It was 2001 when two downsized airline veterans created Canada’s first online travel industry publication. Back then the question on everyone’s mind was ‘will travel agents ever embrace the internet?’ Nina Slawek and Suzanne Christie bet their savings on agents not only embracing Open Jaw’s ground-breaking platform, but using it as their primary source of news, product information and video training.
Open Jaw aggregates daily news curated specifically for Canadian travel agents. Being Canadian, an irreverent approach is reflected in the industry’s only cartoon strip, featuring the indomitable Tina The Travel Agent. Open Jaw’s signature video newsmagazine show the “Pink Couch” is renowned throughout the travel industry in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
Open Jaw Network Ltd.
7 St. Thomas Street, Suite 602
Nina Slawek President
After decades of delivering marketing plans to airlines and ad agencies at an exorbitant salary, Nina decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of having her own business and working for nothing. As well as the pleasures of travelling, hobnobbing with industry leaders and glamorous appearances in the Open Jaw TV room, Nina has the additional joyful responsibilities of ensuring the financial stability of the company and managing the talented but eccentric Open Jaw team.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Editor-in-Chief Bruce rises at the crack of dawn each day to ensure Canada’s travel agents have a full plate of news and information waiting for them at OpenJaw.com. Then he goes back to bed.
Caroline Booth Content Producer / Videographer
OJ’s Content Producer is responsible for daily site updates, production of training programs and advertising. Caroline has spent 12 years with Open Jaw after earning a degree in Communications with an emphasis on digital media studies.
Elana Karpman General Manager
Elana was hooked on travel from the moment she was old enough to book her first cruise. It’s no surprise that she started her travel journey at Encore Cruises and after a stint at Sears Travel, returned to her first love of cruising by joining Cruise Strategies. Back at the ‘Jaw, Elana is the lynchpin of the organization, juggling merciless production schedules, lost clients and an occasionally lost boss. Her claim to fame is a salted caramel bar which gets burned off rigorously at the gym. She can do cartwheels and the splits, which puts her in an elite group of one at Open Jaw.
Karen Dahdah Business Development Manager
An avid traveller, adventure seeker and travel expert for over 15 years, Karen has toured over 35 countries around the world. She joins the OJ team, balancing multiple priorities in sales, travel writing and social media. In her spare time, Karen dabbles in interior decorating, cupcake making and pottery.
Karen Young Creative Director
OJ’s Creative Director was part of the original development team and knows where all the bodies are buried. She oversees back- and front-end development and manages all production projects from design to implementation. This skilled pixel wrestler has earned degrees in both Media and Fine Arts.
Gordie Scott Webmaster
OJ’s webmaster, Gordie has spent the past 5 years ensuring the website stays online, functions without flaws and assures users a rich online experience. Gordie studied web development and design at Centennial College, earning an Associate’s Degree. When Gordie is not putting out fires at Open Jaw, he's a volunteer firefighter.
Anna Kroupina Journalist
Anna is OJ's newest member and she joins the team as a writer/reporter. She co-writes the daily news and covers events. Although she's new to the industry, pursuing a career path in travel/tourism has been a goal since her first family road trip to the Florida Keys sparked a desire to discover the world and this exhilarating, fast-paced industry.
Martha Chapman Columnist
An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions series as well as special seasonal series. She can often be seen On The Town covering industry events. Known to all in the biz, Martha has worked her entire career in travel, beginning as a teenaged hotel receptionist in Bermuda.
Kerry Sharpe Columnist
Having worked in travel for the last 16 years, Kerry has experience covering the industry as media, as well as being under its lens when she worked for Thomas Cook, TravelBrands and itravel2000. A new mom, Kerry recently returned to the workforce and when she’s not chasing after her daughter, you’ll see her out and about covering industry events alongside her new BFF Tina the Travel Agent.
Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent
Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.
Ivanna Gabbalot Columnist
Part legend, part myth, all woman: Ivanna Gabbalot is OJ’s gossip columnist and considers herself the industry’s conscience. Equally annoying to Open Jaw management and inflated egos in C-suites everywhere, Ivanna works infrequently, preferring to snipe from the sidelines.
Vanessa Lee Columnist
An internationally-known luxury cruise expert and influencer, Vanessa founded Encore cruises in 1991 and Cruise Strategies in 2006. She is publisher and editor of Cruise and Travel Lifestyles magazine. At OJ she contributes a column every other Friday for Splash News and appears with Nina on the bi-monthly video Cruise Factor.
Matthew Muszalski Videographer
A gifted cinematographer and video editor, Matthew has been keeping lipstick off Nina’s teeth since 2008. With a B.F.A. from Ryerson University, Matthew is a member of the International Cinematographer’s Guild. When he’s not jetting off somewhere sunny with OJ, Matthew works on films and TV series.
Open Jaw Network Ltd. is not responsible for the accuracy of information provided nor for the opinions expressed or implied on the openjaw.com website, nor any consequences which may arise as a result.