OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President and Founder
Vincie (she/her/hers), a humane educator and social justice advocate, founded RISE Travel Institute in June 2020 with the commitment to engage young people in important conversations around human rights, animal protection and environmental sustainability in the context of travel. She is also the creator of Paths Crossing, a card game designed to foster cross-cultural connections and inspire mindful travel decisions. She has been involved with Impact Travel Alliance since 2018 and currently holds the position of Chapter Engagement Lead on their global team.
Before Vincie started working in the nonprofit world, she was a university French lecturer and linguist for over a decade. As an academic, she had the opportunity to travel around the world for conferences and fieldwork. In 2010, she left academia to work in the area of refugee empowerment in Senegal, a transformative experience that motivated her to pursue a second career in international peace and human rights, as well as sustainable travel.
Vincie has a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Hong Kong and a Master of Arts degree from University College London. She has also obtained various graduate certificates and diplomas from the Institute for Humane Education and New York University in the United States, the United Nations University in Japan, and l’Université de Franche-Comté in France. She is based in the Greater New York City Area.
Manuela (she/her/hers) is an avid traveler. She started traveling and backpacking at an early age, and the travel bug just refused to leave her system. She has been to over 40 countries and counting.
When Manuela isn’t traveling, she works as a lawyer specializing in international public and private law. She has worked on matters concerning human rights, humanitarian law, transitional justice, economic development, anti-corruption, and Investor-State disputes. Throughout her legal career, Manuela has worked at two Am Law 100 firms in Paris, New York, and Washington. Before Big Law, she worked at the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), and with the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT). In a past life, Manuela also worked as a Producer for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
More recently, in addition to her passion for international law, Manuela is focusing on arts and entertainment law. She is especially interested in the intersection between the arts and social change at a global level.
Mary Pat Champeau
Mary Pat Champeau (she/her/hers) is the director of graduate programs at the Institute for Humane Education, and faculty at Antioch University New England. She has lived and worked in the US, France, Niger, Indonesia, and Thailand has learned firsthand the profound power of education to bring about change at all levels of global society, and to promote social justice, animal protection, and environmental sustainability. What better way to educate than to help others use their passion for travel to connect and improve the world? A leader in the solutionary movement, Mary Pat has joined RISE Travel Institute for all the ways in which RISE helps bring passion and purpose together in service of elevating the role of travel, and the traveler, in bringing about longterm, sustainable change.
Hyungjoon (he/him/his) has recently returned to his home state of Kansas and is a humane educator and a biology teacher. Prior to that, he has taught at international schools in Guatemala, as well as worked and consulted for various nonprofit organizations, from supporting professional development of educators in rural regions to developing permaculture projects. He is passionate about social justice, human rights, and protecting and restoring the environment. He has traveled to many countries and regions and truly believes that travel can be an effective a tool to positively influence and shape the worldviews of young people.
Steve Hesse (he/him/his) is an educator and writer living in Tokyo. He graduated from Vermont Law School, where he received a JD and an LL.M, and is now a professor in the Law Faculty of Chuo University, Tokyo, as well as Associate Director of the Chuo University International Center. His column, Our Planet Earth, appeared monthly in The Japan Times for 25 years, until 2015, and his research interests include global environmental governance, biological diversity conservation, ESG & CSR, Sustainable Travel, Fair Trade, and the internationalization of higher education.
Amanda Kendle (she/her/hers) is the host of The Thoughtful Travel Podcast, a show aiming to encourage travel-lovers to be more mindful in their travels and covering topics like the personal benefits of travel, sustainability, ecotourism and the impact of travel on destinations. She lives in Perth, Western Australia and has spent time living and working in Asia and Europe. She also runs a social media and blogging consultancy business, offering training and coaching to small businesses and creatives.
Board Vice President
Megan (she/her/hers ) brings 12 years of fundraising experience to the RISE team. She has held a variety of fundraising roles at environmentally-focused nonprofits including the Appalachian Mountain Club, Global Greengrants Fund, and Colorado Water Trust.
In 2017, Megan and her husband and two boys embarked on a year-long world journey to 20 countries on five continents. It was a life-changing experience for the whole family, and she returned to the U.S. with a passion for sustainable and regenerative travel. Upon her return, she became Senior Manager of Social Impact Journeys at Elevate Destinations where she planned dozens of international journeys for nonprofit donors to visit projects around the world. Megan is currently living in Colorado and is Donor Engagement and Communications Manager at Colorado Water Trust.