Meet Our Team

of dedicated professionals

North America Sales & Marketing Team

JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers Founder and President joann@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers Founder and President joann@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


At its best, travel should challenge our preconceptions and most cherished views, cause us to rethink our assumptions, shake us a bit, make us broader minded and more understanding.” –Arthur Frommer

A trusted advisor to her clients and to leaders in the luxury travel industry, JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers brings a holistic view to the travel destinations and cultural riches that lie behind the world’s Hidden Doorways.

Kurtz-Ahlers, president and founder of Hidden Doorways Travel Collection, has twice appeared on Travel Agent Magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Women in Travel” list and been selected as one of Meeting News’ “25 Most Influential People.”

Before founding Hidden Doorways, Kurtz-Ahlers worked for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. During her 15 years with the company, she was the first woman executive named vice president of sales and marketing, leading the Ritz-Carlton’s 11 global sales offices and supporting the development of properties from 5 when she joined the company to 62 properties when she left. In addition, she worked in new developments in Europe and the Middle East, including properties in Egypt, Dubai, Qatar, Turkey and Spain.

Kurtz-Ahlers and Associates was founded in 2002 and re-branded in 2018 as Hidden Doorways. One of the company’s early, and lasting, points of distinction has been its competency in connecting niche, luxury properties in emerging countries with adventurous, affluent travelers.

Today, Kurtz-Ahlers is a familiar figure at the world’s most influential industry events, including ILTM in Cannes, LE Miami and PURE in Morocco. On dates in between, she can be found visiting the world’s most remote destinations — or at home in Laguna Beach, California.

Dawn Bilawa Sales Consultant dawn@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Dawn Bilawa Sales Consultant dawn@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Gandhi

Dawn is a true explorer at heart. At a very early age, traveling with her family, she developed a great sense of adventure throughout the Pacific Northwest, Southwest and Canada. She enjoys anything and everything to do with nature and feels most at home when she is hiking, biking and running. Dawn resides in Southern California with her husband, two boys and Coton de Tulear, Henry.

Dawn started her career in luxury hospitality with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company where she held a variety of sales positions prior to joining Hidden Doorways. With almost two decades of experience and expertise in sales and marketing, contracting and revenue management, her favorite part of working with Hidden Doorways is to assist hotels in reaching their full potential. She feels there is nothing better than witnessing the true sense of accomplishment a sales team has after she has worked with them and they have the ability to see the result of their hard work and effort. Dawn currently oversees the account management for Six Senses. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from DePaul University in Chicago.

Dora Karanikas Sales Consultant dora@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Dora Karanikas Sales Consultant dora@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”

 Dora Karanikas, a 15-year industry veteran, started her career in hospitality with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, as part of the opening team of the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park. She has cultivated her sales and marketing experience from a variety of luxury sectors including, travel, hospitality, publishing, and retail. Dora has excelled in managing a diverse portfolio of global luxury travel products including resorts, villas, private islands, spas, city center hotels, adventure travel, cruise product and safari lodges.

Dora has recently returned to Hidden Doorways, A KAA Travel Collection, after spending 2 years at Virtuoso as the Northeast Regional Director, Global Member Partnerships.  Her varied expertise and extensive relationships throughout New York and the surrounding areas is a great asset to the Hidden Doorways  team. A long time New York resident, Dora oversees accounts in the Northeastern market. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Johnson & Wales University, as well as an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and Certificate in Graphic and Web Design.

An avid adventurer and explorer, Dora has immersed herself into the world of travel to pursue her passion and love of other cultures, destinations and people.  With her ability to connect to those around her, Dora brings joy and knowledge to everyone she meets, both professionally and personally, and strives to be a person that can be counted on for honesty and integrity. When Dora has downtime, she is typically spending it with her husband Mike and beloved dog, Avalon.  She is a quintessential “foodie” at heart and will try anything once. She also enjoys spending time with friends, trying a new workout, testing out new recipes, or cultivating her ever-expanding garden.

Fabiola Sotomayor Sales Consultant-Mexico fabiola@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Fabiola Sotomayor Sales Consultant-Mexico fabiola@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly; you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.” –Anthony Bourdain

Fabiola’s passion for travel was inculcated by her parents’ sense of adventure, eating different foods, seeing new cultures and getting out of their comfort zone. One of Fabiola’s most vivid memories as a young child was the joy of seeing her mother and grandmother return from Jerusalem and what that trip had meant to them. Fabiola was only 14 years old when she spent a month and a half in Europe on an American Express tour — a trip that would forever change her perspective on life and open a window of curiosity to experience different cultures and languages. One of her biggest accomplished dreams was taking a one-year sabbatical to Florence, Italy, to learn the Italian language, Italian cooking, art history and viniculture. Fabiola’s insatiable passion and curiosity for travel lean toward countries rich in culture, food and art. Some of her favorite countries are Mexico, Spain, Italy, France and Morocco. Fabiola lives in Sonoma, California, and you can find her perusing fresh produce at the local farmers’ market, tasting new varietals, volunteering at her daughter’s school and attending local music and art festivals.

