Management Team

Founder & CEO

You’ll never have another friend like CIRE Travel. Besides possibly your parents, no one goes that extra mile or takes that extra step for you like we do. World events and such have sucked a lot of the ease out of corporate and leisure travel today. So when you have a chance to make travel just a little (or a lot) easier on someone, you take it. Nothing causes stress like an impossibly tight connection… so imagine one of my executive client’s surprise when Lufthansa personnel escorted him off the plane to a Mercedes waiting on the tarmac. He was whisked away to his next flight in plenty of time. Any travel planner can book flights and hotels, but I’ve developed a staff of compassionate travel allies, not simply planners. That’s something I’m really proud of. And it’s something you can rely on again… and again… and again. I understand the timely demands of corporate executives while traveling. Diane Sawyer, if you’re looking for a travel planner, just let us know.
View Eric's Speaker Biography

Chief Operating Officer

Amy Brueckner

With almost 3 decades of experience in client service and a passion for travel, being CIRE’s Chief Operating Officer is my dream job! Not to mention a position unheard of at other agencies. I worked my way up from tour guide (an NBC Page…like Kenneth on 30 Rock!) to executive-level positions in marketing and sales at NBCUniversal, Lifetime Television, Turner Broadcasting, A+E Networks and CBS. I use everything I learned to enhance the CIRE Travel client experience. Annoyed with the time it takes to book travel through other agencies? That doesn’t happen at CIRE. Tired of fluff travel reports? CIRE’s reports are as sexy as numbers get. The “Tiffany-level” of service I learned from my first boss stays with me. Never late. Answer every message. Return every phone call. It meshes with CIRE’s philosophy and aligns with our brand. Oh, I also can tell you how to get crisp, new $10 bills in Bangkok before heading to Myanmar, the best Michelin-starred restaurants in San Sebastián, Spain, and where you can find thatched-roof huts for your own Gilligan’s Island-style retreat. Among my most notable #traveltriumphs: a three-month, five-country, solo “jobbymoon” before they were called “jobbymoons” and an “Around the World in 42 Countries in 14 Months” with my husband. We’ve karaoked on five continents, bowled on six continents and ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Not bad for a Philly kid whose family’s idea of traveling was to the Jersey shore. #Futuretravelgoal: Visit Antarctica.

Chief Financial Officer

Mark Pizza

Between being CIRE’s CFO and my art, it’ll be a while before I travel to the remote destination of Antarctica. But anything good is worth waiting for. Australia and Asia also are on my bucket list. Along with another remote destination: The Galápagos Islands. I’m drawn to remote places. Protected from mankind. They’re just so hopeful. Also, gravitate to nature. I’m an artist. Nature, city lifestyle, capturing energy in a fleeting moment—these impact my creative process, photography, digital overlay, various materials. Turn the page to my LinkedIn: creative collaborator, business & team development, creative & production operations, account services, project management—with Paramount and Toys R Us. My right brain/left brain, equal. Creative work; it takes money, operations, budgets. Bringing anything to life involves finances. Production, workflow, operations; siphons down to financial. Financial management crosses over, touches everything. Creative should surprise. But, budgets, numbers, financials, never.

Luxury Vacations, Honeymoons & Experiences

Esther Klijn, Leisure Services Manager

I moved from California to New York after earning my B.S. in wine and viticulture. I knew one person here—the right one who introduced me to the right people, like Eric (CIRE Travel CEO). Soon, I was planning complex travel itineraries, like a 39-day vacation to New Zealand and Australia. Two mottos from my alma mater shaped my character and my career. First, “Learn by doing.” It was an honor for my work to be recognized with a 2019 30Under30 award, representing CIRE Travel. Second, “Learn by going.” An agent can only be an expert on so many places. Having traveled so far to Hawaii, Zimbabwe, China, Japan, Peru, Costa Rica, Mauritius, The Galápagos Islands, and across continental Europe, I can share my own stories and personal experience to help educate our clients. Like if Rome and Paris had a baby, it’d be Madrid. And, Lisbon’s hills rival those of San Francisco for a good glute workout. Curating unforgettable experiences for our clients (and iced almond milk lattes) are what get me up in the morning. Not to mention my obsession with perfection and wine background means not only can I recommend a great restaurant, but also pick the wine for you. Once you return from your trip, I’m always up for a debate over which restaurant had the better wine list.


Melissa Chaquea

One just never knows where the journey will lead. One day I’m double majoring in supply chain management and marketing at Rutgers University. The next, I’m presenting a digital marketing plan to CIRE Travel’s owner, who offers me an internship, then a job I love in an industry I never considered. Talk about applying what you learn in college to the real world! I love traveling, and I’m drawn to nature and photography. If I’m outdoors, I have a camera with me. Photographing landscapes in Switzerland and New Zealand is on my bucket list. I jump in. I fill in. Whatever our clients or CIRE travel planners need, I’m on it—brainstorming a social media post, pitching in when an agent is out of the office, an out-of-the-box nature, adventure or expedition travel idea. #jackofalltrades. Jumping in adds value for our clients and helps make their journeys truly unique experiences, compared to others’ experiences in the same city. After exploring Italy, Thailand and a few domestic locations, plus two familiarization (FAM) trips to Mexico and Washington D.C. as part of the CIRE team, I’ve seen firsthand how our relationships with travel partners ensure our clients are treated like VIPs.

