July 2017
Message from our Board Chair 

Val Kelsey
It is officially summer! This is a crazy time of year for me. I am gone more than I am home for the next 3 months and have started questioning why I do what I do.  When that happens, I like to read some of the nice comments I have received from club members on some our trips. 
I will be leaving the first of July for a British Isles tour that has been on my personal bucket list as well as those of many of the 22 club members traveling with me.  I had one lady in today who told me I was like her own "fairy godmother" making dreams come true! That reminded me of a note that I received from one of my favorite travelers who told me, "The vacation might be over, but all the memories of it are just beginning---Thank you for making it so impossible to forget and so exciting to remember!"
If you need a bit of encouragement during these very busy days, think of the words of Helen Keller, who was born on 6/27/1880: "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."
Valerie Kelsey, CBCD    

P.S. Peer Group registration is now open so take a minute and register today. 
  4th of July flag
The HCI office will be closed July 3 - 7.  Any phone or e-mail messages received during that time will be responded to on Monday, July 10.

We hope you enjoy the Independence Day festivities in your towns. 

Have a safe and fun holiday!

2018 Peer Group Registration is Now Open Online

You won't want to miss the 2018 HCI Peer Group conference in Branson, March 12 - 16, 2018.  Check out all the details and sign up today. 

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the Monday Sightseeing Tour on March 12.  That means you, PTOs.
There's no charge, but you have to sign up for it, so don't forget to do so when you register.
Check out the preliminary schedule and send a note to Tina with your preferred Showcase day.

Partner Profile: Lafayette Hotels 
Lafayette Hotels is a family owned and operated group of Maine and New Hampshire hotels. Danny and Carla Lafayette grew up in Maine and were high school sweethearts who married and built a successful New England hotel business. Since purchasing their first property in 1982, they have grown to 23 hotels and resorts along the highway, in larger cities/towns and along the coast. It is their mission to give you the best possible lodging experience. 
T om Palmer, who you met at Peer Group in Vermont, has been with Lafayette Hotels for 22 years and w o ul d love to help you plan your next trip to New England. Those of you who were in Vermont for Peer Group this year might remember that Tom did a drawing for a dozen Maine lobsters. Amy Evans, CBCD of D.L. Evans Bank in Boise, ID was the lucky winner of that gift. Tom really enjoyed seeing up close and personal that "we're all in this together."

Tom and his colleague Don Haggett each have 37 years of experience in the Maine and New Hampshire tourism market. They have itineraries available and work with bus companies who can assist with transportation. Whether you are visiting the area to see lighthouses, national parks or breweries, "we can help guide club directors in planning tours," says Tom. From magnificent ocean views to the more affordable inland locations, Lafayette Hotels has accommodations for every budget. Most of their hotels are 3-Diamond and offer continental breakfast as well as full service restaurants.

The Lafayette's started their own chain of Fireside Inns where every lobby has a fireplace which you will love if you visit any time of year, but especially during the famous New England Fall Foliage. Some of their locations are already completely booked for the 2017 season. Of course, any time of year is a great time to visit, so plan to include Lafayette Hotels in your lodging decisions when you bring your group to New England. From Acadia National Park to the Green Mountains ... Lafayette Hotels offers convenient locations for your next adventure!  www.lafayettehotels.biz 207-774-6157 thpalmer3@aol.com  
Member Spotlight: Karla Gibson
First United Bank
Durant, OK
Karla Gibson has worked for First United Bank in Durant, Oklahoma for 26 years. She began as a loan assistant and moved to marketing for many years before taking on the role of First United Chairman's Club Director in July of 2015. "I love travel and like to plan events for my club members," says Karla. She likes to get creative in the monthly events that she plans for her club, like the "Show and Tell for Grownups" that she had recently. "People like to share their interests with others," she says. She plans one big trip and two shorter trips each year, with a few day trips here and there. She will soon be taking her first Mystery Trip - an idea she got while attending her very first Peer Group in March.

"I loved being one of the 'newbies'," she remembers about her experience in Vermont. There were so many things that she enjoyed, but "all of the good ideas, networking, meeting with group travel experts and learning about the HCI Preferred Tour Operators" are some of the best. She is still trying to implement what she learned about targeting Baby Boomers and utilizing social media, but she is making progress!

Karla has many side interests such as gardening, camping and cruising - a love for which she thanks her parents for instilling in her. She takes two cruises a year and will be in Alaska this month and in the Caribbean in September. She also has two grown sons who both work at First United Bank.
One of the unique things that makes her bank so great is their Spend Life Wisely promise, which includes a website full of articles and tools to help people do just that. They encourage their customers to have a holistic approach to life that encompasses faith, financial well-being, wellness, and personal development. Karla is proud of her bank's mission to help people reach their highest purpose, to realize their fullest potential, and to reach their greatest success. It must be working for her because she loves what she does. She even goes so far as to say, "I'm not sure I want to retire if I can keep doing this!"
What I've learned as an HCI Advisory Board member...

During our Advisory Board meeting I learned that communication is the key to a successful relationship between Bankers, Partners and PTOs!  HCI has a real good thing going, as the club gives all of us the opportunity to network together to exchange ideas, share thoughts, discuss problems and encourage each other. Communication allows us to see the other's side of things and their point of view. HCI creates the chance to work side by side with the people we rely upon so much, and allows us to get inside each other's brain to see how the other part of our travel team thinks.

I learned during our board meeting that while we all want to be successful, we also want to hear the good and the not so good things about our company and/or positions.  When we discuss these things, it breaks down the walls and allows us to work well together.  It's okay to be honest and upfront with our partners and PTOs. In doing so, we can be on the same page.  Communication brings us closer and helps us to become the effective team that is necessary to create great tours...and this is everyone's goal
-Amber Thomas, CBCD, Central Bank Illinois (Geneseo) 

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