June Skål USA Monthly Report

June 1 Skål International USA Executive Committee Meeting

All Executive Committee members participated in the June 1 teleconference. Senior Auditor Anita Peck did not attend.  

A bullet point summary is as follows:

Upcoming North American Skål Congress: Skål International USA President, Holly Powers

  • Consent agenda was adopted unanimously.
  • On Saturday, June 17 the Annual General Meeting will be held in the morning and the National Committee Meeting in the afternoon.
  • There will be voting on bylaw changes as proposed by SI Orlando and SI Atlantic City.
  • Proposed rules for debate will be offered for approval by the body before the rules are employed.
  • The AGM from 8:30-10:45 am will include recognizing the club of the year.
  • The afternoon NCM will include a consent agenda, color coded voting after our auditors provide credentials, and an opportunity for open discussion.
  • Vice President Burcin Turkkan will present the new Skål International USA media kit.
  • Director Steve Richer will present our five advocacy issues.
  • Arkansas and Northern New Jersey are twinning their clubs domestically.
  • NCM will include proposed FY18 budget; FY17 budget is on the consent agenda.
  • Changes at NASC include a Canadian and a US hospitality room with usable drink tickets in either room on only Thursday and Friday nights, two drinks per delegate.

Report of Vice President of Finance Alton Hagen

  • Proposed FY18 budget is up $7000 with an anticipated $4000 surplus with anticipation of 5% less members.
  • Travel expenses are less than 50% of the proposed budget as required.


Vice President of Administration Burcin Turkkan

North American Skål Congress information:

  • 42 clubs are attending the North American Skål Congress with 47 total votes; 5 clubs have 2 votes each based on membership,
  • Please wear blue shirts to the opening ceremonies,
  • The EC will not be offering its opinion on proposed by-law changes.
  • 11 club presidents participated in the June 1 presidents call. Next call might be in September.
  • Media kit will be distributed to the clubs with a commission for any advertising generated.

Skål International Councillor Cyndi Golden

  • Reported on proposed change of the SI Executive Committee to four elected officers, plus the chair of the Skål International Council and likely candidates for this year.
  • Cyndi represented the USA at the Skål International Council meeting in George, South Africa, last month.

Vice President of Membership Toni Koster

  • Reported on club building efforts in Richmond, Savannah, Phoenix, and Fresno.
  • Alerted Executive Committee to give attention to SI Reno. She will be transferring to another club soon in Florida, as she is moving.
  • Membership development incentives are working with prizes from Reno, Nashville, Myrtle Beach, and the Alabama Gulf Shores.
  • One member has already recruited four new members.

Director of Membership Jim Dwyer

  • Reported that SI Long Island is adding members.
  • Reported solid progress on the Manual of Instruction, both in reduction of pages and utility.
  • Reported membership guide will be available in August.

Director of Membership Dave Ryan

  • Reported work on revitalizing SI Fresno.

Director of Public Relations and Communications Steve Richer

  • Recommended support for continuation of funding for Brand USA by Advocacy Committee; adopted unanimously.
  • Reported on status of website information from NGOs; four have submitted information.
  • Requested $200 to enhance club locator on our website; approved.
  • Reported plans for club development efforts at IPW coming to Washington the following week.
  • Executive Committee reviewed methods of how Skål International USA could assist new clubs.

Looking forward to seeing club representatives in Toronto!



Steve Richer

Director, Public Relations and Communications

March Skål Monthly Report

Skal USASkål USA Executive Committee Targets Membership Retention and Growth, Higher Industry Visibility

The 2017 Skål USA Executive Committee met by teleconference on March 6 to focus on the issues of membership stability, industry visibility and relevance, financial strength, and more engagement with its member clubs.

All members of the 2017 Executive Committee and staff were present for the call.  President Holly Powers presided over the meeting.

President Holly Powers

President Holly accepted motions and approvals for both the financial report and Winter Executive Committee Meeting minutes.  These are posted on the SkalUSA.org site.

