The gapyear.com Core Team
gapyear.com is a social network and travel advice website committed to providing you with everything you need to know about taking a gap year. We were created by backpackers, for backpackers, and offer expert advice on travelling, volunteering and working abroad, all tied together with inspirational ideas, opportunities and products.
But websites cannot run on circuits and servers alone. They need people. Human people. Below are the individuals that work on gapyear.com every day to make it one of the best travel sites around. Some of them write the words that appear on the site. Some of them sell stuff. And some of them fiddle with knobs and bang things really hard when everything stops working. But whatever they do, they are part of an awesome team committed to giving you the best travelling experience possible.
Sara Mason-Parker, General Manager
Sara is the general manager at gapyear.com and she makes sure the site is one of the best travel social networks out there. She's known in the travel industry as being a bit of a travel guru and social media queen. Sara is half French, grew up in Hong Kong and has explored many destinations... but still has itchy feet to travel more! It's safe to say that she knows a thing or two about gap years after being on a couple herself. Her philosophy is: "It's a big old world out there, explore it!"
Cormac Scanlan, Chief Operating Officer
Cormac is the chief operating officer at gapyear.com. Having originally joined the site as the head of design back in 2004, Cormac is now something of a gapyear.com veteran. He has a multidisciplinary background that includes content strategy, design and SEO, and is a firm believer in placing strong design principles at the heart of all development projects. A keen photographer and videographer, Cormac's downtime is usually spent camera-in-hand and his travels are usually geared towards the world's more photogenic locations.
The Content and Community Team
Victoria Philpott, Content and Community Team Leader
Victoria is the content and community manager at gapyear.com. She's travelled through Europe extensively, dropping in on a few festivals and picking up work as she went. She's an advocate of slow travel and has worked at camp in America for two summers before releasing the pressure in the clubs of Cancun. She's toured Australia, explored the Serengeti and backpacked through Morocco. A wise man once told her, 'In the pursuit of seeing everything, we see nothing', and she tries to recite this to tame her travelling wants, but it's not working.
Macca Sherifi, Travel Editor and Spokesperson
Macca is gapyear.com's travel editor and writes on a myriad of topics, giving the best travel advice in an easy-to-read style that he would describe as 'cutesy'. Not only that, but he's also our spokesperson, giving simple yet inspiring advice. Macca joined gapyear.com in 2011, but before that he travelled for 20 months through Asia, South East Asia and Australia. His favourite destination is India because he thinks everyone has a unique experience there found nowhere else in the world. Macca believes that the future of travel social networks is videoblogging, showing friends and family their experiences as opposed to telling them.
Will Jones, Content and Social Media Specialist
Will is the content and social media specialist at gapyear.com. He joined the team in the summer of 2013 and has worked in the travel industry since 2010. Before settling into office life he took his gap year exploring far flung corners of the world, including the Australian Outback, Vietnam, Nepal and the life-affirming chaos that is India. He loves travel and thrives on new experiences, and one of his ambitions is to have a friend in every country in the world before he retires. His biggest fear is spiders, though he does plan on conquering it. Tomorrow.
Zoe Blogg, Content and Social Media Intern
I am currently a marketing student at Leeds Metropolitan University and interning for gapyear.com over the summer of 2013. My most recent trip was backpacking through India; I travelled from Delhi to Goa in three weeks. While I was there an Indian guru told me that I should only live in cities outside of the UK that start with the letter M or K - Manhattan here I come! One of my most memorable trips is when I hitchhiked for charity from Leeds to Croatia (900miles) in the Easter break of 2012; I met some wonderful people and slept in some really unusual places.
The Business Development Team
Louise Franklin, Business Development Manager
Louise is a business development manager at gapyear.com. Before she joined the team the best thing she ever did was to go glacier climbing in New Zealand. She was on a six-month world tour visiting Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, LA, Vegas and Montreal. She likes to be active, but not extreme. Her most recent trip was an epic tour of Vietnam, but the most memorable was spending Christmas on Phi Phi in Thailand. When she's not at work she's dreaming of South America, although sometimes we catch her doing this at work too.
