May Skål USA Monthly Report

Skal USASkål International USA Executive Committee Prepares for NASC

The Skål International USA Executive Committee met in teleconference on May 8, 2017. All were present, except Skål International Councillor Cyndi Golden, who was not yet back from the Skål International Council meeting in South Africa.

The focus of the call was items to be decided and preparations for the upcoming North American Skål Congress in Toronto.

Actions were as follows:

  • Consent agenda, comprised of reports, was unanimously adopted.

President Holly Powers

  • Clubs missing our upcoming annual meeting in Toronto will be assessed $500. This was adopted on an amended vote rather than assessing the full price of registration and in consideration of the available $500 credit for all clubs to attend. 90% of clubs are expected to attend.

Vice President Finance Alton Hagen

  • All clubs have paid all dues.
  • Preparation is being made for the webinar for the National Committee Meeting on August 25 from ABA headquarters.
  • Executive Committee will attend in person.
  • Voting members will register as such and vote by roll call.

Vice President Administration Burcin Turkkan

  • Skål Club of the Year will be SI Arkansas or SI Nashville
  • Executive Committee recommends Vice President Membership be a two year term.
  • Club president webinar on June 1 will address International Congress proposals, upcoming NCM webinar, Skål International strategic plan, and membership growth.
  • April financials due shortly with comparisons for January to March actuals to historic first quarter performance.
  • NASC/AGM agendas are coming.
  • Manual of Instruction revisions are not yet ready for review.
  • NASC survey has 104 responses so far.

Vice President Membership Toni Koster

  • Working on reestablishing club in Phoenix.
  • Andres Hayes of SI Washington working on clubs in Richmond and Savannah.
  • Dave Ryan working on a club in Modesto/Fresno.
  • Jim Dwyer will attend club meeting to help maintain SI Charlotte.
  • Strategic plan has ten recommendations.
  • Member of Distinction Award, which is nominated by Executive Committee and voted by membership during AGM, suggested by Executive Committee to be renamed The Bill Sweet Member of Distinction Award. This will be presented at the AGM and subject to 50% plus 1 vote of membership. Only Skålleagues can be nominated by the EC.
  • Clubs appreciate membership incentive award, new travel packages in Alabama and North Carolina have been added to the original Reno offer.

Director Membership Jim Dwyer and Auditor Art Allis

  • Manual of Instruction project with index should be ready for review by the Executive Committee shortly.

Director Public Relations and Communications Steve Richer

  • Non-government organizations are being contacted for website placement with four pieces of information requested.

Other Business

  • Skål International Strategic Plan to be held for distribution until it is officially released.
  • Twinning with Indian Skål Clubs is proceeding.
  • No advertising funds have yet been collected. $25,000 goal.

The next Executive Committee meeting will be held on Thursday, June 1.

Skål USA Industry Trends/Article of the Month

Dear Skålleagues,

As you know, Skål International USA has started to follow a PR strategy as of 2016 with the introduction of the new website and a series of press releases. The ultimate goal is to increase the visibility and relevancy of Skål International in the United States.

The goal with the new website was to make it a resource not only for Skål USA members but for the entire travel & tourism industry. The Industry Trends/Article of the Month section on the website has been added to serve this purpose. This section of the website will feature articles about industry trends and topics prepared and submitted by Skål USA members.

This month’s article is prepared by Skål International Atlanta Member Phelps Hope. The article is about Hospitality’s New Frontier: Cuba. Here is the direct link:

If you would like your article to be featured on the Skål USA website please feel free to contact your Skål USA Executive Committee.

We hope you will enjoy this month’s article!

Have a great week!

Burcin Turkkan
Vice President of Administration
Skål International USA

April Skål Monthy Report

April 25, 2017

Skål International USA Executive Committee Adopts Four Issues, Focuses on Membership Growth, and Streamlines Agenda for First Time

All members, both auditors, and staff attended a teleconference meeting of the Skål International USA Executive Committee on April 3.

President Holly Powers presided and allowed the first ever use of a “consent agenda” list of items to approve minutes, financial reports, and individual officer reports at the start of the meeting.  All consent agenda items were approved unanimously.  In the future, any items requiring discussion can be removed from the consent agenda.

President Holly Powers

President Holly reported on her meetings in Washington, DC, with travel industry non-government organizations, including Brand USA, and said that Skål would be working hard to become more relevant with these organizations, as it will increase the overall appeal and effectiveness of Skål for our members.

President Holly also reported that she had attended meetings with the mayor of Richmond, Virginia, and a few key individuals to get a new club started there into which remaining members of the soon to be suspended SI Hampton Roads could join.  She acknowledged SI Washington Vice President Andres Hayes for doing the work on setting up the meeting.

Finally, President Holly shared a proposal from SI Orlando to change the Vice President-Finance to a director with the opportunity to serve multiple terms.  After discussion, the Executive Committee modified the proposal to retain the position as a vice president with a two year term and the ability to run again for a total of four years’ service.

Vice President-Finance Alton Hagen

Vice President Alton reported that he had put our general liability insurance out to bid and it is due back in September, as a sound practice even though we have had satisfactory service from the same company for years.

Vice President Alton reported a nomination for a Member of Distinction award under the MOI for Tom White of SI Orlando for his work on the updated bylaws.  The Executive Committee voted unanimously to put this on the AGM agenda, where a majority vote will be required. Tom White will be on the ballot in Toronto, along with Carlos Banks, whom the Executive Committee approved for this award in February.

