OUR 2018 Speakers
Joseph Garner grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago, IL. He was the director and the subject of "Craigslist Joe" -- a documentary film that followed Joe for a month of travel across the United States, solely supporting himself via contacting people on the website Craigslist. He spent the month without using any form of currency and without contacting people he already knew, relying on the "kindness and generosity" of Craigslist users. Joseph also runs development for Todd Phillips' and Bradley Cooper's production company, Joint Effort, on the Warner Bros lot. His credits include: The Hangover movies, Due Date, Project X and War Dogs. His short film "The Schedule Makers", which he directed for ESPN 30 for 30, tells the story of how a mom-and-pop team ended up with the daunting and thankless job of MLB scheduling. Garner lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife, Liz and their dog, Bagel.
Jim Kennett has been operating hostels for over 38 years. He developed four hostels in Oregon and has consulted in the development of many across the US. He and his wife Britta currently own and operate the Northwest Portland International Hostel www.nwportlandhostel.com which hosts over 50,000 overnights per year. The hostel has received a number of awards including a HI national award for the highest standard ratings in the country three times and was ranked #5 in the world by HI online users. Jim is also the co-developer and partner of the HI Miami Beach Hostel www.HI-MiamiBeach.com, a 200 bed facility in the heart of South Beach. Jim currently serves on the national board of directors www.hiusa.org as the representative of the privately owned hostels within HI-USA. He has received the organization’s highest award for hostel development, The Open Door Award, and the highest award for hostel programming, the Interpret America Award. He has a degree from The Evergreen State College and received his Union Carpenters status, with a thorough understanding of construction from design to implementation. Over a period spanning 40 years, Jim has bought and sold real estate ranging from single family homes to commercial buildings. He has good knowledge of real estate acquisition and development.
Karalee Nielsen Fallert
Known as one of the most prolific and progressive restaurateurs in Charleston, SC, Karalee Fallert has been the driving force behind many of the city’s most popular restaurants for 17 years. Originally from Clovis, CA, her culinary education began at Utah Valley University in 1996. After studying culinary arts and visual merchandising for two years, she decided to get back in the field and headed east to pursue her restaurant business dreams. She knew she’d found the right coast when she took a road trip down Highway 17 and crossed the bridge to Charleston in 2000. Karalee started out as a server in several Charleston restaurants then eventually opened the popular tapas bar, Raval, on Upper King Street in 2005. She continued with several more establishments: Taco Boy Folly Beach in 2006; Taco Boy downtown in 2009; Monza in 2007; Closed for Business in 2009; The Royal American in 2011, and The Park Cafe in 2014. In addition to opening and owning many of Charleston’s most popular restaurants, Karalee is a long-time advocate of community projects. She co-founded The Green Heart Project in 2009, as a small school garden at Mitchell Elementary School in downtown Charleston, with the intention of reconnecting the students with fresh, locally grown produce. The garden projects have since grown to seven other schools across the Charleston area and all of Karalee’s restaurants regularly source vegetables from them. Southern Living magazine recently named Karalee one the South’s “most beautiful women” for her contributions to The Green Heart Project and the Historic Charleston Foundation presented Karalee with the IMPACT award in 2014 which acknowledged her as a local champion and pioneer. She was also named one of Charlie magazine’s “50 Most Progressive People” in 2015, and the Charleston Regional Business Journal named Karalee one of the top “40 Under 40” people in Charleston the same year. Karalee is currently in the planning stages for her next two restaurant concepts which will both open in 2018 in the Charleston area, all while enjoying being a new mom to young son, Harley. When time allows, she and her husband spend time building what will eventually be a working farm on Edisto Island, SC.
Courtney Loechl is the editor of Hostelmanagement.com, a hostel coach with hostel.consulting, a writer for Pacific Tradewinds Hostel in San Francisco, and a former hostel manager of many years. She has been in the hostel industry for awhile now, starting out as a backpacker, and then moving into management 7 years ago. She’s worked her way around the world (South Africa, Thailand, the Netherlands, Swaziland, Aus/NZ, California) before coming to Canada in 2017.
This past year she launched her own transformation coaching business, and has been helping clients align to their purpose and then put their dreams into real action. When she’s not busy helping others move their dreams forward, she is working on plans for The Wanderbus, a school bus that will be converted into a mini hostel on wheels, that will travel North America in search of surf, snow, festivals, and intentional community. She loves helping people with their hostels and projects, so if you are feeling stuck or need guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
While working as a software engineer since 2003 for MIT and later for the New York Times, Joseph simultaneously started hosting travelers and backpackers as a fun hobby on Couchsurfing and Hospitality Club. Eventually he caught the travel bug himself, and left the corporate world in 2011 to start a hostel with 2 friends in New York City. Currently he is the co-founder of Providence Hostel and Guesthouse, which is top-rated on both TripAdvisor and Google Maps for the Providence area. In his spare time he enjoys designing and building mobile phone apps. In the slow season he likes to backpack to non-western countries and ride on top of old school buses (as seen in picture).
I arrived in Vegas in October of 2012. After living in Costa Rica for 23 years it was time for a change. I decided to come back to the city where I was born. After spending 3 months looking for jobs with no luck due to my inexperience working in the US, I almost gave up hope and strted thinking of going back to Costa Rica. Then one night I was lucky to meet the hostel owner thanks to my fathers friend circle. I started working 2 or 3 days a week as a cleaner, then worked my way up and in that process I brought the business back to life! I that process I became manager of Sin City Hostel and also gained part ownership of the business. I am very lucky and happy, married to a beautiful wife and with no plans of going back to the jungle!
Riq Lima is the CEO and co-founder of Worldpackers, a global marketplace connecting travelers and hosts through the exchange of skills for accommodation. Worldpackers is the largest app worldwide that helps hostels in more than 100 countries finding and engaging 800,000+ volunteers in a win-win relationship. The app received USD 2 million in investment. Prior to Worldpackers, Riq worked during 5 years in Investment Banking, quit his job and traveled to more than 50 countries in 3 years.