AIFS’ head office is located in Sydney serves as the headquarters for AIFS in the Asia-pacific. In addition to our team in Sydney we have over 40 staff located throughout Australia including Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria. Below are just a few of our valued staff that make up our Sydney based team.
Wendi Aylward – Managing Director
Wendi’s interest in travel and cultural exchange was fostered at a young age by her father who had explored the globe in his younger years. Raised in Sydney’s southern suburbs, a teenage obsession with all things Japanese led her to Japan (via Europe and the US) where she worked for 2 years before returning to Australia to begin a career in the youth travel industry. For the past 20 years Wendi has worked in this field including management roles with DFAT and CIEE and has been the managing director of AIFS Australia for the last 8 years. She has lived and worked in Boston, London and Tokyo, and speaks Japanese.
Wendi is a member of the NSW Backpackers Operators Association (BOA) and the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) and was a founding member of the Australian Internship Industry Association (AIIA) and the Cultural Au Pair in Australia Association (CAPAA) and is the current president of CAPAA. Wendi lives in Sydney with her husband Tomihiro and children Taiyo and Ren.
Favourite city: Tokyo
Sarah Lockhart - Outbound Program Manager
Sarah has a work background in the arts, music and hospitality industries before finding her true vocation in cultural exchange. She is passionate about working with people and providing experiences that can change their lives. Sarah grew up hosting international students and her exchange experience includes high school exchange and working in the US as a camp counsellor. Sarah has worked on AIFS’ inbound and outbound programs and currently manages our outbound programs.
Favourite city: Sydney
Stephanie Prenzlau – Inbound Manager
Steph is originally from Frankfurt, Germany but has lived in Africa, South & North America and throughout Europe. She speaks German, English and a little bit of French and Spanish. Besides living in eight different countries Steph has been involved with cultural exchange programs from the other end – by hosting two au pairs herself when her children were young. With that first hand experience Stephanie provides support to au pairs coming to Australia as well as the families hosting them.
Favourite city: Sydney
Sylvia - Inbound Programs
Sylvia is originally from Germany, can speak German, English and a little bit of Swedish and Russian. She has a Masters in Cultural Studies & Anglistics and has had the pleasure of first hand experience as an Au Pair in New York for one year with Au Pair in America! Sylvia now uses her experience to provide support to au pairs travelling to Australia!
Favourite cities: Bremen & New York
Amy - Inbound Programs
Amy is originally from San Diego California. Her first taste of international travel was living on a kibbutz in Israel at the age of 18. Ever since then, she has been obsessed with discovering new countries. Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Evergreen State University, during which time she studied abroad in Brazil, India and Indonesia. She speaks fluent Portuguese and loves to samba. She has worked extensively with international students in coordination and teaching.
Favourite city: Rio de Janeiro
Nina - Inbound Programs
Nina is originally from Berlin, but now calls Sydney home. She has worked in the tourism industry in Germany, the UK, France, Italy, the USA and Australia and has taken part in a range of cultural exchange programs. These include being an au pair through Au Pair in America, the Work & Travel Australia program and completing a hotel internship in Chicago.
Favourite city: Chicago
Lori – Inbound Programs
Lori was born in Australia from Italian immigrants and is fluent in both English and Italian. Lori has many years experience in sales and customer service roles and enjoys helping people.
Favourite City: Rome
Meri - AIFS Travel
Meri has roots in Macedonia, but spent most of her life growing up in Germany. She has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry in Germany and Australia and worked for an Embassy in Madrid. Her cultural exchange experience includes a high school exchange in Pennsylvania, USA and a language course in Spain. Meri speaks German, English, Macedonian, Spanish and Serbo-Croatian.
Favourite city: Madrid
Lisa - Inbound Programs
Lisa is originally from Southern Germany however chose Australia to finish her university studies. Having travelled extensively in Australia, Lisa now calls Sydney home. Lisa has had many years experience in customer service and speaks English and German.
Favourite City: Perth
Nicolle - Outbound Programs
Nicolle is one of the few precious Aussies in our super multicultural office. Thanks to her two years participation in the American Au Pair program in Chicago, she is our American Au Pair expert. She loved it so much that she decided to share her wonderful experience with others and help them join too. She is the person who will talk to you at our info sessions and the right person to call up and ask anything about the program. Apart from the Au Pair program in America, she also helps to coordinate Camp America. She is passionate about travelling and exploring the world and is currently finishing her Diploma in Tourism.
Favourite cities: San Francisco and New York.
Tony – Accounts
Tony is from Penang, Malaysia but completed his final years of high school and university in Australia. He studied Business Communication, majoring in accounting at the University of New South Wales. Tony speaks English, several Chinese dialects and Malay.
Favourite city: Bangkok