Energize your personal leadership journey through powerful conversations, real-time collaboration and high-level discussions in roundtables with peers.

Summit education sessions qualify for certification credits for both the CSTO and the CSTP.



Thriving in Chaos
How to lead when everything is changing outside of your control..

Presenter: Corinne Hancock, Chaos Coach & Keynote Speaker

In business and in life, we’re put to the test not when things are going right, but when they get chaotic. How we react can be the difference between success and failure and determine whether our team comes together or falls apart. Learn strategies to adapt your thoughts and plans on a moment’s notice, lead through uncertainty, and thrive in chaos.

Thriving in Chaos challenges participants to explore diverse ideas, challenging assumptions and mindsets. It gives participants practical tools and ideas for how to prepare for change, how to deal with it when it hits and how to rise to the occasion and lead yourself and others, regardless of the organizational challenges.

Corinne Hancock was on the front lines, building teams in high-pressure, stressful situations around the globe as the Director of Clinics for Project CURE, and as a State Department leadership coach. She brought together multi-generational and multi-cultural teams to train leaders, open clinics and deliver medical care in some of the most remote locations on the planet.

What You’ll Get From This Session:

  • Tested Framework that shows you how to prepare for chaos, what to do when it happens and how to be at your best when things are challenging.
  • Strategies to prepare yourself and your team to thrive in chaos, no matter the situation.
  • Tools you can immediately use to improve collaboration and enhance the effectiveness of your communication.
  • Exercises that reveal how your thoughts, actions and language influence others and impact your ability to thrive in chaos.

Two Part Session – Friday and Saturday


Storytelling in Business

Presenter: Scott Whitehair, Storyteller, Instructor, Producer

No one has ever gone to lunch with a colleague or friend and said “I’ve got to tell you about this bullet point I read yesterday!” Storytelling is a vital tool in all business, far from a soft skill. The good news is that we are all born storytellers, but the bad news is that not all of us put in the time and effort to fully develop this skill in our work lives, whether in presentations, in the office, or over coffee. In this interactive, failure-proof session, we will explore core concepts and experiment with the some key techniques of the skillful tale teller, including audience engagement, structure, and generating effective material. You’ll leave with some new tools, a better understanding of tools you already possess, and a game plan for continuing to develop your voice and material long after our time together has ended.   


Understanding Consumer Protection in Student Travel
Certified Student Travel Organization Standards Course: ADM # 3

Presenter: Bill CaldwellCEO, Caldwell CPAs



Travel organizations seeking their CSTO must take a Consumer Protection Awareness seminar to fulfill this requirement for certification.  This course will also be required for anyone applying for their CSTP or renewing their CSTP in 2020.  Both tour operators and sponsors are encouraged to attend.

The session includes general liability and errors and omissions insurance, travel insurance, bonds, and proper accounting practices in the use of an escrow account. The seminar will also value why understanding consumer protection is important to our industry.

Managing Mis/disinformation

Presenter: Barbara McCormack, Vice President, Newseum Education

Where misinformation refers to inaccuracies that stem from error, disinformation is deliberate falsehood promulgated by design. Misinformation can be used to define disinformation—when known misinformation is purposefully and intentionally disseminated. Definition by Wikipedia.

 Once you have told your story – now you need to protect it from getting hacked. This fun and interactive session will teach you how to identify mis/disinformation, how it can impact you both personally and professionally, tools to combat it, and how you can respond if you are a victim.




Crisis Response Planning
Certified Student Travel Organization Standards Course: CRP # 8

Presenters: Michael Bowers, President and CEO, Travel Safety Solutions and Katy Summers, Center For Student Travel Safety

Travel organizations seeking their CSTO and individual’s seeing their CSTP must take this course on developing a crisis plan to effectively respond to and manage a critical situation. All attendees will benefit from planning ahead for a crisis. Session is for tour operators and sponsors.


A Story of Resiliency in Puerto Rico

Storyteller: Scott Whitehair, Storyteller, Instructor, Producer
Panel: Local Educators

The resiliency of teachers and students to whether chaos and disaster is amazing – just ask SYTA members working with students in Puerto Rico, Chico, California, Texas and Florida. How can we support their efforts to plan student travel in the face of these challenges?

Local teachers who faced very different dynamics of organizing student travel with downsizing of their educational system, the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and the overall political and social situation in PR will share their stories of hope and resiliency. Coached by Scott Whitehair.

Have a story to share, email Cathleen Johnson, [email protected].


Lunch with Tourism Cares

Presenter: Greg Takehara, CEO, Tourism Cares

Long time SYTA member, Greg Takehara will share his unique perspective as the new CEO of Tourism Cares and how their goals align with the student travel industry. 


Tell Your Unique Story

Presenter: Scott Whitehair, Storyteller, Instructor, Producer

Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Storytelling persuades, inspires, convinces, influences, and demonstrates value in a way that endless PowerPoint slides or stale pitches simply cannot. In this interactive, engaging session, we’ll look at the forms and shapes in which to finesse the material we all possess in order to build an impressive arsenal for moving those we engage with. We’ll explore a handful of proven story types, discuss the role of audience demographic, and pinpoint useful formats for your particular role in the industry. With these tools, you can begin to develop a selection of stories for any situation or audience, possibly during our hour together!   


A Look at Risk Management and Legal Issues for 2020

Presenters: Alastair MacMillan-Bell, Senior Vice President, Aon Travel Practice
Ken WhitmanSenior Program Manager, Aon Travel Practice
Jeff Ment, Managing Partner, Ment Law Group, PC

An annual look at what challenges lay ahead for travel organizations in risk management and their legal impact on student travel.  Attendees are encouraged to send their questions in advance of Summit to Carylann Assante, CAE at [email protected]

Steve Maehl, Global Travel Alliance

It was over ten years ago that I attended my very first SYTA event at the 2009 Summit. I learned a lot, and made new friendships, but what impressed me the most was discovering an organization that desired to come together to collectively improve our industry and continually works together to change young lives for good through travel.

Tara Hippensteel, Director of National Tour & Travel, Hard Rock Café

SYTA Summit provides an unique opportunity to get up close with my SYTA partners and many of our buyers. The environment lends itself to a causal, natural environment – no pressure just building my network!

Kara Mihalevich, President, Adventure Student Travel, LLC

To me, SYTA Summit is the most valuable conference that I attend. I always find the educational seminars very useful and because it is a smaller, more intimate conference, you get to build a much deeper relationship with the sponsors. This is also the only conference that I have ever really had the opportunity to get to know other attendees. I absolutely LOVE SYTA Summit!

Dr. Michael A. Mazzarisi, President, Performing Arts Consultants

The best part of a SYTA SUMMIT is that it provides the opportunity for travel professionals to meet in a conversable setting without the pressure of a 7 minute meeting or have to deal with the barrage of conference masses. Every tour operator has unique abilities, and since I am a big proponent of partnerships, SUMMIT becomes an ideal network to forge plans for new and exciting joint ventures.