About Us: FAQs with the Founders
Get the inside scoop about us. Marilee and Paul Kostadimas answer a few of the most frequent Frequently Asked Questions.
Who are Spotlight Sojourns founders?
Spotlight Sojourns founders are Marilee and Paul Kostadimas.
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 creators and visual storytellers for travel, tourism, and hospitality brands – including arts, cultural, and historic organizations.
We're also advocates for authentic, immersive, experiential travel.
In short: Meaningful travel.
Additionally, we're travel partners in life, through life, for life.
Meaningful travel is indeed part of our own story from the very beginning:
When we met on an archaeological dig in Paros, Greece, we were graduate students from different countries: Paul at the University of Ottawa, Marilee at San Francisco State University.
Following that, we got engaged in Rome, Italy.
And then married in San Francisco, California.
He’s a classically trained photographer; I (Marilee), a writer. So I said to him that long-ago summer:
“Your pictures, my words, our travels.”
Life later took those plans and tossed them like a Greek salad.
In other words: We went corporate.
What makes Spotlight Sojourns different?
Spotlight Sojourns is not only different from influencers; but also different from marketing, advertising, and PR agencies.
We’re uniquely qualified to help make your location a must-visit bucket-list destination.
Because our proprietary frameworks derive from deep expertise and lifetime travel experiences –
professionally for the world’s biggest corporations. Personally for ourselves.
All along the way, we’ve partnered together with countless destination marketers (DMOs / CVBs / TPAs, Chambers), hoteliers, venues, and brands of all kinds.
Because we believe that collaborative partnerships and trusted relationships are the key to success.
What are your qualifications?
Here’s some of Marilee and Paul's fancy-pants qualifications:
Paul, 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 built her award-winning career on the power of professional storytelling: As a strategist in destination management, corporate events, and her specialty, incentive travel.
We've worked with the world's biggest companies and blue-chip clientele.
Without doubt, whether an 8-figure or a 4-figure project is on the line, our clients know we've got their backs.
Spotlight Sojourns founders presently belong to these industry organizations:
- American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP)
- Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
- New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA)
Marilee additionally lled 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.
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.
Marilee is also a public speaker with the purpose in mind to educate, engage, and inspire.
She's addressed groups of every size, from intimate gatherings to hundreds and thousands in the audience.
We believe that meaningful travel broadens horizons, creates connections, and deepens understanding.
Paul particularly embodies this belief:
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.
Why do you what you do?
Above all, the WHY underscores everything, as we always say. Here's ours:
At the peak of our careers, we suddenly and unexpectedly left everything behind to care for our last parent 3,000 miles away.
During Mamma's two-year journey, we learned the profound power of personal storytelling.
Afterward, we set out to circumnavigate the globe.
Because we believe that meaningful travel is the ultimate self-care.
Then a transformational moment in Lisbon, Portugal, subsequently led us to a different path.
So we founded Spotlight Sojourns anew for this purpose:
To inspire and connect meaningful travel do-ers and dreamers with values-aligned travel, tourism, and hospitality brands through visual storytelling.
Because we believe that meaningful travel is part of a meaningful life.
And stories enrich the meaning.
If you're ready to spotlight your story, to show your location in a new light, then we're here to help.