2022-2023 Active-at-Large Candidates (2 seats)

Terri Colby

It’s important for SATW to be at the table as the travel industry recovers from global disruption.
I believe my collaborative problem-solving style mixed with decades of journalism experience puts me in a good position to represent our members and strive for transparency.

That’s why I’m running for one of the active at-large positions on the board. Also, I was happy to learn that a couple of other Midwesterners are running as well since I think geographic representation is important. (I’m from Chicago.)

I’ve been a professional journalist for more than 25 years, working for what was once called the world’s largest news-gathering organization (The Associated Press) and one of the U.S.’s largest newspapers (The Chicago Tribune), among others. I’m old enough to have helped create news websites in the early days of the internet, and young enough to navigate the latest tools needed to adapt and succeed in a changing environment. And to know that learning is the key to success.

As an at-large member I would work to achieve more transparency for the membership. I’m currently on the Freelance Council board, and still know very little about how the big board works. I was surprised to learn recently, for example, that no money from the membership fees is shared with the local councils. That doesn’t seem right to me. I don’t know if I could change that, but I’d like to try to figure it out.

I welcome your consideration.

Maureen Littlejohn

Hello SATW! I have been an Active member of this organization since 2007 and I love it as much as I’m sure you do. SATW is a robust organization that offers a lot to its members. As your Active at Large representative, I’d like to help the executive team make sure it stays that way.

After two terms as chair of the Canadian Chapter (2017-2021), I feel it is time to throw my hat into the Society-level ring. Having sat on the board as Chapter Chair, I understand how important it is to provide input and voice concerns about decisions that affect us all, from requalification, to membership fees, to deciding on our annual conference sites. During my years as Chapter Chair, I acted as liaison for the Phoenix Awards committee and the History committee, making sure their action requests were voted upon during board meetings. For my own chapter, I oversaw an outstanding executive that pulled together convivial holiday parties, stellar chapter meetings, and informative professional development – even during the pandemic.

I realize how essential it is to have all our Active members’ points of view conveyed. Whether you are a digital publisher, editor or freelance journalist, your differing interests must be represented. I would be proud to represent my fellow Actives on the SATW board. If you vote for me as a Active at Large representative, I will listen to your ideas and concerns and make sure they are considered by the board. I’d like to keep an open line of communication and make sure I serve you to the best of my abilities. As a travel journalist with 20+ years of experience, I have an eye for detail, am a good listener and know how to get a message across. Vote for me and I’ll put these skills to work for you.

Kirsten Maxwell

I have been a member of SATW since 2018, and have seen many benefits. For me, serving on the SATW board would be the perfect opportunity to give back. Currently, I am part of the SATW Membership committee and the secretary for the DPC council, but I feel like I could contribute more. I have been a member of both the Freelance and Digital Publishers Councils. I think this experience could bring together the many facets of our organization.


In the past few years the industry has transformed and many businesses have pivoted. I think SATW has made a solid attempt to keep up with all of these changes, but I feel we could do a better job of connecting and communicating across councils and as an organization as a whole.


There is a lot of confusion about what DPC is, and what it isn’t, and I would love an opportunity to work with all members to ensure all voices are being heard. We need to focus on the needs of all members, not just the needs of our own respective groups. I would like to find a way for members to learn from one another. Thank you for your support and your vote.

Meryl Pearlstein

SATW has been an important part of my professional life from my days as an Associate when I joined in 1999, through the establishment of my PR and writing company, and now as an Active member of the Freelance Council.


I’ve always made it a priority to give back to organizations I believe in. With SATW, I’ve served as a committee chair at just about every annual conference I’ve attended including Marketplace, Day Tours, Registration, Sites, and leading the First Timers Event for more than a decade. I have been involved in the day-to-day workings of SATW as Secretary of the Associates Council for two terms and as Chair of the Membership Benefits committee for many years. I’ve also worked on Branding, Professional Development and Publicity.


