Mario Ricciardelli @MarioRicci
Mario founded HipHost in June 2011 with a vision of empowering anyone to share their passion and expertise by creating awesome local tours.
Before founding HipHost, Mario founded StudentCity out of his Babson College dorm room and grew it to be the leading provider of leisure travel to college and high school students in the US. After selling StudentCity in 2004 to TUI Travel, Plc (LON:TT.L), he created the TUI Student Travel group and oversaw the acquisition of 14 student travel companies in North America which is now one of the world’s largest student travel organizations. He left TUI in late 2010 to find the next big thing.
Mario is a Babson College grad and sits on lots of boards. He loves advising passionate entrepreneurs as long as they agree to #payitforward someday by helping other entrepreneurs who are chasing their dream. Mario lives in the Boston area with his super awesome wife and three amazing children.
Jacqui Lewis @JLewBoston
In November 2011, Jacqui joined the HipHost as Chief Operating Officer with a focus on helping hosts create unique and fun local experiences.
With over 20 years of experience in the tour business, Jacqui was previously President & COO at StudentCity, where she was responsible for building one of the leading student travel brands in North America. By developing partnerships with top artists and Fortune 500 sponsors, Jacqui created unique and unforgettable travel experiences for close to half a million college and high school students around the world.
After selling StudentCity to TUI, she later went on to lead the Leisure Portfolio of student travel companies at TUI Travel, overseeing 11 student tour operators located throughout North America and Europe. Her group of businesses included sports, festivals, Gap year travel, educational tours, spring break and grad break tours, ski tours and adventure based travel experiences. Jacqui went to Penn State and currently lives in the Boston area.
Jan Ver Eecke
Jan joined HipHost in June 2011 while finding himself pleasantly bored with the consulting world.
Prior to joining HipHost, Jan founded Hilltop Strategy, a consulting firm that specialized in rapid development of mission critical systems for large organizations. Examples of systems include providing Postal sub-contractor fleets with direct high volume integration with the USPS, providing monitoring and real time data around the transportation of special needs children and Medicare claims, providing the first effective fuel asset management and tracking system for construction and transportation companies, as well as numerous web applications and reporting systems.
Jan has lead the development of larger e-commerce systems, overseeing growth from nothing to over $1 million per month in transactions along with integrations with Walmart, CVS and other major players.
Jan received his BS in Computer Science from Georgetown University.
Eric Fields @ericdfields
Director of User Experience
Eric has over 5 years of user interface design and development experience working for the Boston-area start-ups College Publisher, I’m in!, and Springpad. Eric likes to live on the bleeding-edge of standards-based web design and plans on changing the world for the better with HTML5 and CSS3.
Before HipHost, Eric was a senior user experience developer at a Web 2.0 consulting firm where he worked closely with clients such as 38 Studios, Harte-Hanks, Rue-La-La and Bloomingdales. Eric received his BA in New Media and Marketing from Emerson College.
Kim Shields @kshields03
Prior to joining HipHost, Kim worked with Mario at StudentCity, where she started as a Regional Sales Manager. After 12 months, she advanced to become a National Account Manager for Youth Marketing, StudentCity's in-house college marketing division. Kim managed national client accounts including American Eagle Outfitters, Rockstar Energy Drink and Zipcar. Her focus was on recruiting, training and managing college brand ambassador programs to execute social media marketing and on-campus promotional activations.
Kim has a BS in Communications from Endicott College and an MBA in Global Studies from Southern New Hampshire University. She currently lives in Salem, MA with her (future) husband. She recently took up golf and also loves to travel to new cities, listen to live music, run, entertain and read up on the latest and greatest in the marketing and start-up world.