The Board

Darrell Wade, Co-Founder and Chair

Darrell Wade

Co-Founder and Chair

A backpacker with a vision, Darrell co-founded Intrepid with his mate Geoff ‘Manch’ Manchester in 1989. Their vision was simple: to offer a new style of low-impact travel that connected travellers with communities. Today, Darrell is regarded as one of travel’s most influential leaders and he plays an instrumental role in advancing the industry's sustainability agenda through his activism and philanthropy, and also serves as Chair of the Intrepid Foundation. He is best known, however, for being “the tall guy with the big laugh.”  

Darrell's favourite Intrepid trip is Jakarta to Ubud, which was inspired by his very own overland route taken while backpacking from Australia to England.  


Geoff Manchester

Co-Founder and Director 

Geoff, known as ‘Manch’, is the co-founder of Intrepid and a company director. Manch has earned the reputation as a responsible travel pioneer, championing the creation of many of Intrepid’s purpose-led initiatives since the company’s inception in 1989. Most notably, Manch spearheaded the establishment of The Intrepid Foundation in 2002, which has since raised over $13 million for more than 130 community partners spanning issues of animal welfare, human rights and economic empowerment. He was also instrumental in Intrepid becoming a certified B Corp. He remains a curious adventurer with a passion for exploring off the beaten path. 

Naturally, Manch's favourite Intrepid trip is one which involves an active adventure, the Inca Trail Express (via the lesser-known Quarry Trail). 


Julien Leclercq, Non-Executive Director, Intrepid Travel

Julien Leclercq

Non-Executive Director 

Julien is the CEO of Genairgy, a family-owned, French investment company with a focus on active travel and sporting portfolios. In his capacity as Board Director, Julien helps to accelerate Intrepid’s ambitious growth strategy across digital transformation, product innovation, market expansion and purpose initiatives. He also serves on the Board of the Decathlon Group, one of the largest sport retailers globally, and where he spent much of his earlier career. 

Reflecting his passion for movement and sports, Julien’s favourite Intrepid trip is any which involves getting onto the water or on top of a mountain. His next Intrepid bucket list destination is somewhere in Central America.


James Thornton


James is the chief executive officer of Intrepid Travel with responsibility for setting the strategic direction and vision of the global purpose-led business. Since joining Intrepid nearly two decades ago, James has expertly led the company through his fair share of highs and lows – from B Corp certification to a period of record growth, followed by successfully navigating the business through the pandemic and securing its record capital raise. In 2023, he led the business to its strongest year of results in its history. Hailing from the UK, James is a passionate football (soccer) fan and marathon runner.  

Reflecting his passion for Africa and the outdoors, James' top Intrepid trip is Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda.  


Liz Savage, Independent Non-Executive Director, Intrepid Travel

Liz Savage

Independent Non-Executive Director

Liz is an experienced non-executive director currently serving as chair of Intrepid’s Remuneration Committee. She brings over two decades of experience working in publicly listed, private, government and not-for-profit environments with a focus on travel, tourism, hospitality and sport. Liz currently sits on the boards of Auckland Airport, North Queensland Airports, People Infrastructure and FunLab, and outside of work enjoys any activity in, on or below the ocean!   

Liz most enjoys any Intrepid trip which gets her outdoors and into nature, and is looking forward to heading to Japan next.  


Sarah Morgan, Independent Non-Executive Director, Intrepid Travel

Sarah Morgan

Independent Non-Executive Director

Sarah is a reputable corporate advisor and board director, bringing strong financial and commercial acumen to Intrepid’s Board and her role as chair of the Audit and Risk Committee. With extensive experience specialising in Australia’s technology sector, Sarah has a passion for working with innovative and growing businesses and currently sits on the boards of Whispir, Adslot, Future Generation Global, and Skalata Ventures. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys escaping to the mountains for some hiking or skiing.   

Sarah is working through her Intrepid bucket list, with plans to visit Morocco, Vietnam and Argentina


The Core Management Team

Michael Burnett

Chief Financial Officer 

Mick joined Intrepid as chief financial officer in January 2020 and was tasked almost immediately with helping to steer the company through the pandemic and an unprecedented period of rapid change. Mick brings a passion for travel and decades of experience working in Australia, North America and the UK in privately owned and listed companies, including stints as CFO at HelloWorld Travel and Transurban. He enjoys spending his spare time watching and playing sport, but not quite as much as he enjoys sampling the latest food and wine.  

Mick’s favourite Intrepid trip is whichever one he’s going on next!


Leigh Barnes

Chief Customer Officer

‘Barnes’, as he is known, is responsible for leading Intrepid’s global marketing, CX and digital functions with a focus on embedding a customer-focused culture across the business. Previously chief purpose officer, Leigh is an advocate for the business for good movement and has been instrumental in building Intrepid’s reputation as a purpose-led organisation. Outside of work, Leigh is a keen supporter of Melbourne’s arts and culture scene and a passionate fan of the Aussie Football League (AFL) team, the Geelong Cats.  

Leigh's top Intrepid trip is Everest Base Camp Trek, which he credits for changing the way he sees the world.  


