Meet Our Speakers

Interested in participating in one of our events as a speaker or an exhibitor?
We are always looking for professional speakers with interesting stories or services that will appeal to our readers.
For more information, please contact Niamh Daly by submitting your interest here

Below is a selection of the experts you may hear from at our events.

INTERNATIONAL LIVING

Dan Prescher Event Emcee, International Living

Dan Prescher is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. He earned a degree in Journalism at the University of Nebraska and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Dan worked as a copywriter for many years in educational fundraising and electronic fund transfer systems marketing until he met his wife, Suzan Haskins, with whom he ran a successful multimedia marketing business in Omaha until 2001. That’s when Suzan suggested selling the house, cars, and furniture, and moving to Ecuador to take a job with International Living. It was a decision that has occasionally made them (and their friends and family) wonder about their sanity, but one that they have never regretted. Since then, Dan and Suzan have lived and worked in Ecuador, Panama, Nicaragua, and three locations in Mexico for International Living. In his spare time Dan enjoys playing the guitar and songwriting. He and Suzan maintain residence in Ecuador and are currently exploring Mexico’s Lake Chapala area with an eye to relocating there.

Suzan Haskins Latin America Editor, International Living

Suzan Haskins hails from the great American Midwest, where she spent nearly 25 years working in corporate advertising and marketing in Omaha, Nebraska. Finally, in 2000, she said “not another winter in Omaha” and began looking for a place to live where the weather and scenery were better and she could do more of the things she had always wanted to do. An International Living subscriber, she started pestering the company for a job. In 2001, International Living relented, and hired Suzan and her husband, Dan Prescher, to work for the company in Quito, Ecuador. From there, the Haskins/Prescher team moved to Mexico in late 2002, and in 2006 and 2007 they lived in Panama and Nicaragua before returning to Mérida, in Mexico’s Yucatán state, where they renovated a colonial home. For six years, they have lived in Cotacachi, Ecuador, but are spending this winter at Lake Chapala, Mexico, when not on assignment researching and writing about the world’s best relocation destinations for International Living.

Glynna Prentice Mexico Editor, International Living

Glynna has traveled extensively—and on her own—since adolescence. She began her travels abroad with Europe, during college, and later returned to work as a field archaeologist in the U.K., digging up Vikings, before attending graduate school in New York. She spent much of her professional career in financial services, strategic consulting, and marketing, including a stint in Brazil and nearly seven years in Spain. During her time in Spain, she traveled the length and breadth of the country, both for business and for pleasure.

Returning to New York, she worked in healthcare information and marketing with a major internet portal, before moving to Mexico in 2007. She currently lives in Guanajuato, in Mexico’s Colonial Highlands, and spends part of every year in Spain. She travels extensively throughout Latin America and Europe, and has written about Mexico, Belize, Ecuador, Peru, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal for International Living.

Glynna graduated from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She holds an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Jessica Ramesch Panama Editor, International Living

No stranger to “international living,” Jessica Ramesch had called the U.S., India, and Panama home by age 14. So it was no surprise to her family when she won a full scholarship to study International Politics and Diplomacy at the University of Richmond. After graduating with honors, Jessica worked as an interpreter for the World Access travel emergencies hotline, followed by a stint as a Panama Canal editor. Not content to watch the ships go by, she went on to join the cruise industry. After visiting 25 countries, Jessica abandoned ship for the good life in Panama
City. As International Living’s Panama Editor, she writes about Panama’s beaches, islands, mountains, and countryside. She is also the author of Escape to Panama, International Living’s best-selling book on all things Panama.

Keith Hockton Southeast Asia Correspondent, International Living

Keith worked in the investment banking arena for most of his life and retired in Hong Kong in 1998. He then went on a three-year journey of discovery around Australia, and wrote Atlas of Australian Dive Sites: Traveller’s Edition, a book about scuba diving your way around Australia. It was published by Harper Collins in 2003 and it’s now in its third printing.

He worked for various think tanks in Australia and the U.K. between 2003 and 2009 concentrating on Asian and European country risk, and finally returned to live in Malaysia in 2009. He had last lived there with his parents in 1970. He started writing for International Living in 2011 and in the same year authored Penang: An Inside Guide to its Historic Homes, Buildings, Monuments, and Parks, already in its second printing, and wrote and co-directed a documentary titled 1941: The Fall Of Penang which showcased on the History Channel in August 2012.

