Vice President Candidate: Tony Hoover
Owner, Red Line Group Travel
I do not want to tell membership that they should vote for me. Membership should vote for who they feel is the right person to fulfill the role of Vice President. Personally, I feel this is the right time for me. If the passion I have for what I do shines through, if membership recognizes that, and if they see the qualities of a leader in me then I would be honored to take on that role.
I also recognize that taking on this role means having the ability to listen, and work with others to accomplish the mission of the organization, as opposed to using the role to leverage a personal agenda. I also recognize that the role of President is transitory and that it’s important to use that position to carry forth and pass on the ingredients of our accomplishment to keep SYTA moving forward.
Briefly describe your experience in the student travel industry, including any volunteer or leadership positions which you have held.
I have served as the owner operator of a student travel oriented business for 18 years. I learned all that I know initially through the experience of trial and error but refined my best practices as a SYTA member tour operator. Additionally, I have served as a Trustee for the SYTA Youth Foundation and most recently a Board Member for SYTA.
Why do you want to serve on the SYTA Board of Directors and how will SYTA benefit if you are elected to the Board of Directors?
My first two years as a board member, and active participant, were mainly about learning how SYTA operates and understanding the challenges we must undertake as a young organization. I now feel I have enough information and experience with regard to these challenges that I can make reasonable determinations when working with other board members on important decisions going forward.
Why do you want to serve as SYTA Vice President and how will SYTA benefit if you are elected Vice President?
There are several answers I have to this question but I will limit it to two. Firstly, on a personal level, taking on a leadership role such as Vice President, is crucial for my own personal development at this point in my life and career and I feel the timing is right. Secondly, I’m passionate about what I do for a living and feel that my passion will translate to membership in this leadership role.
In referring to SYTA’s Strategic Plan, what aspects of the plan are you most engaged in and how do you feel you can help SYTA achieve these strategic objectives?
Quite obviously for me that would be member retention and recruitment. With the refinement of the Team LA initiative I have been working on in Los Angeles I believe Los Angeles will become a template or model that could ultimately lead to a SYTA local chapter program. This program could very well lead to new revenue streams for SYTA and also new sources of revenue for the SYTA Youth Foundation. This template, if launched nationally, will help extend the SYTA brand much farther than we are able to achieve now.
What do you see as the challenges facing the student travel industry? What can SYTA do to meet those challenges?
The two main challenges I see facing the industry are 1) educating the educational community on why the services of a student tour operator is relevant even as information and tools become increasing available to educators. 2) advocacy for student tour operators as local governments increasingly complicate our ability to work with educators.
Please comment on the significance of the SYTA Youth Foundation and its role in furthering SYTA as the Voice of Student & Youth Travel?
In other countries schools have “funds” in place to help assist disadvantaged families so that their children can travel with their school mates. This does not exist in the US or Canada. The SYTA Youth Foundation fills in that gap for young and deserving youth who happen to find themselves in need. Secondly, the Foundation also functions to bring our community together outside of our day-to-day business regimen. The Foundation is a great place to focus our energies in a positive and altruistic way to benefit our personal selfs and our travel industry community.