Meegan Marshall

Chief People Officer 

Meegan joined Intrepid in February 2023 and leads all aspects of global people and culture, which includes 1,790 team members in 26 offices and thousands of tour leaders around the world. A strategically and commercially astute HR professional, Meegan brings over 20 years’ experience driving successful business transformations and employee engagement in high stakes work environments and is known for her collaborative, calm and compassionate nature. Outside of work, Meegan keeps busy with her young family and enjoys Melbourne’s performing arts scene.  

Meegan’s favourite Intrepid trip involves beaches, sunshine and plenty of adventure for the whole family – the Sri Lanka Family Holiday.  


Anu Karunatilaka

Chief Technology Officer 

Anu is a passionate technologist with deep experience managing Intrepid’s high scale booking infrastructure and data platforms. Throughout his career, Anu has earned a reputation as a generous and humble leader and in 2013, set up Intrepid’s office in his home of Colombo, growing it tenfold into the company’s largest office today. As CTO, Anu leads Intrepid’s global digital transformation across the key areas of governance, privacy and AI. Anu loves sinking his teeth into projects of all shapes and sizes and recently renovated his own 4x4 to take trekking through the Sri Lankan jungle. He also enjoys collecting whisky... and drinking it too!  

Anu's favourite Intrepid trip unsurprisingly involves a 4x4 – it’s the Kenya Family Safari.  


Tom Beadle

Chief Operating Officer 

Tom is one of Intrepid’s longest serving team members, having spent more than three decades with the business. Over the past 15+ years, Tom has led Intrepid’s global product expansion, several M&As and the establishment of the company’s international network of operational offices. Tom brings a strong commercial acumen, customer focus and leadership to Intrepid’s core management team and directly works alongside the CEO to set Intrepid’s strategic direction. Outside of work, Tom is a keen athlete, having completed various ultra and endurance events.  

Tom most enjoys Intrepid’s range of active trips, from walking the Kokoda Track to cycling the French Alps.  


Zina Bencheikh

Managing Director, EMEA 

Regarded as a leading advocate for gender equality, Zina is on a mission to make the world a more inclusive and just place through travel. Based in Morocco, Zina has overseen record business growth in key markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and driven opportunities through tourism for women across the world. She is a seasoned speaker and contributor to leading international publications, chair of the Association of Touring and Adventure Suppliers, and a patron and advisor to not-for-profits Education for All and Women in Travel. Zina spends her spare time with her young family and is known for her eye for style and impeccable taste.  

Zina's favourite Intrepid trip is all about female empowerment, joy and connection – the Morocco: Women’s Expedition.  


Matt Berna 

Managing Director, Americas 

Matt started his career in travel as a tour leader 30 years ago and has since worked with some of the world's leading tour operators across a range of senior sales and business development roles. As the president and managing director of the Americas based in California, he oversees Intrepid’s direct, industry and white label sales as well as operations across North, Central and South America. A passionate outdoors lover, when he’s not at work you’ll find Matt hiking, biking or kayaking with his family and friends or playing guitar with other local musicians. 

Matt’s favourite Intrepid trip is Explore Northern Thailand, thanks to its stunning scenery, friendly communities and unique flavours.  


Natalie Kidd

Managing Director, Asia 

Natalie has worked in the Asian travel sector for nearly 20 years, having first joined Intrepid in 2005 as the founding general manager in Vietnam. Natalie grew this one office into a global network of 28 inbound tour operators and now leads all aspects of sales, marketing and operations across Asia, including Intrepid’s largest office in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Nat has always had a passion for Asian culture and heritage and holds a Master of Asian Studies, a Bachelor of Arts/Asian Studies as well as a Master of Business Administration. When she’s not working, you’ll find Natalie exploring a country you’ve probably never heard of!  

Despite her passion for far-flung adventures, Natalie’s top Intrepid trip is the South-East Asia Loop, which was her first ever Intrepid trip taken years before she joined the company.  


Brett Mitchell

Managing Director, ANZ 

Born in Zimbabwe and raised in Perth, Western Australia, Brett combines his lifelong love of travel with his deep operational expertise in finance and sales to lead Intrepid’s ANZ business. Prior to joining Intrepid, Brett lived and worked in London where he successfully led a range of debt raising, IPO and M&A activities for high profile companies on the London Stock Exchange. Brett joined the tourism sector in 2008 and has since been an active Board member on a number of travel associations and forums, helping to drive positive change across the industry. He keeps busy with his young kids and through local sporting clubs.   

With his active family, Brett’s favourite Intrepid trip is the Japan Family Holiday. 


Jessica Romano

Executive Manager 

Jessica has been with Intrepid for almost a decade and brings deep experience managing large scale projects and events. In her role as executive manager, Jessica helps to oversee the execution of Intrepid’s business strategy, working directly alongside the CEO to set and achieve key operational priorities. Jessica brings a wealth of knowledge from a number of roles held in travel as well as diverse administrative expertise spanning the sports and event management, hospitality and real estate sectors. Jessica loves to chase adventure and to share those experiences with others. She is also an accomplished equestrian and enjoys training and competing with her horse Neo.  

An Intrepid veteran, Jessica’s favourite trip is one of her most recent - Amalfi Coast: Hike & Kayak.  


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