Fabiola started her hotel career in San Miguel de Allende and in Los Cabos, Mexico, where she successfully launched the luxury leisure and incentive markets in a booming destination. In 2002, Fabiola moved to San Francisco and held a position as a National Sales Manager for the San Francisco Visitors Bureau. In 2002, Fabiola moved to Santa Monica where she held the Travel Industry Sales Manager position at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, where she cultivated the luxury travel industry and entertainment markets in Los Angeles, New York and London. In 2008, she was appointed West Coast director of sales for the anticipated opening of Montage in Beverly Hills. Fabiola has been a consultant with Hidden Doorways since 2013.

Kristin Duvall Sales Consultant kristin@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Kristin Duvall Sales Consultant kristin@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“Life is an occasion, rise to it.” -Anonymous

Since Kristin first started in the luxury travel industry over 18 years ago, her passion and love for travel has continued to grow. Her exposure to various countries around the world has educated her as to how travel can expand the mind and soul and her biggest joy is to share that knowledge with family, friends and colleagues.

Kristin’s career within the hotel industry has evolved from catering, conference services and sales, and now representation of some of the world’s most unique and exceptional companies. Kristin resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, and always has her passport close-by for the next opportunity to visit a new destination or her favorite continent, Africa.

Patrick Anderson Sales Consultant patrick@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Patrick Anderson Sales Consultant patrick@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


Patrick has been active in the hospitality industry for 34 years and has held various positions with Hyatt, followed by The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in Washington, DC and London, including director of sales at the UK Regional office. After relocating to New York in 1999, Patrick was appointed director of sales at the Waldorf Towers, New York. In 2004, Patrick moved back to Orlando where he began his career in the representation field and worked with many hotels and resorts around the world. Patrick joined Hidden Doorways in 2008, focusing on Six Senses Resorts & Spas. In 2011, Patrick began working with the entire Hidden Doorways collection and has done so ever since, handling the Southeast and Southwest luxury travel trade. Patrick has extensive management, sales and marketing experience and brings experience in incentive, transient, entertainment and wholesale markets to the Hidden Doorways team.

In his spare time, Patrick loves spending time with his husband either at the beach or at their cabin in the Asheville area. He also likes spending time with his family and friends, which includes so many of the travel professionals he has been working with for years.

Rachel Newman Sales Consultant rachel@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Rachel Newman Sales Consultant rachel@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“Travel brings power and love back into your life.”- Rumi

Rachel is driven by her passion for travel and discovery. British-born with a nomadic spirit, her travels brought her to New York in 2000, where she helped open two high-profile restaurants and Bottega Veneta’s flagship store for Gucci group.

Prior to joining Hidden Doorways, Rachel spent five years at Design Hotels as Director of Sales, Americas, handling all leisure and entertainment sales for a global portfolio of independent, boutique hotels. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two intrepid sons. She loves to craft experiences for her clients and friends.

Scott Bull Sales Consultant scott@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Scott Bull Sales Consultant scott@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“There are no bad spas, only bad matches.” – Mel Zuckerman, Founder of Canyon Ranch

Having grown up in a fitness-focused environment, it is no wonder Scott’s life pursuits have been centered on health and well-being. Prior to entering the luxury travel business, Scott spent 20 years coaching women’s gymnastics at two of the top collegiate programs in the country: UCLA and the University of Georgia. When the time came for a career change, he knew it must still center on helping others better themselves. This led him to Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. After 15 years, Scott learned all aspects of the destination spa business with a focus on selling the wellness experience to travel professionals. In 2010, he began his current position overseeing the Wellness Collection for Hidden Doorways. The past eight years of representing wellness properties all over the world have been some of the most rewarding of his career. His favorite part of his job is to match the right property with the right client.

Stephanie Harlow Sales Consultant stephanie@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Stephanie Harlow Sales Consultant stephanie@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“We travel not to escape life but for life to not escape us.” -Anonymous

Stephanie has always had three passions in life: love of family, travel and living life to the fullest. Her love for adventure and exploring the unknown began while growing up in the rugged Pacific Northwest, spending every weekend with her family on the nearby ski slopes, biking or boating around Lake Washington or discovering the beauty of the San Juan Islands. Family vacations were planned sightseeing and skiing in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, on the beach under sunny skies in Hawaii and Southern California or shopping the streets of San Francisco.