Corporate, Meetings & Group Travel

Jason Villacres, Corporate Operations Manager

“Let’s make it happen.” A motivational phrase my personal training clients heard me say many, many times. Now I use it in a different context with CIRE’s clients and travel industry connections, but it still applies. Me? I’m a trainer. Business owner. Entrepreneur. I motivate, diffuse situations and am great with people – or so I’m told. As CIRE's Corporate Operations Manager, I support business travelers.  I was one. Checked in and flown in their shoes. I get that business travel looks cool from the outside, but know the hiccups and snafus that can ruin your day. Avoiding them: goal #1. Solving them is #1 when you’re in a jam. Native New Yorker in a love affair with the outdoors. Earth is a big place, but accessible. Lived in Australia. Drawn to Paris. Iceland on the bucket list. Left my heart in Seattle. (Sorry, Mr. Bennett.) Point and click DIY travel planning lands you at Dulles when your hotel is near Reagan. I know. It happened to me. It won’t happen to you with CIRE Travel. Psst! Iceland on your bucket list too? Fly out of Boston. It’s cheaper than New York for now.


Terri O'Brien

A plain hamburger. That’s all she wanted after a long day. A PLAIN hamburger was not on the room service menu. Called my hotel connection and it was delivered to her room. AND the hotel updated its menu to meet guests’ preferences. With travel, it’s the little things I can help with that matter most. All challenges accepted, especially when I hear, “Not available.” April storms canceling flights across the east. Still made sure a client arrived in Atlanta just in time for tee off at the Masters in Augusta. Known travel planning was my future since I was a little girl standing on the tarmac at Logan watching planes. My uncle worked for Eastern Airlines. Fast-forward 30 years. Leisure. Corporate. Group. For travel agencies. For companies. Three decades and not one day has been the same. Imagine the experience and connections made in 30 years! Not to mention my own travels. Too much to see and learn to pick a favorite. Though a fan of volcanoes, rain forests and seclusion. Africa. Europe. Central and South Americas. The U.S. – especially the 30 ballparks my mother and I visited to watch the Red Sox play and Maine, my second home that’s been in my family for more than 50 years. All this travel knowledge and my corporate connections are at CIRE’s clients’ fingertips from my hometown and CIRE’s office in Boston. At the end of a long business day, sometimes you just want a plain hamburger. I make that happen.


Robyn Panaccione

All hail “the Waiver Queen!” Knock on wood, but I’m pretty successful at getting fees waived even in unforgiving environments… like canceling Manhattan hotel reservations last minute over the holidays. Vanity Fair Oscar parties. GQ’s Men of the Year (MOTY). Glamour’s Women of the Year (WOTY). Golf Digest Masters’ events. Bon Appetit’s Uncorked – Vegas. And stars gracing the covers of Vanity Fair and Vogue… I’ve booked a lot of celebrity and entertainment travel over my 18 years with Conde Nast Travel, and I’ve known Eric just as long. When he started CIRE Travel in 2013, Eric wanted me on the team, but the timing wasn’t right. Five years later Eric texted, “It’s time!” It was the right time for me, too. Like the entertainment industry reboots the classics, I’m glad to be at an agency that has brought back personal relationships… Somewhere I can look 10 steps ahead for clients to create the best experience, where satisfaction and service reign, and I can focus on consulting with clients on how to travel well. I’ve visited Italy (my 2nd favorite place), Israel, Greece, China, Mexico and more. Anguilla is my favorite destination on earth… My husband and I were married there. He’s been a rock since our dating years, thoroughly unfazed by celeb photographer, Annie Leibovitz, shooting Paltrow, Aniston, Dunst, Hayek and others, on a Vanity Fair holiday issue photoshoot with me. Celebrity or not, everyone deserves star treatment when traveling. I make that happen with my experience and CIRE connections.


Image

Nikki Ledbetter

“We goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love. In my pink Cadillac…” Airplane. Cadillac. Doesn’t matter. I get CIRE clients where they’re going in style, while singing Aretha Franklin songs in my head. Recently, I rebooked a client on a new flight out of the Midwest, plus got the connection sorted out, and she arrived home earlier than her originally scheduled flight—weather, schmeather. Scheduled commercial air for a famous model… then booked a private charter for her wigs and wardrobe. I’d say VIP travel management is my jam thanks to two decades of travel planning for celebrity makeup artists, models and influencers, senior executives, and presidents of some of the world’s coveted fashion houses. I’m a corporate girl at heartThe smell of success and demanding fashion clients, I love it. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Guerlain, Fresh. I managed travel for all the perfume accounts for LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE) and that’s how I landed in NYC with Condé Nast. I also landed a lead singer gig for the Love Train Band from a Craig’s List ad. We groove around the NYC and Jersey areas, and maybe someday, someone will arrange travel for my makeup artist and costumes. The little girl who sang into a “hairbrush microphone” can dream… Speaking of dreaming, I wish I could find pizza as good as the one I stumbled on in Milan… And explore Greece. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. What does it mean to me? Earning clients’ trust because every appearance and event comes down to details and style.

