Diana Laskaris - Chief Ambassador
Diana would like to be called a Rennaissance Woman, but more often is called someone with Life A.D.D. She has had careers as a writer, stage manager, film producer, business executive, game developer, attorney and much, much more. But a few passions have stayed with Diana since the beginning - her love of food, travel and cultural exploration. Her earliest travel experiences began with a trip to Mexico when she was single digits old, followed by a tour of Europe when she was 10. At 17 she spent 2 months overseas with a group of college graduates, and thus began her appreciation for beer, wine and cocktails. She's continued to follow her wanderlust and culinary curiosity ever since.
An avid cook and mixologist (she actually is a graduate of the American Bartenders School), Diana enjoys creating and serving new recipes to friends, family and passersby who look hungry. She is creator of the "Extended Family Cookbook" and is working on an expanded version called the "Hyper-Extended Family Cookbook." Always on the lookout for new ideas, Diana has a habit of collecting books, magazines and all form of printed matter that led her one day to the realization that her personal library was larger than the public library of Pacifica, CA, where she lived when she had this revelation. Her library now rivals that of her current home city of Chicago because for the first time in 15 years, all volumes are located in the same state.
Diana's passion for doing good and giving back has fueled her involvement with various organizations including the American Cancer Society, World Wildlife Fund, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Audubon Society, American Diabetes Association, Wildlife Waystation and others. She is founder of the Entertainment Innovators Association and the Chicago Writers Association, and looks forward to helping develop the PoshPorts Foundation for Doing Good and Giving Back. Be sure to check out Diana's blog.
Sue Reddel Chief Ambassador
Sue started out as a simple painter. Through hard work and sheer determination she ended up a senior executive in corporate advertising at one of the world's largest media companies. Acquiring a thirst for travel and world culture through her many "two week vacations," Sue made the leap out of corporate America to start PoshPorts, share her knowledge and experiences, and further her world exploration. Sue loves to study art, music and architecture on every journey, share her discoveries with others and learn a little bit more every single day. Her passion for sharing the wonders of her experiences, however, often causes her to talk way too fast, so she makes every attempt to remind herself to use hand gestures to show her enthusiasm, rather than speed of speech.
Sue is a teacher and a mentor. Nothing gives her more pleasure than seeing her students and friends succeed. She consumes media voraciously and is always using and sharing the latest social media trend. Although many folks know that Sue is an animal lover, what they may not know is that Sue is also an avid bird-watcher. One of her favorite destinations was the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore, where her artistic skills as a photographer also took flight. Sue enjoys capturing the visual delights of her experiences, and many of the photos on PoshPorts are her own.
Sue loves to eat, and while she has a fairly simple palate she thoroughly enjoys sampling world cuisines in all their many varieties. She is a self-taught expert in sparkling wines of the world and a budding sommelier. Sue's approach to travel and recommendations is the perfect blend of excitement and reliablity. She provides great observations to those who desire adventure matched by dependable quality. She provides the backbone for the "Seal of Approval" on the insights provided by PoshPorts. Sue is a great connector of people and ideas, and strives to make all situations a win-win. She is extremely thankful for all the bounty in her life and is therefore always looking for ways to give back. She has been a strong supporter of children's philanthropic organizations including the Off The Street Club. Her commitment led to PoshPorts' first Doing Good and Giving Back initiative, participation in Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation to end childhood hunger. Be sure to check out Sue's blog.
Alex Kayanan - Ambassador
Alex refers to himself fondly as homeless. Born in Mexico to a father of Filipino decent, he spent his early years near Chicago and New York, his teenage years in Italy, college years in Colorado, and then joined the Army to jump around the world some more. After leaving the service, he worked in Iraq and Afghanistan for two years to help set up an engineering services company. The same job took him to the Philippines in 2007, where he has taken advantage of the opportunity to learn about his heritage. While there, he (and two partners) founded a corporation supporting global projects in the development sector. In 2010, he decided to step away from the company to rekindle that joie de vivre that had been buried in the 80-hour weeks of managing start-ups.
These days he spends his time dusting off those old writing skills, musing about what it means to “grow up already,” and trying to decide where in the world home is. For the remainder of 2010 and 2011, you can catch up with him flirting at a local bar in Makati, soaking up sun in Mexico, visiting friends in Colombia and family in France, and, possibly, attending a graduate program in London. Alexis gravitates to live bands, interesting architecture, city nightlife, desserts, theater, and the juxtaposition of cultures, as he tries to join a community and find a home of his own.
Chef Jill Houk - Ambassador
After 15 years in information technology, Chef Jill decided to make cooking her career. She quit her job in IT sales and attended culinary school at Kendall College in Chicago, where she graduated Valedictorian in 2005.
Upon graduation, Chef Jill co-founded Chef On Call Chicago, now Centered Chef Food Studios, a wellness-based catering, personal chef and culinary consulting firm. Here she refined her cooking to include healthy ingredients and cooking techniques, all while retaining great taste. At the beginning of 2010, Chef Jill sold her half of the business to focus more on culinary consulting.
Currently, Chef Jill consults with Sara Lee Corporation, developing recipes and appearing on television to present recipes using the company's products. Many of her recipes include aspects of healthy cooking and cooking for kids. She also develops recipes for other food companies, such as Ajinomoto, Applegate Farms and Driscoll's Berries. In addition, Chef Jill teaches healthy cooking classes to small groups and private individuals.