Travel Experts
Jim Friedlander, President, oversees all aspects of the company’s operations. His over 30 years of global business experience as an international banker and management consultant have been vital to Arrangements Abroad’s growing diversity of clients and programs. A graduate of Philips Exeter Academy, Wesleyan University, and Columbia Business School, Jim travels frequently to explore new cultural opportunities, and serves on the Emeritus Council of The Educational Travel Conference and the US Advisory Board of the Taj Hotel Group.
Favorite Destinations: Havana, Paris, and Suasi, Peru
Elizabeth Irwin, Secretary and General Counsel, is a member of the International Foundation of Business and Professional Women (BPW International) and a representative on the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Liz traces her interest in travel to childhood years spent in Brussels. As a medieval studies major at Wesleyan University, she spent her junior year in Paris. While attending Cardozo School of Law, she interned at a Japanese law firm in Tokyo and, as a practicing attorney, served as a New Jersey Assistant Prosecutor. She is an accomplished printmaker, avid gardener, and certified yoga therapist.
Favorite Destinations: San Cassiano (Italy), Paro (Bhutan), Istanbul
Jay Hunt, Chief Operating Officer, joined Arrangements Abroad after 31 years in international sales and marketing with General Motors. He spent more than two decades working for GM overseas in Shanghai, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, and other international cities. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Amherst College, and Harvard Business School, Jay is also an amateur geologist who loves history, archaeology, and museums of all kinds.
Favorite Destinations: Deserts of the UAE, mountains of Oman, highlands of Bali, anywhere in Ireland
Greg Fraher, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, developed a passion for the travel industry after a six-week tour of Europe nearly 30 years ago. Since then, appointments in sales, marketing, operations, and senior-level management for some of the industry's most respected tour operators and specialty cruise lines have resulted in great career satisfaction and a continued wanderlust. With nearly 50 countries on all seven continents under his belt, Greg’s “bucket list” of places to explore remains lengthy nevertheless. When not planning his next adventure, he enjoys photography, good food and wine, shared experiences with friends and family, and discovering all of the great things New York City has to offer.
Favorite Destinations: New Zealand, Antarctica, Chile, Alaska, Turks & Caicos
Kate Beveridge, Manager, Sales & Marketing, was born and bred in the idyllic Welsh countryside, yet always yearned for a big-city life: “For as long as I can remember, I wanted to come to New York,” she says. After earning a bachelor’s degree in International Business Management with Travel and Tourism, Kate worked various jobs in hospitality and event planning until she finally landed a plum post at the Manhattan office of the British Tourist Authority, her most recent employer before joining AAA. Proud mother to a “beautiful daughter,” Amy, Kate is an avid British rugby and soccer fan who also enjoys tennis, hiking, and painting in acrylics. She’s traveled to many destinations, but her favorite place is still Freshwater West Beach in Pembrokeshire, her hometown.
Favorite Destinations: Australia, France, Pembrokeshire
Katie Willingham, Sales Associate, grew up in Nyack, New York. After many years in the Midwest, she has returned to the New York area and is now based in Brooklyn. She holds a BA from Macalester College where she got her travel start leading campus tours. Wherever she goes, whether it's a modern art museum in Dusseldorf or an ancient temple in Cambodia, she likes to dig into history and read every available sign. Outside Arrangements Abroad, Katie is a poet, letterpress enthusiast, and dedicated library patron. She earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan and is the author of the collection of poems Unlikely Designs (University of Chicago Press).
Favorite Destinations: Bermuda, Venice, anywhere with a waterfall!
Heather Bartek, Vice President, Development & Tour Operations, has nearly two decades’ experience in travel, including positions held at the Harvard Alumni Association, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Road Scholar. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Northeastern University, Heather has an MS in political science from Suffolk University and an MBA from Boston College, and has taught hospitality courses as an adjunct professor. A Massachusetts native who grew up partly in Syracuse, Heather is “obsessed” with football (especially a certain team whose name goes unmentioned in New York), and also enjoys theater and taking her young daughter to the beaches of Cape Cod.
