We were thankful to be together for this special afternoon. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from our outgoing President of the last two years, Beth Stehley. We also welcomed our new 2022 board who will have Mary Chin leading at the helm.
Many thanks to the Boston Harbor Hotel for an unforgettable luncheon. Several Skålleagues mentioned that they were nearly moved to tears their meal was so outstanding (I agree).
Please enjoy the photos below. In our header photo:
Left to Right: Stephanie Pappas (Treasurer), Joe Mellia (Board-at-Large), Beth Stehley (Immediate Past President), Marianna Accomando (Board-at-Large), Kevin Panetta (Vice President), Mary Chin (Newly Installed President 2022), Efren Aponte (Secretary), Erin Gilroy (Board-at-Large), Trish Berry (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer), Dennis Graham (Outgoing Auditor), Carrie Campbell (Board-at-Large / Membership Chair)
Beth Stehley’s Outgoing Remarks After Two Years at the Helm as President:
WOW – who would have imagined at my first in person luncheon at the Marriott Copley Place in February 2020, thank you Erin, what the next 24 months would bring to the world and our industry? What an unexpected ride this has been.
I have come to dislike the word pivot, but I don’t think there is a better word to describe what this club did to sustain our membership the past two years. None of us knew what to do in March 2020. Surveys were sent asking for your opinions, members of the Board of Directors, thank you Joe, and former President’s all jumped in to contribute to our success. Since that February day in 2020, this is only the 9th time in 25 months we have met in person.
Thanks to Greg Thomas, on our team at the GBCVB, we mastered the art of Zoom calls; hosting some very creative meetings; including a songwriter from Nashville who produced musical camaraderie among us on a cold January day with familiar tunes. Thank you Chris Pappas; to Damaris Messina of YAY Concierge who taught us the benefits wine, whiskey and yoga; my contractor is ready to join our Club after seeing and hearing the Jameson Whiskey presentation; to self-made videos Terrilynn and Carrie showing us how to make a charcuterie board to our fabulous Past Presidents submitting videos of the most memorable time during their Presidency; to our 2020 holiday party hosted by non-other than David Colella. Zooms truly held our club together during the Pandemic.
Dan Donahue was instrumental in bringing us together in person. First, he hosted an event for the Board to send champagne to each of us for the 2020 holiday season, and then he hosted in person 2021 board meeting in April 2021.
You filled out survey after survey helping to guide the club in what you wanted. You asked for outside events and to be creative with the luncheon format. Trish Berry with the Yotel was the first to host an in-person event. It had been 15 months from the time we last met. From there so many of our members Mary, Carrie, and Efren all offered unique outdoor space. It was like it was almost back to normal. And in many ways, it was. You helped raised over $40,000 for people less fortunate than us including over $7000 to the New England Society for Suicide Prevention at our December 2020 holiday Zoom when we lost one of own. In November 2021, 500 backpacks were filled with winter supplies and staples for homeless children and given to the New England Center for Homeless. And for that I thank you, for giving back is one reason why Skal is so important to me.
BUT we are not done yet, David and Terrilynn are busy putting the finishing touches on one more charitable event. Commencing in March for 2 weeks, there will be an online auction benefiting the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. This was our December 2021 charity and we felt it was important to honor our commitment to them.
As I was working on what to say, I realized how lucky I was to serve as your President during a Pandemic. You are all amazing individuals and your giving spirit never wavered through the very worst of times for our industry. Thank you.
To the members of both Skal International and Skal USA, thank you for your help, guidance, and leadership; especially to Holly Powers who as a member of our Club stayed the course with me for two years. To Martha Sheridan, Stephanie Pappas, Greg Thomas, Olivia Sullivan, and Rebecca Jones of the GBCVB, thank YOU for your support and letting me serve Skal Boston for two years.
To Julie Pagano, thank you for appointing me to work the chairs. What an opportunity I was given.
To my board the past two years, Terrilynn, Mary, Kevin, Efren, Stephanie, Trish, Rachelle, Marianna, Joe, Dan, Carrie, Dennis, and Mike, thank you for all of your friendship, help and love.
And finally, to Mary and her board, good luck. I know you will take this Club to new heights.
Thank you Skal Boston!
Mary Chin’s Presidential Acceptance Speech
Thank you Marianna Accomando and Carrie Campbell for your help with these chains. I have always looked to both of you for guidance, wisdom and friendship. You two are female powerhouses, mentors and community leaders and I feel your blessing in the weight of this necklace and for that, I thank you.
