Skål USA - April/May 2022 Newsletter

April/May 2022 Newsletter

Message from President Richard Scinta, Donate to Ukraine, NASC Reminder, Club News


April / May 2022 Issue

Skål USA asks Clubs to donate funds raised for Ukraine to Skål International

We are all heartbroken and horrified by the atrocities happening in Ukraine. SKÅL Bucharest has been on the front line since the beginning as Romania has a direct border with Ukraine. Our Skålleagues there have been fundraising, loading trucks with winter clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, medical equipment, food, and more. Initially, Skål Bucharest was taking donations but they quickly became overwhelmed. Skål International stepped in, put together an Emergency Aid Committee, and opened a special account to gather funds to support their efforts and as many Ukrainian refugees as possible.

The Aid Committee is being overseen by two Skål International Past World Presidents to make sure the funds are distributed properly. They will work closely with Skål Bucharest as the front-line club providing help to refugees on every level, including transportation to neighboring countries to help refugees reach the next point of stay and calling out for volunteers if and when needed.

Skål USA urges any member that wishes to help to make a personal donation to their GoFundMeand any Club that has raised funds to help with this humanitarian crisis, to send their donation directly to this newly created fund via a direct bank transfer.

Bank Donations

Beneficiary: Asociación Internacional de Skål Clubes - AISC

Bank: Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria


IBAN: ES68 0182 0481 6102 0173 1823

A Message from your President - Richard Scinta

Dear Skålleagues,

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and through this phenomenal organization of ours, we are making a difference. You just read about our efforts to assist the Ukrainian refugees. It's a terrible situation there and thank you all for doing what you can to help. There has been significant support from some of our members and individual clubs. It's great to see Skål lead the way! Our annual NASC Congress in Orlando is coming soon, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone who can make it. Getting back together in person is a crucial step to the travel normalcy that our industry needs! We have a lot of clubs participating, but remember ALL members can attend, and the rate for the congress is the lowest that it has been in many years. Also, pre-and post-nights at the Crowne Plaza near Universal Studios are remarkably inexpensive, so please take advantage of that. 

Thank you for being loyal Skål Members! We have a fantastic group of influential industry leaders in our clubs, and it is at times like these we can genuinely make a difference and make a name for Skål.

See you all soon,


Please Register for NASC

NASC 22 Save the Date ENGLISH.png

NASC will take place from May 13- 15, 2022. There are still a handful of Clubs that have yet to register. Just a reminder that this is a MANDATORY meeting. Skål Orlando has created a flexible and affordable 3 day/2-night Congress, and since it is mandatory, every Club that sends a voting delegate is given a $500 credit to defray their costs. If you have yet to register, please do so here.

Skål New Orleans Raises $5,000 for the Refugees

Skål New Orleans held a raffle at its March meeting at the Jack Rose Restaurant in the Pontchartrain Hotel, with 100% of the funds going directly to the Ukrainian Refugee Fund established by Skål International. A dozen of their 100 members donated prizes to the raffle and the 60+ members in attendance raised $4,100 bidding on them. The next day the Club emailed their membership letting them know what was raised, and an additional $600 was received. Their Club donated $300 for a total of $5,000 which has been sent to the bank of record.

This is the 2nd fundraiser New Orleans has had in the past 3 months. During their Holiday Auction, they raised $8,916 ($1,000 of that was contributed by Skål Boston) with the funds going to the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. This foundation assists Louisiana’s hospitality employees in the same way that the Florimond Volckaert Fund assists Skålleagues.