Favorite Destinations: Russia, Spain, Mexico
Teresa Gibbons, Director, Development and Cruise & Tour Operations, grew up in the Philippines, where she first saw the world through the art and illustrations of Hergé and the adventures of his iconic character, Tintin.  After attending the University of the Philippines with a degree in art history, she worked with an educational luxury cruise company first as a copywriter, later as part of the field staff, and most recently in operations and product development.  Her extensive travels as a tour director and independent traveler have taken her to Asia, Central and South America, Europe, the Mediterranean, Antarctica, and Africa.
Favorite Destinations: Weather opposites: Antarctica and the Atacama Desert
Francesca Commisso, Manager, Tour Development, is originally from Reggio Calabria, a historic city perched at the toe of Italy’s boot. While pursuing a a graduate degree in economics and tourism, she worked as a tour guide in her hometown, taking travelers to admire the Riace Bronzes and other legendary sights, and also spent several months employed at a resort in Marsa Alam, Egypt, a Red Sea resort town and divers’ paradise. Nowadays Francesca lives happily with her husband in New York City, where she enjoys visiting gardens, reading travel literature, and exploring rooftop bars, former speakeasies, and other interesting places to take visiting family and friends.
Favorite Destinations: Panarea (Aeolian Islands), France & Germany
Haley Goldsmith, Manager, Tour Operations, grew up on Long Island, where annual Caribbean vacations with her family failed to inoculate her against the travel bug. During high school and college, she studied in Spain, graduating from Indiana University with a major in communications and a minor in tourism. After various positions developing travel programs to Africa, Europe, Israel, and elsewhere, Haley moved to Miami to take a job with Celebrity Cruise Lines. But as much as she loved the Florida sun and surf, homesickness eventually pulled her back to New York. When Haley’s not traveling, she enjoys cooking, meditating, going to Broadway shows, and spending time with friends and family.
Favorite Destinations: Israel, Morocco, Barcelona, London
Ruthie Jenkins, Director, Tour Development, is a 30-year veteran of the travel industry who spent two years in the Caribbean and has never visited a place she doesn’t like. “There’s always something fabulous to see or do in every destination,” says the Boston native and animal lover. When she’s not attending plays and Broadway musicals, Ruthie can be found cooking, dining out, or rooting for the Red Sox and Patriots – despite the disapproval of her neighbors and colleagues.
Favorite Destinations: England, France, Costa Rica, “and the places I haven’t been yet”
Katie LeForce, Tour Operations Associate, joined the Arrangements Abroad staff after outstanding work as a student intern, undertaken while she was working on her master’s degree in tourism management at NYU. Katie is a Texas native who grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, and traveled frequently with her family (her first overseas trip was to Germany at age five). While earning a bachelor’s degree in language and world business from the University of Tennessee, she did a Semester at Sea, spending 100 days on a ship visiting 13 different countries and taking classes while on board—an “amazing” experience that “made me realize I needed to work in the travel industry.” Besides traveling, Katie loves reading, watching TV (Friends is a current favorite), spending time outdoors, and visiting family and friends.
Favorite Destinations: Brazil, Australia, St. Thomas
Alexandra Ingram, Tour Operations Associate, is a native of our nation’s capital. A global citizen from a young age, she explored Europe and Ecuador in her youth. Those early glimpses into intriguing cultures sparked a lifelong mission. She holds a B.A. in International Affairs from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, studying abroad in Rome, Paris, London, and Berlin; and she landed a job right out of school in the educational and cultural exchange field. When she’s not globetrotting or working in the Arrangements Abroad office, you might find her whipping up international dishes in the kitchen or asking to pet someone’s dog.
Favorite Destinations: Rome, London, Istanbul, and the Greek Islands
Angela Rubino, Tour Operations Associate, first traveled internationally when she was 18, which sparked a love of globetrotting that has whisked her away to nine countries. She’s parlayed her passion into a career, pursuing her Master’s in tourism management at New York University. When she’s not wandering far-flung lands or poring over textbooks, she revels in quality time with her tight-knit family in Long Island, New York. A lover of animals, especially cats, she has been a committed vegetarian for 17 years.
Favorite Destinations: Cinque Terre, Italy; Mykonos, Greece; Southern Iceland
Cathy Farber, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, considers it no coincidence that she hails from Rochester, New York, where George Eastman pioneered popular photography as the founder of Kodak. She has a BFA in communications from Parsons School of Design and over three decades of experience in marketing, graphic design, and digital communications. As leader of Arrangements Abroad’s communications and social media team, she is laser-focused on building the company’s presence across multiple platforms. When not tweeting, Facebooking, Instagramming, or hunting for the ultimate image to define an AAA trip, she can be found on the doubles tennis court. Her ultimate dream trip would be to attend all four Grand Slams in one year.
Favorite Destinations: Lake Como, Monaco, the Galápagos Islands
Brynn Hyland, Manager, Communications & Data Specialist, is a native New Yorker who discovered her love of travel on a family trip to Ireland, the country her grandparents emigrated from. After majoring in business and art history at Fairfield University, Brynn worked for several art fairs and galleries before landing her position at Arrangements Abroad. In her spare time, she enjoys reading World War II novels, exploring different neighborhoods and new restaurants, and learning about international cultures. Her personal goal is to visit all 50 states by the age of 50, which leaves her with 30 more to go.
Favorite Destinations: New Orleans, Galway and the Aran Islands, Heidelberg, Long Beach Island (New Jersey)
Kevin Wicks, Manager, Communications, hails from St. Louis, Missouri and discovered international travel as a pop culture editor at BBC America in New York, flying back and forth to London, interviewing celebrities on the red carpet and covering “Doctor Who." Ironically for an American Studies major from Yale University, his tastes are global: he loves Brazilian music, Pet Shop Boys, Novak Djokovic, Thai cuisine, and the Japanese reality series “Terrace House.” His personal goal is to chart his family’s history through the countries of West Africa.
Favorite Destinations: Barcelona, Berlin, Tokyo
Nicole Markley, Client Services Manager, has more than 10 years of project management experience. She started in the Operations department designing and executing travel programs, and now manages the dynamic customer service team. Nicole grew up surrounded by her Swedish heritage in the Midwest. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Global Studies, she moved to New York to serve with AmeriCorps’ City Year New York chapter, followed by six additional years on staff, and then two years of freelance event production. Nicole and her husband live in Brooklyn and are avid do-it-yourselfers. Nicole takes delight in travel, social/ballroom dancing, cooking and eating healthy, and serves as the Board President of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA (farm share co-op).
Favorite Destinations: Chiang Mai (Thailand), Hjo (Sweden), Turtle River Lake (Minnesota)
Vincent Jansen, Client Services Senior Associate, credits his multicultural upbringing with his facility for working with Arrangements Abroad’s guests. Born in the Netherlands to a French mother and a Dutch father, Vincent grew up just minutes from the borders of Germany and Belgium. As a child he traveled all over the continent with his family, visiting such uncommon destinations as Communist-era Yugoslavia and Hungary and seeing the stark contrast between East and West Berlin just days after the fall of the Berlin Wall. “I still have a huge chunk of the wall that I knocked out myself,” he says proudly. Vincent moved to the New York area after graduating from university with a journalism degree. In his spare time he enjoys watching documentaries and seeing live music.
Favorite Destinations: Iceland, Costa Rica & the Netherlands
Lynn Kolibaba, Client Services Associate, comes to Arrangements Abroad after more than 30 years in marketing and communications for Columbia University, The Rockefeller University, and New York University, among others. She discovered the magic of travel in high school when she went to Spain for an international baton-twirling competition, where she won fourth place and—even better—was invited to join a goodwill tour to London and Paris the following year. Prior to academia, Lynn worked as a tour guide at Radio City Music Hall and a tour escort for high school music groups visiting New York City.