President Holly reported on the exciting plans for the North American Skål Congress (NASC) meeting in Toronto, June 15-18 and encouraged clubs to send more than just their voting delegations.  Please register here: nasc2017.torontoskal.org.  The program has been set to maximize networking and educational activities, while minimizing official meetings. Skål USA will be covering the costs of Executive Committee members who attend.  Spouses and others traveling with EC members will be at the cost of the EC member. Clubs sending a delegate will be eligible for a $500 credit. The 2018 NASC meeting will be in Mexico.

The 2017 Skål USA National Committee Meeting will be held on August 25th. This meeting will be in the format of a webinar. Registration information will be distributed in the coming months.

The 2017 Skål International World Congress will be held on October 5-9 in Hyderabad, India. More information can be found here: http://www.skalcongress.org/.

President Holly led a discussion on our representation and attendance at the International Skål Councillor meeting in South Africa in May.  After a careful analysis of both the meeting content and an anticipated quorum, it was unanimously decided to expend the budget allocation for International Skål Councillor Cyndi Golden to attend.

President Holly also reported that new Skål USA Rep pins to replace the old SIUSA pins had been ordered and will be available for purchase at NASC.

President Holly will be visiting Charlotte, Washington, and Richmond March 21-25 to address club retention and development, as well as making calls on potential strategic partners.  She already had a phone meeting with Terry Dale, President, United States Tour Operators Association, which was very productive.  There should be between four and seven additional meetings held in Washington with key national travel associations.

President Holly thanked the Executive Committee for reaching most of our Skål clubs in the first round of calling in February, which was to club presidents.  March phone calls will be to Skål USA representatives.


Vice President, Finance Alton Hagen

Vice President Alton reported that dues collections for 2017 are projected to be 10% below 2016, due to membership changes.  Expenses were also reported to be lower than anticipated for a positive year.  Administrators at ABA are doing a great job and the February numbers have been posted.

Due to the strength of the dollar, Vice President Alton recommended buying Euros at the excellent exchange rate of $1.06 per Euro to pay Skål International dues, by making a 10% deposit against the current rate now for 110,000 Euros later by working through AFEX, a currency exchange company affiliated with a Denver Skålleague.  The EC passed this unanimously to save money for us.


Vice President, Administration Burcin Turkkan

Vice President Burcin started her report by listing six clubs who had not yet submitted their Club Database Forms to Skål USA.  Various EC members will be following up on this.  Some forms were not submitted due to the timing of club elections.

Vice President Burcin announced a club presidents’ webinar for March 15 at 3 pm Eastern.  (The webinar has been held; was well attended; and was highly successful.  The PowerPoint slides and a recording of the webinar can be found here: http://skalusa.org/skal-usa-postings/.

Vice President Burcin reported that the Skål USA Journeys newsletter was distributed to all members on February 28 and had already experienced a 28% open rate, which is excellent.  She will look at ways to get even more members to open the newsletter and asked EC members to discuss this with club presidents and Skål USA representatives.

Vice President Burcin suggested an exit interview for non-renewing Skål members, noting that almost 35% of our membership decrease was due to a large group of non-renewing Young Skål.

Vice President Burcin also reported on the work of the eleven member Sponsorship Committee, which will be looking for event sponsorships and advertising for our media sites before the AGM in August.  Burcin emphasized that use of Skål social media, especially our improved website, will drive our ability attract advertising support.  The committee is working on a media kit and pricing for advertising on the various Skål social media, especially the website and newsletter.

It was reported that AFEX, our currency exchange consultants, is willing to offer its services to our Skål clubs and will pay any commissions resulting to Skål USA.


International Skål Counselor Cyndi Golden

ISC Cyndi led a discussion on the functioning of the International Skål Council, its quorum requirement, the role of the United States as the largest national chapter, the Skal 2020 Plan, and working with the new Skål International CEO Daniela Otero.

Cyndi will be giving a fuller report after the May meeting and will share the agenda for that meeting with the EC prior to that time.


Vice President, Membership Toni Koster

Vice President Toni reported that Skål USA membership was down 200 (10%) for 2017, compared to last year.  It was, however, noted that clubs are not paying for late renewing members and that the numbers could change within the next month.  Overall, our numbers have dropped from approximately 2,000 to approximately 1,800.

