
Mark C. O’Flaherty also writes about design regularly for most of the above publications. He writes a monthly column for The Telegraph on luxury/design hotels and is also the founder of the irreverent luxury travel magazine Civilian.
Lee Brian Schrager
Founder of South Beach and NYC Wine & Food Festivals
The founder of both the South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals—which to date have raised more than $42 million for charity—Lee Brian Schrager is the senior vice president of communications at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. He serves on the board of trustees for Food Bank for New York City and has published three cookbooks.
CEO and Founder of luxury travel Virtuoso Group
Visionary, futurist and entrepreneur, Matthew Upchurch has parlayed his vision of a global travel industry network into Virtuoso, a multibillion-dollar, by-invitation-only enterprise of exceptional travel advisors and providers, all working together to mutually prosper while delivering the world’s most satisfying travel experiences. Matthew serves as Virtuoso’s chairman and chief executive officer, overseeing the marketing, sales, technology and operational systems that have made Virtuoso one of the most respected and successful companies in the luxury travel arena.
While the rest of the world was predicting the downfall of the travel consultant with the onslaught of online booking engines, Matthew envisioned a back-to-the-future alternative that repositioned true travel specialists into their original role—knowledgeable advisors versus transaction processors. He saw the internet as a resource to assist the personal touch. And he perceived the rising Baby Boomer generation as one that prefers to work with experts in the important facets of their lives, including their prized leisure travel.
Matthew’s entrepreneurial perspective grew out of an early love for travel, service and innovation. Following a childhood that included African safaris in the summers, private tours of Europe during the holidays, and a multicultural upbringing on several continents, Matthew turned his sights on the travel industry in the early ’80s. Two family businesses, Percival Tours and Upchurch Travel, enabled Matthew to wear the hats of supplier and travel advisor simultaneously, ultimately leading to his vision of Virtuoso: a virtual corporation of the most powerful upscale travel agencies supported by centralized marketing vehicles and exclusive agreements with the finest travel partners in the world.