Our team is passionate about creating transformative and personal experiences that will last a lifetime. On our journeys, we immerse you in the culture’s art, history, music, culinary delicacies, and ancient and indigenous traditions. We visit local people, experience natural beauty, learn about social justice, the health of the environment and the practices of the land.
Cecilia “Cilla” Utne, CEO of CCJ and VP of CCJ Foundation
Cilla joined Cross Cultural Journeys as CEO in January of 2015. Since the late 90's, she has worked in the field of intercultural consciousness and facilitated cross-cultural training programs for executives living and working across cultures. A native of Sweden and a world traveler, she has lived for extended periods in Spain, the UK, Chile, Guatemala and the US. She holds an MBA in Sustainability from Pinchot University and is often a speaker on the links between sustainability and cultural values. Cilla is also a budding author, working on a novel about her mother’s childhood, contemplating how unresolved trauma can impact future generations. Based in the US since 1998, she lives on on Bainbridge Island, WA where she is co-parenting her teen son with her ex-husband Leif. She loves the outdoors, long walks with her French Bulldog puppy Lola always by her side.
Leif Utne, Chair of CCJ Foundation
Leif is a technologist, journalist, musician and social entrepreneur. Leif is chairing the CCJ Foundation and occasionally leads trips. By moonlight, he can be found playing music, coaching youth soccer, facilitating un conferences, promoting the sharing economy. Leif has led marketing and sales for a variety of online technology and media startups, and spent eight years as online editor at Utne Reader magazine. A jazz flute master, he lives in an intentional community with his girlfriend Rebecca, where he also co-parents his teen son Mateo with his ex-wife Cilla.
Wilford Welch, Ambassador-at-Large and Board Member, CCJ Foundation
Wilford, a former U.S. diplomat, professor and publisher, is Chair of the CCJ Foundation, and Ambassador-at-Large for CCJ. Wilford recently wrote "The Tactics of Hope, How Social Entrepreneurs are Changing our World", and is currently creating a website and book entitled, "Co-creating Prosperity - Moving to a World that Supports all People and the Planet". Wilford is a recognized speaker on solutions to the global sustainability challenge. He lives on a houseboat with Carole in Sausalito, CA.
Carole Angermeir, Founder, Ambassador-at-Large and Board Member, CCJ Foundation
Carole started Cross Cultural Journeys in 1991 with the vision that socially responsible, culturally aware, low impact travel was important — where small groups can meet and share with the people of another culture, thus promoting global awareness and understanding — for both the travelers and those visited. She lives on a houseboat with Wilford in Sausalito, CA.
Katherine "Kat" Sorensen, Journey Operations Manager
Kat joined CCJ in summer of 2022, and has taken an important role to oversee and manage the 'backroom' coordination and trip-planning for most of our itineraries, as well as interaction with travelers for pre-departure logistics. Kat lives in Kingston, WA on a 10-acre hobby farm with her husband, Mat, and their menagerie of animals. When she's not chasing alpacas and goats, she can be found practicing yoga. Kat is a Certified 500-Hour Yoga Teacher and received trainings from schools in Bali and Costa Rica. In addition to farming and yoga, Kat loves to travel plan...almost as much as taking the trips themselves! So, when the opportunity to work with Cross Cultural Journeys came about, it was meant to be! You will probably see Kat join us for future adventures, likely including yoga, meditation, healthy food and lots of time in nature...