Vice President Toni reported on several specific club issues which she and Directors Dave Ryan and Jim Dwyer are addressing.

Vice President Toni announced that the Futures Committee would be meeting by telephone on March 16.


Director, Membership Jim Dwyer

Director Jim gave many specific reports about clubs primarily in the Northeast, highlighting the 40th anniversary of SI Central Pennsylvania, the 20th anniversary of SI Northeast Pennsylvania, and upcoming events of SI Philadelphia at Franklin Institute on April 28, SI Northern New Jersey at Six Flags Great Adventure on May 12, and SI New York at Coney Island on June 9.


Director, Membership Dave Ryan

Director Dave reported on joint fundraising with Skal Canada to find money for clubs and working to integrate Skal in Southern California with the large industry association PROST.

Director Dave also noted that SI Hawai’i is celebrating its 55th anniversary on May 25 and is interested in bidding on NASC 2019.


Director, Public Relations and Communications Steve Richer

Director Steve reported that Tourism Cares would be holding events in Oakland, California, March 23-24; Detroit, May 11-12; Providence, Rhode Island, September 14-15; and Toronto, October 26-27.  All Skålleagues can attend at the member rate.  President Holly added that there would be a Tourism Cares event at IPW in Washington in June.

Director Steve also reported that the Website Committee, chaired by Skålleague Tom Moulton of SI Tucson whom he had asked to take on this task, had met by conference call on February 23 and set up parameters to improve the Skål USA website and all its components.  A broadly based committee of tech and web savvy Skålleagues is at work on this project.

Director Steve additionally informed the EC that the new Advocacy Committee had met on March 3 and recommended four issues for consideration, as follows:   Project Time Off, a US Travel initiative; the proposed infrastructure initiative of the Trump Administration, particularly airport expansion, improvement, and intermodal connectivity; public/private partnerships for national parks; and freedom to travel with security and easier processing.  The EC has requested more detail on these proposals for final action.

Director Steve also mentioned that both Skål International President David Fisher and Skål USA President Holly Powers will be on hand for IPW in Washington on June 3-7.  He asked for any recommendations for specific Skål cities and prospective Skål cities to be visited on the floor of the IPW trade show.  SI Washington will be holding a Skål event on the early evening of June 5.


EC meeting format change

At the suggestion of President Holly and with the added idea of a consent agenda by Vice President Alton, the EC voted unanimously to put reports in writing prior to monthly calls, put non-controversial items on the consent agenda, and thereby be able to devote most of these calls to pressing matters, such as relevance, membership growth, and visibility for Skål in the United States.


Club and member visibility

There will be three features of club member profiles in Skål media, as follows:

  • Members at a Glance: High profile members to be featured with photo, career background, and Skal comments on the Skal USA website.
  • Spotlight: Members with significant accomplishments over a career to be featured with photo and a description.
  • Skålleagues in the News: Current activities by any Skål member which are impacting the industry or the community.

Clubs are invited to submit information about members for all three of these categories to RicherAdvisors@gmail.com.  Individual Skålleagues can also submit information.  It is permissible to submit information about yourself.


Membership recruitment

The EC welcomes membership referrals by any Skålleague for any club, not just your own club, and reminds everyone that there is a category for Active Individual Member (AIM), which could result in developing a nucleus of members for a new or re-established club.  President Holly suggested that a future Executive Committee meeting will look into giving Skålleagues the opportunity to join any club of their choice and whether to focus Young Skal membership more on young professionals, more than students.


Twinning with India

Director Steve reported on his visit to India in February for a trade show there and that Brand USA, led by Skålleague Chris Thompson, had just kicked off India-US Tourism Year.  In that regard, Skål India is open to doing twinning with each of its nine clubs and an interested club in the United States.  Director Steve will be chairing this project.  The formal twinning ceremony will occur at the Skål World Congress in Hyderabad next fall.  Please contact Steve (RicherAdvisors@gmail.com or 228-596-7004 for more information).

The next EC meeting will be held on Monday, April 3.