An organization is only as strong as its members and its ability to foster connection and teamwork to increase relevance and adaptation. That’s exactly why I proposed the creation of the Volunteers Committee, which I currently co-chair, with a goal of forward organizational movement and connection. This year, we can be proud of the increasing importance of SATW in the travel world, its association with journalistic and photographic excellence, and its forward thinking through the DEAI committee, the webinar program, and the incorporation of the Digital Publishers Council. We’re definitely headed in the right direction.


Now we are confronted with recovery from the unimaginable, a situation that necessitates even greater cooperation as we figure out our new reality and work together to improve each one of our situations.


During these times, everyone needs a voice. We need to have a conduit to address concerns, large and small, and to vote on important issues to the Society. I would be honored to again serve in that capacity. My years in both PR and writing have given me invaluable experience in navigating hurdles faced by Associates as well as Actives, from managing travel clients to negotiating writing contracts for guidebooks, newspaper and magazine articles, and now, importantly, for self-publishing and online media.


I have survived difficult times before the pandemic, with 9/11 and the 2008 financial downturn necessitating radical pivots on my part. Together, we will continue to reinvent and resuscitate. To seek out new ways to develop, learn and prosper. It will be challenging, but SATW is an organization that understands and is poised to react and change as the travel world evolves.


It would be a privilege for me to serve as your Active-at-Large for a second term, to continue the work begun during our unusual virtual and semi-virtual times. Now that we’re together in person, there’s even more that can be accomplished. I promise to listen, advocate and address. And to figure this all out together with you. Thank you for your support.

Jack Schnedler

As an SATW active member since 1983, and a former past president of the society along with former Central States chairman, I’ll aim if elected Active at-large to bring a long-range perspective to the 21st-century needs of members amid Travel journalism’s ongoing changes.

I know that earning a decent living from Travel journalism has become even more challenging in the 21st-century online world than it was back when our words and photos were printed on the residue of dead trees. I have no magic answers, but I’ll apply whatever experience and energy I can muster to help.

I am a lifetime SATW member by virtue of my term as president in 1995. I also would still qualify as an active member on account of the weekly stories I have written for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Features section since 2013 — more than 400 to date. Since 2018, I also have done a travel story most months for Arkansas Living magazine.

Previously, I wrote dozens of stories for the Democrat-Gazette’s Travel section while employed as Deputy Managing Editor/Features before retiring from full-time work in 2011.

From 1982 until the end of 1994, I was Travel editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. I was honored in 1994 as Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year. The following year, I gained the Silver Award as runner-up for that prize.

A scattering of SATW veterans may remember me from those bygone days, when I bought stories from dozens of society members. If elected, I’ll count on getting to know a lot more of you while we work together to make travel journalism as relevant and rewarding as possible.

Doug Stremel


I joined SATW as a photographer member in 2014. I served two terms as Secretary of the SATW Freelance Council, and also as a committee member on the photographer’s sub-council. I’ve also served on numerous association boards and community nonprofit boards.


When I saw Larry Bleiberg’s note looking for additional board candidates, I knew now was a great time to run. Hopefully soon we’ll be waving goodbye to the COVID years in the rearview mirror. We all learned to do things differently over the last several years, and I think we can use some of those ideas and energy to rethink and reenergize SATW. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but I’m committed to working with members and the board to make positive progress. Some of my initial objectives will involve communications and technology. My background in advertising/marketing/technology will be an asset in those efforts.


So, a little about me. Lawrence, KS resident. Wanderer. Traveler. Storyteller. Family-guy. Foodie. For the past 30 years I’ve been telling visual stories. I wandered across
America as a broadcast photojournalist. Then as an advertising creative director, writer, and designer, I created a portfolio of innovative branding for companies across the Midwest. And now as designer, photographer and commercial director, I continue to tell stories with pictures and sound. My ‘day job’ now is running my design/branding company named Jackalope.


My work has received numerous awards including Emmy, CLIO, National Addy, Communication Arts, and SATW Muster Awards. But I think I’m most proud of getting a photo in National Geographic. And, winning the Iceland Photo Shootout was pretty cool, too. You can see some of his recent work at dougstremel.com


In addition to photography, I love to cook and eat and get lost around the world. I hope you will give me the opportunity to serve on the SATW Board of Directors. Thanks for your consideration. Roam far and wander wide. – doug