Press Releases & Newsletters

Press Releases & Newsletters

Skal Orlando Celebrates 50 Years of Leadership and Success In Travel, Tourism and Hospitality

                   

           Second Largest Skal Club in the U.S. Marks 50th Year Anniversary

                                              

                

         ORLANDO, Florida (Oct. 6, 2022) —   Skal Orlando, part of Skal International, the only international organization that brings together all branches of travel, tourism and hospitality, is proudly ranked as the second largest Skal Club in the U.S.  During its 50th anniversary this year, Skal Orlando has much to celebrate with more than 120 Central Florida members who are executives and leaders with hotels, attractions, sports and entertainment venues, restaurant companies, travel companies and more.

         The Club will be holding a special cocktail and dinner meeting on Oct. 21 at The Alfond Inn with club members, board members, founding members, past presidents, the media and presidents of Skal USA and Skal International in attendance.

         For the last 50 years, 48 men and women have served as president of Skal Orlando, with two serving for two consecutive years.  The organization meets monthly for networking, business meetings and dinners with speakers from the local travel, tourism and hospitality industry.

         “For as many years as Walt Disney World has been here, Skal Orlando has been networking, doing business and serving communities locally and internationally,” said Steve Vinciguerra, President of Skal Orlando. “I am extremely proud to have served as president during our 50th anniversary year and pay tribute to our members and past presidents who have built the legacy of Skal in Central Florida.”

         Skal Orlando has supported the Perry Pavilion at Dr. Phillips P. Hospital for five years, raising more than $50,000 through a golf tournament and member companies donating supplies for guest rooms, bathrooms and the kitchen and laundry areas.  In recognition of those efforts, a plaque in Skal Orlando’s name was hung on one of the guest rooms that accommodate families whose loved ones have unexpectedly fallen ill while visiting Orlando.  The club has also collected thousands of toys in an annual holiday toy drive to benefit the Perry Pavilion, Toys for Tots and the Coalition for the Homeless and has donated a substantial amount of money to The Joe Neary Memorial Foundation, supporting three orphanages in Sri Lanka.

         Skal Orlando hosted a North American Skal Congress in Orlando this year, attended by Mayor Jerry Demings and Visit Orlando President and CEO Casandra Matej as honored speakers, with hundreds of Skal delegates from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The club has one of the largest and most successful Young Skal Programs and Mentorship Programs throughout Skal worldwide, providing scholarships, learning opportunities and mentoring to college students studying hospitality and tourism.

         For more information on Skal Orlando, go to www.skal orlando.com or email Membership Development Officer Barbara Kenney at [email protected]

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             Press contact:  Kathy Hernandez & Associates PR, [email protected], or (407) 381-0428

Skal Orlando Young Skal Program Distinguishes Itself As One of Strongest Young Skal Programs Worldwide

            Young Skal Chairperson Tania Imani, second from right and Skal Orlando Young Skal Members

 

         ORLANDO, Florida (July 5, 2022) —   Ranked as the second largest Skal Club in the United States and among the top 10 in the world, Skal International Orlando is proud to have one of the strongest Young Skal programs in Skal worldwide, providing membership, professional networking, mentoring and experience for students studying hospitality management in Central Florida at institutions of higher education such as the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

         The Young Skal Program at Skal Orlando began in 2012 with Skal Orlando Past Presidents Barbara Kenney and Carlton Hudson, and Tom White, Past President Skal Orlando and Skal USA meeting to formulate a program for those studying to be in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry and at the same time, build the future membership of the club and the future professionals of the industry.  Since then, more than 40 students studying hospitality management have been welcomed by Central Florida industry leaders and mentors to assist them with their knowledge and experience. 

         Young Skal has grown to become an integral part of Skal Orlando with Tania Imani, Young Skal Chairperson, at the helm for the last two years.  With Imani’s leadership, the Young Skal Members are active in each and every monthly meeting held at a variety of hotels, restaurants, entertainment and sports venues through Central Florida.  They actively network, sell raffle tickets, and several times a year manage an extensive silent auction to raise funds to send one or two Young Skal Member(s) each year to the Skal International Congress. Young Skal Members are also paired with a Skal Orlando member as mentors to meet several times a year for professional advice and for important professional introductions.

         In May 2022, Imani took on a major leadership role in the Skal North American Congress (NASC) held in Orlando with more than 120 members in attendance from throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  She and her Young Skal team helped set up and work registration, managed Gala Dinner seating, Opening Cocktail reception check-in, and technical operations for all major presentations throughout the three-day Congress.

