Active-at-Large Candidates (2 seats available)

Jim Byers

I’m pretty happy with the direction SATW is going, and I’d like to continue the work I’ve been doing. As head of the social media committee, I’ve helped the board fashion new social media and communication policies that are helping improve our performance, and providing the organization with a higher profile. I’ve also worked on the sponsorship committee, which is seeking to raise money to help offset our costs and provide even better professional development and stronger annual conventions.

The board also has worked hard to provide help to new members so they can better take advantage of everything the organization has to offer. And I have liaised with several major destinations that I hope might host future SATW conventions, or chapter/council sessions.

As a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada, with a part-time home in California, I think I also bring a valuable, cross-border point of view to the board.

I hope I can count on your support.

Terri Colby

I was happy to see that the contenders for this election include a number of well-qualified folks, some of whom I’m lucky enough to call my friends. But since there’s more than one spot open, I’m still in. Here we go.
I’ve been a professional journalist for decades, working at big-name newspapers after starting out at The Associated Press covering government and politics. I’ve taught graduate students at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and undergrads at DePaul University.

Trading hard news and a newspaper staff editing job for freelance travel writing more than 10 years ago, I’ve learned a lot along the way about how to pivot, find new opportunities and connect with the broader travel and tourism industry.

Since 2019, I’ve been on SATW’s Freelance Council Board, serving as first vice chair. But even in that role, I’ve felt that I didn’t know enough about what was happening on the full board. That’s one of the reasons I’m running–because I think my viewpoint would be useful as I’m not part of the regular contingent of diligent volunteers who have held these jobs in recent years. Sometimes a fresh perspective is useful, and that’s what I’m offering. I’m a collaborative problem solver, well versed in journalism ethics and business, skilled at learning new tools to enhance storytelling, and grounded in the fundamentals that shape all content, no matter the platform.

I’m interested in ensuring that the membership is better informed on what’s happening on the board, and I’d like to help in bringing more benefits to the membership at large. And I want to figure out ways for us all to make more money. Big task, I know. Let’s center the conversation on that.

For me, this role comes down to having a voice in finding ways for us to do our best work in a changing industry. I welcome your consideration.

David DeVoss

My membership in the Society of American Travel Writers spans 30 years. I’m asking you to support my candidacy for the position of Active-at-Large. Can I claim to bring “new blood” to the governing board if elected? Probably not. But with longevity comes perspective and an awareness of what works and what doesn’t

I can appreciate the difference between a conscientious SATW president who serves as an articulate ambassador for our organization over one whose year passes without any new initiatives. I’ve seen major changes made unilaterally by arrogant leaders who refuse to call a vote of the membership, as well as incremental progress made by dedicated board members who push through vital reforms initiated by their predecessors.

The current Board of Directors recently decided to publicize the Phoenix Awards more aggressively. This is a step in the right direction. The Phoenix Awards celebrate enlightened leaders in the travel industry, people who value sustainability and the preservation of tourism destinations like the U.S. Civil Rights Trail and Oklahoma’s First Americans Museum that define our national identity. The awards showcase the best of what this and other countries have to offer travelers. The cities, companies and individuals who receive a Phoenix Award deserve to be recognized, as do the members of SATW who honor their achievement.

In addition to continuing to promote the visibility of the Phoenix program, I’d like to expand the general public’s awareness of SATW by aggressively publicizing the winners of the Lowell Thomas and Bill Muster Awards and by bringing increased attention to the writers and photographers who win individual chapter and council editorial competitions.

Good journalists aren’t defined by editorial contests. But those who excel in telling a good story and framing a still photo that almost vibrates with energy deserve recognition. We spend most of our time profiling people, places, hospitality businesses and natural attractions. Let’s make a greater effort to promote ourselves and the work we do.

Erica Ho

Though I am recent SATW member, joining in 2022, my career in media spans over 15 years throughout the business and editorial side. I started my career at Gawker and TIME Magazine, and have written for publications such as CNN, MSN, The Huffington Post, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Mashable, and others.

These days, I run Map Happy, which joined Penske Media late last year. It is vitally important to me that the world that writes about it looks like they come from the world. There is a wide array of reasons why diversity of thought and culture is integral to what we do: Greater distribution of wealth, better reporting and real access to the rest of the world.

This requires building more bridges throughout travel publishing, the DMO, PR and marketing side of the travel industry to how we can best support this. More than ever, in a post-COVID world, we have the best opportunity for change to rebuild our industry more intentionally and thoughtfully.

Michael Snell

My membership in SATW has meant a great deal to me since I joined over 20 years ago. The most rewarding years have been the those when I have been most involved — especially at the Board level. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve this organization again and to represent all of my fellow Active members as an Active-at-Large we navigate the future of travel journalism.

I feel there is a great deal we can do to improve the public image of SATW and to promote our members’ diverse skills. I would like to work to make SATW a more valuable organization to each and every member. I continue to serve at the committee level, but experience has shown me that being on the Board is the best way to be able to have a real impact on the issues that interest me most.

I am a partner in the branding firm Jackalope (with fellow SATW member, Doug Stremel) and we helped to rebrand SATW in 2019. The resulting logo continues to served SATW well, but I would love to work with the Board to further develop and implement our brand across all channels.

I have been a photographer member of SATW since 2002. I served on the SATW Board as Freelance Council Chair from 2009 to 2011 and as Active-at-Large from 2014 to 2016.

I was the Chair of the Photographers Sub-Council from 2016 until it’s dissolution, and now serve on the Photography and Muster Committees. I have served at Chapter level (Central States) as Second Vice Chair and more recently returned to the Freelance Council Board as Secretary.

I have previously served on the Branding and Marketing Committees, Co-chaired the Wenzhou Annual Convention and have been a committee member for three other Annual Conventions: Professional Development for New Zealand, and Pre- and Post-Tours for both the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Iceland conventions. I am currently Co-chairing the upcoming Freelance Council meeting planned for Extremadura, Spain, in November.

I hope you will give me the opportunity to represent you on the SATW Board once more. Thank you.