Sarah Kirke, Business Development Manager
Sarah is one of gapyear.com's business development managers and has been with the brand since 2009. Sarah is half-Australian on her mother's side and has previously lived and worked in the country. She is a huge advocate of long-haul travel and the opportunities that backpacking experience brings. Sarah loves nature and horse-riding, and likes to be active outside of work and used to do three-day eventing, but feels she is getting on a bit to continue competing. Fact: she has just got over her fear of heights.
Erik de Vos, Business Development Manager
Erik is the latest business development manager to join the team at gapyear.com. Erik is Dutch and left Amsterdam after his studies to travel and work overseas. He lived in Australia for about five years travelling all over the country before moving to London in 2011. Erik has travelled in Europe, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the USA, making him a bit of a travel expert. His last trip was to the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean and he's set his sights firmly on Egypt as his next trip.
The Marketing Team
Rosz Avellino, Marketing Executive
Rosz is gapyear.com's marketing executive. Her favourite destinations are shared between Thailand and Colombia. She thinks both are exciting countries with so much to offer first time and seasoned travellers alike. Rosz believes the future of travel social networks will help create a more united experience for travellers around the world. You can organise to meet friends in a bar in Laos, find travelling buddies when all your own friends are too lame to travel with you or just find some 'off the beaten track' facts about an upcoming destination.
Kiri Evans, Product Manager
Kiri is the newest and youngest member of the team, responsible for our sales and marketing support. She's done her fair share of exploring, from skiing in Canada, to partying in Ibiza, although she is yet to tick backpacking off her 'to do' list. She hopes to travel South America one day, but in the meantime her next stop is Croatia, where she plans to fuel her festival addiction. Kiri recently completed her degree in English and Magazine Journalism, yet despite the sad realisation that student life is officially over, she is very excited to be starting her career with gapyear.com!
The Development Team
Matt Cooper, Web Developer
Matt's job at gapyear.com is to keep the website running smoothly as well as making all those fancy buttons and links do things. When he is not taking part in his main love of drinking fine beer Matt likes to spend his spare time travelling the world (Europe's his favourite place at the moment), and occasionally working. Hailing from New Zealand (which he thinks is the best country in the world), it will come as no surprise that he is currently doing the stereotypical Kiwi thing by living in London on his "big OE".
Jan Plzak, Web Developer
Jan is another web developer and it's his job to make the website look as cool as it is. As you can tell from his name, he's not British but from the Czech Republic. He loves photography, travelling and experimenting in the kitchen (cooking, nothing too sinister here). Since he's been in the UK he's taken a fondness to cider and he's been sampling as many as he possibly can. His favourite is berry cider. And when he's not in the UK, he likes to go to Italy, his favourite country, to see all it has to offer.
Tom Griffiths, Co-Founder
Tom took his first gap year at 18, travelling to Australia via the US and Pacific Islands and back through South East Asia. He had such a brilliant time that he then spent his student days earning money to travel, doing everything from working on trucks to busking on the streets with didgeridoos. Tom wrote his first book Before You Go at 22 and founded gapyear.com in 1998 with IT Consultant Peter Pedrick. He has now left the brand and acts as a travel and volunteering spokesperson. He remains an industry authority, conference speaker and consultant, with countless media appearances over the last decade.
Peter Pedrick, Co-Founder
When Tom met him, Peter was about to take time out from running his IT consultancy company that he started at university. You could say that running and starting businesses was Peter's UK gap year, but at 23 he was itching to do some travelling and escape the usual workplace nightmares. He believed gapyear.com is about enjoyment, adventure and getting the most out of your life; three things we have always cared very strongly about. Peter has since moved on to new adventures and is no longer involved at gapyear.com.