Keith is a fellow of the Malaysian Branch of The Royal Asiatic Society and continues to travel and explore Asia at every opportunity. He also mountain bikes (badly) and consequently knows the Malaysian medical system and its hospitals well.

Jason Holland Roving Latin America Editor, International Living

Jason Holland had the benefit of living overseas from an early age. His father was in the U.S. military and later worked for the U.S. government in Turkey, Germany, and Spain. Jason was born in Madrid and, after a brief stintin the States, spent most of his childhood back in Spain, on the southern Atlantic coast near Cadiz. He returned to the U.S. for college, graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Journalism.

After several years in the trenches covering local news for community newspapers in Florida, Jason was offered a position as a writer and editor with Early to Rise, an Agora-affiliated company offering educational resources for entrepreneurs and online marketers. Over the years, he managed to indulge in his love of travel with trips to Thailand, Singapore, Jamaica, and Costa Rica. After years of dreaming of living overseas again, he and his family moved to Costa Rica in February 2012.

Wendy DeChambeau Ecuador Expat and Ecuador Correspondent, International Living

Wendy DeChambeau is a former Securities Principal for TransAmerica who has lived in Alaska, Minnesota, and Idaho. Despite possessing all the requirements of the “American Dream,” Wendy and her husband David were looking for something different. They wanted to own their own business, to introduce their children to a new culture, and never have to shovel snow again.

In November 2011, Wendy, David, and their two sons arrived in Ecuador and set out to make their dreams a reality. They quickly opened and operated a restaurant in the town of Cotacachi while finding time to travel throughout the country and to other nearby nations.

After a year of business, Wendy and David sold the restaurant and began to focus on other opportunities. Wendy is
now a freelance writer, focusing on Ecuador and other nearby countries. You can follow her family’s adventures at https://beyondamericandream.com/.

Jim Santos Salinas Expat and Ecuador Coastal Correspondent

Jim Santos was a computer/network professional in the U.S., working for a major government contractor. He and his wife Rita share a love of travel and always thought about retiring to a warm climate. Then through International Living they learned about the possibilities of Ecuador, and their lives changed.

They journeyed to the coastal region and soon found and fell in love with Salinas. They purchased an oceanfront condo in March of 2013, and registered Residence Visas in November of the same year. Jim worked remotely from Ecuador when they moved full-time in January of 2014, but with the low cost of living he was able to take an early retirement just a year and a half later. The healthier lifestyle and diet have also allowed them a more active life: in fact, later this year they will be hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!

Financial freedom allowed Jim to follow his passion, and he started a new life as a freelance writer. As International Living’s Ecuador Coastal Correspondent, Jim is now busy not just reporting on life in Salinas, but also exploring the coasts and other areas of their adoptive country, Ecuador. Jim and Rita filed for Ecuadorian
citizenship this year, and will continue to explore and report on more of Central and South America—and the world.

Nanette Witmer Chiriquí, Panama Correspondent, International Living

Nanette is most recently from Denver, Colorado. Since the late 90s she has been a subscriber of International Living magazine which created in her a passion and dream of moving abroad to somewhere warm and tropical. After visiting many of the Latin American countries on IL’s list, she moved to David, Panama in 2012. After settling in and loving Panama, she has tried to spread the word about the great opportunities of being an expat. As a result, she is now the new Chiriquí Correspondent for International Living.

Ann Kuffner Belize Correspondent, International Living

Ann has lived full-time in Belize since 2008, on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye. Prior to moving to Belize, she lived in the San Francisco Bay area for over 30 years.

In 1999, Ann and her husband visited Belize on an International Living country-wide tour and at the end of that trip they bought investment property on Ambergris Caye. But it wasn’t until April of 2008 that Ann could walk away from her VP position in a Fortune 500 company, fed up with corporate politics, and moved to Belize… She’s never
looked back.

Ann and Mike built their first home on Ambergris Caye in 2000. They went on to design, build, and operate the first family-oriented fitness facility on the island. It opened in 2003 and they sold it five years later. Today they live in the duplex home that Mike designed and built.

Ann earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. She spent the majority of her career working for environmental consulting companies. But, wanting to shift gears, she started taking writing courses from the American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI) several years before moving to Belize. She completed several AWAI writing programs and now focuses on writing about the international lifestyle that she so enjoys.

