FOUNDER AND CEO,
FOUNDER AND CEO,
Willem has had a passion for travel since a solo bicycle trip around The Netherlands when he was just eleven years old. In his early years, he worked several jobs both after school and on weekends. His interest in business quickly took over from classroom learning. He worked for a neighbor’s television and white goods shop, where he did everything from selling televisions to delivering washing machines. These experiences laid the foundation for his entrepreneurial future.
From the beginning Willem was committed to growing his business in a sustainable manner using responsible travel practices at the core of product development and operations. He strongly advocates that sustainability is no longer a luxury but an imperative in order to leave a world that is livable for our children. Willem is married and has two daughters. He speaks Dutch, English and Thai.
PARTNER AND CFO,
Mark grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana – just about an hour east of Chicago. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. Mark later pursued and earned his Masters in Business Administration in Finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Mark has lived in Asia for over 20 years, immersing himself in the region’s cultures, languages and landscapes. Mark has proudly called Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Philippines “home”. He speaks English, Thai, Vietnamese, Khmer, Tagalog, Spanish and Arabic, all of which have helped develop his love and appreciation for travel and cultural richness.
CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER,
Richard arrived in Thailand in 1989 after receiving a degree in Hotel Management from the Hotel School The Hague. Richard previously worked for Amari Hotels and Resorts, where he spent four years as the hotel group’s Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing. In June 2000, Richard joined Diethelm Travel Group where he held the responsibilities of VP of Sales and Marketing, Managing Director of Thailand, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Executive Officer of the company in November 2012.
Richard’s career is consistent in its quest for pursuing sustainable travel. He is a Dutch national, fluent in both German and English in addition to his native language. He is married and has one daughter, and resides in Thailand.
Hailing from India, Sudhakar commenced his professional journey as a tech- entrepreneur, subsequently joining Nadathur Group for over a decade as an investment portfolio manager and entrepreneur-in-residence gaining valuable experience in the venture capital and private equity sector.
Sudhakar has worked extensively in South Asia and Southeast Asia, building a strong business contact network across the region. He has 10 years of experience in the hospitality industry, developing and managing boutique properties.
Hailing from the UK, Lauren’s passion for educational travel was sparked during her own first hand experience of transformative travel teaching English in rural China, as well as studying and working in both Poland and Germany. Lauren joined the GROUND Asia team after spending six years in Budapest, Hungary where she worked for a tour operator, youth hostel and DMC.
Lauren is passionate about responsible tourism management and has led several projects in the field, the most recent one being a tech project in Indonesia focusing on clean drinking water and reusable plastic bottles.
CARDAMOM TENTED CAMP
Allan has been living in Cambodia for the past 17 years. His true passion for wildlife photography and conservation brought him to the country after several years of working in the financial industry in his home country, England. Even though this is Allan’s first tourism project he is already a veteran within the environmental, wildlife and sustainability movement in Cambodia. He has a true passion for the country its nature, people and animals. His own produced film (“Cambodia: Forests, water, life”) is used as educational material at the Royal University of Phnom Penh and well renowned as well as his 2015 wildlife film (“Land of the Giants”).
During his freelance years Allan has done photography as well as writing articles for local and regional media such as BBC Natural History Unit, Animal Planet and National Geographic Magazine.
ANURAK COMMUNITY LODGE
George was born in the UK but grew up in the idyllic, multicultural British Virgin Islands of the Caribbean. Developing a passion for cooking at an early age, he pursued a degree and career in culinary arts and hospitality, eventually leading George to Thailand in 2012 and most recently to Anurak Community Lodge.
George speaks both English and Thai and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience of hospitality, cultural traditions and the natural environment coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit to drive Anurak sustainably forward.
Marius was born in Germany but has spent extensive amounts of time in the eastern hemisphere; some of his stopover destinations include Australia, Indonesia, Thailand and Laos. He has a deep curiosity for culture, nature and adventure based-activities. His eagerness to learn from and engage with local people and his knowledge of sustainability and wildlife conservation led him to a job as Project Manager at YAANA Ventures.
GROUP FINANCE MANAGER,
Issara built the foundations of the company’s finance department, joining Khiri Travel in Bangkok’s Banglumpoo district in 1998 as an assistant accountant. She graduated from Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University with a degree in accounting and is the company’s longest serving staff member.
CORPORATE FINANCIAL ACCOUNTANT,
Natthita (“Jeep”) graduated from Payap University in Chiang Mai with a degree in accounting. She started her career in her hometown of Chiang Mai and moved to Bangkok in 2010 to seek new challenges. Jeep has worked for several growing companies in the hospitality industry. At YAANA, Jeep is responsible for the accounting of both YAANA and its ventures.
ANURAK COMMUNITY LODGE
Tunyaluk “Yok” graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Kasetsart University. She started her career as an Audit Assistant at EY Office Limited before joining the YAANA Ventures team as an Accounting Officer for Anurak Community Lodge.
GROUP FINANCIAL ANALYST,
Dylan grew up in beautiful and sunny Orange County, California and moved back to Thailand upon completion of his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from San Diego State University. With a passion for investment banking, financial modeling and “crunching numbers”, Dylan, the youngest member of the team, commences his professional journey to seek his true calling in the world of finance. To stay in the “zone” and deliver added value, Dylan listens to Timber by Pitbull on repeat. He speaks English and Thai and lives with his pet Persian named Bob and pet hedgehog named Pedro.
Athimes “Pug” graduated from Dhurakij Pundit University International College with a degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management. His passion for travel started when he was just 5 years old when he would accompany his dad who was a driver at the time traveling around Thailand.
He has been in the tourism industry for 7 years, developing himself and the properties he manages as role models of sustainable tourism.
RESERVATION AND SALES EXECUTIVE,
ANURAK COMMUNITY LODGE
Pemika (“Tai”) graduated from Bangkok University with a degree in hotel management. She started her career in the travel industry as a Reservation Officer for the Dusit Thani Bangkok where she worked for two years and learned the importance of customer service and hospitality working for this major international hotel group.
Tai has joined the Yaana-Ventures team as the Reservation and Sales Executive for Anurak Community Lodge. She believes that going the extra mile to ensure guests enjoy their stay, is the key to an unforgettable experience and a successful product.
Transylvania-born Szabi is a creative professional and visual storyteller with six years’ experience in business management and marketing in both startup and public company environments.
He has an extreme passion for adventure travel, which has led him to visit more than 40 countries, climb some of the highest mountains in Europe and Africa and spend one month running across the most spectacular parts of Transylvania.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST,
Kelly was born in Durban, South Africa, and grew up immersed in an eclectic mix of English, Afrikaans and Zulu culture. This ignited her deep rooted passion for languages and cultural richness and eventually led her to Asia where she has been living since 2013.
After working as a Digital Editor and Travel Writer for various publications in Bangkok, Kelly joined the team as a Social Media Specialist for YAANA Ventures where she hopes to use her skill set to create awareness for responsible travel and environmental initiatives.
Khatawut “Art” graduated from Southeast Bangkok College with a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts with a major in Business English. While studying, he joined the marching band and took part in the World Music Contest in The Netherlands, European Marching Band Tour and Asian Marching Band Tour, during which he traveled to more than 15 countries.
With a passion for website development, Art joined the YAANA Ventures team as the Webmaster where he is constantly finding new ways to improve the company’s website as well as his own skill set.
Wichapon “Oat” graduated from Silpakorn University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management & English, before persuing his Master’s degree in Communication & Innovation at the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida).
He began his career as a Customer Service Officer but has since established himself in the field of marketing. Oat has joined the YAANA Ventures team as Marketing Executive focusing on graphic design.
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