         “We are so proud of Tania and our Young Skal program,” said Steve Vinciguerra, President of Skal International Orlando.  “She has truly set the bar for what Young Skal programs should be and at the same time has made our club stand out and distinguish itself in building the future of our industry.”

         According to Vinciguerra, Skal Orlando has done much to personally meet with Young Skal members while also giving them job shadowing and internship opportunities.  Several have hired Young Skal graduates in their hotels, restaurants, and event venues in professional areas such as front desk, marketing, social media, events and call center operations.  Many Young Skal members have moved up in their careers elsewhere in the U.S. and in other countries due to their experience with Skal Orlando.

         Skal International President Burcin Turkkan also acknowledges the strength of the Young Skal Program in the hospitality, travel and tourism industry.  During a recent interview with eTurbo News (ETN), she said “With the Young Skal Program we are fulfilling our responsibility to invite young people to join our industry and show them they will have a good future in it, with the great network we are providing.”    

         Skal is the only international organization bringing together sectors of the travel and tourism industry while networking, conducting business and helping communities locally, nationally and internationally. For Skal Orlando membership information, contact Barbara Kenney, Membership Development Officer, Skal International Orlando, at[email protected]

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             Press contact:  Kathy Hernandez & Associates PR, [email protected], or (407) 381-0428

SKAL INTERNATIONAL ORLANDO ANNOUNCES 2022 SCHEDULE OF IN-DEMAND MEETING VENUES AND SPEAKERS

ORLANDO, Florida (March 14, 2022)  —  Skal International Orlando, the only international organization bringing together sectors of the travel and tourism industry while networking, conducting business and helping communities locally, nationally and internationally, has announced its schedule of meetings and speakers, encompassing the best of the hospitality, travel and tourism industry in Central Florida.

The schedule of monthly meetings for members and guests includes:

Skal Orlando Meeting Venues and Speakers For 2022

April 19 – Spring Mixer Meeting at Grand Orlando Resort Celebration.

May 12 – Sharks Underwater Grille at SeaWorld Orlando.  Speaker:  Kelly Flaherty Clark, Vice President Zoological Operatives, Discovery Cove.  Meeting in conjunction with the North American Skal Congress (NASC) 2022 Congress being hosted by Skal Orlando and with Skal Member guests from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Page 2 . . .  Skal Orlando Announces 2022 Schedule of Meeting Venues and Speakers

June 21 – Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant on International Drive.  Speaker:  Maria Triscari, President & CEO, International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce.

July 19 – Summer Mixer Meeting at Towne Place Suites Orlando Airport.

September 20 – Citrus Club Downtown Orlando.  Speaker:  Allen Johnson, Chief Venues Officer, Orlando Venues.

October 21 – The Alfond Inn Winter Park. Special Dinner Celebration for 50th Year Anniversary of Skal Orlando.  Spouses Invited.  Speaker: Burcin Turkkan, President of Skal International.

November 15 – Fall Mixer Meeting. Starflyer/Sling Shot/Drop Tower International Drive.

December 3 – Christmas Gala.  Spouses invited.  Hilton Orlando on International Drive.  Silent Auction and Entertainment.

“We are excited to be celebrating our 50th Anniversary this year and take great pride in partnering with our local travel and tourism community in everything we do,” said Steve Vinciguerra, Skal International Orlando President. “We have top industry executives speak to our members and guests each month while meeting at the best venues Orlando has to offer.”

Skal Orlando is the second largest Skal Club in the United States. For membership information, contact Barbara Kenney, Membership Development Officer, Skal International Orlando, at [email protected]

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    Press contact:  Kathy Hernandez & Associates PR, [email protected], or (407) 381-0428

ORLANDO, FLORIDA CHOSEN AS SITE FOR MAY 2022 SKAL NASC CONGRESS

       ORLANDO, FLORIDA CHOSEN AS SITE FOR MAY 2022 SKAL NASC CONGRESS

  NORTH AMERICAN TRAVEL, TOURISM, HOSPITALITY CONFERENCE FOR SKAL USA

 

                  Prestigious Industry Event To Feature TV and Podcast Rockstars

 Anthony Melchiorri and Glenn Haussman from Hotel Impossible and No Vacancy Live!