Steve Richer

Director, Public Relations and Communications

A Message from Skål USA President John Mavros

Skal USA


Dear Fellow Skål USA Members,

The tremendous success of our NASC Congress in Boise was followed by a very successful NCM in North Little Rock. Our entire board thanks SI Arkansas for their warm hospitality and hard work to make this NCM such a success. In particular we want to thank Karen Trevino, Bob Major, and Chuck Magill.

Our new SkalUSA.com website was presented to delegates at the NCM by Burcin Turkkan, and will be rolled out soon. Our third and fourth press releases went out recently, and our exposure exceeded expectations. The press releases covered the NCM and visits to USTA, AHLA, ASTA, and other NGOs by Tim Hemphill, Steve Richer, James Enright and I. Thank you to Burcin, Kathy Hernandez and their entire committee for all of their hard work on our new website and the releases.

October 15 is the deadline for clubs to submit their nominations for Skål USA officers. Candidates must submit both a Skål and a professional resume to our Skål USA Administrators. In addition to President, VP Administration, and VP Finance, the new Skål USA positions are VP of Membership, two Directors of Membership, and a Website/Communications/Public Relations Director. All positions will be elected nationally. Next year I hope each executive committee member will form a standing committee of 8-10 members with at least one member from every club being on a committee. We need your expertise and in doing so could develop candidates for Skål USA Executive Committee leadership succession. Click here to learn how you can help take our organization into the future.

If you have not yet registered for the Skål International World Congress in beautiful Monaco, early registration has been extended until October 15. Click here for more information and to register. We hope each club will send a voting delegate to vote for the SI President, SI Executive Committee, and other important proposals. You can download the Skål Club app on your handheld device for links to World Congress information and other Skål International and USA sites.


Warmest regards and Skål!

John Mavros

John N. Mavros


Skål April Newsletter

Notes from the Editor

Welcome to our April newsletter, the month which we celebrate Skål World Day as well as the 82nd anniversary of our brilliant organisation.
This issue is packed with information and photos of the International Skål Council and Executive Committee mid-year meetings held in Christchurch, a report back from WTM Africa where once again Skål International was successfully represented and also the first issue where the Directors of the Executive Committee will share their visions and projects for their allocated portfolios with the Skål membership under the heading “Updates from your Directors”. This month the PR and Communications portfolio will be featured.
We also introduce three exciting and high profiled new members of Skål and excite and enthuse you to register for our much awaited World Congress in Monaco from 29th October to 2nd November 2016.
LIVING GOLF promotes understanding of how diversity within a world of conflict can be resolved while playing golf for Peace.
Happy Reading!
Lavonne Wittmann
Director PR and Communications
Updates from your Director
We are featuring Lavonne Wittmann and her portfolio of PR and Communications this month.
As with any relationship, communication is the key to a beneficial one and the difference between a mediocre relationship and a brilliant one.
The latest Council meeting was held in Christchurch from the 11th to 15th April. The numbers were not as we hoped but the quality of the discussion and enthusiasm of those present was infective and the meeting was certainly a great success.
International Skål Council Mid-Year Meeting
28 April | World Skål Day
Happy Anniversary to SKÅL INTERNATIONAL who celebrates the 82nd anniversary of its foundation on Thursday 28 April 2016. Skål History
Executive Committee meets in Christchurch
What has your Executive Committee been doing?
As part of a move into more open communication within the organisation, the Executive Committee want to share with you what they have been deliberating and working on over the past two months and in particular what was discussed and decided upon at the recent Mid-Year Meeting held in Christchurch, New Zealand.
2016 Skål International World Congress
Monaco | 20 October – 2 November
Registrations are now open! Don’t miss the chance to personalise your experience by choosing your preferred hotel! Places are limited!
Skål International Monaco is delighted to invite you and your partner to enjoy the 77th Skål International World Congress that will be held in Monaco from 29 October to 2 November 2016.
Monaco is the second smallest country in size, but one of the most vibrant and attractive locations, with an international heart and a vocation for hosting unforgettable events, helping friends to meet, enjoy, network and be inspired. Read more
Full information and registration at www.skalcongress.org!
Save the Dates
El Salvador | 6-10 May 2016 2016 | Web >
Boise, Idaho (U.S.A.) | 8-11 June 2016 | Web >
Sustainable Tourism Awards 2016

