2024 NTA Board of Directors Election
The NTA Nominating Committee announces the 2024 slate of candidates for the NTA Board of Directors. After vetting the applications, conducting interviews with each applicant, and considering the applicants’ qualifications and business type, the committee composed the following slate:
Tour Operator Directors
Vice Chair: Monique van Dijk-Seppola, Scandinavia Tours
Monique van Dijk-Seppola, Scandinavia Tours
From the time she was 11 years old, Monique has dreamed of organizing customized tours, so it was an obvious choice to pursue an education in tourism. She has never regretted this and has worked as a tour operator all her adult life. In addition to building her own tour operator business, she has led various projects and served as a board member for different companies. She has served the NTA board since 2018, partly through very challenging times during the pandemic.
From the beginning of her membership, she’s received help, encouragement, and business from NTA. She’s felt welcome from day one as an international member, but believes there is room in the organization for more international members. She looks forward to continuing to serve the board to help find a fine balance in this area.
Secretary: Michelle Pino, Northeast Unlimited Tours
Michelle Pino, Northeast Unlimited Tours
Michelle Pino is a seasoned and dedicated vice president and co-owner/founder of Northeast Unlimited Tours, Inc., located in the picturesque village of Sandwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. With an impressive 38 years of experience in the tourism industry, Michelle’s expertise in sales, marketing, and product development has been key to fostering strong, enduring client relationships. She takes pride in crafting imaginative and tailored tour packages that create lasting memories all while providing exceptional customer service. As a driving force behind Northeast Unlimited Tours, Michelle’s passion for excellence and commitment to providing top-tier services make her a true industry trailblazer. Her dedication to excellence ensures that each journey with Northeast Unlimited Tours is one that travelers will cherish for years to come.
Michelle lives in Sandwich and is the proud mother of her 19-year-old son Tyler, a rising college sophomore majoring in business/finance/sports management. He is also an avid golfer. Michelle enjoys making wonderful memories with family and friends, putting her toes in the sand whenever possible, and she loves to travel!
Tour Operator Director (three-year term): Richard Arnold, Atlantic Tours
Richard Arnold, Atlantic Tours
Richard has worked for Atlantic Tours for 35 years. NTA has been part of Atlantic Tours’ family since the beginning, providing the knowledge and framework to become the top-notch company they are today. NTA’s marketplace exposure allowed collaboration with DMO and travel trade partners to create excellent tour programs. Although much has changed during Richard’s years in the tour industry, and especially since 2020, NTA has remained a constant source of support. He feels it is now time to give back to NTA as our industry rebounds and help sculpt the organization’s future direction. He looks forward to brainstorming and working with others to create a stronger NTA that embraces new opportunities and tackles the challenges of the future.
Tour Operator Director (three-year term): Sheli Hinds Armstrong, Destination Southwest
Sheli Hinds Armstrong, Destination Southwest
Sheli Hinds Armstrong has over 30 years of experience in hospitality sales, marketing, tourism, and special event management. She loves NTA and has been involved on so many levels, usually while representing other organizations in hospitality.
Her wish is to positively impact NTA in a leadership role, and more important, to help make decisions that drive us closer to fulfilling our overall mission. And on a more personal level, to gain a high level of visibility and recognition in our community of travel professionals. She feels leadership is about collaboration and inspiring others to do their best work, to embrace their skills and talents, to speak up and be open, and to know they are in a safe place with colleagues that share the same goals and experiences.
Tour Operator Director (three-year term): Marcela Laukova, CTP, Discover Slovakia Tours
Marcela Laukova, CTP, Discover Slovakia Tours
Marcela was born and raised in little Slovak village under the Tatra Mountains in Eastern Europe. After a peaceful velvet revolution (1989) in Czechoslovakia, a turn from communism to market-oriented economy, and the opening of borders, Marcela could finally start to practice her lifelong dream: traveling the world! Her Alma Mater is the University of Economy in Bratislava, but she studied economy also in Vienna. She speaks fluently Slovak, German, English and Russian. Thanks to her language abilities and passion for traveling, she started her career as a tour director mainly for tours within Europe and North America. From this job, she has developed her first tour operating company. With 25 years of experience in travel business, of which 16 years focused on inbound travel, she has great experience with all sorts of leisure and incentive programs. Marcela works closely with clients to offer the best possible experience and travel value and is very organized and attentive to details.