 

                                                                

                                  Pictured from left: Glenn Haussman and Anthony Melchiorri

        

                  

ORLANDO, Florida (March 22, 2022) —   Skal International Orlando, the second largest Skal Club in the U.S., has announced that Orlando has been selected by the Joint Management Committee NASC (North American Skal Clubs) as the site of the 2022 North American Skal Clubs (NASC) Congress from May 13-15, 2022.  The event was originally scheduled for May 2021, but rescheduled for 2022, due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Headlining the Congress as featured luncheon speakers will be Anthony Melchiorri from the Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible, a world-renowned hospitality industry expert and business fixer, and Glenn Haussman, founder and host of the No Vacancy Live! Podcast, No Page 2 . . .  Skal NASC Congress 2022 To Feature TV and Podcast Rockstars

Vacancy News Today and publisher of novacancynews.com.  Haussman has been named #1 Hospitality Social Media Influencer and #1 Hospitality Podcast, attracting the biggest names in the hospitality industry.  Melchiorri is also known for hosting Hotel Impossible: Five Star Secrets, Hotel Impossible Showdown and Extreme Hotels programs.

Both Haussman and Melchiorri keep the hospitality, hotel and tourism industry informed and engaged, and have helped organizations and companies maneuver through the last two years of industry crisis due to Covid 19.  They will receive Skal USA’s Industry Leader Award, the organization’s highest award, during the NASC Congress Gala Dinner, for their unwavering support to the industry during the pandemic. Receiving the prestigious award before them were Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association and Christopher Thompson, President and CEO of Brand USA.

The Skal NASC Congress is attended each year by Skal Delegates from Skal Clubs in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  The annual conference features speakers on travel, tourism and hospitality trends, a Skal USA business meeting, networking and best industry practice sessions, social events and optional destination tours.

“We are extremely proud to showcase the Orlando travel destination to our Skal colleagues all across North America for this prestigious conference,” said Skal Orlando President Steve Vinciguerra.  “It is truly an honor for Skal Orlando, Skal USA and the City of Orlando to have Glenn Haussman and Anthony Melchiorri share their wisdom with us and receive Skal’s top recognition for all their efforts for our industry.”

Skal is the only international organization bringing together sectors of the travel and tourism industry while networking, conducting business and helping communities locally, nationally and internationally.

For more information on Skal Orlando, go to www.skal orlando.com and for more details on the 2022 NASC Congress, go to https://orlando2022nasc.com/.  For more information on Skal USA, go to www.skalusa.org.

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    Press contact:  Kathy Hernandez & Associates PR, [email protected], or (407) 381-0428

SKAL INTERNATIONAL ORLANDO ANNOUNCES OFFICERS FOR 2022

SKAL INTERNATIONAL ORLANDO ANNOUNCES OFFICERS FOR 2022        

 

ORLANDO, Florida  (Jan. 21, 2022)  —   Skal International Orlando, the only international organization bringing together sectors of the travel and tourism industry while networking, conducting business and helping communities locally, nationally and internationally, has officially installed its slate of officers for 2022 as follows:

  • President, Steve Vinciguerra, Senior Manager, Tourism Sales, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
  • Vice President, Frank Fry, General Manager, Embassy Suites Downtown Orlando
  • Secretary, Jesse Martinez, General Manager, The Alfond Inn at Rollins College
  • Treasurer, Jeff Swirsky, General Manager, Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Lake Buena Vista
  • Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Tom White, former Skal Orlando and Skal USA President.
  • Skal USA Representative, John Stine, Vice President, Business Development, Beachy

“Our club is extremely fortunate to have such talented and visionary officers for 2022  They are highly-accomplished industry leaders representing Skal locally, nationally and internationally with great pride,” said Skal Orlando President Steve Vinciguerra.

For more information on Skal Orlando, go to www.skal orlando.com or email Membership Development Officer Barbara Kenney at [email protected]

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Press contact Kathy Hernandez & Associates PR, [email protected], or (407) 381-0428