Bonnie Hayman Nicaragua Correspondent, International Living

With a B.A. in English from SUNY at Buffalo and a Master’s Degree in Education from Arizona State University, Bonnie started her career as a high school teacher in New Orleans. Shortly after, she lived in Mexico for two years, first teaching TESL and TOEFL classes to adults in Mexico City and then owning a Mexican restaurant in Chiapas
with her soon-to-be husband.

Returning to the U.S. to live, her writing career took off when she started working as a technical writer for semiconductor and telecommunications companies. As the owner of The Write Connection, she has helped hightech businesses write their documentation for over 20 years. Her clients have included Microsoft, Qualcomm, Kodak, Xerox, Syntricity, and many others. During this time, she was able to raise two beautiful daughters and travel the world with her family.

After visiting 53 countries, she decided to retire young in Nicaragua. But “retirement” is really just another way of saying “doing what she wants.” Bonnie is just as busy as before, writing web copy and helping local businesses
market their products. And now, with her position as Nicaragua Correspondent for International Living, she’s found her dream job.

John Michael Arthur Costa Rica Central Valley Correspondent, International Living

John Michael uses the moniker Juan Miguel in Costa Rica. He and his partner, Michael, both native Texans, moved to Costa Rica three years ago, and they have never looked back. John Michael spent 30 years practicing medicine as a Family Practitioner in his hometown near Dallas. Michael was a director for a large IT outsourcing company. After rearing their five kids, and finishing their careers, they were ready for a new life and new adventures.

The retirement destination was quickly narrowed down to Costa Rica. After three years and too many recon trips to count, they found a three-and-a-half-acre farm complete with a river in the Orosi Valley. John Michael says they wandered the property in awe for almost an hour before even entering the house. It didn’t matter what the house was like, this was THE place. John Michael spends his life now as what one of his heroes, Thomas Jefferson, called a “gentleman farmer.” Days are spent tending to the over 125 fruit trees in the orchard, milking the goats for homemade ice cream and cheeses, gathering eggs from the chickens, ducks, and geese, and like Jefferson, creating special nurseries for monitoring and recording the best vegetable and flower results and finding creative ways to use the river and land. The next big project: Going off-grid with their own micro-hydroelectric power plant.

Nancy Kiernan Colombia Correspondent, International Living

A native of Massachusetts, Nancy graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Medical Technology. She and her husband Mike lived in Maine for 27 years where she worked for several large healthcare organizations, including hospitals and a medical school, while obtaining her MBA from the University of Southern Maine in 2001 and raising their daughter Kathleen.

Nancy’s most recent role was as CEO of a large private medical practice. It was this position that she left in October 2011 to take a four-month adventure with her husband through Central and South America. This adventure ultimately led to them relocating to Medellín, Colombia in May 2012.

Now happily living full-time in Medellín, Nancy teaches English to business executives and is co-owner of a small travel agency that specializes in cruises and introducing North Americans to Colombia.

Barbara Diggs France Correspondent, International Living Barbara Diggs is a freelance writer who has been living in Paris since 2001. A former corporate lawyer, Barbara graduated from Stanford Law School and practiced securities litigation at a major law firm in New York City. She later moved to Paris to work for another leading law firm where she handled international arbitration disputes. In the end, Barbara decided that it would be much more fun to be a writer in Paris than a lawyer, so she quit her job. After traveling around Europe, overseeing the restoration of a ramshackle 19th-century country house in Burgundy, and simply enjoying life for a while, she began freelancing for various magazines and websites, including International Living, Forbes.com, Bankrate.com, and many others. She has been International Living’s France Correspondent since 2012, and has also developed a thriving business writing online legal content for lawyers and law firms. She lives in central Paris with her German husband and two young sons.

VALERIE Fortney-Schneider
Italy Correspondent, International Living

Valerie Fortney-Schneider is an American writer and genealogy researcher who lives in her ancestral region of Basilicata, Italy with her husband Bryan. Valerie enjoys exploring and writing about historical sights, hill towns and cuisine, and puts her on-the-ground expat experience to work as International Living’s Italy correspondent.

