2020-2021 Eastern Chapter Candidates

Associate Representative

Barbara Golden

I have the highest respect for the Society of American Travel Writers, including the impressive code of ethics and high standards that membership requires. I am also impressed with the networking and professional development opportunities offered. I hope that you will consider me a candidate to serve as the representative to SATW Eastern Chapter representing the Associates interests. I believe that I bring a strong set of organizational skills that would be of value to the growth of the organization.


I have worked as Communications Manager at the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra VCB for more than 15-years, where my primary role is media relations. In this capacity I have built and maintained important relationships that have helped our destination grow. I have also served on various committees of various organizations in my community and on the VISIT Florida Public Relations and Cultural, Heritage, Rural and Nature Committees. I have 30 years-experience marketing Florida destinations through promotions and public relations. My experiences include Florida Market Manager for Amtrak where I was responsible for the development of the Florida Rail Pass and awareness campaigns for Amtrak’s long-distance trains.


I served as the Vice President of Tourism at the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce for five years developing and implementing a rural Florida nature-based tourism marketing plan, and as the Promotions Director at Florida Living Magazine. During my tenure with each of these organizations, I helped create content, promote experiences, and grow the products and destinations through partnerships and community programs. I have a degree in Architectural Planning from Spring Garden College (Philadelphia); attended Eco-Tourism Society’s course study programs, Developing Sustainable Tourism Certification at George Washington University; attended Organizational and Management Training through the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and have attended journalism course study at St. Johns River College. I would be honored to serve as Associate Representative on the Eastern Chapter of SATW.


Joan Rafal Brower

Friends and Colleagues,

Never before in modern history has the industry faced such a virulent threat to health, happiness, and our ability to open the world through travel and tourism. It will take years to rebuild services and infrastructure. Technology has enabled us to connect during isolation, and now must provide new mechanisms for communication within our Chapter. As your Eastern Chapter Secretary, I will work in solidarity with our Board to help construct an Eastern Chapter Blueprint for Recovery that moves us forward to enhance virtual networking and face-to-face contact when deemed safe.


Priorities include helping to provide professional development and learning opportunities for members — in person, at Chapter Conferences, and remotely. Sharing Best Practices with other Chapters and with SATW Headquarters is another key objective. We are all in this together and it is up to us to adapt. Having worked extensively in public relations crisis response and management roles ranging from the Legionnaire’s Disease cruise outbreak and the travel challenges following 9/11, to the effects on tourism of the Great Recession, I will apply experience to face the challenges ahead with the same zeal and passion for our Chapter that have characterized my membership.


As an Associate member of SATW for more than 30 years, in addition to Chapter Secretary, I have served as Treasurer and Associate Representative of the Northeast Chapter, and in multiple roles as part of our Convention Committees. SATW Honors have included Aaron D. Cushman Awards, and client SATW Phoenix Award. I bring to the Chapter historical perspective along with an institutional memory of SATW — what works, what doesn’t, and why. Know that I will continue to dedicate myself to SATW, applying the same zeal and passion for our Chapter that has always characterized my membership. Wishing you and your families good health and much strength.

First Vice Chair

Theresa Gawlas Medoff

A member of SATW for more than a decade, I became involved in the Eastern Chapter early on, first as Sponsorship Committee Chair and later as Secretary and Active-at-Large. I have been First Vice Chair of the chapter since October 2018. In this role, I helped to organize and run the 2019 chapter meeting in Palm Springs, California, and I had been working in concert with board members of the Eastern and Western Chapters on our joint meeting in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which has now been postponed to 2021.


I believe that our chapter meetings are vital to the health of our chapter and to SATW as a whole. I also know from experience that those who attend chapter meetings benefit tremendously by broadening their travel media network, developing their knowledge and skills through PD, experiencing or re-experiencing the host destination, and, just as important for me, making new friends and catching up with existing friends. If I am reelected to the First Vice Chair position, I will do my utmost to secure appealing host destinations for our chapter meetings and to work creatively with the board and our host to put together a fabulous meeting.


A member of the Editor’s Council (and formerly the Freelance Council), I serve as editor of AAA Club Alliance’s flagship member publication, AAA World (circulation 2.6M) and its specialized travel magazine, AAA Traveler Worldwise (circulation 150K). Prior to joining AAA in 2014, I was a long-time freelance writer, a side job I continue today.


Lesli Peterson

While I am new to SATW, I have been in the travel writing space for over a decade. I am hoping to use my connections, email marketing expertise, and love for helping people -especially newbies- stay connected. An Active-at-Large board member seems like the ideal way to do that. Welcome letters? Email copywriting is my jam!


And, as a card-carrying OCD, I’m more than happy to help keep the Chapter Operations Manual organized. I look forward to the possibility to help recruit other savvy writers to SATW, as well. With regard to seeking sponsorships, I’d reply heavily on the relationships I’ve built over the last decade. I feel confident I can assist with the Southeast region, and possibly beyond. I would be honored to use my skills to help SATW, and I look forward to working with and learning from others.