December 2018

Message from our Board Chair 

This is the time of year that as we struggle with s hopping lists and party invitations, compounded by December's unpredictable weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth the extra aggravation the season brings, and that there are people who feel we are worth the same extra effort. We need to remember to take the time to enjoy the holiday madness and all it brings.

It is my wish for each of you to find peace of mind, happiness and prosperity throughout the year, fun around every corner and the energy to enjoy it all!  May joy fill your holidays, and remember: 

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." (Helen Keller) 

Wishing you happiness and a blessed holiday season.

If you have not registered for the HCI conference in March, it is not too late. Please join us and share some quality time learning, laughing, meeting old friends and making new ones.
Val Kelsey, CBCD

Announcements to keep you in the know

Congratulations to Becky Brower on her upcoming retirement
I will be retiring from FreedomBank and FreedomClub as of January 2019.
It's an exciting time as well as a new adventure in life.
I have been with our bank for 23 years, and have really loved each day.
Well, you know some days are better than others, but really it has been a great place to work.
In 2008 I was asked to be the club director at our bank location in Elkader.
This, as most of our directors know, is very rewarding .
The places we go and the destinations we share with our travelers.
Really they aren't JUST travelers, they become our friends.
When they pass away, it's like losing a family member.
I would like to say the Peer Groups are the best.
When you come back from the meetings, you feel like you can take on anything  and really feel fabulous about the people and information you've acquired from everyone.
Keep up the good work!
Until we meet again.

Congratulations to Lisa Thompson (Kaw Valley State Bank, Wamego, KS) on the birth of her daughter

Brooklynn Rose Thompson
Born on August 29th 2018 (4 weeks early)
5lb 15oz 19inches

At 3 months she weighed 10lb and was 23 inches long, so she is doing very well!

Carrie Ford Legacy Bench at the Minnesota State Fair
HCI has contributed to a permanent bench to be placed at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in honor of Carrie Donovan Ford from Visit Roseville who passed away in July of this year. The Legacy Bench will honor Carrie's contribution to the tourism industry, and her love of the Minnesota State Fair. Carrie worked tirelessly with the MSF during her entire career - from leisure fair visitors, to concert-goers, convention attendees, car show events, and horse and cattle shows. She was passionate about this and strived to make sure everyone's experience was the best it could be. The 2019 fair takes place August 22 to September 2.

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Peer Group is right around the corner.
Sign up today!!
Join us for networking, learning and fun at the only conference in the country designed especially for bank group travel.
All bank c lub directors should come to conference each year if possible.  Where else can you get new education, great motivational speakers, and forms to help you be more efficient.  Also, some of the best PTOs and vendors in the country to help plan your next adventure.  And last but not least, a network of other directors who support and encourage each other always.  It's just like a big family!!!
-Renee Zaiser, CBCD Two Rivers Bank & Trust, Burlington, IA
March 11 -15, 2019
Sarpy County (Omaha), Nebraska


  Why should I attend?
  • Intimate, friendly atmosphere
  • 4 days of personal networking with club directors
  • Partner Education sessions - learn more about the bankers and the bank market
  • One-on-one appointments with every club director
  • Sightseeing tour
  • Loads of fun!!
  How do I register?
  • Simply click on this  link and complete the registration form online.
  • You can pay online or mail a check to finalize your registration.
  Do I have to be an HCI member to attend? 
  • You must be a member in good standing in order to attend.
  • Renew online. Log in with your email and password then select the Renew until 01 Jan 2020 button.  Use the Forgot password button if you don't know your password.
  • Complete the electronic renewal forms in just a few minutes.  You can even pay your dues online if you like.
  • Not yet a member?  Send completed application to Tina to join today.
   Are there any sponsorship opportunities?
  • Yes. We have many options available.  Contact Tina for more information at 952-835-6543.
Welcome Reception  $1,000 plus f&b through hotel
Refreshment break $650
Pre-dinner reception $1,000
Dinner $3,000
Hospitality suite $500 plus f&b
Speaker introduction $200
Tab Ad $350
Partner Profile (if not attending PG) $100
Learn more on the HCI  home page , or go directly to the  Peer Group
 site to sign up today. Preliminary conference schedule. 

