Our Specialty Travel Consultants can work with you to build your ideal adventure.

Jill Hays

Specialty Travel Consultant

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 2023
Life motto: One day at a time!

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Jill Hays joined Holbrook Travel in 2023. A favorite travel memory was her first trip to Costa Rica in 2012, visiting Selva Verde and seeing Trogons and Toucans for the first time. Later she began leading international birding trips through Holbrook. Her great joy is sharing the love of birding and nature and helping others realize their travel dreams. Jill received her degree in Sociology from University of Tulsa and also completed coursework in geography, ecotourism, and ornithology at Missouri State University.

Debbie Jordan

Holbrook Ambassador

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 1986
What inspires me: Nature


Debbie's 30-year career with Holbrook Travel began in 1986 with company founder Giovanna Holbrook. Debbie rejoined Holbrook in 1996, and her passion for birding and nature travel has led her to organize group expeditions that directly support habitat conservation in Central and South America. Now working part-time, she enjoys the duties of Holbrook Ambassador and helps non-profit and specialty group clientele with all aspects of program development and marketing. A lifelong traveler, Debbie arrived in Florida with her family aboard their 36-foot sailboat in 1972, after cruising from California to Florida via the Galápagos Islands and the Panama Canal. When not traveling for work or pleasure, she is appreciating grandchildren in her Melrose, Florida home.

Lisa Palmese-Graubard

Specialty Travel Consultant

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 1990
Can't live without: My family, my dogs and Redbull

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Lisa says she was sucked into the world of travel by Holbrook Travel and there was no looking back. She has visited 17 countries, swam with sea lions, and been in the middle of a herd of wild elephants. Ecuador is one of her favorite places to visit because of the rich Andean culture, the breathtaking scenery and beautiful blue water, and the snorkeling and sea lions on the Galápagos. In her free time she loves spending time with her family, being a mom to her daughter and anything that involves being in and around water.

Sandy Schmidt

Specialty Travel Consultant & Garden Tours Director

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 1992
Favorite quote: "Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.” — Dalai Lama


Sandy’s first career was as a professional musician, from a Jr. in high school through her early thirties. She graduated in 1991 from UF with a BS in Horticulture. A year later she met Giovanna Holbrook and began her career at Holbrook. She has been a Specialty Travel Consultant throughout her time at Holbrook, working with all types of group travel and enjoys assisting friends and family travel as well. In 2006, she began the International Garden Tours of Holbrook Travel, serving as not only as a consultant but development of the itineraries. 

Kevin Van Dien

Specialty Travel Consultant

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 2019
Super power: Making lists

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Kevin Van Dien received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Before Holbrook, Kevin was developing and teaching adult learning programs at The Florida Aquarium.  He enjoys exploring destinations with exotic flora and fauna, but also travels in search of interesting foods, flavors, and coffees! His favorite trips so far include the Amazon, Costa Rica, and Tanzania.  Kevin has spent his entire life learning about the natural and cultural landscapes around the world, and relishes the opportunity to help others enrich their lives through travel!

Fran Whitlock

Specialty Travel Consultant & Air Specialist

Worked at Holbrook travel since: 1992
Foreign languages: English, Southernese

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Fran has been in the travel industry since 1978. She studied travel at Prospect Hall College in Ft. Lauderdale and received her CTC (Certified Travel Consultant) designation in 1990. Fran was born and raised in Florida but lived in Germany for seven years before returning to the sunshine state. At Holbrook, she fulfills the roles of air specialist and travel consultant, working with groups and individuals to craft personalized travel experiences both by land and air. She loves to relax with family, travel, and be outdoors, and has visited Costa Rica, Peru, Panama, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands.