Meet the Greenheart Travel team! We love what we do and we are happy to share the travel abroad experience with you. Scroll down to read our bios and check out the map of where we have traveled so far…
Kyle Trebotich, Director, Greenheart Travel
From cycling through Morocco to driving solo across the border to Mexico, Kyle is no stranger to travel and has a wanderlust that can’t ever seem to be satisfied. Kyle was exposed to new cultures at an early age having spent 4 formative years in grade school in Hong Kong. From then on he kept bouncing around earning his BA in economics in London, UK and, after a few years back in the States, his MBA in Monterrey, Mexico. Equally important in planning his next trip is the mode of transportation. He has sailed from Miami to the Panama Canal on a container ship, logged countless foreign miles on his bike, and soaked up the terrain travelling by bus throughout Mexico. Happy to call Chicago home, Kyle spends his domestic time cycling, playing tennis, and enjoying great food.
Daniel Ebert, Vice President
Daniel’s first experience living abroad was as a high school senior in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Daniel received his undergraduate degree in Spanish and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and spent a year abroad in Madrid, Spain. After university, Daniel worked in international banking for some years before moving back to Madrid and eventually joining the CCI Greenheart team in 1999. Since 2000, Daniel has been working for CCI Greenheart in the United States, and was instrumental in moving the headquarters from a suburban location to downtown Chicago. Daniel’s main focus is overseeing the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program, J-1 Intern and Trainee Programs, as well as Greenheart Travel for travel abroad participants. Daniel serves as the Responsible Officer on the aforementioned J-1 programs.
Lauren Thacker, Director, Teach & Work Programs
Lauren has had an interest in international cultures and affairs for as long as she can remember. While earning her degree in International Studies, Lauren completed her minor in French in an intensive summer program in Dijon, France. She then spent a semester on a ship circumnavigating the globe with Semester at Sea, visiting 10 countries around the world. Inspired to spend more time immersed in another culture, she spent the summer of 2006 volunteering as a teacher in Ghana. Lauren loves to encourage and excite people about cultural exchange and traveling abroad! She also loves photography, hiking in the great outdoors, running, biking, and exploring all of the wonderful food, culture and events that Chicago has to offer.
Hope Pavich, Director, High School and Short-Term Programs Director
Hope’s love of travel, living abroad, and working with youth has been realized into a dream job at Greenheart Travel as the High School Programs Director. During her studies at St. Norbert College as an International Studies major, Hope studied abroad in Salzburg, Austria. Inspired by her time overseas, Hope decided to move to the other side of the globe to teach high school English in China. While getting her Master’s in Intercultural Service Leadership and Management at the School for International Training, Hope lived in Taiwan working with Southeast Asian survivors of human trafficking. Between her Asian adventures, Hope worked with learning disabled inner-city youth at the Marriott Foundation. Thrill seeking, jogging, relaxing on the beach, movie watching, reading, and visiting friends and family all contribute to Hope’s happy list.
Megan Arzbaecher, Senior Program Manager for Short-Term & High School Abroad Programs
Born and raised in the Midwest, Megan is a lifelong traveler with her first international trip happening at only 12 years old. Ever since then, she has been fascinated with studying, working, and traveling to foreign countries. Megan studied History and International Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also participated in a 4 month around-the-world educational program with Semester at Sea, which opened her eyes to the need for culturally conscious education and global sustainability. After graduating from college, Megan continued her dedication to life abroad by working in Chile, hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, and backpacking through the South America and Asia. In total, she has visited 41 countries! You can read about some of her adventures on her personal blog. When she manages to stay in one place, Megan enjoys biking, going out to eat, reading, watching football (Packers and Badgers, of course!) and playing with her two adorable cats.
Chase Chisholm, Marketing Assistant
Chase became a travel addict after his first international trip to Australia at the age of 18. He could hardly wait to explore the world more, so he rushed through his time at Waldorf College in Iowa, pausing only to work summers in Montana as a camp counselor, and graduated with a three-year BA in electronic media. Chase found himself on an acoustic band of sorts soon after graduation – touring the United States, as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia for year. He has also worked in various media outlets including radio and television stations, and at a large daily newspaper, but realized he had a passion for teaching while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guyana, South America. Chase was most recently an English teacher for five years through Greenheart Travel programs in South Korea and Yangon, Myanmar. Capturing stories of people and the nuances of culture through photography and blogging is his hobby. When Chase isn’t hanging out with his 20 housemates in Chicago, he can be found jogging along the lakefront trail.
Sara (Dorsey) Thacker, Teach Abroad Programs Senior Manager
Sara comes from a background of extensive travel, including a semester onboard the MV Explorer with Semester at Sea in which she circumnavigated the world, visiting 13 countries. She also spent a summer abroad in Costa Rica studying ecotourism in Carrera National Park. After graduating from college, Sara spent a year living and teaching middle school English in Seoul, South Korea where she learned to love kimchi and K-pop. Upon returning from Korea, she decided she wanted to help people move abroad and have the same amazing cultural exchange experience she did by working at Greenheart Travel! Sara received a degree in Geography from The University of Wisconsin–Madison and is a die-hard Badger football fan. In her free time you can find her DIY-ing, hiking, camping, or cooking and generally enjoying life in Chicago.
Savannah McDermott, Teach & Work Abroad Program Coordinator
Savannah studied International Studies and Spanish at Indiana University and spent a semester studying in Buenos Aires, which gave her a taste for malbec and life abroad. After graduation, she moved to Zafra, a small town in rural western Spain, where she taught at a public high school for two years. She then moved to southern Thailand, where she lived in a shipping container home in the jungle and taught classes of 55 adorable second graders and managed a small English academy for 18 months. Homesick for Spain, she moved to the heart of Madrid to teach in a public school, work on her Spanish, and regularly eat her weight in tapas. She has traveled extensively in Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, and Thailand, as has visited Morocco, Argentina, Mexico, Belize and Honduras. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading, watching cheesy Spanish television, and obsessively planning out the next trip—Greece and Costa Rica are high on the list.
Kara Menini, Teach, TEFL and Work Programs Manager
Kara’s first trip abroad was a 10-day trip to France with her high school French class, and ever since then has had an insatiable desire to see the world. Kara graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011 with a Bachelor’s in English non-fiction writing and a minor in French. In November of 2013, Kara got on a plane bound for Thailand to teach English on Greenheart’s Teach in Thailand program. There, she taught at an all-boys boarding school in the Nakhon Pathom province, learned how to ride side-saddle on a motorbike, and discovered the ever delicious khao mun gai. When Kara is not daydreaming about Thailand, she enjoys cooking, binge-watching Netflix, rock climbing and dabbling in photography.
Kate Powers, Outreach Coordinator
Kate’s first experience leaving the comforts of home for an extended period of time was when her parents pulled her siblings and her out of school for a year to travel around the United States in a bus. She’s been on the lookout to book her next exciting trip ever since. While attending a wedding in Greece, paragliding in Ecuador, becoming scuba certified in Thailand, cliff diving the cenotes of Mexico, and skiing the Pyrenees in Andorra, Kate immersed herself in the culture of each new country by staying with locals, learning the customs, and of course, eating everything there was to offer. She likes to spend her time at home meeting up with friends, exploring her new city of Chicago, and reading a good book in a cozy spot.
Jill Robinson, Marketing Director
After graduating from Northwest Missouri State University with a degree in journalism and broadcasting, Jill booked a one-way ticket to Scotland on a 6-month work visa. Living in a tiny flat in Edinburgh ignited a love for narrow winding streets, donar kebabs and colorful maps. Unable to shake the need to explore new places, Jill now satisfies her wanderlust by living the nomadic lifestyle calling Chicago, England and Iowa home throughout the year in between work and travels. She continues to pursue her love for writing, and is a former monthly columnist for sheswanderful.com. When Jill isn’t brainstorming ways to share Greenheart Travel’s amazing travel opportunities to fellow travel enthusiasts, you can find her on long walks, making homemade bath and beauty projects or staring out windows nurturing a coffee addiction.
Jessica Wedge, High School Abroad Advisor
Jessica’s first experience abroad was a trip to France with her high school French class. She proudly paid for the whole trip herself through her job at a grocery story! She has been an avid traveler ever since. She went on a study abroad program in college to the Netherlands and France. Upon graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and spent two transformative years in Cote d’Ivoire as a community health volunteer. She’s visited so many countries, she’s losing count! She loves biking, cooking, gardening, and spending time with her wonderful friends, husband and two children.
We like to travel! Check out where we have been so far on our global adventures!