Into the New...
 
Happy New Year, Sonoma County CTAs!

Now is the perfect time to focus on goals and new beginnings. Goals give our personal and professional life direction in a measurable and meaningful way.  The French writer Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry is credited with saying "A goal without a plan is just a wish." 

What are you planning to accomplish in 2019 both personally and professionally? What are your service goals this year? How many visitors do you plan to bring satisfied smiles to? How will you achieve those smiles and satisfaction?  What new attractions, restaurants, services, wineries, breweries, parks and outdoor activities, museums and galleries do you plan to experience and/or learn about to give our visitors the best possible experience? How will you serve your community?
 
Looking back on the last six years, we have shared amazing and wonderful opportunities for education, exploration, volunteerism, and service excellence. 

One of my goals in 2019 is to  give you a voice in how the CTA program evolves. I want to fashion a program that exceeds expectations, while keeping in mind its objective to increase regional tourism by inspiring front-line hospitality employees and volunteers to turn every visitor encounter into a positive experience.
 
If you haven't already, please take a few minutes to participate in the CTA Program Evaluation Survey (see link below) to help Sonoma County Tourism accomplish this important goal.
 
As tourism champions, your extraordinary service to our visitors and community have contributed significantly to the success of our local hospitality industry. 

Thank you for all you do to make Sonoma County a dynamic and memorable destination.  I wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019!
 
In the spirit of celebration and service,

- Nicole 

Nicole Bradin
Director of Community Engagement
Sonoma County Tourism
Tell us what you think
As part of our commitment to improving the
Certified Tourism Ambassador program, we would like to
give you a voice in how it evolves, so that we can all continue to champion the tourism industry in Sonoma County together in an effective, fun, and meaningful way.  

Please take a few minutes to participate in this short survey.
Your input will help us to shape a new, improved experience
for our CTAs.

CTA Educational Tour - Chocolate!
Jan. 17, 2019 / 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
 
Get ready for the perfect Sonoma County Valentine's Day by joining CTA Culinary Ambassador Clark Wolf on a magical tour of some of our local artisan chocolate makers.

We'll head to Petaluma to explore LALA's Jam Jar and Urban Farmstand where we'll learn about small batch artisan food-making and get a taste from two local chocolatiers. 

Then we'll head to another chocolate-maker (truffles and other delicious tastings). Lunch is the next stop. 

Next, it's off to visit and learn from Jonas at Firefly Chocolate and Volo Chocolate, where beloved chefs Jeff and Susan Mall are making fine chocolate bars with a decidedly Mexican slant.

Transportation will be provided from the Sonoma County Tourism offices at  400 Aviation Blvd., Suite 500, Santa Rosa.  Transportation and lunch are included in the n on-refundable cost of $20.

Don't miss this Willy Wonka dream tour, CTA-style!
To be entered in the lottery for this familiarization tour,
email to cta@sonomacounty.com
 
Emailing does not automatically provide you a spot:  A lottery of 44 names will be drawn this week. If your name is chosen in the lottery, you will be provided a link to register. 
Transcendence Theatre Company's Erin Clemons, left, and pianist Aaron Benham open the CTA holiday luncheon with music under the watchful eye of Stephan Stubbins, center.
CTA Holiday luncheon a festive success
 
Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate the holidays with us at the CTA Holiday Luncheon on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018 at the Union Hotel Occidental. The room was filled with more than 120 CTAs, and it was a fun way to wrap up a successful year.

Special thanks go out to: 
  • Barbara Gonella and her staff at the Occidental Union Hotel, who graciously opened her banquet room to us and offered up a delicious lunch.
     
  • Transcendence Theatre Company's Arts Ambassador Stephan Stubbins, and performers Erin Clemons and Aaron Benham for the beautiful opening music and welcome. 
     
  • Culinary Ambassador Clark Wolf for his remarks and passion for the program.
     
