Leif Pettersen

Résumé | Samples | Twitter | Blog | Video | BACKPACKING WITH DRACULA

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Freelance Experience

  • Over a decade working remotely and independently with editors on four continents without a single missed deadline
  • Extensive experience with travel writing and reviewing, long tail web content creation, blogging platforms, social media, SEO, and guidebook authoring
  • Current and recent clients include MSN, Delta, Verizon, USA Today, Lonely Planet, BBC Travel, CNN Travel and Mapquest
  • Lived abroad for over four years, visited 55 countries
  • Solid base or passable fluency in a number of European languages, including Spanish, Italian and Romanian
  • Some public speaking, TV and radio announcing

  • Author of Florence Explorer, Romania Traveler's Guide and Moldova Travel Guide smartphone travel apps
  • Work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Star Tribune, Growler magazine, Travel + Leisure magazine, Travel Ideas magazine, Postcards magazine, Travel Savvy magazine, AOL’s Gadling.com travel blog, Experience magazine, Vita.mn (Minneapolis weekly), Juggle magazine, the anthology To Myanmar With Love (Things Asian Press), HotelClub.com travel blog, Rough Guide First Time Europe (6th Edition) and What Color is Your Jockstrap?: Funny Men and Women Write from the Road

Current Employment

Mall of America | Tourism Communications Manager

• Manage the day to day operations of the Tourism Department.
• Assist with strategic plan for tourism marketing communication platforms, including digital (web, mobile, social) signage and on-site interactive experiences.
• Collaborate on integrated campaigns to increase tourism visibility and visits.
• Coordinate tourism activities and plans.
• Write content for the Mall of America travel blogs, website, trade articles, partner communications and other media/marketing opportunities.
• Generate story/feature ideas and pitch to national and international editors, producers, and reporters.
• Cultivate, maintain and grow relationships with news and travel media.
• Represent the Mall at travel shows in key U.S. and international markets, including media interviews and press briefings.
• Act as a Mall spokesperson on tourism initiatives and other matters as needed.
• Represent the Mall on local boards and committees.
• Coordinate with Retail Marketing and PR on tourism social media activities, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Notable Freelance Clients

Lonely Planet | Guidebook author, online features writer

  • On-the-ground research for numerous travel guidebook titles, including Romania 5, Tuscany & Umbria 5, Italy 8, Eastern Europe 10, Bluelist '07, The Europe Book
  • Duties include desk research, mapping, text formatting and fact checking
  • Articles written for LonelyPlanet.com frequently exceed 20,000 views

MSN | Writer, content creator, humorist

  • Writer/producer for trending news site msnNOW (now dark)
  • Frequent traveler advice and tips for Connections, a resource website for Delta Airlines
  • Humorous vignettes for the Verizon City of Speed web portal
  • U.S. street food map mash-up for Appetite for Life
  • MSN Buyer's Guides for tech and gadgets

Global Traveler magazine | Contributor

  • Travel destination feature articles tailored for executive business travelers
  • Service pieces and destination business reports

Previous Employment

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis | Electronic Payments Senior Analyst, etc

• Provide call center business and technical electronic payments support to large volume financial institutions
• Assist in developing and testing international electronic payments connections, ground-up development of web-based electronic payments application
• Technical, user manual and newsletter writing for complex electronic payments applications, procedures and topics
• Monitor nationwide electronic payments central application while assisting Federal Reserve districts with electronic payments operations needs and inquiries
• Phone support and troubleshooting for PC hardware, software and FedLine electronic payments network for Federal Reserve Bank offices and financial institutions

Technical Knowledge

  • High familiarity with Microsoft Office Suite, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Acrobat Professional
  • Experience with website hosting, Wordpress and basic editing of HTML and CSS


B.A., Theatre Arts from the U. of Minnesota, Twin Cities 1993