Newsletter November 2022

Letter from the President

Dear Fellow Skålleagues,
Wow! What a year we have had as a club! We resumed having in-person meetings coming out of the pandemic, hosted the Skål NASC Congress in May and just commemorated our very special 50th anniversary of our club with a wonderful celebration at The Alfond Inn.
We were so fortunate to have two of our club’s founding members with us that night to be recognized, Red West and Bo Swope. And throughout the years we have had four of our members serve as Presidents of Skål USA, including Bill Pullen in 1989, Bob Bader in 2007, Tom White in 2013 and our current Skål USA President, Richard Scinta. Just amazing! In 2007, at the Skål International Congress in Turkey, Skål Orlando was awarded the prestigious Skål Club of the Year award.
Over the last 50 years, Skål Orlando has been extremely involved in our local, national and international communities. This includes volunteers and donations for organizations such as Hospice, Coalition For The Homeless, Perry Pavilion at the Dr. P Phillips Hospital,
the Joe Neary Memorial Foundation supporting three orphanages and a day care in Sri Lanka, the Skål Florimond Volckaert Benevolent Fund assisting Skål members around the world with financial need and, of course, Young Skål which was started in our club by Carlton Hudson and Barbara Kenney in 2012 and has maintained such a strong role in our club and a role model for Young Skål clubs throughout the world due to the leadership and dedication of our Young Skål Chair Tania Imani.
Thank you to each and every one of you for being a part of all our successes and accomplishments. Our club continues to grow with more and more outstanding leaders in our travel, tourism, hotel, attractions, and hospitality industry.

Don’t forget to bring a guest to our upcoming meetings and introduce them to the great experience of being a member of the second largest Skål Club in the USA.

 

Steve Vinciguerra

President, Skål Orlando

 
 
Skål Orlando Celebrates 50th Anniversary

More than 120 Skål Orlando members and guests attended a magnificent evening hosted by Skål Board Member Jesse Martinez at The Alfond Inn in Winter Park, to celebrate the historic 50th anniversary of Skål Orlando.

 

It was an amazing night of sharing club history, memories and recognitions with all! A true reminder of why Skål Orlando is so special. A very special thank you to Young Skål Members Francesca Burri and Tania Imani for the fantastic slideshow depicting our members and our activities during the last fifty years.

 

The slideshow honored Skål Members that have been with us for 10-24 years:

Andres Cibotti – 2003

Fred Corrigan – 1999

Leo Cruzado – 2011

Michael Decker – 2011

Lenore Demeo – 2005

Joost de Meyer – 2008

George Fakhoury – 2006

Jim Haughney – 2007

Kathy Hernandez – 2012

Carlton Hudson – 2007

Barbara Kenney – 2003

Jay Leonard – 2006

Bill Lupfer – 2010

Rodney Levy – 2006

Jetse Pottinga – 2007

Kim Praniewicz – 2009

Mark Reid – 2006

Antonio Rodriguez – 2012

Mary Jo Ross – 2012

Richard Scinta – 2009

Laura Sherman – 2004

Ron Silveira – 2003

Kim Slavin – 2003

Brenda Spencer – 2009

Tracy Stephens – 2006

John Stine – 2003

Scott Tripoli – 2006

Steve Vinciguerra – 2005

Duane Winjum – 2010

Keith Wolling – 2012

Also honored were Skål Members that have been with us 25-49 years:

Bob Bader – 1988

Dennis BeMent – 1993

Jim Burr – 1992

Kerry Cushing – 1993

Mike Dyrland – 1995

Marty Hunter – 1988

Carol Hubbard – 1991

Dan Leahy – 1994

Tom White – 1991

And the slideshow honored Skål Members that have been with us 50+ years:
Bill Pullen – 1968
Arne Rotne – 1970
Elon “Red” West – 1971

Skål Members that were Presidents of Skål USA were honored, including Bill Pullen, Bob Bader, Tom White and Richard Scinta.

 

The last group honored were Past Presidents In Memoriam:

Jack Coalter – 1973

Rod Howard – 1974

Bill Graves – 1975

John Schlenk – 1978

Ormond McAbee – 1979

Kenneth Murray – 1980

Frederick W. Smith – 1982

Tomas Carrillo – 1983

Michael Hardisty – 1984

Richard W. Merritt – 1985

Gerald McKenna – 1987

Herb Crowley – 1988

Robert Aagard – 1990

Robert Langford II – 92-93

David Warren – 1997

Clayne Dice – 1998

Richard Howard – 2001

Gary Sain – 2006

 

50th Anniversary Celebration Highlights

Photographer Brion Price has made the photos he took at our 50th Anniversary Celebration available for purchase.

Click Here to View & Purchase the Photos
 

President of Skål International Burcin Turkkan Named Honorary Member of Skal Orlando

Club President Steve Vinciguerra bestowed a special recognition upon Skål International President Burcin Turkkan during the club’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, making her an honorary member of Skål Orlando. Burcin was unable to join us that night and accepted her honor via video, while also congratulating our club on our milestone anniversary. We are so grateful for everything that Burcin has done for Skål!
Burcin congratulated Skål Orlando on its 50th Anniversary in the following letter:

Dear President Steve,

 

On behalf of the entire Skål International Executive Board, we extend our heartiest congratulations to Skål International Orlando for completing 50 years of success.

