chief executive officer & founding partner
Sweet connects all the dots of Shannon’s life, combining her passion for the environment and human rights with her love of travel and women. Obsessed with finding a way to make the economics of doing good in the world work, Shannon strives to create a successful and green business run by happy employees for blissed-out guests. It’s her favorite kind of situation—a win-win-win.
Working as director of promotions and editor in chief at Care2 with visionaries like Randy Paynter, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Timothy Brantley and Annie B. Bond showed her that it’s possible to create an uncompromising business dedicated to making a difference in the world. As vice president of marketing at Olivia and director of marketing at PlanetOut, Inc., Shannon sharpened her lesbian and gay marketing skills. Additionally, she has consulted with dot429, See Jane Run, Current Motor Company, Anheuser-Busch, USMP, the Game Show Network, Suzanne Westenhoefer, and green builders CMW Architects, McCutcheon Construction and Live Oak Estates.
A bookworm at heart, Shannon earned her master’s degree in literature at California State University, Fresno (go Bulldogs), where she had the extreme pleasure of working with renowned lesbian historian and author Lillian Faderman on "Chloe Plus Olivia," an anthology of lesbian literature. Trouble sleeping? Ask her about her thesis on Katherine Philips.
Recently, Shannon was named one of the “Advocate Magazine’s 40 under 40”, Go Mag‘s “Women We Love,” International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association‘s Travel Innovator of 2010 and 7 LBGT Locals Who Give San Francisco Its Good Gay Name, 7×7 Magazine. A frequent public speaker, Shannon spoke about the inspiration for Sweet at TEDx Scottsdale. She’s also spoken at LA Times Travel Show, Reaching Out MBA, Creating Change, International Lesbian and Gay Travel Association, Community Marketing, Inc., and more.
In her spare time, Shannon enjoys sleeping, running, playing basketball, hiking with her dog, rock climbing and working to overcome her fear of swimming to compete in triathlons. She serves on the board of the IGLTA Foundation.
Director of Sales
The minute you hear her voice, you’ll feel like you’ve made a friend. Julie loves nothing more than making sure each Sweet guest is matched with the perfect vacation for her.
With a master’s degree in keggers and a bachelor’s in chugging from Chico State University, Julie knows how to have serious fun, too. She brings a wealth of experience in customer-oriented sales. She’s shattered sales and customer satisfaction records at Olivia, where she was director of sales for four year. Additionally, she was an amazing visual merchandiser at Gap, Inc., and an executive recruiter.
Julie’s hobbies include taking showers (thank god), searching for the Cupacabre, melting Crayons to invent new colors, eating paste with her kids and recycling nylon pantyhose. She also loves ping pong and wearing headbands.
Sweet is a perfect match for Julie as it pairs her two big passions: Making a difference in the world and exploring it.
director of programming
Our denizen Jaguar ranges across the Sweet terrain with energy, panache and imposing speed, continuously playing an important role in our Sweet ecosystem.
Although the real big cats are largely solitary, ours is categorically not as she leaves her mark on everything she does.
With more than 25 years in the tourism industry, Babs has swiftly carved out her territory as director of programming. Sweet’s venerable Panthera onca is adept at developing tourism programs, activities, excursions and travel events.
Formerly, she had played an important role on the Olivia Cruises and Resorts team for six years and the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association’s Board of Directors. Currently, our stray cat is involved in the IGLTA Ambassador Program, and her own company Thanks Babs The Day Tripper. If you are planning a trip to Las Vegas, Babs will hook you up.
She has directed LGBT travel events for the Breast Cancer Fund, The Gay Games, Amsterdam and Sydney, San Francisco Aids Foundation, The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Human Rights Campaign, Spectrum Solutions, The Uncommon Legacy Foundation to name a few.
Roaming the Sweet global landscape leads Babs to a bountiful habitat as she continues her love and lifestyle centered on women’s travel experiences. Rawr! This kitten has claws.
Francesca draws inspiration from her adopted city of Paris, where the Louvre, the Pompidou, and the big swirlie chandeliers and the macarons at La Duree add fuel to her creative fire. When she’s not designing a web site, corporate identity or national print campaign, Francesca can be found laying down fresh beats, hunting down 70s and 80s disco records in the bins of a vide-grenier or DJing a dance party.
As the Art Director & Senior Designer at Barking Dog Creative, Francesca worked with a diverse array of clients, like Bay Area Sound Studios, CMW Architects, Cypress Wealth Advisors, DiRosa Preserve, The Japan Society of Northern California, Live Oak Estates, Greenman Technologies, The San Francisco Antique District, Sushi Ran, Timothy Berry and Terri Jaffe. Prior to Barking Dog, Francesca was a designer at PlanetOut, Inc., and Olivia.
A graduate of the esteemed CCA, Francesca loves designing her own party flyers and mix packaging, in addition to traveling the world with her sexy French girlfriend.
Andy is a web developer and technical advisor based in San Francisco, where he produces websites for clients ranging from restaurants to artists to local rock bands and consults on many projects, including the first ever website devoted to Filipino-American art history. He has a particular interest in projects that take advantage of the web’s ability to unite dispersed communities.
He received his BA from Brown University where he concentrated in Art Semiotics, with a special focus on new media and representations of the Internet. An early interest in writing and collage led him to Brown’s one-of-a-kind Hypertext Fiction program, where he created a number of interactive narrative projects, culminating in a seminal Internet Art project which has become part of hypertext and net-art curricula in universities worldwide. His early interest in artwork made for the internet led him to view well-executed code as an art form in itself. He brings the same care to web development that he does to his fine art work.
Andy went on to receive an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute with a concentration in New Genres, where he continued to explore artistic uses of technology. Today, he divides his time between web development and graphic design projects, teaching, and his fine art career.
Perhaps most notable about Andy, he’s constructed entirely of Legos™, 16,028 Legos™ to be exact.