November 2020

HCI Monthly News & Updates
Message from our Board Chair

“Are we there yet?” This is normally heard traveling with children, but more and more it is hoping we have arrived in 2021! For a year that flew by quickly, it has been a long year! With the holidays fast approaching, we have a new appreciation for things we took for granted. Things as simple as toilet paper (who knew?) or a hug, sitting side by side in church, or seeing someone smile. I pray this all returns and we can get back to living our lives, but not without a newfound appreciation.

I would like to let you all know that after five years as Heritage Club Director (almost eight years with the bank), I have resigned from my position. My last day is Saturday, November 14th. I have accepted a position with a dentist office here in town. Although I am looking forward to the change, this was not a quick decision. There was too much to lose.

My appreciation for HCI runs deep. Coming into my position as a director, not knowing a thing about travel, they took me in and have helped me grow. The relationships I have made along the way will be remembered and cherished. To be your Board Chair this last year has been fun and educational; I am a better person for it. I will miss working with Cindy Blaine. She is the Laverne to my Shirley. The Bert to my Ernie. The Laurel to my Hardy. My partner in crime but most important, my friend. (Stop crying Cindy). Please take care of her. She will need someone to hold her hand (inside joke).

Smile often, laugh more. Life is too short to be serious. There is something funny in every situation. When you find it, think of me; I would probably be laughing too.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying Goodbye so hard.” - Winnie the Pooh


Melanie Davis, CBCD
Farmers Savings Bank & Trust
Vinton, IA

Note from the Executive Director - November 4, 2020:
I have had the pleasure of working with many HCI Chair people over the past 20 years. I am always amazed at how our bank club directors always seem to elect just the right person for the time they are serving. Melanie has had the most unusual time in which to serve - during the time of Covid-19! Her wonderful spirit towards every member, her sense of humor during some difficult days, and the wisdom and graciousness with which she has led HCI has been remarkable.  We have held more board meetings than normal years and have asked more of our Chair as a result. She has stepped forward whenever we have asked for her assistance and helped us serve our members well in a tough year for everyone. Tina and I are very proud to call her our friend, and we only wish the very best for her in her new career. Imagine....she is going from a place I love dearly (HCI) to a place I dislike more than nearly anything (the dentist!). I am sure she will be responsible for making at least one dentist office less painful to visit!

Today, November 4th is her final board meeting, at which time we have invited Amber Thomas to act as the Interim Board Chair. Amber was very kind to agree to hold this position until the Peer Group Conference in February, when we will be electing our new board. So, please send Melanie all the best wishes possible on her new endeavor, and let Amber know you are there to support her.

Ted Nelson
Executive Director

Friday, November 13
10-11 am CT

While we are sad to see her go, we want to honor Melanie and the lesson she taught us many times - "never miss an opportunity to have a good time with friends!!"

Join us for a Zoom party next week to celebrate Melanie Davis as she heads off on her next great adventure.

Covid has given us the gift of being able to get together virtually for any type of occasion, and we're going to take advantage of it to say goodbye to Melanie face-to-face. Pop in when you can...stay as long as you like!

Contact Tina to get Melanie's email address to stay in touch.
Meeting ID: 872 6508 5403
Passcode: 091126

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Remember to Renew Your HCI Membership

Partners, we have moved our annual renewal deadline for all of our members to October 1. Our bankers submit travel reports that we use to prepare the report content that we present to you at Peer Group. Changing the renewal date will help us collect their travel reports earlier in the year so we can be better prepared for our Peer Group conference which has moved from March to February. Keeping all of our members on the same renewal cycle will simplify our record keeping. The new annual membership period will run from October 1 through September 30, going forward. Renew online today!

We value your partnership with us and look forward to continuing to work together in this new membership year.

3 Simple Questions

Last month's response

Here are Melanie's responses to our three questions last month:

What is your favorite item on your desk?
  • Blue Fenton glass shoe

If you were stranded on an island with no technology, what is something you would make sure you had with you for entertainment?
  • Paint and brushes

If a movie was being made about you, what famous actor/actress would play you?
  • Tina Fey

New Questions!
We have three more fun questions for you this month.

Happy Thoughts

Wes Stoner of Myer Hotels has some good news to share from Branson.

I wanted to share some positive news for the HCI community from here in B-Town. Myer Hotels hosts a FAM Trip every September and back on the weekend of September 18th we had 19 companies in attendance with 37 people from a variety of states (IN, TX, WI, PA, CA, FL, TN, MO, MS, KY, WI, SC, IA) representing banks, travel agencies, tour operators, churches, coach companies and more. We were able to showcase all that Branson has to offer and found that 40% of the attendees had never been to our great city. We are super excited about what this will do for the future of Branson's group travel.

If you have some happy news that you would like to share please send us your short description so we can let our members know.
We have a few more PTO endorsements to share with you. Club Directors have sent us videos where they share their experiences working with HCI Preferred Tour Operators. Click on the names below to watch.

Love using HCI's Preferred Tour Operators?
Send us your video testimonials

It's easier than you think.

  1. Record a short message on your phone.
  2. Send the file to using

Whenever you have a chance, please record your own personal testimonials about your experience using our Heritage Clubs PTOs during Covid. Tell us an experience you had with a PTO that helped you manage the Covid travel problems.We are trying to separate our PTOs from the rest of the tour operator world by showing how well they have responded to everything including cash refunds where requested.

We want to use these stories in our Peer Group marketing and to encourage your fellow and new directors to book their tours with our incredible PTO members.

  • Please provide testimonials of your experience using the PTOs during Covid. Be as detailed as possible and feel free to incorporate humor and sentiment! Everyone loves to laugh and feel a tug on their heart strings 😊

  • Feel free to give a shout out to HCI for providing amazing resources which include our 8 PTOs.

  • Don’t pay attention to the length of your video. Take your time and share your experience to the best of your ability, in your own words and cadence. 

  • In addition to your detailed testimonial(s), please provide some “quick-bites”. Things we hear often such as, “I can’t imagine NOT using a PTO” or “Heritage Clubs is a family”. These can be easily incorporated into videos and promotions later on.

  • Make sure that you have good lighting - you want to be facing the light source - and be aware of any background noise that could be distracting or make it difficult to hear your voice.

  • When recording yourself, make sure you are taking the video horizontally.

 For assistance, contact Ezra Wood by email or call 417-379-4709.