Good afternoon Skalleagues! This truly is an incredible honor to be standing before you today. Julie Pagano advised me that I am the 11th female president in this, the 83rd year of the establishment of Skal Club of Boston.
And …. The Boston Harbor Hotel is certainly a fitting location for this moment – not only for its beauty and its exceptional food and service, but because this is where it all started for me. My first job in hospitality that opened the door to this meaningful career. It must have been circa 2003 or 2004, I was a Conference Services Manager here and I remember holding doors and greeting guests for the SKAL luncheon and I K N E W that these luncheon attendees were the best of the best. The Hospitality Greats, if you will.
I stand here on the shoulders of many of those greats who have held this office before me. The shining members of this community who have kept SKAL traditions alive while simultaneously encouraging and allowing us to adapt and change to meet the needs of its membership. As a mark of respect, recognition and celebration of your accomplishments, Past Presidents, I’d like to make my first order of business an invitation
to you to wear your Past Presidents necklaces to every SKAL luncheon you attend.
The annual Past Presidents luncheon will always be a special event dedicated to you, but I invite you to proudly wear your badge of honor monthly, if you choose to.
When I reflect on what this club means to me – or in other words, the power and the purpose of this club, I can share it best by recalling a time where I felt it. It was a beautiful spring day in 2017, I think, at the luxurious Wequassett resort. We had been recepting with our faces in the sun after a long, cold winter and it felt amazing to have a warm, sunny day and sweeping views of Pleasant Bay. It was time to take our seats and do the ritual SKAL toast. Before delivering the toast, Andy Ross (who is here in the audience today) stood up and asked us to look around at each other – To really observe and take in the faces of the people in our industry who are making magic happen. I’ll never forget this moment of pride. This is our community, My community – our Boston Hospitality family – THIS is an incredibly special unit of professionals, colleagues, partners and friends who work hard to make indelible memories for all who travel and live here.
The members of this group have spent innumerable hours and days working through everything from: budgets, travel itineraries, flipping rooms, managing guest expectations, leading teams, understanding the technology that makes our industry better, and having exhausted legs after a site or a tradeshow. We’ve done the painstaking tetris project of trying to accommodate a big group – ensuring to ask the question, “Can you change your arrival date to a sunday? (amirite Joe Mellia?)”
You all are the heart of the Boston Travel and Tourism Community. Your magic dust is contagious and it draws visitors from near and far to stay and play.
The Boston Skal Club celebrates our grit, our passion and our pride and gives us a place to gather in fellowship and (let’s be honest to commiserate). It is an organization where we can raise money for worthy causes and recipients and continue to invest in scholarships for students who are learning our trade.
Six years ago, I started volunteering by making my way through the room selling raffle tickets to you.
My zeal for getting more money out of you was a true reflection of my desire to raise as much money as possible for our philanthropic pursuits . I met new people every month. I learned your names and learned about you. This year, I encourage you all – both veterans and rookies – to talk to someone new. Sit with someone you don’t know. Break bread with strangers. Get to know as many people in the room as you can so that we can uphold our mission of Doing Business with Friends.
I can tell you that this is where I want to be. I want to be in this room among and with all of you. I want to be a part of this team as we show the world that we are resilient and our industry will rebound and be stronger than ever. I, alongside this incredible board, promise to serve you, to represent you and to be guided by the worldwide ideals of SKAL: unity, good will, friendship, and fellowship.
Before I sit, I’d like to recognize Beth Stehley
This trailblazer is the only President in the history of the club who has served for two consecutive terms. In the best interest of the club for stability and leadership she offered to volunteer for an additional year to lead our club out of the proverbial “covid darkness”. Making decisions for the health and wellness of our members and pivoting on a moment’s notice to develop remote content to keep us connected are just a few of the amazing feats that Beth accomplished with grace and ease in 2020 and 2021.
We all owe her our gratitude. A sincere thank you to Beth Stehley. Beth, will you please come up here and accept a token of our appreciation? Thank you, Beth!
Now, I’d like to thank Stephen Johnston, Jennifer McMahon and Rachel Stiglets. This has been an amazing event – thank you! I also want to recognize this outrageous culinary team from the Boston Harbor Hotel. Could Chef and his team come out for a round of applause, please?