Favorite Destinations: Easter Island; Peru; Egypt; Wiltshire, England; and any megalithic site
Kieran McCarthy Fell, Client Services Coordinator, was born and raised on Long Island by travel-loving parents who took her on many domestic and international trips as a child. She studied in Vienna and Ireland while earning a bachelor’s in music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then worked briefly as a paralegal before returning to the classroom for a master\’s in arts and cultural management from Pratt Institute. When she’s not dreaming about her next trip, Kieran plays traditional Irish flute at various venues in the tri-state area and is a “total bookworm” who also enjoys hiking, going to museums and performances, and spending time with friends and family.
Favorite Destinations: Vienna; Ireland’s west coast; “the many places I haven’t been to yet”
Ethan Long, Client Services Outreach Associate, was raised in sunny South Florida and earned a BA in history from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. He went on to teach English at a high school in Paris, where he spent his free time following in the footsteps of Hemingway through the historic hilltop neighborhood of Montmartre. “Every day there was like a festival, with vendors and performers,” Ethan says. Nowadays he spends his spare time inventing dishes that fuse the Latin American recipes he learned growing up in Miami with the fiery phos and curries of Southeast Asia, his dream destination.
Favorite Destinations: Brussels, Berlin & Paris
Nila Popal, Client Service Document and Office Coordinator, is a New York City native whose parents emigrated from Kabul, Afghanistan. Her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism led to various writing and editing positions, most recently as a videographer for the Shirley Chisholm Project at Brooklyn College and a social media coordinator at a nonprofit arts organization. Fluent in Dari (Farsi), Nila loves exploring America\’s lesser-known cultures—an interest sparked by a visit to Lancaster, PA, where she got a taste of the Amish way of life. She also enjoys reading, watching TV thrillers, and listening to Afghan music.
Favorite Destinations: Lancaster, PA; San Francisco, CA; Toronto, Canada
Christine Pagnani, Tour Director, was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Before coming to Arrangements Abroad she worked for Pan American World Airways for three decades, first as an on-campus recruiter at the University of Hawaii, then as a Japanese-speaking flight attendant, and finally in sales and marketing. She leads at least eight AAA trips every year, specializing in India and other Asian destinations as well as Russia. When not on the road, Christine divides her time between homes in Hawaii and Connecticut. Her attention to detail and endearing personality have earned her the highest accolades.
Favorite Destinations: Japan for the aesthetics, India for the contrasts, Cuba for the art and architecture, Italy for the food
Brian Goyette, Tour Director, has visited over 75 countries and all seven continents. An experienced sommelier and student of art and design, Brian especially loves exploring the connections between gastronomy and culture. He received his culinary education at the hands of some of California's greatest chefs and wine experts, including Jeremiah Tower, former chef at Chez Panisse, Tavern on the Green, and Stars and Barbara Tropp, who has been called "the Julia Child of Chinese cuisine.
Favorite Destinations: Mali, Andalusia, Greece, and Istanbul
Clive Porter, Tour Director, began traveling on graduating from Oxford, while he decided what to do when he grew up. That was in 1977 and he is still traveling. Sydney and Venice vie for his favorite city though he has no intention of living anywhere but his leafy suburb in Sheffield in the north of England
Favorite Destinations: Macchu Pichu, Easter Island, Petra
Claudia Cumbo, Tour Director, was born in Milan, Italy, and has lived in Barbados since 1993. Besides Italian and English, she also speaks Spanish and French. When not traveling for Arrangements Abroad, she teaches Italian, takes care of tourists in Barbados, and works as a “personal assistant” for her teenage daughter, Tara. Claudia considers herself a real "foodie." She is also passionate about her family, travel, reading, and cooking, and has a natural empathy for people.
