January 2017

A Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year to fellow Skålleagues everywhere……

Fellow Skålleagues

A message from Skål International, Washington DC President, 

James J. Enright

Dear Skålleagues,

I am honored to stay on as your President for a second year and I thank you for your continued support.

Our new Officers, 

VP, Andres Hayes; 

Secretary, Morgan Maravich and 

Treasurer, Barry Biggar, 

and I are looking forward to a successful 2017 and promise our full commitment to keeping Skål Washington DC amongst the leaders within Skål International, world-wide.

2017 goals include;

1.  Membership: 

It is important to have a strong and vibrant club with membership participation. We all need to help to increase our club membership- This is always a top priority and this year we are going to offer some incentive rewards to our membership as a way for you to refer potential members.

2. Club of the Year for 2017

Andres Hayes will chair the committee of a winning team for Skål DC. This is very important and will help Skål DC receive the recognition we deserve for all the activities accomplished in 2016-17. Every member plays a part in the success of the club, so please know that we will be doing some interviews/video shots during our dinner meetings and will want you to participate.

3. Skål Scholars Program

Chris Seek, Chair, is expanding the Skål Scholars program to other universities in the area like George Mason-Georgetown-Howard- This program was accepted by Skål USA and Skål International as a great introduction to Travel & Tourism Graduate students and will be rolled our around the world over the next few years.

4. Special Guest Speakers Series

We have lined-up some Tourism/ Hospitality Executives to speak at a number of our monthly meetings. While dates have still to be confirmed, our target is to have one guest speaker per quarter. Please keep an eye on our Monthly Talking Points for actual dates on those who have already committed.

Craig J. Flynn- Director, Travel and Relocation Policy for GSA

Cait DeBaun- Director, Communications-Project Time Off

Matthew MacLaren-Senior Vice President Member Relations AHLA 

5. IPW 2017

Barry Biggar will chair the Skål DC committee as this is the first time that IPW show is in DC. We will need our Skål DC members to participate as volunteers during the show- June 3-7, 2017

6. Twinning

Steve Richer, Chair of the Twinning Committee has plans in place to twin with other major capital cities around the world.

I look forward to meeting many of you at our January Meeting at the Westin City Center (Tuesday 24th) and seeing all of you at our get togethers over the next few months I wish you all a Healthy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year

Skål  International, Application

Please complete the form, print and sign it and mail to Carol Betz.

The above headings are hyperlinks to those particular pages on our web-site. For help on any of the above topics, please click on that wording, while online

From the Desk of our Executive Secretary..........Carol Betz


If you have NOT RENEWED your membership for 2017, then please do so!   

Full payment is due by January 20!   Our club dues and final roster must be submitted to SIUSA / SI by the end of January; therefore, we must have all dues collections and renewals finalized prior to submitting our roster.  Any members that have not paid their annual dues nor contacted us regarding their intent to renew will have to be terminated.    Dues can be paid online via credit card or you can send payment by check.  

Please send check payments, made payable to Skal Washington, via USPS mail to:  

Carol Betz, Skal Washington - 12700 Hunting Horn Court, Potomac, MD 20854.

If you are unable to make payment in full at this time, please contact me to advise whether you plan to renew your membership so we can make necessary arrangements.  We don’t want to terminate anyone, but if we do not hear from you, we will have to do so as the club cannot be responsible for payment.  Any members that are terminated may be easily reinstated once payment is received. 


NEW YEARS RESOLUTION!!  Start off  2017 with a pledge to introduce 1 new member to Skål in 2017!  And the sooner the better!!  We have a number of new categories open for membership; ie. Restaurants, Attractions, Tour Operators, Travel Insurance, etc.  If you have a colleague or working partner in the industry, please consult our Membership Chair, Bill Croke, bill.croke@gmail.com or contact the appropriate Category Chair to confirm the necessary qualifications.    Please allow 5+ business days for verification of applicant.



Please let us know of any news or special events your company may have to share!  Skal’s motto is “doing business among friends” so let’s make it easy to know how we can be of help to one another. 

Meet the 2017 Officers 


Skål International 

Washington DC 

President: James Enright.

James is Manager, Global Sales at HelmsBriscoe which is the leading site selection and meeting management company in the hospitality industry. He works closely with corporations and associations to identify and procure hotels at the greatest value for their meetings and events.

Previously he was Director of Sales with Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide based in Washington DC and was VP of Sales at GLH Hotel.  He was responsible for the Los Angeles and Orange County, CA offices at AlliedPRA, a global leader in the DMC marketplace. Earlier, he worked at Forte Hotels in senior management roles at hotels such as the Plaza Athénée and George V in Paris, and in the United States as Regional Director of Sales in Chicago and Los Angeles.   James has been a Skål International member since 1987 and is Past President (2003-4) of the Skål International Club of Orange Coast, California.  James is a graduate of Shannon College of Hotel Management, one of Europe's Premier Hotel Schools and lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife Lydia and has a daughter Ashley who lives nearby.