Tour Operator Director (one-year term): Stacy Barry, Sharin' the South Tours
Stacy Barry, Sharin’ the South Tours
Stacy’s career started in education as a teacher, and she later took on the role of school counselor. Once her husband retired from the army, Stacy left the education profession after 16 years to join her family company, Sharin’ Nashville and See Memphis Tours. She has served as marketing director, operations manager, tour planner, and many other roles in her six-year tenure. During the pandemic, the company rebranded to Sharin’ the South Tours, and they now enjoy acting as a receptive tour operator all over the state of Tennessee as well as sharing key destinations in the Southeast United States. They also service American Queen and Viking River Cruises in all of their Tennessee-based excursions in Memphis, Nashville, and Clarksville as well as the Mississippi Delta region. Stacy holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in social studies and school counseling. Her work in education gives her an intricate knowledge of what student groups need in their travel experiences, and her life in the military community helps her plan military reunions and senior trips. Stacy says, “I am so excited to serve an organization that works so hard to educate, empower, and connect professionals in the tourism industry.”
Tour Supplier Directors
Tour Supplier Director (three-year term): Cory Mace, Badger Coaches
Cory Mace, Badger Coaches
Cory began his journey in the travel industry during his college years when he worked as a front desk employee in the hotel industry. Over time, he diligently advanced his career and transitioned into sales. It was in 2008 that he discovered the motorcoach market, sparking his interest and, now, his involvement. His commitment to the motorcoach industry led him to become a board member of Circle Wisconsin, where he currently holds the position of president.
Through NTA, he has successfully secured numerous business opportunities stemming from the connections established at both Travel Exchange and Contact. He feels what makes NTA truly exceptional is the warm and welcoming nature of its membership, making it effortless to connect with fellow industry professionals. After a previous term as a board member in 2018, Cory is eager to continue that work and is committed to helping the organization reach new heights and achieve its goals.
DMO Director (three-year term): Jalyssa Gasmen, Visit Mesa
Jalyssa Gasmen, Visit Mesa
Jalyssa looks forward to serving on the NTA board and having the chance to actively contribute to the growth and development of the tourism industry, collaborate and network with industry professionals, shape industry policies and guidelines, and engage in strategic decision-making for the organization. During her years in the travel industry, she has accumulated valuable experience. As a sales assistant for Visit Mesa, she contributed to promoting the destination and supporting sales efforts. Building upon this role, she transitioned to a tourism sales manager at Visit Tucson, where she successfully managed sales activities and fostered partnerships for five years. Demonstrating her adaptability, she then served as a tour planner manager at Pleasurebent Tours, where she excelled in organizing and coordinating tours for a period of six months. She is now back at Visit Mesa as the director, visitor marketing.
Tour operators will vote for four operator candidates and officers, tour suppliers for supplier candidates, and DMOs for DMO candidates.
Each member company/organization in good standing may cast only one ballot, and more than one ballot cast will result in the elimination of all votes submitted by one member company/organization. Ballots will be distributed by e-mail to the primary contacts of all tour operators, tour suppliers, and DMOs Sept. 27. If you need a paper ballot, email Jennifer Royse. NTA will host a virtual Annual Business Meeting Oct. 26, when members can hear from the nominees and have an opportunity to ask questions. Online voting will remain open until Oct. 26. The 2024 NTA Board officially will be announced during Travel Exchange in Shreveport.
- Travel Exchange is worth every penny. The networking is great, and there is always business to be made to show ROI for your decision makers. The investment is worth the reward. Cory Mace, Badger Bus
- What NTA does is provide the right buyers. They provide the right people who make decisions. This is what makes this organization one I can’t afford to take off my list. John Stachnik CTP, Mayflower Tours, NTA member since 1979
- I came to NTA to build a business, and that’s exactly what it did for us, as sales came in. For me, it’s the only outlet for new ideas. Matthew Squire, Select Travel Service (UK), NTA member since 2002
- The No. 1 member benefit of NTA has to be all the great professional and personal connections we’ve made over the past decade. Taunya Wolfe Finn, CTP, Wolfe Adventures & Tours, NTA member since 2005
- We have not found a more reliable, more profitable or more consistent tourism venue in which to acquire new business than NTA. Diane Hohnstein, Hospitality Management Services, NTA member since 1999
- You guys at NTA have the best bunch of members I have ever come across. I had one of my best shows ever. Everybody was so nice and welcoming, and the organization of the event was spectacular. I am so happy to be a member and be assured of my continued support in the future. Bernard O'Reilly, Joe O'Reilly Ireland DMC
- NTA events provide us with beneficial networking with many top tour operators. It’s national and international in scope providing a global perspective. Tim and Elaine Moulder, Brilliant Edventures, NTA member since 2015