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The Team

Aiyana Mathews, Founder
A native Atlantan, Aiyana is an international travel expert. Having traveled to over 30 countries, she speaks Japanese, Spanish, Woloof, Ki-Swahili and English and has a passion for literature, culture and science. She also does horseback riding, loves cooking and making kokeshi dolls and is proud that she learned how to snowboard in Japan. In early 2011, Aiyana founded Gardner-Mathews Travel Concierge to meet a need in the growing festival market and quickly became the go-to for time-strapped travelers in search of premium service.

Soon after completing her degree at Rochester Institute of Technology, she returned to Atlanta and began a professional career, which included working for Delta Airlines.  In 2005, she was selected for a position with the Japanese Exchange & Teaching Program, which is administered by The Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) in cooperation with local government organizations; the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC); the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA); and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).

For three years, Aiyana worked for the Shikama Board of Education as an Assistant Language Teacher. During that time, her multi-media background, organizational skills and international travel experiences have allowed her to become a dynamic asset to the Japanese citizens in Shikama Town and Miyagi Prefecture. Aiyana was the Director the 2010 Miyagi Art & Culture Show in Sendai, organized numerous workshops and interactive presentations, and also received a National Award for creating her fusion work of Japanese & African art.