Favorite Destinations: Bequia, Saba, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar
Richard Barcham, Tour Director, has led more than 150 travel programs to foreign destinations. He has helped blaze trails in countries once unfamiliar to most American travelers, including Cuba, Estonia, Romania, Syria, and Tunisia. Richard has worked in several travel positions over a 24-year span, along with lengthy spells as a field archaeologist and a lecture agent. A native of the English seaport of Plymouth, Richard was educated at Cambridge University and Durham University, from which he has degrees in history and archaeology.
Favorite Destinations: Devon, the Hudson Valley, Nova Scotia and the Shetland Islands
Kalea Wiseman, Tour Director, is a Pacific Northwest native who graduated from the University of San Diego with degrees in political science and Spanish. As an undergraduate she spent a year abroad, studying one semester in Havana, Cuba, and the other in Montevideo, Uruguay. Prior to joining the firm, Kalea worked designing, selling, and leading educational trips to Cuba. Her favorite travel memories include hiking through the Sierra Maestra mountains in Cuba, participating in a traditional Candomble procession in Uruguay, and tango dancing in Buenos Aires.
Favorite Destinations: Havana, El Calafate (Argentina), San Diego, the Pacific Northwest
Lynda Murphy, Tour Director, is a Jersey Shore native whose curiosity and love of the outdoors inspired a two-decade career in travel that has taken her to all seven continents while playing nearly every possible industry role: air and logistics coordinator; new destinations scout; onboard services manager; operations and programs manager; cruise and tour director; and marketing and social media expert. Lynda has led ocean and river expeditions to such remote places as Southeast Asia, Australia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, and the Arctic, as well as land-based cultural adventures to Cuba, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Cape Verde, and more.
Favorite Destinations: Botswana, Antarctica, New Zealand
John Frick, Tour Director, has been an active traveler for three decades. His wanderlust has led him to such far-flung locations as Alaska, where he lived after college, and Tansen, a village in western Nepal where he served as a Peace Corps volunteer. For the past quarter-century, he has led groups on programs to the Mediterranean, Baltic region, Alaska, Central America, the Galápagos, Antarctica, the Arctic, South Pacific, East Africa, the Persian Gulf, and India. He especially enjoys family programs and sharing his expertise in stargazing and astronomy with fellow travelers.
Favorite Destinations: Greek Islands, Italy, Nepal/Bhutan, Antarctica
Antonella Miro, Tour Director, was born and raised in Belgium. A longtime resident of London, she speaks four languages (French, Italian, Spanish, and English) and is deeply involved in all aspects of philanthropy. Antonella travels often to Italy, where she has family, and Colombia, where she founded an educational program in Bogotá and participates in various humanitarian projects. She serves on the board of trustees for a British-based charity and is also quite knowledgeable about antiques, having worked at Sotheby’s for 14 years.
Favorite Destinations: South America, Middle East, Italy, Spain
Tessa Madden Pierre, Tour Director, is from the United Kingdom but for 12 years called France her home, living in Provence, Brittany, and on the Côte d’Azur. At 19, she was bitten by the travel bug when she took off to explore Asia, particularly India and Indonesia. She started leading group land programs and small-ship cruises, eventually traveling to all seven continents and nearly every corner of Europe. Recently Tessa returned to her birthplace, an English village just south of Cambridge. With 20 years in the business, she loves sharing her passion for travel with others.
Favorite Destinations: Russia, Galápagos (Ecuador), Indonesia
Chas A. Miller, III, Tour Director, has worked with Arrangements Abroad in several roles since 1992, coming aboard as a tour director in 2018. He has helped lead 55 trips in his career, including to Iran and 15 tours of Cuba. Boasting stamps from more than 65 countries on his passport, Chas has set sail on more than 40 cruises. He recently worked for 14 years in New York with London’s Sir John Soane’s Museum, with previous tenures at the American Academy in Rome and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. An active philanthropist in his home of Rhode Island, Chas has done great work with non-profit organizations including the Preservation Society of Newport.
Favorite Destinations: Maldives, Denmark, Argentina