February 2017
Message from our Board Chair 

Val Kelsey
Winter is well under way and I am looking forward to a get-away to Vermont to reconnect and revitalize with other club directors and travel partners. Many of us are planning now for Summer and Fall club trips and activities. This annual Peer Group conference is something that I look forward to every year because I always come away with new ideas and destinations that I can't wait to bring home to share with my members.

Do you struggle with juggling the many hats that you wear at the bank and at home? Do you have club members who are anxious about traveling in these times of geo-political uncertainty? Are you looking for new ways to satisfy your unhappy travelers? These are just some of the concerns that will be addressed at this year's Peer Group. HCI knows the issues that we face as club directors and works hard to bring us resources to help us discover solutions.

There will be several new club directors attending this year for the very first time, so I am excited to meet them. New faces mean new ideas, new friendships and broader networks. If you have never attended Peer Group, now is a great time to join us along with so many other first-timers.

There is still a little time to sign up to attend this helpful conference. Don't wait! Sign up today.

Stay warm and carry on!
Valerie Kelsey, CBCD 
Final Days to Register

There is just a little time left to register to attend Peer Group in Vermont.  Don't miss out on this opportunity.     Learn More

If you have already registered, watch your email for your registration confirmation.  You'll have it by Valentine's Day.
Special Announcements
  • We are happy and sad to announce a few more retirements.  Best wishes for health and happiness!
    • Lacinda Heller, Kaw Valley State Bank & Trust (Wamego, KS) 
      • successor club director Lisa Thompson and assistant Charla Douglas
    • Carol Wurm, Star Bank (Maple Lake, MN)
      • successor not named
Partner Profile: Ozarks' Kirkwood Tour & Travel  
So you think you've seen everything that Branson has to offer? Think again. Angie Greeno and Joy Penrod of Ozarks' Kirkwood Tour and Travel can plan a trip that will surprise even the most frequent Branson visitor. "There is so much more to see than shows," says Angie. "We know that many travelers have already been to our area so it is our goal to present something new and different so they want to continue coming back." This third-generation family-owned and operated business has been delighting travelers with their expertise since the late 70's.
"There are no cookie cutter itineraries - everything we do is done specifically for you and your travelers," says Angie. "Our tours are custom-created for each group." They can create a hub and spoke tour that allows you to take in some of the most amazing experiences of the Ozark Basin. While Branson and the surrounding area are their main focus, they realize that groups want to enjoy their journey so they can take care of stops along the way as well.  "Our main goal is to take care of the travel details so club directors can focus on their passengers."  They can take care of your stops in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and the surrounding areas. Last fall they ran a tour for a group out of Texas that wanted a tour of Missouri so they included stops in Joplin, Kansas City, St Joseph, Marceline (home of Walt Disney), Hannibal, St Louis and Branson.  "The group could not believe the diverse history we had available, let alone the different types of entertainment options."
Recently, Ozarks' Kirkwood hosted HCI club director Renee Zaiser, CBCD, and her members during the World Series. Renee promised her group that they would have a party if the Cubs won, and when they did, Joy and Angie sprang into action to make it happen.
Click here to read more
Member Spotlight: Kathy Bengtson
Iowa Falls State Bank
Iowa Falls, IA
What happened to the Millennium Club at Iowa Falls State Bank after Don and Jan Ruhde retired?  The natural fit happened! Kathy Bengtson, Customer Service Coordinator and Millennium Club Secretary, was asked by the bank president to fill the position and lead the Club.  "Kathy had already built relationships with the Millennium Club members and had a passion for seeing the club continue," says President Doug Truex.  Kathy was very familiar with the workings of the club, but still had many questions.  She and her husband, Gale were very excited to spend a day of specialized training with Ted Nelson of HCI and then attended the Fall Forum in Omaha to reinforce her training, where she met other club directors.

Kathy and her management team have felt the transition has gone very smoothly. Kathy has kept a lot of the club's traditional events and also added a few new ones that have been an exciting change for the club.  Kathy laughs when she looks back at her first couple months and trips. "You plan and anticipate every single detail of each trip or event, until you get off the bus first and forget to tell the passengers which side of the bus gets to exit first ... oh the little things."

Kathy has kept her Customer Service Coordinator position at the bank.  She is the first smile customers are greeted with when they enter or when they call on the phone, she also helps many departments with daily operations.  She says, "I am thrilled to be able to be the Millennium Club director along with my current role; they really fit together nicely."  As a new club director she has received and been encouraged by many words of advice like: "It takes a little while to learn what your members like," and "Plan well and they will see something they enjoy on the agenda."  The best advice she's received and still echoes is, "You can't please everyone all the time."  "But," she says, "It is my nature to always try!" She has learned that sometimes you just need to be "extra kind" to some people.  

Peer Group  is coming up and Kathy is looking forward to meeting peers, touring Vermont on the FAM tour, learning and getting ideas for possible trips with Preferred Tour Operators.  She won't be the only new club director at the conference.  Currently, there are five new club directors who will be attending for the first time.  Please approach them and share your advice, they are sponges ready to soak up experiences.  Remember your first year? 
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