who we are  |  what we do  |  our approach

The Bannikin Team has more than 20 years experience working in the travel and tourism industry. We’ve worked with niche and luxury operators including Butterfield & Robinson, Cruise North Expeditions & Gray & Co.; regions and DMO’s including the Canadian Tourism Commission, Nunavut Tourism and the Dominican Republic; governments, media outlets, associations and more. In addition to our in-house design team and social media expert, we frequently engage targeted tourism experts with a wide range of specializations.


BRM, Acadia University, NS, Canada
MSc Tourism & Environment, Oxford, UK

Bio: A self starter with more than twelve years international experience in the tourism industry, Shannon has worked with tour operators, hotels, governments, NGO’s, destination management organizations, sustainable tourism management and various travel marketing projects.

Shannon’s accomplishments include developing a culinary tourism program as the Director of Michelin Food & Travel; establishing a profile for the Icarus Foundation as its Executive Director; and developing and implementing a sustainable tourism policy for international tour operator Butterfield & Robinson.

She is a member of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and a board member of Transportation Options, an Ontario based non-profit focused on supporting sustainable tourism development innovations and ideas. She has worked in Iceland and Greenland, South America, China, Europe and North America. With a love for travel, Shannon works to combine that with two other loves, cycling and food. Most often, Shannon can be found cycling (and eating) or planning the next trip that allows her to do both.

B-Journ, Journalism, Langara, BC, Canada
Communications, Athabasca U, AB, Canada

Bio: Jillian has been building niche travel brands and businesses for the past ten years in some of the world's wildest places.

She has worked with Destination management organizations, Aboriginal travel brands, Olympics strategists, small and mid-sized operators, and independent hoteliers. Prior to Bannikin, Jillian’s most recent role was Marketing and Communications Director for Inuit-owned Cruise North Expeditions.

With a focus on marketing and public relations, Jillian has built life-long relationships with editors and travel writers across the globe and has worked closely with local operators to develop tourism in Canada’s North, Greenland, Argentina, the Caribbean and the United States. Jillian is passionate about developing travel responsibly, and has a keen eye for strategic measures that generate results. Jillian continues to write travel stories for Frommers Travel Guides, Canada’s National newspaper, The Globe and Mail and enRoute. She is the author of enRoute’s online Toronto guide and Frommer’s Nunavut guide.


MELISSA MEDEIROS | Account Manager, Marketing & Media
BA(Hons.), University of Windsor, Canada
Masters, Professional Communication, Ryerson University, Toronto

Bio: Melissa recently graduated from Ryerson University’s progressive Master of Professional Communication program where she learned to artfully blend communication theory with practice.

Throughout and in-between her studies, Melissa has participated in several competitive internships across the public relations, advertising and broadcasting industries. Melissa has a passion for travel and recently returned from a 7-month around the world trip, visiting Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and more.

She currently writes and maintains the travel blog Melissa To and Fro (www.melissatoandfro.com) and her travel writing and photography has been featured on the Huffington Post Canada. She’s also worked with a variety of international travel and tourism partners to develop interesting and informative online content. While in her own country, Melissa enjoys trying new food, riding her bike around Toronto’s eccentric neighbourhoods and taking long walks on the beach with her dog, Oli.




IRIS SERBANESCU | Account Manager, Trade Representation & Marketing

BBA, Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada.
Tourism Management Diploma, Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Canada.

Bio: Living in Paris on exchange in the final year of her Bachelor of Business Administration kick-started Iris’s insatiable passion for travel.

After almost 2 years in the corporate world post-graduation, she went on to pursue a career in the travel industry, and has not looked back since.

Iris refined her industry knowledge through a Tourism Management diploma, an internship at the Four Seasons Hotel in Prague, and most recently, managing preferred supplier relationships at a boutique travel agency in Toronto. Iris has a knack for spotting trends and generating out-of-the-box ideas for client programs that lead to success. 

India has been the most rewarding place Iris has experienced, but she has enjoyed traveling Central America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. In her spare time, you’ll find Iris cycling, practicing yoga, and checking out the newest craft beers on tap in the city. 

ZACH VANASSE | Account Manager, Marketing & Tourism Development

BAC, Professional Writing & Communication, Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec

Bio: Zach began his professional life in broadcasting and sports journalism before serendipitously finding his way into the tourism industry as a travel and tourism writer at Logimonde media writing for PAX magazine and PAXnews.com (formerly TRAVELHotNews.com) in Toronto. 

This good stroke of career fortune allowed him to spend several years in this role gaining an intimate knowledge of the Canadian travel industry and beyond, developing close connections with industry leaders, noted tourism thinkers and dynamic travel organizations. 

Zach’s travels have taken him across North America, throughout Europe and the Caribbean as well as to Africa. A trip to Namibia encouraged a desire to further pursue and engage in sustainable tourism, while also further expanding his personal discoveries.  

His free time is spent going to concerts, reading and fanatically supporting the Montreal Canadiens, while awaiting the dubious return of the Montreal Expos.