Valerie earned a degree in history from the University of New Mexico, and as a freelance writer combines her love of history with her extensive experience in the tourism industry to provide insightful, informative articles about life in Italy. She has worked in the hospitality sector, and has experience as a travel agent, as a corporate travel consultant, and travel agency marketing manager. Her grandmother instilled an “Italian identity” in the family and Valerie knew from an early age that she wanted to visit the Old Country. Her travels turned into a love affair and an eventual move. She lived in Le Marche region for two years and has lived in Basilicata now for six years, where she and Bryan are fully integrated into village life.

Wendy Justice Vietnam Correspondent, International Living

Wendy’s love of travel was ignited at a very early age when her grandparents brought back trinkets and tales from India and Thailand. Her family took extensive trips throughout the United States, and as a young woman she lived for two years in a Bavarian village a stone’s throw from the East German border. To finance her travels, she worked as a bookkeeper, then as a business owner. She later returned to school and obtained an Associate’s Degree as a registered nurse and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. She worked as the Director of Professional Services with a hospice in central California for 10 years, until she took an early retirement at the age of 51.

In 2005, she and her husband David left the U.S. for Asia, fulfilling her dream of discovering new places, seeking out new adventures, and immersing herself in new cultures. Since that time, she has also fulfilled a life-long dream of becoming a writer. Her first travel article was published in 2007, and she has been the Vietnam Correspondent for International Living since March 2016. Wendy and David have traveled throughout Northeast and Southeast Asia, and have lived in Chiang Mai, Kuala Lumpur, Nha Trang, and Hanoi. They moved to Da Nang in July 2017 and are enjoying exploring the beaches, mountains, and restaurants in their new adopted home in Vietnam.

THE FACULTY

Rainelda Mata-Kelly Law Offices of Rainelda Mata-Kelly

Rainelda Mata-Kelly has practiced commercial, immigration, and maritime law for over 35 years. Together with her team of lawyers and assistants at the Law Offices Rainelda Mata-Kelly, she has successfully guided hundreds of expats through the process of becoming residents of Panama. The firm has become one of the leading immigration law firms in Panama and the practice includes relocation related services such as legal assistance on the purchase and sale of real estate, setting up foundations and corporations for asset protection and estate planning.

Her legal background starts in 1982, when Ms. Mata-Kelly graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Law and Political Science at Santa Maria La Antigua University in Panama. She then went on to Cornell University Law School and obtained a Masters of Law, specializing in Commercial and Maritime Law. Upon graduation, she became the founder, resident lawyer, and manager for six years of the London office of a Panamanian law firm. As part of her practice, Ms. Mata-Kelly was, for 10 years, an External Legal Advisor to the Colon Free Trade Zone Merchants Association (AUZLC), for several years a member of the Editorial Board of La Prensa, and External Executive Director and Legal Advisor to INTERED (Internet Service Providers’ Association).

Winton Churchill Founder, Churchill Method, Inc., Founder, Barefoot Consultants, Inc.

Winton Churchill is founder of Churchill Method, an international training and consulting company. His firm helps clients find ways to put their skills, services, products, and career experience on the global market by tapping into the 30% to 70% of opportunity most U.S.-only and Canada-only businesses and individuals leave on the table. “By taking charge of their earning power, rather than waiting for governments, financial institutions, and employers to ‘right themselves, ‘ the baby boomer generation now has the power and access to put their skills and abilities on the global market regardless of where they live or work,” says Winton.

In addition to consulting, Winton has written and lectured on a broad range of career and internet sales and marketing topics. His opinions are frequently quoted in a variety of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Marketing Sherpa, Inc. Magazine, SoftwareCEO, Sales & Marketing Management, Fox News and a number of industry related business, internet, and software related publications. He is the author of bestselling book Email Marketing for Complex Sales Cycles (Morgan James Publishing).

Prior to the founding of his own firm, Winton has been involved in a variety of senior sales, marketing, and management roles for Apple Computer, Oracle Corporation, Spinnaker, Contact Software (ACT!), and Sun Microsystems.

Winton is past President of the South Bay Association of Chambers of Commerce. The SBACC serves 18 Chambers and more than 53,000 businesses in coastal Southern California. In 2007, Winton made Huatulco, Mexico his primary residence and divides his time between Huatulco and San Miguel de Allende.

Warren Hardy Warren Hardy Spanish School

The Warren Hardy Spanish Webtutor Course is designed specifically for expats who want to get by in Spanish or learn to speak at a high conversational level.