Vice President: Andres Hayes

Andres has 25 years of experience in Banking and Marketing most of them in the Credit Card Business where he worked for Visa International for 11 years; 7 years in Miami and 4 in London England.  One of the youngest Regional Managers he was selected as one of the key members to open to new Operations Center for Central Europe Middle East and Africa in 1994.  After Visa International he managed two major Card Operations Center in the Americas and Europe as Senior Vice President.  He was the Restaurant Manager for B. Smith’s in Washington DC for 4 years and the GM for The Mansion on O ST. for 2 years (Fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese).

He is extremely passionate about the hospitality industry and always focused in providing the highest level of service.

Secretary: Morgan Maravich

Morgan serves as manager, industry and member engagement, for the National Tour Association. She received her B.S. in Health, Fitness and Recreation Resources with a concentration in Tourism and Event Management from George Mason University in 2009 before becoming the tourism sales manager at Destination DC.  She recently received her Certified Travel Industry Specialist designation from the American Bus Association in January 2015, the Certified Student Travel Professional designation from the Student Youth Travel Association in August 2014 as well as her Certified Travel Associate designation in 2010. In addition to her work at Destination DC, Maravich has been actively involved with NTA, ABA and SYTA. She sat on various committees, which included NTA's Young Professionals Advisory Group and spent time as an associate director member of the SYTA Board of Directors. Most recently, she was elected to serve as the treasurer for 2016 for the Washington, D.C., chapter of Skål International. For 2014, Groups Today Magazine named Maravich one of the Top Ten Next Gens in Group Travel. Additionally, the Washington, D.C. Guild of Professional Tour Guides awarded her as the recipient of their 2015 Tourism Industry Contribution Award. Maravich just concluded a term as co-president for the College of Education and Human Development chapter on the George Mason University Alumni Board. She currently resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband David and their dog Hadley.

Treasurer: Barry Biggar

Barry has been with Visit Fairfax, as President and CEO since August of 2008.

Biggar came to Fairfax County Virginia from Bryan-College Station Texas where he held the position of President & CEO for their Convention & Visitors Bureau for over five years.  He went to Texas after serving for four years as Vice President, Sales and Marketing for the Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau in Kentucky. Prior to Lexington, Barry was with the Calgary, Alberta, Canada Convention & Visitors Bureau for seven years where he held the positions of Manager responsible for Europe, Manager responsible for all of Asia and Asia Pacific, Director of Sales for both leisure and business travel markets and ultimately the role of Senior Vice President of all sales, marketing and research responsibilities.

Before joining the Bureau in Calgary, Barry worked in the hospitality sector of the tourism industry for three years, in a variety of departments and positions at two of Calgary’s most recognized hotels.

Prior to entering the Hospitality and Tourism industry, Barry worked in both the retail sales industry and banking. 

Biggar has a degree in Commerce from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and prior to joining the Tourism Industry completed and received a diploma in Hotel & Restaurant Management at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in Calgary, Alberta.

He holds the internationally recognized Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME), a program of Destination Marketing Association International, sanctioned by the University of Purdue Lafayette and the University of Calgary. 

He has served on the Board of Directors of Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) the international association for Convention & Visitor Bureau’s, is a Past Chair and the Founding Chair of DMAI’s Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) the Accreditation program for Destination Marketing Organizations worldwide, was the Chair of Education for DMAI for three years and is a Past Chairman of the Board of Trustee’s for the international Destination and Travel Foundation.

Biggar is a past Chairman of the Texas Tourism Advisory Council for the Office of the Governor, is a past Board Member of the Texas Association of Convention & Visitor Bureau’s and is active on many other State, Regional and National organizations, boards and task forces related to the Tourism Industry.

Barry has been married to his wife Sharon for 25 years and has two children, Daniel and Cynthia.

Recent Happenings of our DC Skålleagues

DC Board Member Don Evans 


Skål NYC Holiday Party 


club President Monica Ramos 

past President Juan Sepulveda

This Month's Skål DC Event

Reception & Dinner The Westin City Center

Hosted by: Laura Schofield, General Manager

Open to Members and  Guests

   Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Reception 6:00 PM

Dinner 7:00 PM

   The Westin City Center

1400 M St NW, Washington DC 20005

Special Parking Rate $15

11 minute walk from Farragut North Metro  

Phone: (202) 429-1700

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