About The Hidden Gemologists

Who are the Hidden Gemologists?

The Hidden Gemologists are Marilee Kostadimas and Paul Kostadimas, the founders of Spotlight Sojourns.

Or rather, as the business cards officially read:

  • Marilee Kostadimas, CMP, DMCP, Creative Director and Chief Storyteller
  • Paul Kostadimas, Co-Founder and Visual Director

We’re professional travel bloggers, creators, and storytellers. As well as travel partners in life, through life, for life.

Meaningful travel is part of our own story from the very beginning.

We met as graduate students on an archaeological dig in Greece.

He’s a trained photographer; I (Marilee), a writer. So I said to him then:

“Your pictures. My words. Our travels.”

Life later took those plans and tossed them like a Greek salad.

In other words: We went corporate.

But in truth, life has a way of coming full circle, doesn’t it?

Because a transformational travel moment in Lisbon, Portugal, led us back to that long-ago promise and purpose.

Today, we’re professional bloggers, creators, and storytellers.

In short, Spotlight Sojourns is literally:

“His pictures. Her words. Meaningful travel.”

What makes Spotlight Sojourns different?

The Hidden Gemologists are not only different from influencers and other creators; but also from marketing, advertising, and PR agencies.

We’re uniquely qualified to help make your location a must-visit destination.

Because Spotlight Sojourns' proprietary frameworks derive from deep expertise and lifetime travel experiences —

professionally for the world’s biggest companies, and personally for ourselves.

Along the way, we’ve partnered together with countless destination marketers (DMOs / CVBs / TPAs, Chambers), hotels, venues, and brands of all kinds.

Furthermore, we believe that collaborative partnerships and trusted relationships are the key to success.

We've worked with everyone from the biggest global brands and blue-chip firms to emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Our clients know, without doubt, we’ll deliver on time and in budget. They know we’ve got their backs –— strategically, creatively, and uniquely.

What are The Hidden Gemologists’ qualifications?

Here’s some of our fancy-pants qualifications:

Strategic consulting

Paul Kostadimas, in his 25-year career in litigation management and cloud software consulting, honed superlative strategic and operational skills.

He's especially known for handling complex scope, difficult stakeholders, and impossible deadlines.

Moreover, he's equally recognized for achieving measurable, repeatable, scalable success.

For instance, he delivered critical consulting support of the largest-ever bankruptcy of a utility company, with $37 billion in pre-filing assets.

Marilee Kostadimas built an award-winning career as a strategist and industry leader in destination management, corporate events, and her specialty, incentive travel.

Marilee is also a writer and public speaker with the purpose in mind to educate, engage, and inspire.

She has addressed groups of every size, from intimate gatherings to hundreds and thousands in the audience.

Industry involvement

We presently belong to these industry organizations:

Additionally, Marilee has led multiple professional industry associations.

Her style of inspirational leadership seeks to elevate the excellence and to transform the experience overall. With the result that diverse members unite behind a singular vision and mission.

Global standards

Marilee holds credentials as Certified Meeting Professional (Events Industry Council) and Destination Management Certified Professional (Association of Destination Management Executives International).

She’s a byline contributor to the international planner’s indispensable Events Industry Council Manual 9th Edition: A Working Guide for Effective Meetings and Conventions.

She’s likewise taught, proctored, and mentored fellow professionals around the world.

Global perspective

Meaningful travel is the perspective that WHY you go matters more than WHERE you go.

Because meaningful travel broadens horizons, creates connections, and deepens understanding.

Paul particularly embodies this global perspective:

He’s lived not only in the capital cities of Ethiopia, Greece, and Canada; but also in California's cultural capital, San Francisco.

Furthermore, he speaks three languages fluently.

What’s the Hidden Gemologists' WHY?

Above all, the WHY underscores everything, as we always say. So here's ours:

At the pinnacle of corporate success, we suddenly and unexpectedly left everything behind to care for our last parent 3,000 miles away.

During Mamma's two-year final journey, we learned the profound power of storytelling.

Because Mamma’s daily stories of her epic life and travels in Africa, Asia, and Europe became part of her legacy.

Then a transformational moment in Lisbon, Portugal, subsequently led to our mission to:

  • Inspire and connect eager travelers with travel, tourism, and hospitality brands through storytelling.
    ~ and ~
  • Inspire and motivate others to tell their own stories.

Because meaningful travel is part of a meaningful life.

And stories enrich the meaning.

So what’s next for The Hidden Gemologists?

If you're ready to spotlight your story, to show your location in a new light, then we're here to help.

Ready? Let's go!

Marilee Kostadimas Hidden Gemologists
Marilee Kostadimas
Paul Kostadimas Hidden Gemologists
Paul Kostadimas



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Marilee Kostadimas and Paul Kostadimas Hidden Gemologists and Spotlight Sojourns Founders
Spotlight Ssojourns founders, Marilee and Paul Kostadimas, the hidden gemologists