The Team

Cherri Briggs | Owner / Founder

Cherri Briggs founded EXPLORE Inc. in 1992 in order to pursue her interests in conservation and community development. Since that time EXPLORE has become one of the leading African travel companies in the USA and now operates in 18 African countries. Today EXPLORE has offices in Colorado, Boston, Botswana and Zambia. Cherri has been the recipient of Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious award “Top Travel Specialist for Southern Africa” annually since 2001, Condé Nast Traveler’s “Top Villa Specialist for Africa” each year since 2008, and was honored with Condé Nast Traveler’s first award for social responsibility in travel. Cherri was appointed to the Botswana Tourism Organization Board in January 2014 and is the first non-citizen to receive this appointment. She has also been appointed as Honorary Consul for the Embassy for the Republic of Zambia to the USA in August of 2013. To learn more about Cherri, click here to view her full profile.

Elise Day | Executive Director of Educational Programs

Elise joined EXPLORE in 2006, and has been a dynamic force behind EXPLORE’s educational programming ever since. As Executive Director of Educational Programs, Elise heads up the Boston office, expertly fielding questions from the Road Scholars, Harvard Alumni and other institutional travelers that she works with. Elise’s obsession with detail ensures that these highly complex educational programs run without a hitch. Her interest in travel started young with exotic family vacations to far corners of the earth, planting the seed for her international career. She has studied and interned in Paris and Reykjavik and like much of the EXPLORE team, is a serious athlete, amazing skier (and instructor) and outdoor person. When not exploring remote Africa she explores the food and culture scene of Boston.

Katie McDonough | Executive Director of Custom Travel

Gloria Steinem once said, “There’s no greater gift than thinking you had some impact on the world, for the better.” Katie says the greatest gift she has ever received are the warm smiles, big hugs, and the singing and dancing which welcome her when she returns to the villages of Chiawa in southern Zambia. While Katie spends most of her time designing highly customized, private journeys for her clients at our home office in Colorado, the women in Chiawa are never far from her thoughts and heart. Through her work, Katie focuses on establishing and supporting connections between sustainable tourism practices and community empowerment. The opportunity to have a positive impact manifests in many ways through EXPLORE. Katie’s favorite part of her job is working with clients to design their “trip of a lifetime”, and knowing that as she does so, she’s supporting conservation and community empowerment efforts worldwide.

Johanne Harms | Accounts Director

Johanne Harms joined the EXPLORE team to work in accounts and keeps impeccable track of the highly complex machinations of running a business that operates in 40+ countries in Africa and other destinations around the globe. Born in Montreal, she has always loved travel and been passionate about other cultures. She lived in many places including Tunisia and grew up with kids from all over the world. Going to elementary school with kids from 6 continents gave her a broad view of other cultures and developed a love of diversity and human differences. She believes strongly that education is the answer for future generations of all cultures.

Frankie Janssen | Associate Travel Coordinator

Frankie Janssen joined the EXPLORE team to assist in all aspects of the trip as a travel coordinator assistant. Frankie’s calm, observant nature belies a passion to experience different cultures and readiness for her next adventure. She grew up in Green Bay, WI so you can expect to see her wearing Packer gear on all Football Sundays out of the year. She lived in Spain for 6 months where she developed an addiction to traveling, and hasn’t stopped since. When she’s not at work, helping craft spectacular adventures for you, Frankie enjoys hiking and camping in the Rockies and hockey.

Joseph Chung | Assistant Travel Coordinator

Joe has never lived in the same place for more than 5 years. His work with EXPLORE affords him the opportunity to share some of his favorite places with others in assisting with their travel plans. Joe likes being able to showcase the beauty of the properties EXPLORE’s partners, especially those in Peru and the Galapagos Islands and the Indian Ocean. Originally from Mauritius, he moved to South Korea for school before finishing his studies in Connecticut. He enjoys exploring the Rockies and is EXPLORE’s go-to guy for detail, especially when it comes to travel insurance. He is fluent in English, Korean and French. Joe loves chocolate and red wine which he regularly shares with the EXPLORE team!

Richard Wilson | Director – Direct Impact Africa

Richard Wilson and Cherri Briggs were married in the Kalahari desert with 60 guests including 15 ‘bushmen’ or San people who performed a trance dance for their wedding. Richard currently acts as the Director of Conservation and Community Projects for Direct Impact Africa, EXPLORE’s community action arm. Wilson’s love affair with Africa began at the age of 11, when his father moved the family to South Africa from Aberdeen, Scotland. Richard started running a small clothing company in South Africa, which led to the collection and export of traditional African crafts and artworks. When he formed Zambezi Trading Company and started working closely with local artists, Richard became more connected to the people and the sustainability of their villages and cultures. In 2008, Cherri and Richard formed DIRECT IMPACT AFRICA (DIA), committed to benefiting the lives of local Africans who live in proximity to protected areas. Richard now dedicates much of his time assisting local communities in the Lower Zambezi and other parts of Africa by supporting the efforts of community cooperatives which further conservation initiatives. His latest projects include: sports programs for boys, girls and young adults, new playgrounds for schools, organic fish farms, irrigation for small cooperative farms and medical clinic and school improvement programs.