Spending a semester abroad in London as a college student with weekend trips throughout Europe only further fostered her desire to have a career in which travel was a key component. After graduation, Stephanie spent her formative years with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, transitioning to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, where she spent over a decade traveling internationally while focusing on the corporate, group and entertainment markets. The best part of working in worldwide sales is the relationships she’s managed to cultivate over the years, ensuring clients get the most up-to-date, exceptional experiences that exist. Her love of different cultures, food and people creates the perfect relationship with clients worldwide, and her life in Southern California affords Stephanie the ability to continue to be curious and enjoy the latest new restaurant, film or sporting event with her family.

Dori Solomon Sales Consultant dori@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Dori Solomon Sales Consultant dori@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“You never really travel alone. The world is full of friends waiting to get to know you.”

Dori is a New Yorker at heart and understands the most valuable commodity anyone has is time. Her work ethic is strong and tells it like it is — always with a sense of fun!

A desire for personal growth and a willingness to “roll up her sleeves” allow Dori to see things with an eye for precision and detail that ultimately led her to work for some of the finest, most exclusive hotels in Beverly Hills. Dori is always inspired by five-diamond service as well as the prospect of developing new relationships along the way. Dori’s background consists of working in Los Angeles for hotels such as Hotel Bel-Air, The Peninsula Beverly Hills and The Beverly Hills Hotel, where she looked after the needs of clients who included major Hollywood stars, music industry professionals and top executives. Managing some of the most demanding clients in travel gave her an excellent foundation for the needs of high-end luxury travelers and those who work with them. Dori currently resides in Tampa with her husband and two children.

Jen Rodriguez Financial Controller jen@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Jen Rodriguez Financial Controller jen@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” -Joseph Campbell

As the Financial Controller, Jen offers a practical approach to leveraging technology to deliver effective insight to accelerate business performance and our team’s growth.  Jen contributes to Hidden Doorway’s success through strategic planning and efficient accounting operations, client reporting and business processes automation across the company’s sales’ and administrative team.

Before coming to work at Hidden Doorways in 2009, Jen worked in the various positions providing accounting services and operation strategies to over 40 of her personal clients. Prior to running her own consulting firm, Jen worked as a Director at the YMCA, and as a controller for Acu-Tek Technologies.  After spending many of her early career years in the technology industry, Jen became fascinated with technology and data analytics.  Her love for technology has grown exponentially throughout the years and is often eager to teach Hidden Doorways’ team members about up and coming tech trends.  Jen has been able to integrate her diverse accounting background with her passion for technology to create efficient workflows.  Jen holds a BS degree from University of California, Riverside and is a member of the elite Honor’s Society Gamma Beta Phi.

Jen, her husband Daniel, and her son Luca are enthusiastic travelers, and love exploring unfamiliar places off the beaten path. When she’s not at work, you’ll find Jen at the beach with her boys or playing in her garden.

Laura Fishman Marketing & Sales Consultant laura@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Laura Fishman Marketing & Sales Consultant laura@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”      –Gustav Flaubert

Standing in the shadows of the Valley of the Kings, Laura was 16 when she realized her passion for adventure during her first trip abroad exploring ancient archeological sites in Egypt with her mother and older sister. Immersing in foreign cultures with an open heart and meeting locals along the way formed her most transformative memories. Traveling to almost 30 countries across four continents, she seeks out and enjoys the thrill of discovering off-the-beaten path markets, meeting local artisans and learning about their craft.

Laura feels incredibly lucky to be able to combine her passions at Hidden Doorways in a dual role assisting sales initiatives in the northeast and overseeing marketing. Born with the hospitality gene, with parents who have dedicated their careers to the travel and hospitality industry, she has taken on various roles over the past five years, gaining sales and marketing experience at premier luxury travel and hospitality brands such as Four Seasons and Indagare, a membership-based travel agency and online travel magazine. With a diverse range of hotel and agency experience, she brings a unique perspective on marketing and brand strategy and, most of all, understands the value of developing and maintaining relationships while delivering excellent service. With an entrepreneurial and creative spirit, she obtained a BS degree in advertising and marketing communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Laura currently lives in Brooklyn and has called New York City her home for the past 10 years.

Sandy Blake Director of Operations sandy@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Sandy Blake Director of Operations sandy@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“Travel is most rewarding when it ceases to be about your reaching a destination, and becomes indistinguishable from living your life.” –Paul Theroux

Sandy’s passion for travel began as a young girl forever engrossed in books that took her on adventures to places she only dreamed of seeing. She was captivated and intrigued with cultures, geography and life abroad. At 13, she had visions of somehow making a difference in the world. These passions led to a fruitful career in the travel industry, now having spent time in 46 US states, traveled to 30 different countries and assisted in humanitarian efforts in five countries through local nonprofit organizations.

Sandy began her career in travel when she joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in 1996 as the corporate key account and tradeshow manager. She worked directly with the executive committee, worldwide hotel staff and international sales offices to establish select client relationships in all travel markets. Her principal focus was organizing tradeshows, road shows, client entertainment functions and various special events. She developed strong relationships within the association and travel industry markets, including corporation affiliates throughout the United States.

Since 2002, she has been the director of operations for Hidden Doorways, managing internal activities, budgets and communication to coincide with direct sales efforts on a tactical and strategical basis for the team and clients.

In her spare time, Sandy loves spending time with her husband hiking, kayaking and traveling the world, or riding the motorcycle in her own backyard of the North Georgia mountains. If missing, she is usually visiting one of her three adult children. She is still a passionate reader, loves to write and paint and, more often than not, you will find her behind a camera lens – her second passion, which beautifully captures her experiences traveling the world.


Worldwide Offices

Chris Mastin Sales, Europe chris@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Chris Mastin Sales, Europe chris@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


Having lived in Australia and the Middle East, Chris certainly has had the travel bug and seen different destinations and cultures firsthand. He has worked in some guise of the hospitality industry all his life, having gained hotel experience working for De Vere Hotels prior to moving into food service and the bar and restaurant industry. This saw a 12-year career in procurement roles for companies such as the Compass Group in the UK, Europe and the Middle East, where he developed his strong negotiation and interpersonal skills and saw different working cultures throughout the world. Of late, he has had his eyes opened to Latin America and is now looking to explore farther afield to add to his travel knowledge. He joined Justine in the Hidden Doorways UK office in 2010, helping grow the UK operation and gain a better family life-work balance at the same time.

With a strong interest in food and drink from both a professional and personal perspective, he has been lucky enough to combine the two through travel. He plays cricket and golf when family time allows and has recently taken up road cycling. Weekends, he can also be found helping coach his son’s rugby and cricket teams and supporting his daughter’s love of Irish dancing.

Justine Mastin Sales & Marketing Director, Europe justine@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Justine Mastin Sales & Marketing Director, Europe justine@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


An inquisitive nature and very “itchy feet” from an early age showed that Justine was destined to travel. She left a career in banking to take up a position at Thomas Cook Holidays, where she worked for 15 years, latterly holding the position of head of sales and marketing. Upon moving to Dubai, Justine joined The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, where she looked after travel industry sales for the Middle Eastern region, before transferring back to London as director of travel industry sales, promoting to the UK market Ritz-Carlton properties worldwide. A growing passion for sustainability, well-being and more diverse destinations led Justine to join Hidden Doorways in 2008 to set up the London office. A love of nature, other cultures and food has taken her to many destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe and recently Latin America.

A keen horse-rider, cyclist, decorator/gardener and lover of the great outdoors (when she has the time), Justine lives in the countryside, a few miles outside of Cambridge, where she shares her thatched cottage (a labor of love), with Chris, her two beautiful children, two Hungarian Vizslas, a cat and a hamster.

Jo Morris Marketing & Trade PR, UK jo@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Jo Morris Marketing & Trade PR, UK jo@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


A passion for all things travel developed when Jo began her career at Thomas Cook in the UK, holding a number of positions in the business and leisure travel sectors, including head of sales and marketing for Thomas Cook Holidays Tour Operations and head of PR when the company entered into a partnership with British Airways Holidays. After a short break from the industry, Jo then went on to teach travel and tourism to students studying for a career in the industry, including marketing, customer service and tourism development. Jo has experience in the areas of product development, contracting and strategic planning, specifically in the areas of event management, sales promotion, PR and marketing and is proud to have been part of the Hidden Doorways London-based team since 2011.

Away from the office, Jo is wife to John and mum to two teenage daughters and a crazy Schnauzer named Ted. With a passion for health, well-being and fitness, Jo accomplished a long-held desire to complete the London Marathon in April 2018. Her guilty pleasure includes the company of friends, good food and a glass of something bubbly (preferably whilst on the Austrian ski slopes!

Cristianne Coelho Director of Sales and Marketing, South America cris@hiddendoorwaystravel.com Read Bio
Cristianne Coelho Director of Sales and Marketing, South America cris@hiddendoorwaystravel.com


“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” -Henry Miller

Cris started her career in luxury hospitality while earning her college degree. After 12 years in positions in operations, sales and marketing in global-brand hotels, she started representing Four Seasons George V Paris in Brazil, a kickoff for worldwide traveling and her passion for exclusive hotels. Cris has been with Hidden Doorways for more than six years, during which time she has gained a true sense of connection to different cultures and languages, ultimately shortening distances no matter how remote the destination. Cris loves nature and sports, especially hiking and biking, as well as reading and watching films.

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