His online video course is successfully used by thousands of expats worldwide. It consists of three levels. Level 1 empowers students to be courteous and express their needs with confidence. Levels 2 and 3 teach all the verb tenses in Spanish. Each level consists of 40 twenty-minute video lessons and a downloadable workbook. This is an online course. You own it for life and can study it on any device that connects to the internet.

Warren Hardy has been a Spanish teacher and educator for over 40 years. He and his wife Tuli have lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico since 1990, when they founded the Warren Hardy School. The school has become an institution where expats go to learn Spanish and culture.

Over the years, Warren has finely honed this course of study specifically for expats. Students quickly learn the courtesies, the basic verbs and most useful nouns so they can travel, shop, and comfortably take care of their business. This is the necessary “go-to” course for expats moving to Spanish-speaking countries.

Paulo Americo Maia Peixoto Peixoto Advocacia & Consultoria

Paulo Peixoto is a founding member of Peixoto Advocacia, a leading law firm based in João Pessoa, Paraíba. Paulo qualified in 1999 and has over a decades’ experience of advising national and international clients on all aspects of property and commercial law as well as civil matters.

Paulo heads up Peixoto Advocacia’s international team. The team is dedicated to assisting a range of corporate and private clients with their Brazilian real estate transactions along with a range of complementary services such as visas and immigration, company formation, employment and taxation issues, and litigation/dispute resolution. Paulo is a Brazilian national licensed by the Brazilian Bar Association and speaks fluent English.

Roger Petersen
Costa Rica Attorney Petersen & Philps

Roger Petersen is a partner in the Costa Rican law firm of Petersen & Philps. He has been practicing law for 18 years with a specialization in Costa Rican real estate transactions. Mr. Petersen is a member of both the Costa Rican Bar Association and The Florida Bar.

In addition to his legal education, Roger holds a B.A. degree from Tulane University in International Relations and an M.B.A. in Finance from National University in Costa Rica.

Although Roger was born in Costa Rica, he grew up in eight Latin American countries which gives him a unique perspective on Latin America in general. This practical living experience helps him provide the best guidance to expats considering relocation to Costa Rica.

Roger is also the author of the best-selling book The Legal Guide to Costa Rica and numerous other publications on retiring, living, and doing business in Costa Rica.

Camilo Moreno Moreno di Donato Law Firm

Camila Moreno works at the Moreno di Donato Law Firm. She graduated Cum Laude with a degree in International Law and a minor in Law and Justice from the University of Tampa, and is currently pursuing a second degree in Ecuadorian Law.

At Moreno di Donato, Camila has been in charge of the International Law department where she has successfully advised several international clients wanting to retire and invest in Ecuador. Camila focuses on immigration law, Ecuadorian banking, customs, and logistics.

PATHFINDER

Ronan McMahon Executive Director, Pathfinder

A finance graduate, Ronan McMahon worked in the e-business consultancy and dot-com industries before joining International Living as Real Estate Marketing Director in January 2004. Ronan has been an active real estate investor since his early twenties and joining International Living gave him the opportunity to marry his personal and professional interests. Four years ago Ronan took up the position of Executive Director with Pathfinder. Pathfinder is International Living’s preferred real estate advertising partner. Pathfinder scours the globe to find the most unique and value-oriented real estate opportunities. Ronan also writes International Living’s Real Estate Trend Alert and regularly contributes to International Living’s print and online publications. International Real Estate investment is his beat. Ronan has travelled to 15 countries in the past 18 months alone, following trends that could offer profit opportunities. Instinct, experience and an unrivalled black book of contacts give him direct access to the inside track to profit opportunities.

Margaret Summerfield Managing Director, Pathfinder

Margaret was born in Ireland but has spent most of her adult life living outside her home country. Real estate has always been her passion. In 2005, Margaret joined Pathfinder. She spent her first 15 months with the company analyzing the paperwork and due diligence of countless real estate projects. The next step was boots on the ground scouting. Margaret relocated to Panama in 2007, and since then has traveled extensively in Latin America, scouting for real estate opportunities. She’s spent time in places you’ve never heard of…researched more markets, scrutinized more deals, and checked out more projects in the region than just about anyone you’re likely to meet.Margaret is also the editor of Pathfinder’s free e-letter, The Pathfinder Alert.