We are delighted to announce that entries are now being accepted for our 2016 Sustainable Tourism Awards.
Closing Date: 30 June 2016
Drop an e-mail to sandra.vera@skal.org if you have any questions and we will be happy to assist.
Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) Tourism Workshop | 
Gold Coast, 16-19 May 2016
The four South East Queensland Skål International Clubs of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Southern Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast cordially invite all fellow Skålleagues from around the world registered to attend this key tourism event, to join them at their  “hosted ” Welcome to ATE” Sundowners’ Cocktail Party on Sunday 15 May from 6.30-8.30 p.m. at The Sofitel Hotel, Broadbeach. Read more
The Living Golf Experience
Living Golf™ is a wonderful way for people from all backgrounds, ages and nationalities to come together – to play together and have fun. The Living Golf Experience is totally different to most golf events – everyone is able to experience playing in a team and contributing to the game, no matter who they are and how long they have played! Read more
Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel Becomes Member of Skål International
During the recent International Council meeting, the guest speaker for the President’s Dinner was the Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel. Her Worship officially welcomed the delegates to Christchurch and included a brief pitch for the 2020 Skål World Congress.
Sports Tourism and Medical Tourism as Membership Classifications
Sports Tourism and Medical Tourism are now membership classifications of Skål International. This is a perfect opportunity for your Club to increase its membership by recruiting eligible candidates in these fast growing sectors of the global tourism industry. Criteria here.

Main features: Monaco World Congress, Sports Tourism, business sessions at ITB Berlin, Greening Mauritius, and much much more.
Skål around the World
Send the pictures of your Skål events, together with a text to anamaria.vera@skal.organd we shall be pleased to publish these in the e-newsletter.
Bids for the 2018 Skål World Congress are now open! Looking forward to receiving applications for the biggest Skål event of the year. Deadline to present the bid: 31 May 2016. For more information, please contactyvonne.mansell@skal.org
If your company is interested in offering internship to the son of a Skålleague who wants to gain industry experience somewhere in the world during the Northern Hemisphere summer, please contactinfo@indigotravelevents.com (Peter Claesson, Skål International Malaga-Costa del Sol). He is available from mid-June until the end of August. Read candidate’s CV.

News From Our Sponsors & Partners
Get a $25 Best Western Gift Card when you stay 2 separate times! Register and then stay 2 separate times between February 8 and May 8, 2016, at Best Western® branded hotels and get a $25 USD Best Western Travel Card®. A maximum of five Travel Cards may be earned during the promotion.

Greetings from your 2016 SIUSA Board


Skal USA
Your new board wants to thank you for electing us to serve you and your clubs. We are committed to growing the membership and adding new clubs. We welcome your suggestions and your involvement in our various committees.
Dear Fellow Skål-leagues,

Please volunteer to serve on committees by contacting the RVP chairs.


Region I RVP Jim Dwyer will chair the Statutes and By-Laws Committee.


Region II RVP Tim Hemphill will chair the Membership/Future and Change Committees. We must leverage our strengths such as SI Washington DC’s high profile members like Roger Dow, CEO of AH&LA, and Pete Pantuso, CEO of ABA and our SIUSA Administrator.

Region III RVP David Ryan will Chair the Government Relations and Diversity Committees. At the Winter Board Meeting it was unanimously voted to support the TSA Trusted Traveler Program to ease and expedite travel.

Region IV RVP Burcin Turkkan will chair our PR and Communication/Website Committees.

Region V RVP Klaus Billep will chair the Fundraising Committee.

Please plan to send a representative to the North American Alliance of Skål Clubs (NAASC) in Boise from June 9 – 12. SIUSA is the host this year, and Skål International President Nigel Pilkington will be our honored guest. The Presidents of SI Canada and SI Mexico and many of their clubs will also be there. Please click here to view more information and register for the event.

We thank you for your membership and we thank every club officer for the tremendous effort you put forward in service to your clubs and SIUSA.

Warmest regards and Skål!


John Mavros

John Mavros