Yin Yin

Current Articles:

Just back from: Paris

YinYin Petersen

The moments that give your life its direction; reveal your passion. They happen at any age. But mine? I was fortunate. Young, as in high school and college age. Growing up, my grandparents made travel an every-holiday event. But, after service trips in high school to Thailand and Costa Rica and in college to the Czech Republic, I knew I wanted to make tourism and hospitality my career. Thailand, the “Land of Smiles,” is where I gained my personal perspective—even if in a conflict, never leave anything on a bad note. Smile because it is a good life. Seeing how people live, how life unfolds elsewhere, learning history, making friends, building relationships. All the things textbooks and guidebooks can’t teach. So much to see. So much to explore. Spain, Australia and returning again to Japan top my to-do list. Afraid of heights, but I’d overcome it to experience Dinner in the Sky (a glass enclosed table for 22 suspended 165 feet in the air) in Athens, Greece. Big believer in working smarter, not harder, so I like creating Google maps with places to see and things to do, then choose accommodations. My favorite travel accessory recommendation? It’s one for my fellow vertically challenged travelers out there. A foot hammock. Attaches to the back of an airplane seat. Instant foot rest. Best. Invention. Ever.

Client Services

Augie McGannon

Augie McGannon

You know that feeling when you’re passionate about what you do, but you want to apply that passion and your skills in a totally different way? Mmm, hmm. That’s me—a retail manager with more than 20 years of experience working in the luxury brand and lifestyle space. Moving to the travel side simply fell into place—a fortuitous meeting with Eric Hrubant of CIRE Travel, his invitation to join the team, the timing—perfect. I’m one of those who must feel passionate about whatever I’m doing. Travel checks the box. I have a visit-all-seven-continents goal, I’m down to three. When I travel, you’ll find me hitting the historical places of interest first. Unless it’s New York. Then it’s a hot dog stand, Sabrett®, of course. Pandemic years excluded, I travel twice a year. My home base is Miami. Excited to reinstate that routine. My aunt’s 60th birthday cruise. Drinks were had. Shenanigans planned. Talked into ziplining in Haiti. Not normal ziplining. Oh, no, not sitting. Trust fall off the mountain top, flying Superman style down, on my belly. Never. Again. I survived… I did have people surrounding me who make me laugh. That’s really the key to life, isn’t it? Genuine people whom you enjoy. I have them at home and at CIRE—others who are passionate about everything they do, whether it’s providing agent and general administrative support, like I do, or bending over backwards to arrange corporate and leisure travel, like our team does. Passion. Now, excuse me while I go make my own ricotta for my homemade lasagna.

Amy Fronczkiewicz

TWENTY+ years I spent as an entrepreneur. Specifically, a commercial photographer doing shoots for brands, such as J. Crew, Madewell, PVH, The Jewelry Group, Nadri, to name a few. Today, re-thinking what fascinates me, what stirs my curiosity. Transferring my business and creative skills to CIRE Travel, it’s my love for travel that’s leading me on this new magical path. New people, places. Learning new things, using and stimulating different parts of my brain. The devil is in the details—especially in billing. Especially when booking travel. My favorite travel experiences… white water rafting the Colorado River for 89 miles, biking Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic in daylight at 10:00 p.m., Jamaica, fully immersed in the culture learning to make bammy (cassava bread that takes days). Twenty+ years living in New York makes me an official New Yorker. Originally from and still have family on 72 acres in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania. I'm a chameleon. As home there, as I am here. Still love wandering around knowing there is still so much to see, do and feel between the architecture, diversity and culture. If I could do anything, I’d travel the world, my magical path… photographer, CIRE Travel… just scratching the surface.

Our Globetrotting, Contributing Writer

Jamie Edwards

Today, my home base is Washington, DC with my family and two black labs. Before that, I lived in NYC and Tokyo. I’m the creator, writer, and photographer behind I am Lost and Found—a website that inspires travel. It’s where I share experiences about the places I’ve been, hoping they inspire others to travel, too. It was natural to become a contributing writer for CIRE. Even as a seasoned traveler, I rely on CIRE's travel planners for travel destination ideas with the added bonus of planning and booking all of my trips. Having traveled to all 7 continents and visited 68 countries (and counting), I’m often asked which destination is my favorite. I've bungee jumped in New Zealand, climbed the Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan, tracked silverback gorillas in Uganda, and crossed the Drake Passage to Antarctica. Yet, it’s still an impossible question to answer. I'm happy to keep exploring and get back to you on it when I know.