Learn more on the HCI home page , or go directly to the Peer Group  site to sign up today.

Member Spotlight: Karissa Wikert
Hills Bank & Trust Company
Iowa City, IA

Karissa Wikert was enjoying her work at the University of Iowa Alumni Association in marketing and project management when her mentor saw the job posting for the position of club director at Hills Bank & Trust Company and brought it to her attention. "I felt like it was written for me," she says, and she just had to apply. She accepted the position four years ago, and the time has flown by since replacing the founding club director of thirty years. "HCI is one reason for the confidence that I now have," she says. Her attendance at Peer Group in 2016 and Fall Forum the following year, "made me feel validated and introduced new processes" necessary to do the job. "After coming back from Peer Group, I had a much better idea of how to move forward and implement new procedures for aspects of the job that aren't available anywhere else." "Plus," she says, "it gives you the ability to run ideas past peers and helps to encourage you in your job." HCI has provided Karissa with a sounding board and assurance that has contributed to her and her team's efforts in growing the club and keeping it relevant to its 14,000 members.

And, her members are telling others. Word of mouth marketing is going very well for them since Karissa took the original Ambassador Referral Program, and "put it on steroids." Now, it offers many amazing perks with great prizes, like a drawing to win $1,000. Her members have to work hard to recruit others, but they do it in order to get the terrific rewards.

Her members are extremely grateful for Karissa and the Friends Club. Frequently, Karissa will hear a member say, "This is why I left the house today" to attend a local or branch event. She loves having a job that enables her to provide great programming that gives her members the opportunity to get together with others and have a good time with other Friends Club members. She also offers many tours for her members. In 2019, they will have 13 trips. With so much going on, Karissa was able to hire some coordinators to help her. Both, Meg Sinnott and Chelsea Marsengill will be attending Peer Group in Sarpy County in March. We are excited to meet them soon.

Here are some fun facts about Karissa who grew up in a town of 500 in Iowa. She used to live 5 houses down from Wrigley Field, which her brothers thought finally made her cool.   She developed a love for travel when she was in college and served as a camp counselor for 10 weeks in Germany where she toured Europe on the weekends. During one of those adventures, she was peer-pressured into skydiving from a small plane in Switzerland which was unbelievable, but terrifying!

PTO Profile: Globus Family of Brands


As we start to wrap up another year and think back on the fabulous journeys we have experienced around the world, I have fond memories of all the opportunities we've had to spend time together at Peer Group events; I would like to take a moment to express a heartfelt "Thank You" for your partnership in travel this year. We made some great memories to last a life time! A special thank you for those that joined me and were able to experience the fabulous Avalon Paris to Normandy River Cruise on the Heritage FAM this past summer. As we move into 2019 and plan group travel for 2020 and beyond, I wanted to take some time to talk about a few highlights of working with the Globus family of brands.

        Why book your groups with Globus?

  • Just eight makes a group!
  • More of everything - Travel styles, brands, flexibility, support & value
Globus - First Class group escorted travel experiences

Avalon Waterways - River cruising at its best

Monograms - Independent travel made simple

Cosmos - Escorted travel for the savvy and value-minded

  • The leaders in group travel with 90 years of experience and Top Tour Directors and Guides
  • Sales & Marketing resources to help you succeed
  • We've won numerous awards that are proof we're serious about satisfaction. And with a 97% rating, your groups will want to keep coming back for more. 
I know we are always looking for something new, something different for our groups; Globus  has introduced our Undiscovered Tour series to help you provide that one-of-a-kind 
experience your groups are looking for.  Our Undiscovered series invites you to rediscover familiar destinations like Britain and Italy in a whole new way.  We'll take you off the beaten path to lesser known sites that will fully immerse you in the culture.

Globus has been partnering with Heritage Clubs for almost 15 years, and we appreciate the partnership we have built over the years. Our goal is to help you provide your customers with an amazing experience to create happy guests.  The world is waiting for us to explore, and we look forward to helping you plan your next Journey with Globus Family of Brands.

Contact Rachelle Hildebrandt Stoutt, home office, Madison, WI 
608-628-8825 cell or

Enjoy your holidays and happy travels!

  Collette                 Islands in the Sun      Hospitality Tours     
Globus      CTN Travels