February 2018

Can't wait for Peer Group
We hope you are getting excited about Peer Group since it's just four weeks away.  We have many great things planned for you this year!

As always, the best reason to attend is the nearly 100 Bank Club Directors and fellow Travel Partner members
3 Outstanding Motivational Speakers on  Energizing Your Life, Managing Your Time, Being the Best Leader you can be!
Fun Times in Branson including - Opening Night at Shorty Smalls and one of two amazing shows - Illusionist Rick Thomas or Dublin's Irish Tenors and Celtic Ladies; then a Final Night Scavenger Hunt at the Branson Landing. Not to mention the great Pre Fam tour and sightseeing tour to Dogwood Canyon.
Learn what buyers think and share ideas and opinions on supplier matters in the Understanding Bankers,  Table Topics and 
Open Mic
 sessions; and much more !
Didn't make it in to the full conference?  You can still participate in the 2-HOUR Travel Show on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 PM and join us for dinner afterwards. Members in good standing for 2018 can attend for FREE, but must register this week.  Call today to learn more and COME TO 2018 PEER GROUP IN BRANSON!  Call Tina at  877-881-0229.
Member Spotlight: Valerie Kelsey, CBCD  
D.L. Evans Bank
HCI Advisory Board Chair 
Burley, ID
Val Kelsey, CBCD has been involved with HCI since she was asked to start the Premier Club 15 years ago. She had been with the bank for 16 years at that point, and was the Marketing Director when she was sent to Mason City to train with George Aker on setting up a travel club. The bank separated the club director duties from the marketing director role eight years ago, and Val has been single-mindedly building the club ever since. Today, the bank serves its 3500 Premier Club members through six regional branch locations that stretch across a 6-hour driving distance. 

Having been with HCI for such a long time, Val say, "It's odd for me to think about not being part of this great organization." Nowhere else will you find so many people who "do what you do, and get what you do." She encourages every club director to go to Peer Group because, "there, it's all about us - everything there is to help us do better." Of course, HCI provides support and friendship, but more importantly, they have the depth of experience that provides solutions to problems that are unique to our roles as Club Directors. Some bankers may have felt that they've done fine on their own, but someday they will be faced with a challenge that they can't Google an answer to, and HCI will be able to provide the answer. Many times, there aren't even others in your own bank that can help because you're the only one there doing that job. Somewhere, sometime, someone has experienced the same the dilemma that you're facing as a club director and can recommend a solution. With HCI, you've got a terrific network of people who can help. And, if somehow you are facing a truly unique problem that no one anywhere has encountered before, you have a group of peers to help you think through the issue and help you come up with a solution based on their complete understanding of the factors involved. Beyond that, HCI has taken the time to prepare resources to address many of the challenges we face and make them available to us so we can avoid most problems in the first place.

Val has a unique way of running her travel shows. She offers them as social events and serves food that represents the destination. Members who can no longer travel are invited to participate and share with others their experience of traveling to that location and what it's like to travel with Val. She always shares about her relationship with HCI and the Preferred Tour Operators that she uses to give first time travelers a comfort level and assure them that they are in great hands. She always uses PTOs because, she says, "These people are more than just my customers, they become my family so I want the very best for them - the PTOs don't disappoint."

One of her favorite memories from the club was being able to take a couple to Africa - it had been the husband's lifelong goal to go - just a few months before he died. During the funeral, the slideshow included photos of all the Premier Club trips that they had taken with Val over the years. It was particularly moving to know that she had been able to help him see the world and fulfill his dream.
Partner Profile: Islands in the Sun Cruises & Tours

Islands in the Sun Cruises and Tours is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. To commemorate this achievement, owners Russ and Susan Rosenberry hosted a cruise to the last continent that they had yet to visit - Antarctica. As a cruise-focused tour operator, they create ocean, river and (now) Great Lakes cruise-tours to a variety of destinations. Russ and Susan only sell to bank clubs, and they will build a custom package that will exceed your customers' expectations regardless of the number of passengers. They know how great the trips are because, Russ says, "We won't sell an itinerary we haven't done."

When you talk to Russ you can tell that cruising is his passion, and he loves to share his passion with his customers. In fact, Russ and Susan got married at Blue Beard's Castle in St. Thomas while on a cruise. Russ and Susan have been to 125 and 130 countries, respectively, and will select their favorite land tours to delight your customers. Alaska, Canada, Ireland, Scotland/Wales, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Hawaii, Panama Canal - there are so many destinations, the hardest part of working with them will be deciding where to go.

In September, Russ and Susan invited club directors and their spouses on Oceania Cruises' first ever "tour operator" FAM tour, and six HCI members participated - Susan Evenson of First National Bank of Gillette in Wyoming; Kristin Hannon of Minnwest Bank in St. Cloud, MN; Doreen McKinney, CBCD of Mascoma Bank in Lebanon, NH; Julia Terwilleger, CBCD of American Trust & Savings Bank in Dubuque, IA; Deb Walker of Wyoming Bank and Trust in Cheyenne, WY; and Renee Zaiser, CBCD of Two Rivers Bank & Trust in Burlington, IA. They had a great time touring the World Trade Center Memorial and Manhattan before boarding the "Insignia" cruise ship. They traveled to Newport, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts; Bar Harbor, Maine and Halifax, Nova Scotia - touring all along the way. Oceania Cruises is known for its culinary excellence so this group enjoyed the on-board cuisine as much as the off-shore tours.

Islands in the Sun is known for their personalized service so accountability, handholding and "selling what we sail" are their hallmarks. "Many of our customers are our friends and have worked with us for years," says Russ. They have built a great relationship with HCI, and love attending Peer Group. "Vermont (with the snow storm) was a highlight," he says, and "even though it was a small group, we have booked many tours from that conference." They always look forward to Peer Group, and will be with us in Branson next month. HCI is thrilled to have Islands in the Sun as one of its Preferred Tour Operators because we know that they will deliver an exceptional 4-Star+ experience to our members.

Reach Russ or Susan at 800-278-7786 or info@crus-sun.com.
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