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.
Chief Operating Officer
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.
Luxury Vacations, Honeymoons & Experiences
A couple was thinking the Canary Islands, Maldives or Seychelles for their honeymoon. No. No. And no. Mauritius has the exact feel and experience their hearts desired. mawr-RIH-shuhs – I’m a pronunciation whiz. Tell me what you want to feel. What photos you want to post. What experience you want. Rely on my knowledge to make it happen. Another couple dreamed of riding elephants in Tahiti and over-water bungalows. They’d have to take an elephant in their luggage for that to happen. Sent them to Bali where elephants live. My family didn’t have money for much, but family vacations? Always. We Brits fly. It’s what we do. My first memory is chasing lizards on our patio in Malaysia where my dad worked. My mum took photos of washing me in a bucket. Still break into a rash when a camera points at me. I have a theater degree, yet prefer dramatic trips. Became an expert in U.S., Caribbean and Canada travel. After that, I mastered exotic long-haul destinations. Took a job in America and moved from the U.K. to LA. Why LA? The Kings, Ducks and best weather. LAX was behind my first apartment. I reenacted “Top Gun” racing my motorcycle against A380s. If the Qantas flight landed already, I knew I was late for work. I get lost in a paper bag in LA, but navigate Bangkok like a champ. Traveled six countries in five years to scout destinations for my clients, but taken only one vacation. Honeymoon and leisure travel are my labors of love. Where are you sending me next? That’s what I want to hear from clients.
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 Tzell Travel (CIRE’s parent company). Second, “Learn by going.” An agent can only be an expert on so many places. Having traveled so far to Hawaii, Zimbabwe, Shanghai 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.
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
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.
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.
I cannot tell you the lengths I will go to for clients. No, really. Too many non-disclosure agreements. Showtime, “David Letterman,” “Early Show,” “60 Minutes,” Simon and Schuster, “48 Hours” and BET. Precision arrivals and departures. The last-minute changes. The juggling. I make “magic” happen. Managers’ words. Not mine. Yes, “Survivor” contestents. I knew where they were. The whole time. Then there was the Count and Countess who told me, “You always seem to make things happen.” Born in Saudia Arabia. Moved to the States. Back and forth. Airline and travel industry father. Every vacation was overseas. Attending the opera in Italy—lost on a child. Looking back, how lucky I was. My husband. Not so well traveled. His travel bucket list is now mine, seeing things through adult eyes. CUBA. Eventually, I’ll get there. Until then… 50 VIPs. 35 gateways. All converge on same flight to arrive in the Turks and Caicos. Yes, I make magic happen for corporate and VIP travelers. I can tell you that.
“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. Eric said he could use my help answering phones. So I took him up on his offer. I support corporate 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.
Backpacking in Milan, Italy my sophomore year at Rutgers University. Made a last-minute jaunt to view Leonardo da Vinci’s famous mural in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie’s refectory. Usually requires pre-booking, but took a chance on a ticket. Early the next morning, I was fortunate to get the last single ticket of the day for The Last Supper. It was an experience in more ways than one. First, as a dual major in communications and art history, I’ll remember forever the feeling of seeing it in real life. Second, I learned it’s one thing to hear and talk about something. It’s another to experience it in its environment. Becoming a travel agent, I help people experience the things they love as they’re meant to be experienced. In person. For now, I’m handling the fine details that make the big difference for CIRE’s clients. The future? Designing art vacations for travelers to experience art in the cities and places that inspired it or its medium. Paris is my favorite place. Venice may take that spot once I visit it. If you’re going to Milan and want to see The Last Supper, let CIRE arrange for tickets far in advance and be prepared: groups of 15 are allowed in at a time for 15 minutes.