Skål New Orleans says their members have always put others first and have stepped up to the plate when asked and are so proud of their team. We couldn't agree more. This is what Skål is all about. Way to go New Orleans! #wearestrongertogether

Kim Priez, Sr VP Tourism, New Orleans & Company, Lois Sutton, Publisher, Where Traveler New Orleans, David Bilbe, GM, Omni Royal Orleans, Stephanie Turner, Sr VP Convention Sales & Strategies, New Orleans & Company

Pamela Pipes, CEO, New Orleans A LA Carde, Greg Hoffman, CAO/CFO Grayline Tours/New Orleans Steamboat Co. Gregory Leighton, CEO/CAO New Orleans School of Cooking, Sandra Dartus, Retired/Associate

Kevin Kelly, Owner,

Houmas House Plantation

Brett Bares, VP Airboat Adventures,

Al Hebron, Retired

Skål D.C. Raises $2,000 at Ukrainian Restaurant

Skål D.C. had their March Dinner at New Heights Restaurant in Washington D.C., and members donated auction items to raise money for the Skål International Ukrainian Fund Bank. The venue was very appropriate, seeing as the restaurant is owned by Olena Fedorenko, originally from Ukraine and a future Skål DC member. Olena hosted the Skål DC members & guests to a wonderful Ukrainian Dinner and created a mini-museum that included the Ukrainian flag and items from her homeland to share. Skål D.C. raised $2,000 for the Ukraine Refugee Fund and inducted two new members that night. Way to go guys!


Skål DC President Randy Herron and Skål DC Secretary and sponsor Kristi Pruitt, Expedia Group inducted Karla Erales, General Manager, Sofitel Washington D.C.

Olena Fedorenko speaking about the troubles her family currently living in Ukriane are facing. Also pictured are Past Presidents Morgan Maravich (2019) and Andres Omar Hayes (2018) with his back in the photo.

Skål DC President Randy Herron inducted Sherry Abedi, Area General Manager at Viceroy Washington DC/Hotel Zena alongside Skål DC Secretary, and sponsor Kristi Pruitt from Expedia Group

Skål Boston Hosts Special Installation Luncheon

Skål Boston got together at the Boston Harbor Hotel for an unforgettable luncheon to hear from their outgoing President of the last two years, Beth Stehley, as they welcomed their 2022 board that sees Mary Chin at the helm.

Left to Right:  Stephanie Pappas (Treasurer), Joe Mellia (Board-at-Large), Beth Stehley (Immediate Past President), Marianna Accomando (Board-at-Large), Kevin Panetta (Vice President), Mary Chin (Newly Installed President 2022), Efren Aponte (Secretary), Erin Gilroy (Board-at-Large), Trish Berry (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer), Dennis Graham (Outgoing Auditor), Carrie Campbell (Board-at-Large / Membership Chair)

Skål Hawaii Meets Maskless!

It's been a long two years, but less than a week after the State of Hawaii dropped the last of its COVID restrictions, Skål Hawaii was finally able to get together without their masks on – at a buffet no less! At their first in-person meeting since restrictions were dropped, Skålleagues gathered at Prince Waikiki's signature restaurant 100 Sails, featuring an elevated buffet complete with sushi chefs – all things that have been on pause in Hawaii during the past few years. Members donated gift cards to raffle off to raise funds for Ukraine and were all smiles as they celebrated a return to normalcy in the Islands.


Napili Kai Beach Resort General Manager Gregg Nelson with Past President Jennifer Chun, Director of Tourism Research at the Hawaii Tourism Authority


Patrick Kozuma, General Manager at Aston Waikiki Beach Tower with Elton Murata, President of Nett Distribution who donated gift cards to raffle off for the Ukraine fund.


Simeon Miranda, General Manager of the Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk shown here with Robert Small, President of Host Publishing and HTA's Jennifer Chun.

Please Share Your Event Info on Facebook

Is your Club having an event that you'd like to share?

Took some great pictures you want people to see?


Please post them to Skål USA's Facebook yourself.

We will approve them as soon as possible.

Skål Boston's Charity Auction is now Live!

In addition to donating $1,000 to the Ukrainian Refugees, Skål Boston is dedicating resources to continue their annual fundraising efforts for worthy organizations as well. Their current online auction is going on now and will be live until April 11th with some incredible prizes available. Monies raised will benefit the New England Center and Home for Veterans.

See what they are auctioning off here.

What is Skål? #IAMSKAL!

