Desiree Shrode

Operations Manager

Desiree is thrilled to join insightCuba, and hopeful about the normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations.

She fell in love with Latin culture while pursuing her B.A. at Oregon State University, where she majored in psychology and minored in Spanish. Desiree studied abroad in Mexico for a year, and made unforgettable friendships from all over the world. She also discovered her fondness for salsa dancing.

The Portland native learned about Cuba while pursuing a master’s degree in international education at the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont. She and her classmates developed a faux exchange program for a local community college, and chose the island nation. She is a travel professional having years of experience working with various tour operators in Cuba and other countries. She has a special skill for program development, has led groups to Cuba, and takes great pride in her aptitude for training tour leaders.

“I love the authenticity of Cubans, their love of dance and relationships,” Desiree says. “I know that Cubans really want to be connected to the Internet, but when I visit, I love that everyone is present with you in conversation and not checking their cell phones or Facebook. I love that we Americans have so much to learn from them in terms of sustainability and organic farming.” One of her favorite Cuba memories, she says, is of salsa dancing on the Malecón to the music of a live trio. She looks forward to helping you discover her favorite Caribbean island.