 

This is a significant milestone and glory for your Club and membership! Celebrations are well deserved!

 

We wish you all the success for many more years to come. Please know that Skål International Headquarters and your Executive Board are always here to assist you and your members in any way we can, to help you continue your achievements and contribute to your growth.

 

Thank you for your continuous support in doing business among friends and amical.

 

Have a great Skål year!

Yours in Friendship and Skål,

 

Burcin Turkkan

World President 2022

Skål International

 
 

Skål Orlando Members Travel to Croatia for Skål International Congress

This October, five members of Skål Orlando traveled to Croatia to be part of the Skål International Congress. Thank you to Skål Orlando Member and Skål USA President Richard Scinta, Skål Board Member Barbara Kenney, Skål USA Representative John Stine, Young Skål Chair Tania Imani and Young Skål Member Shannon Barry for representing our club so well!

 

Skål Orlando’s own John Stine, Skål USA Rep and former club president – along with Holly Powers, International Skål Councillor, Skål USA – were interviewed by local Croatian television about the Skål Congress and Skål Membership.

Click Here to View Croatian Television Report with Video
 

Skål Orlando Members Recognized During 2022 Skål International Congress

During the 2022 Skål International Congress in Croatia, two of our Skål Orlando Members received special honors. Our very own Bob Bader, Past President of Skål USA, was selected among 12,000 nominations worldwide to receive the prestigious Membre d’Honneur award. And our Young Skål Chair Tania Imani was recognized as a Future Leader of Skål.

 

Congratulations to Bob and Tania!

Above photo: Tania Imani is fifth from the left

 

Welcome New Members

Congratulations to the following new Skål Orlando Members who have joined.
JohnMichael Beck

Transfer in from SI Boston

Destination Manager

Adventures by Disney & National Geographic Expeditions

Beatriz Dominguez

Owner

Clean Tec Services

Graziella Hediger

Chief Marketing Officer

VISYT

Courtney McCane

Tourism Account Manager

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Stephen Pratt

Department Chair

UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management

Anna Snow

General Manager

Castle Hotel

Greg Takehara

Transfer in from SI Boston

CEO

Tourism Cares

 
 
Young Skål Members Talk About their Skål Orlando Mentors and the Value of the Mentorship Program

Karen Bodden, Senior, UCF Rosen College

of Hospitality Management

 

“My Skål mentor Keith Wolling has been of great support during my professional journey. He has shared his advice based on his vast industry knowledge and he has encouraged me throughout important steps in my career,” says Karen. “I am extremely grateful to have him as a mentor and I look forward to keep learning from him.”

 

Karen joined Skål Orlando as a Young Skål Member in January 2022. She is studying Hospitality Management at UCF and will graduate in 2023.

Francesca Burri, May 2021 Graduate, UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management, Theme Park Track
“I cannot express enough how grateful I am for the Young Skål mentorship program and my mentor, Steve Vinciguerra. Coming into Skål as a student, I was somewhat intimidated to be among so many talented members of the industry and wasn’t certain where I would fit in within the organization. As my mentor, Steve immediately took me under his wing and helped me find my place in the Skål community.
From introducing me to other members, to encouraging me to get involved, and always making me feel welcome at each and every meeting, Steve went out of his way to make this organization feel like family. To help me find my path in my career, he talked me through his own journey and took me to visit his workplace to give me an idea of all the possibilities in this field. I knew I had a passion for marketing, and he imparted the tips and tricks to succeed. Today, I am now practicing all I learned through Skål and am so appreciative of those like Steve who took the time to share their wisdom and kindness. I will forever be thankful for the Young Skål Mentorship program, and continue to learn more through it every year.”
If you are interested in serving as a Young Skål Mentor for next year, please contact Tania Imani, at [email protected].

Become A Member

Membership in Skål is open to qualified persons in a senior or executive position in the travel and tourism industry.

If you are interested in becoming a member of Skål International just download the pdf by clicking the button below, complete the application and mail it to Skål International Orlando.

We will contact you as soon as possible.

Membership is effective after Skål International headquarters has approved the request and all dues have been paid.

Skal International                  Skal USA

skal.org                                skalusa.org

Contact Us

 

Skål International Orlando
P.O. Box 720423
Orlando, FL 32872-0423