“We just had the most amazing experience. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve been on.” – Ann Snyder

Olson’s Bring It to Safari Professionals

by | Tom's Take, What's New

As Safari Professionals’ founder and CEO, I am particularly pleased to announce that two of our colleagues and friends, Steve and Laura Olson, have joined our growing conservation travel team. Steve and Laura each bring invaluable expertise to significantly enhance the conservation travel services Safari Professionals offers: Steve as Conservation Safari Consultant and Laura as Private Safari Consultant.
Steve’s 23 years as AZA’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs has given him unique opportunities to help AZA member institutions expand their effectiveness in zoo and aquarium-based wildlife conservation efforts throughout the world. His personal commitment to national and international endangered species protection is evidenced by his work at AZA, his prior role as the Program Manager for the development and operations of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and his active role in coral and sea turtle rescue oiled wildlife response. In addition, Steve has been involved with conservation efforts for a wide variety of species – ranging from polar bears, American red wolves and whooping cranes to African and Asian elephants, rhinos and tigers.

Having worked closely with zoos and aquariums throughout the world, as well as with some of the largest and most influential wildlife conservation organizations, Steve is uniquely qualified to help AZA institutions develop and expand their travel programs in support of each zoo and aquarium’s conservation goals.

Quoting Steve: “After 23 of serving the incredible members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, I am excited to assist the Safari Professionals team in developing conservation travel opportunities which meet the specific needs of travelers. Having experienced first-hand the professionalism and enthusiasm with which the Safari Professional team and its cadre of incredibly knowledgeable guides operate, it was an easy decision to become part of the Safari Professionals family.”

Laura’s extensive travel experience includes her 14 years as Meeting and Travel Manager for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a professional, scientific and credentialing association with over 228,000 members and affiliates. After living for a year as an exchange student in Chile, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Spanish. Laura has enjoyed traveling to other countries in Central America and has a passion for other cultures and nature. Having traveled with Steve and Safari Professionals’ CEO Tom LaRock on safari in Kenya, Laura joins Safari Professionals as Private Safari Consultant and will assist our AZA partners in developing their private safari programs.

“I am so excited to join Safari Professionals. Their talent, attention to detail, professionalism and caring attitude towards people, other cultures and nature create the most incredible and personal travel experiences. You can tell by their enthusiasm, they love what they do. Having a background in association travel, customer service, and a degree in Spanish, as well as a passion for other cultures, nature and travel, I’m super excited to become part of the Safari Professional team,” Laura stated.

I invite our many travelers, friends and colleagues to welcome Steve and Laura to the Safari Professionals Family.