Now more than ever, the fact that Skål prides itself on uniting one another across the globe and working together through friendship, is so very important given what's been happening in Ukraine. Seeing how Skål Bucharest jumped into action, immediately followed by Skål Clubs across Europe is inspiring, then Clubs that are too far away to have boots on the ground began the drumbeat to raise funds to support the clubs that are through monetary donations. Though our normal goal is to unite and promote tourism around the globe, members around the world rallied together to do what they can during this difficult situation. This is the epitome of what Skål stands for. Skål works together. Skål works to unite. This is Skål. You are Skål. We are Skål!

It's time the rest of the world learns what Skål is. The next time someone asks you what Skål is, there is only one answer... I AM SKÅL! The more videos we have the better – so we can link them all together – the way Skål is linked together across the world. The next time you have a moment, please film a brief 25-second video telling the world.... #IAMSKÅL!

Please post your I AM SKÅL video on social media and be sure to tag all videos with the hashtag #IAMSKAL so we can see it and share it.

Please keep videos to around 30 seconds and post them online. Feel free to post them to the Skal USA Facebook page, tag us on Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn. We will post all videos on our YouTube page. Please tag all entries with the hashtag #IAMSKAL. Let's let the world see who Skål really is!


News from Skål International

April 28th is Skål International World Day. Join President Burcin Turkkan and the Executive Board for a live toast from their mid-year meeting in Málaga, Spain. 

REGISTER HERE for the 1st Zoom session at 3:15 AM EST

REGISTER HERE for the 2nd Zoom session at 10:00 AM EST

Did you know more than 34% of our membership is comprised of women?

Don't miss the latest issue of Tourism Now - there's a great article featuring 23 women from around the world that are leading Skål International today.


We bid adieu to Skålleagues we have lost recently

Follow Us on Social Media!!

Please click the links below

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube

2022 Hashtags

#skalusa #themosttrustedvoiceintourism #doingbusinessamongfriends

#IAMSKAL #skal2022 #wearestrongertogether #SkalForUkrainians

Skal USA Website Link

Skål USA Journeys is the bi-monthly official publication of Skål International USA. A special edition will be sent out when there is breaking news to share. We want to share your news with SKÅL members across the country. If you have breaking news or Club news for the newsletter, please send them to

Skål USA Journeys & Lightning News Editor | Pam Davis | Vice President PR & Communications | (808) 225-8229

February 2021/March 2022 Issue

Meet your 2022 Executive Committee

Front Row from left to right: Art Allis, Richard Scinta, Holly Powers, and Alton Hagen. Back Row from left to right: Past President Jim Dwyer, Steven Rodriguez, Karen Trevino, Mark Irgang, Pam Davis and Robert Lowell

Let's meet your 2022 Executive Committee

Richard Scinta - President

Richard joined the Orlando Skål Club in 2009 and became its president in 2014. He works for Wyndham Destinations, the world’s largest timeshare company, as Vice President of Club and Association Governance where he leads a team of people that assist their more than 220 Club and Homeowners Associations with their goals and statutory requirements. His goals as President include supporting US Clubs with their needs as well as the International team's goal to transform Skål into a more visible and relevant club. 

Holly Powers- Skål International Councillor

Holly has been a member of Skal Boston since 1999 but attended Skal meetings since the mid-'80s. She served as an officer of Skal Boston's Executive Board and became only the third female Skal USA President in 2017. She established Skal SW Florida in 2017, the first new Skal club in the USA in 17 years, where she is an Honorary member. She now serves as the Skal International Councillor representing the USA. Holly is the President and Owner of Powers Travel and Event Management. Since moving full-time to Florida she volunteers weekly at a food bank which has been so important during the pandemic.

Art Allis - Vice President of Finance

Art is a proud life member of Skål having been extremely involved with Skål International Tucson. Professionally he was in both the Hotel and Restaurant business, at the corporate and the unit level. This is his second 2-year term as VP Finance after serving as an auditor for five years. 

Alton Hagen - Vice President of Administration

While Alton attended his 1st Skål club meeting in Chicago in the mid-seventies, he didn't become a member until the early '90s after he founded his Destination Management Company in the Kansas City area.  Alton is still the General Manager of that company, Agenda: USA, now with offices in Kansas City and Nashville.  His primary goal for this year is to support the efforts of the Executive Committee of Skål USA.