  • Superstar CTAs Emily McCutchan, Isabelle Adams, and Sara Davis of Wilson Family Wines; Martin Zdybelk at Trione Winery; Linda Hooper from Francis Ford Coppola Winery; and Chris Eberle from Rochioli Vineyards and Winery for their generous wine donations and gregarious wine-pouring.
Thanks to our CTA class facilitators Mark Burchill, Mel Konrad, Debbie Klein, Renee Donmon-Chaussee, and Mike Von der Porten and to all of our Sonoma County CTA champions of tourism. Looking forward to a fun and productive 2019!

3 CTAs awarded Spirit of Sonoma honors
 
The annual Spirit of Sonoma Award luncheon on Friday, Dec. 14, 2018 honored the efforts of three Sonoma County Certified Tourism Ambassadors - Steve Jung, Kris Wilson, and Lorene Romero.
 
Sponsored by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, the Spirit of Sonoma awards honor those who contribute to the economic development and enhancement of the communities where they live, work, and conduct business.
 
Congratulations to the 2019 honorees. Here's a brief overview of who they are, and why this recognition is so well deserved.

 
Steve Jung, third from left, and his proud team at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sonoma Wine Country.

S teve Jung, CTA
General Manager,  DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sonoma Wine Country

An exceptional leader and an integral part of Sonoma County Tourism's year-over-year growth, Steve is currently the vice-chair of SCT's board of directors and has served as co-chair of the group business development committee and a member of the executive committee for the past five years.

Steve also served as board president of the Sonoma County Lodging Association (SCLA) for two years and as a member of its board for four years. Steve was instrumental in the recent transition of the SCLA to the Sonoma County Hospitality Association (SCHA), and in building stronger relationships with stakeholders and government leaders countywide.

Under Steve's leadership, the DoubleTree by Hilton Sonoma Wine Country has seen steady growth in revenue of almost 40 percent in the last five years. A hospitality industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience, Steve is never too busy to lend a hand, and is always actively engaged with his team and their guests.

 
Lorene Romero, left, accepts her award from Supvr. Shirlee Zane.
Lorene Romero, CTA
President and CEO,  Windsor Chamber of Commerce

A businessperson who loves Windsor, Lorene believes in supporting local business, and makes it a big part of her life. Before stepping into her current role as president and CEO of the Windsor Chamber of Commerce, she served 12 years as a Windsor Chamber member and 10 years on its board of directors.

A home-based travel advisor for 12 years under the business name Sharp Tongued Consulting, Lorene specializes in Alaska, Hawaii, European river cruises, and traditional cruising. She not only helps people with vacations in other states or countries, she also brings a lot of people to Sonoma County.

Lorene was the president of the North Coast Mac Users Group for 16 years, and is the co-director of the San Francisco Bay Area National Association of Career Travel Agents. She also volunteers monthly in the Donate Life booth at the Windsor Sunday Farmers Market to talk about the importance of having a pink organ donation sticker on your California driver's license, and serves on the board of directors for the People4Parks Foundation that helps with the Charlie Brown Christmas Grove each December on the Windsor Town Green.

 
Kris Wilson, center, celebrates her award with her children, Kellie Magna and Todd Wilson.
Kris Wilson, CTA
President, Sonoma County Alliance (outgoing)

A longtime Sonoma County resident and business advocate with a passion for the environment, Kris served as president of the Sonoma County Alliance for 2018. The alliance is  a coalition of business, agriculture, labor, and individuals working to encourage a healthy economy, maintain a sound environment, protect private property rights, and promote a responsive political process. 

A real estate agent with Sonoma Coast Living, Kris is also a freelance weddings and event coordinator. She previously held key positions with the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce as business services director and assistant director of government affairs. 
 
Kris also served as a community relations manager with St. Joseph Health Santa Rosa and capital campaign manager for St. Joseph Health's Memorial Hospital Foundation.  In her various roles, Kris succeeded by building professional, long-term relationships with the people she works with and cares about.
Tell your friends & co-workers about CTA 
 
For your friends and colleagues who are not yet certified, please share our newsletter and upcoming CTA classes: 
 
Jan. 29, 2019, 1-5 p.m., Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa
Feb. 26, 2019, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Safari West, Santa Rosa
March 7, 2019, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Surrey Resort, Guerneville
March 26, 2019, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Gravenstein Grill, Sebastopol  
 
Click here to register for a class