Our TEAM

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Vincie Ho

Executive Director

A humane educator and social justice advocate, Vincie 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.

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Megan Begley

Fundraising and Donor Engagement Manager

Megan brings 10 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 the 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 the Grant Writer for Just-A-Start, a community development organization in Cambridge, MA.

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Eva Mossberg

Strategic Partnership and Program Development Manager

Eva Mossberg (she/her/hers) is a leader, innovator and adventuresome expert in the field of sustainable tourism. Her experience and broad range of skills span across 20+ years and include both undergraduate and graduate degrees in hospitality, tourism and travel; all facets of domestic and international operations and logistics for various global educational tours and programs, from program development and risk management protocols to sourcing new destinations and strategic partnerships across Europe. 

Having grown up in Stockholm, Sweden, Eva’s international explorations began early on: At nineteen years of age, on a quest for adventurous experiences, she waved her native Sweden goodbye from the deck of a 44’ sailboat, and never looked back. What ensued was, and continues to be, a life full of rich learning experiences that have included sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, volunteering at the first ever conference on ecotourism, crossing the Andes on horseback and living in the West Indies, Portugal and, since 1994, the U.S.A. Eva is based north of Boston, MA and loves anything and everything outdoors. 

Christine Francois

Outreach and University Partnership Manager

Christine is currently pursuing her Master of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Johns Hopkins University. Christine has worked in the higher education and travel industry. While living in Spain, she worked as an English Language Assistant. In addition to living in Spain, Christine has also lived and worked in France and the U.S. Christine loves to travel and has been to over 20 countries and counting. Christine is passionate about educating others on how sustainable travel can benefit people and the environment.

Thomas Kalchik

Accounting and Corporate Partnership Manager

Thomas is currently assisting in the opening of a small lodge on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. With a degree in Sustainability from Arizona State University and working experience in the hospitality industry, he brings great enthusiasm to the mission of sustainable travel practices. While working in Accounting for an international hotel brand he also led the Washington, D.C. hotel’s Sustainability Committee through various Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Thomas’ passion lies in making and maintaining strong relationships, and his life’s mission is to bring people together through travel. A Chicagoan at heart, Thomas is currently based out of Washington, D.C. 

Anne Leone

Senior Copy Editor

Anne is an environmental advocate and travel enthusiast who, apart from her work with RISE, is currently keeping herself busy as the Partnerships Lead on Impact Travel Alliance's global team. A classically trained stage actor, she studied at Northwestern University and the British American Drama Academy and has performed on both sides of the Atlantic. After a few years in that business, however, she realized she wanted to take a more active role in bringing about social and environmental change. She returned to school to refocus her career and earned her MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She is based in New York City.

Amy Hager

Social Media Manager

Amy Hager, Founder and CEO of her own consulting company based in a tourist-driven community at Lake Anna, Virginia, has 20 years of experience in marketing, communications, engagement, community development, and organizational growth. A true marketer at heart, her love of travel, tourism, and community is reflected in her work with small lodging properties, community publications, local nonprofits, and chambers of commerce. At RISE Travel Institute she will be connecting future and current travelers with the educational resources to inspire responsible, impactful, sustainable, and ethical travel. When not working with amazing clients, speaking at conferences, or coaching professionals, you will find Amy out and about, exploring her own backyard or traveling the World! Living in a tourist destination also allows Amy to be a host and community ambassador for visiting family and friends.

Angela Cavallucci

Digital Content Producer

Angela is a travel enthusiast, history nerd, and animal lover that works in the utility regulatory space to pay for her pricey habits.  She obtained a Masters of Public Policy from American University, then later pursued a Masters of Museum Studies and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Johns Hopkins University.  She is also an Ambassador volunteer at the National Museum of American History where she helps visitors find their way through the museum's collections and DC's streets.  An eastern PA native, she lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, two cats, and two dogs (and many suitcases).  Living in DC gives Angela extensive exposure to the things that she loves:  great food, amazing wine, and interesting people with fascinating stories.  She loves sharing her love for her city with others, and seeks out similar folks when she travels.  RISE is a new opportunity for her to share her experiences and learn from others so that everyone can enjoy the wonders of travel.

Kara King

Digital Content Producer

Kara King is a traveler and writer who strives to enhance the voices of others. She has developed travel content for Thrillist, Wanderful, and Unearth Women. In addition, she has worked extensively with underprivileged communities, most recently at the Brooklyn-based non-profit, CAMBA, where she managed instructional services and designed holistic programming for young adults, immigrants, and newly arrived refugees. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a degree in Comparative Literature.

 

Currently, in addition to developing content for RISE Travel Institute, she is using her content creation skills on The Hill's Events Team, where she crafts virtual event programming and acts as an extension of the newsroom, bringing thought leaders together and important issues to light.

 

She’s lived in multiple cities including Paris, Berlin, Los Angeles, and New York. But she now calls Washington, D.C home.

Matthew Lesperance

Senior Digital Content Producer

Matt has a diverse and accomplished 20 plus-year tourism career as a hotelier, traveler, and photographer/videographer. He has been a major part of the opening team for two Las Vegas premier hotels. He has also lived and worked throughout the world, including spending nearly five years in South Korea and South Africa. Just before moving back to the U.S., Matt received his master's degree in Sustainable Tourism from Arizona State University. He loves all kinds of adventure, both above and below the water. You may find him diving with thresher sharks in the Philippines or trekking through the jungles of Argentina in search of a lost civilization. He is an enthusiastic, inquisitive individual at heart, who loves discovering the world one step at a time. He believes travel is meant to inspire and create new stories while discovering the world from a different point of view.