Pam Davis - Vice President of PR and Communication

Pam has technically been a member of Skål Hawaii for the past decade, but she actually started going to Skål events as a little girl as both of her parents have been active Skål members. She runs two publishing companies, one of which publishes a monthly hospitality industry publication that assists Oahu hotels. Her goal is to keep the Skål name out there, finish the new website and continue to grow Skål's online presence to ensure the organization's messages are seen far and wide.

Karen Jobe Trevino - Vice President of Membership

Karen has been active in Skål for almost twenty years working at the club level but also with the national committee. She is the President and CEO of the North Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau where she shares her love of tourism. Karen's goals for Skål are to increase membership, save troubled clubs and make behind-the-scenes efforts more efficient.

Mark Irgang - Membership Director

Mark has been a Skål member since 2014 and has been in the Hospitality industry for over 35 years since graduating from the Cornell University School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration. Currently the opening GM of the new Marriott NY JFK Airport hotel, scheduled to open this summer, he is serving his 2nd term as Director of Membership and is also the President of The Long Island Hospitality Association. Mark also recently lost over 50 lbs., and has become a Certified Optavia Health Coach as he continues to make health and fitness a major focus and priority in his daily life.

Robert Lowell - Senior Auditor

Robert first joined Skål Boston in 1980 and transferred to the New Jersey Club in 1982. He has worked in the travel industry for his entire life, working with the airlines before opening a travel agency basically for his Maltese clients. He has held all the Board positions and was President three times. He plans to fully support the Executive Committees with all of their ideas of how Skål needs to refocus and move forward.

Steven Rodriguez - Junior Auditor

Steven has been a SKAL member of Tampa Bay since 2010 and was its 2021 President as the Club received global recognition as International Club of the Year 2020 placing 3rd overall. His company Florida Lifestyle Vacation Rentals manages condos on Florida's award-winning beaches. His mission is to assist SKAL USA with its fiduciary responsibilities related to finances and end-of-year accountability.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Jim Dwyer, Tom Moulton, Morgan Maravich, and Jo Anne Ford for their dedicated work on the executive committee over the past few years. We are better off because of them. Skål!

A Message from your President - Richard Scinta

Dear Fellow Skålleagues,

Thank you for taking the time to read through our first newsletter of 2022!  I am honored to be serving as our Skål USA President this year.  My fellow Executive Committee Members and myself were all installed on January 28th in North Little Rock Arkansas while we helped our Skål Arkansas Club celebrate their 50th (+1) anniversary!  President Bob Major, Karen Trevino and the entire team did an incredible job as they helped install not just Skål USA Officers, but their own club officers and the Skål International officers with USA's own Burcin Turkkan as President.  Thank you, Skål Arkansas, for an amazing few days.

The Executive Committee will be working closely with Burcin and supporting her team on the many goals set for 2022.  Ensuring proper governance and continuity, proper financial acumen & responsibility and supporting strong membership are some of our top goals for the year. We all are the stewards of this great organization and ensuring its health is our mission.  We are here to serve you and have committed to assist you with your own clubs’ goals in any way we can, so please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Please remember to register to for NASC in Orlando from May 13th to 15th.  Take advantage of the least expensive NASC in years!  Also, our AGM is being held there on Saturday, May 14th and is mandatory for all clubs to attend.  Remember, each club that attends receives a $500 credit!  More details are shared further down in the newsletter.

Have a great month and I look forward to seeing many of you at NASC ’22 in Orlando!


Winter Executive Meeting in North Little Rock a Success

The Skål USA Executive Committee Members met in North Little Rock, Arkansas to conduct their first Executive Board meeting and held three-days of meetings working on the strategic plan for 2022. The International Executive Committee was also meeting there at the same time and both groups met to align their plans and to celebrate Skål Arkansas 50th anniversary (one year late due to the pandemic). The Mayor of North Little Rock even proclaimed January 28th Skål International USA Day! It was a productive three days where both committees worked on plans to move the organization forward in 2022 and celebrated the accomplishments of Skål Arkansas. #skal2022 #wearebettertogether