Vice President Alton recommended the use of advance reimbursements by using credit card billings for expenses incurred prior to an event.

Vice President Alton offered a proposal from AFEX allowing all Skål clubs to lock in Euro or other currency rates of exchange with a commission to Skål International USA.  The Executive Committee suggested that we seek a sponsorship from them and create a special status of “preferred vendor” for companies we use as an organization.

Vice President-Administration Burcin Turkkan will report back on this matter.

Vice President-Administration Burcin Turkkan

Vice President Burcin reported that SI Arkansas and SI Nashville had qualified to be considered as “Club of the Year” with final information due April 24.

Vice President Burcin also reported that club data forms will be established on line, another president’s webinar will be the first week of June (probably Thursday, June 1), the NASC-AGM agendas are being finalized with reports on the consent agenda, and the next EC call will be on May 8.

President Holly suggested that the focus of our AGM should be on membership, communications, and bylaws changes.

Skål International Councillor Cyndi Golden

Councilor Cyndi reported that she had made all of her arrangements, including shots, to attend the Skål International Council meeting in South Africa at the end of April.  She is leaving on April 27 and returning on May 7.  She was encouraged to look for international issues which Skål could support and make it easier to be a member.

President Holly led a discussion on waiving the application fee for returning former members and finding a way to avoid the choice of paying back dues or reapplying from scratch.  She will write up a bylaws proposal on this.

Vice President Burcin asked to Cyndi to share that better communications are needed from Skål International and inquired if there will be any strategic planning on the agenda.

A letter from the Executive Committee, being drafted by Burcin, will be presented by Cyndi at the meeting.

Vice President-Membership Toni Koster

Vice President Toni reported that the latest membership numbers showed a net gain of 32 members since the last report with seventeen clubs showing gains but three with losses.

Vice President Toni described a new incentive program for membership recruitment which will provide a two night stay in Reno for any Skålleague who sponsors a new member who then attends two meetings within the first six months of membership and pays dues.  A further incentive would be for one Skålleague who recruits a minimum of five members who would then receive a non-transferrable registration and airfare of up to $500 to the next NASC, which will be in Mexico.  All of the minimum five members must pay 2018 dues and have joined ninety days prior to the recruitment cut off day.  The recruiting Skålleague can sponsor members to any United States club in either the active or associate category.  If there is a tie for most members, the winner will be decided by a drawing.

There was also a short discussion on whether associate membership should become active membership moving ahead.

Directors-Membership Jim Dwyer and Dave Ryan

Directors Jim and Dave gave updates on several clubs and activities of interest.

Auditor Art Allis

Auditor Art reported on his work on the MOI, a long, non-digital document.  He proposed starting it from scratch and getting it down to less than twenty pages, after which he will put it on the Skål International USA website with an index pending Executive Committee approval.

Director-Communications and Public Relations Steve Richer

Director Steve asked for approval of the four issues recommended by the Advocacy Committee, namely Project Time Off, public private funding for national parks, the trillion dollar infrastructure program, and freedom to travel with security.  The Executive Committee approved this unanimously.

Director Steve reported on an initiative to “twin” US clubs with the nine Skål clubs in India for India-US Tourism Year.  SI Washington has already volunteered to twin with India’s capital club, SI Delhi.

Director Steve reported that he would write a new release of the issues just adopted.  (Completed in early April with significant pickup.) A third release of the year will report on our new relationships with the various NGOs.


Other Business

The club of the year will be awarded a cash prize of $1000.

The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for May 8.




Steve Richer

Director, Public Relations and Communications

New Skål USA Member Incentives

April 10, 2017

Dear Skålleagues,


Skål USA is pleased to announce two initiatives as part of the 2017 Membership Drive Incentive Program: a New Member Incentive and a Referral Member Incentive. Please see the following links for more information and contact me at the email address or phone number listed below if you have any questions.

Skål USA Referral Member Incentive

Skål USA New Member Incentive



Toni Koster
VP of Membership

2017 Skål USA Election Results

Skal USADear Skål USA Members,

On December 1st, 2016, Skål USA Auditor Anita Peck and Skål USA President John Mavros met with our Administrators to review and certify the results of the 2017 Skål USA Elections. We are pleased to affirm that the election process netted clean results despite several closely contested races and we would like to thank all of the clubs for their efforts and diligence as we got very close to 100% participation in the voting.

Congratulations to all of the candidates who ran great campaigns and evidenced the great interest and the depth of talent available in the tourism industry and in Skål.

We would like to introduce your newly elected and re-elected Skål USA Board members for 2017:

Holly Powers
SI Boston

Vice President Administration
Burcin Turkkan
SI Atlanta

Vice President Finance
Alton Hagen
SI Kansas City

Vice President Membership
Toni Koster
SI Reno/Tahoe

Director of Membership (2-year term)
Jim Dwyer
SI Northern New Jersey

Director of Membership (1-year term)
Dave Ryan
SI Sacramento

Director PR and Communication
Steve Richer
SI Washington

Internal Auditor
Arthur Allis
SI Tucson

We look forward to welcoming these members to the Skål USA Board, and to the leadership that they will provide for our organization in the coming year.




John N. Mavros

 Anita Peck
Jr. Auditor