Suzanne Rommelfanger

Communications Manager

Suzanne has spent two decades working at global non-profits, international educational organizations, and in academia, inspiring both students and adults to partake in life changing experiences. She has studied, lived, and worked abroad; backpacked around the world; and traveled to more than 60 countries. She volunteers with the United Nations Association of Greater Boston, and is committed to the UN Sustainable Development goals.

 

Her firsthand experience visiting remote and sacred places from the Amazon to Uluru, learning about indigenous cultures from the Quechua in Peru to the Lakota in South Dakota, and participating in biodiversity conservation projects working at Earthwatch Institute, fuel her interest in supporting and promoting sustainable tourism.

 

One of her core values is making an impactful difference in the world. She shares RISE’s vision, and is eager to communicate the organization’s mission, goals and programs.

Maureen Wyse

Impact Evaluation Specialist

Maureen Wyse is passionate about tourism as a tool for locally driven economic development. She is currently Program Manager at GWU’s International Institute of Tourism Studies. Her projects have included: development of an 8-week product development course for Native entrepreneurs in North Dakota, program development for the first Indigenous Tourism Forum of the Americas, and research initiatives around COVID-19 and destination competitiveness. Prior to GWU, Maureen managed a small bicycle tourism social enterprise in Cambodia, Soksabike. In addition to day to day management, Maureen successfully transitioned the company to local ownership for long term sustainability.


Maureen has a Master in Tourism Administration from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Middlebury College in Vermont.

Victoria Quill

Event Manager

Victoria is an enthusiastic and dedicated young professional with a background in event management and higher education. Her passion for international education and sustainable travel began at a young age during family vacations and has remained a large part of her life into adulthood. Victoria has always strived to balance a bustling career with taking time to appreciate the local community and culture. Some of her most memorable experiences include working overseas in Spain, volunteering with hurricane relief in the USVI, and visiting an Andean community to learn about their art of textiles. When not working or traveling, you can find Victoria hiking a mountain or plotting her next travel adventure. 

 

She is thrilled to join the RISE team as an Event Manager. She looks forward to gaining more knowledge on sustainable tourism herself while also educating others through the programs and events that RISE has to offer.

John Carlson

Manager of People and Culture

John Carlson is an HR and DEI expert who has worked with some of the top organizations in the world, helping to analyze their business and create/revamp their D&I and culture programs. As the Founder and Chief Diversity Strategist of JD Consults; John specializes in DEI Strategy Consulting, Equity Analytics, and HR Coaching.

 

In addition to consulting John is also on the board of directors for Northern Kane Elementary Corp. school system. John also is on the Illinois Senate Advisory Committee on Diversity Strategy. John is based in the Chicago area but loves to travel whenever he can! John believes in the mission of sustainable travel and not only leaving a visited location the same as when he came but leaving it better.

 

John has been featured in Chicago’s Crain Magazine 35 under 35 as well as has his own podcast series. In his spare time, he enjoys relaxing at home with a nice glass of wine and spending time with his partner and their Siamese fur baby. John is a fierce advocate for all marginalized groups and conducts all business with a people centric / culture first mentality.

Patricia Henriquez

DEI Strategist

Patricia (she/her/hers) is an educator and avid traveler who is passionate about social justice and equity. She was born in Colombia and immigrated to the US with her family when she was 9 years old. She graduated as a mechanical engineer and started her career as a consultant at Accenture. After seven years working as a consultant and getting to travel around the world, she decided she wanted to follow her dream of becoming a teacher and became a middle school maths teacher through Teach for America. After teaching for three years and confronting the reality of teacher pay in the US she decided that it was time to leave the classroom and look for other opportunities in the K-12 education space. She turned to ed-tech where she currently works to help school districts implement technology in the classroom while also leading the DEI program at her current company. 

 

Patricia took her first international trip when she was 20 years old and caught the travel bug. She has traveled all over the world and feels very fortunate to have had countless adventures including hiking Cotopaxi, biking the White Rim Trail, and sailing around Tahiti. Patricia is very excited about being a part of RISE and being at the intersection of travel, social justice, and education.

Tara Busch

Community Engagement Manager

Tara is a proud history buff, aspiring foodie with a perennial obsession for travel. Her superpower is organization, and she loves to opportunity to get lost in research. Always looking for a creative and elegantly solution, she is a natural problem solver. Tara has worked in the education and travel industries. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in History, and recently completed a certification in Sustainable Destination Management from George Washington University.

Tara flew by herself for the first time at only 5 years old to visit family, ever since finding confidence in herself as an adventurous, independent and curious traveler.

Tara is passionate about creating connections between people, cultures, history, and our world, and believes in travel and education as a way to learn and to discover ourselves. Tara embraces travel that is respectful of people, heritage, and our planet. A native of southern California, she now calls Brooklyn home, and has fallen in love with having seasons.

Romar Dingo

Digital Media and Information Technology Specialist

As an immigrant who calls various places his home, Romar is an eager student eager to advocate for ethical and sustainable travel. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Alberta majoring in Linguistics and double minoring in Psychology and Sociology. Past experiences include volunteering for various nonprofits dealing with social justice and advocacy for the arts.

His accumulative experiences led him to pursue justice for those who are underprivileged, marginalized, and those who have always been ignored. To make an impactful difference, he strives to take care of himself as well the communities that are around him. When not working or volunteering, he is an avid videogame fan and is probably learning a new language.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
RISE Travel Institute

RISE Travel Institute A NJ Nonprofit Corporation is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization

EIN #85-1525205

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