Skål USA 2022 President Richard Scinta, Skål International Director Annette Cardenas, Skål USA Past President Jim Dwyer, Skål International President Burcin Turkkan and Skål International Councillor Holly Powers

Skål International Executive Director Danielle Ortero was on hand for the meetings. Also shown In this photo are Skål International Senior VP Juan Steta and International Skål Council President Julie Dabaly Scott

Skål International President Burcin Turkkan takes a picture with Susan West, Skal USA rep for Skål Arkansas in the photo booth set up for the Gala Dinner

Eric Braendel with Scott Sudduth, VP of Tourism for North Little Rock CVB

Richard Scinta presents Jim Dwyer with his commemorative plaque

Jim Dwyer, Andres Hayes from Skål Washington D.C., and Robert Lowell

What is Skål?


What is Skål? It's a question most of us hear often. It's time the rest of the world learns what Skål is. The next time you hear what is Skål, there is only one answer... I AM SKÅL! We want the world to know what Skål is, so we are calling on all of you to post your video telling the world.... I AM SKÅL!

Please post your I AM SKÅL video and be sure to tag all videos with the hashtag #IAMSKAL and tag Skal USA so we can see it and share it.

Are you Skål? Show us! Post your video today!

Please keep videos to around 30 seconds and post online. Feel free to post them to the Skal USA Facebook page, tag us on Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn. We will post all videos to our YouTube page. Please tag all entries with the hashtag #IAMSKAL. Let's let the world see who Skål really is!


What is the Florimond Volckaert Fund?

The Florimond Volckaert Fund is a solidarity aid fund aimed at providing assistance to Skålleagues and their immediate families who are in serious need of assistance. Created in 1954 in the name of the founder of Skål International, its purpose is to provide an International aid tool members can reach out to during tough economic times. The funds available for these grants come from voluntary contributions from individual Skålleagues, Clubs, National and Area Committees. We encourage all Clubs to make a donation in the spirit of solidarity and International cooperation among Skål International members.

How does the Florimond Volckaert Fund work? 

1. APPLY - If you or your immediate family require assistance, apply here.

2. CASE STUDY - Three Trustees carefully screen confidential grant applications.

3. GRANT DECISION - The applicant is informed of the decision and money transferred to his/her bank account.


There are innumerable reasons why help is requested, for example:

  • Old age (reduced income)
  • Death (spouse or dependent children requiring financial assistance)
  • Illness (serious or prolonged)
  • Medical expenses only available at personal expense beyond the means of the individual
  • Accidents
  • Criminal damage
  • Physical disability (equipment so that the quality of life can be improved)
  • Natural disasters (for members and their immediate family affected)
  • Or such similar or justifiable circumstances as may be approved by the Trustees as defined in the by-laws. Payments may be made as absolute gifts or loans with or without interest as the Trustees may decide. Loans for business purposes cannot be authorised.

These are just a very few examples of the forms of personal (not business) assistance that the Trustees have approved over the years.

Don't forget to register for NASC!

We will celebrate our first in-person NASC together since the start of the pandemic in Orlando May 13th - 15th, 2022. After two long years of being apart, Skålleagues from across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico will get together to conduct business among friends and network, and you know the Orlando Club is busy setting up what's sure to be a fun, memorable event! Clubs booking the full Congress and staying at the host hotel with a delegate attending NASC will receive a $500 credit for attending. If you haven't registered yet, please do so today. Can't wait to see you!



We bid adieu to Skålleagues we have lost recently

Happily we have not heard of any passings to share this time around.

If your Club does suffer a loss, please let us know at

Follow Us on Social Media!!

Please click the links below

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube

2022 Hashtags

#skalusa #themosttrustedvoiceintourism #doingbusinessamongfriends

#IamSKAL #skal2022 #wearestrongertogether

Skal USA Website Link

Skål USA Journeys is the bi-monthly official publication of Skål International USA. A special edition will be sent out when there is breaking news to share. We want to share your news with SKÅL members across the country. If you have breaking news or Club news for the newsletter, please send them to

Skål USA Journeys & Lightning News Editor | Pam Davis | Vice President PR & Communications | (808) 225-8229