Milwaukee Professional Development

For a full list of Professional Development sessions, speakers and bios, check the SATW mobile app.


Ask the Experts: Take Your Photos to the Next Level


Do you wonder why your favorite images aren’t selected by editors or art directors for publication? Or why they’re not chosen as photography contest winners? In this session, three award-winning SATW photographers will critique photos submitted by members, offering feedback on what works and what doesn’t in each image. (All submissions will be anonymous.) Join us to hear suggestions for adjusting and improving your approach to shooting the scene as well as tips for improving those shots in your post-processing work.


This is a critique session, not a showcase for your best shots. You’re strongly urged to submit photos that need help. These images may have been rejected by editors or overlooked in contests. They may be photos you like but you don’t know why they weren’t selected. You and others in the session will learn more from what’s wrong with a non-winning photo and how it can be improved than from a “perfect” one.

Next-Level Publicity: Boosting & Building on the Work of Your Publicist


Guidebook author Mindy Sink will detail how she leveraged social media, freelance travel writing, membership in writing groups and her book research to successfully promote her guidebook during a pandemic. She will share several examples of unexpected ways through which she was able to get additional P.R. for her book.


Key takeaway: Actionable tips on how to promote your work by successfully amplifying the efforts of your publisher’s publicist.

Mindy Sink,
Guidebook Author

How and Why Destinations Are Making Travel Accessible for All


The word “accessible” does not have one simple definition. Travelers who have mobility, visual, hearing ‎or other impairments have different needs. Creating successful travel experiences for these visitors ‎requires that destinations develop a deeper understanding of the market. ‎


Worldwide, travelers with disabilities represent $17 billion in economic impact. During this session, ‎attendees will learn to see people with disabilities in a new light: as travelers with money to spend. ‎Attendees also will discover the how, why and benefits of working with disabled journalists and ‎influencers. ‎


Although speaker Cory Lee was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at age 2, his thirst for adventure ‎never waned. He has traveled across all seven continents in his wheelchair, while managing to run his ‎travel blog,, on which he shares his accessible—and sometimes not so ‎accessible—adventures with others. His blog recently received two new Webby Awards for Best Personal ‎Blog and two Lowell Thomas Awards for Best Travel Blog. His mission is to inspire other wheelchair users ‎to roll out of their comfort zone and see the world.‎

Cory Lee
Blogger (Curb Free With Cory Lee),
freelance travel journalist
specializing in ‎accessibility and wheelchair travel,
and author (“Let’s Explore with Cor Cor”). ‎

Contract Writing for Freelancers ‎


Find the answers to your most pressing questions about signing that contract — for books, freelance jobs, photography, content and more. A lawyer addresses your questions and discusses how to incorporate this information into your writing/blogging/photography business.


This frank and open discussion will help you discover how to best protect yourself from risks in today’s highly litigious media landscape. We’ll discuss anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) legislation and explain which protections you have as a result of the landmark 1964 New York Times Co. vs. Sullivan.


Learn which “red flag” clauses to avoid in writing contracts and how to ensure the best contract for your business. The session also briefly touches on how/why/whether writers should create an LLC or an S-Corporation for themselves.

Creating Easy Video Content for Bloggers ‎


Video continues to be a powerful tool that can help boost ad revenue, elevate a brand, ‎and increase brand partnership and sponsorship opportunities. But how do you shoot ‎and edit video — on top of everything else on your seemingly endless checklist — when ‎you’re a one-person show? Thanks to your smartphone, you, too, can shoot and edit ‎video that looks professional without a video crew and without complicated or expensive ‎software. ‎


Join us for this hands-on session to learn how to use your smartphone to shoot and edit ‎video for use on your blog, YouTube and Instagram content. Instructor Marlynn Jayme ‎Schotland offers some best-practice tips for planning video shoots and for creating ‎impactful video on-the-go. She will walk you through some basic tips for editing using ‎some of the top user-friendly apps that make video content creation easier. ‎


Attendees should have basic knowledge of camera settings on their smartphones. ‎Although the session will focus on shooting and editing video on an iPhone, the main ‎principles and many of the technical instructions apply to Android phones as well. ‎

Alphabet Soup and All the Cookies You Can’t Eat

Data privacy is a hot topic. How do you offer your online visitors and readers the privacy they want while maintaining the ability to use their data for your business? Attorney Brett Trout will open the can of alphabet soup (GDPR, CCPA) to explain what these laws mean to you and your business, before crumbling the third-party data cookie and replacing it with a warm batch of first-party data goodness.


Attendees will leave the session with an understanding of what matters in this buffet of legalese, as well as the steps they can take to stay on the right side of the sneeze guard.


Data and information will be used to discuss what this means for freelancers, editors, digital publishers, photographers, destinations and public relations professionals, addressing this question: Where should we be focused and how can we stay on top of evolving trends?

Brett J. Trout, P.C.

The Future of Cruising: From Ships to Shore


As cruising begins to reopen, questions remain about the industry’s ability to adjust and do business as COVID continues to be a concern in many destinations — both with ports and land tour opportunities.

COVID’s impact has affected all cruise-related entities, from the smallest river cruise and boutique-style ships that host 50 to 500 guests to the ocean vessels that accommodate thousands.

Having been essentially closed for business for more than 17 months, what do the cruise line leaders see for the future? What have they been doing during this downtime and what steps are they taking to address the safety and well-being of their guests and crews? How will land excursions operate? What countries are open?

The speakers will describe the efforts that many in the cruise and travel industry are making to get back to work and to ensure their guests and crew remain safe while still enjoying the many reasons that make travel so alluring.

The Next Big DEI Step: Getting Real About Training & Implementation


Diversity, equality, accessibility and inclusion (DEAI) are ideals that we all want to embrace and support. But, there’s also a lot of anxiety and trepidation around these concepts. How do we create programs that make measurable, positive changes? How do we convince others of the value of these efforts? And what happens if we mess up and do it all wrong? 


Acknowledging that this is hard work gives us room to take a bolder stance and move beyond the well-intentioned, but frequently undirected, discussions happening around DEAI in the tourism industry today. This session goes beyond pledges and performative social media posts (It’s Pride month! Celebrate Black history!) to address how organizations can direct and be part of concrete, sustainable changes that will only happen through the real, clear and defined steps of applied DEAI. 


Learn how publicly available DEAI standards for the travel industry can be a guide (both benchmark and roadmap) for organizations ready to take real steps. Discover the programs (audits, trainings, certifications) and groups committed to DEAI in travel and learn how they can be resources. Get tips on how to discern which DEAI consultants are the best fit for your needs.

Welcome Does Not Mean Safe: Does Your Marketing Match Your Visitors’ Reality


A tourism ad shows a happy gay couple holding hands on the beach. But, in reality, many LGBTQ+ travelers to that same destination feel shunned and unwelcome. A DMO hypes its city as a perfect place for girlfriend getaways, while, at the same time, local taxi drivers are cautioning women to always go out in groups and return to their hotels before dark. What does it mean for the tourism industry when people are enticed to visit a place where they will not feel happy, welcome or safe? 


While DMOs want the tourist experience to be fun and engaging for all, such magical thinking leaves a wide variety of physical, social, emotional, community and even infrastructural and moral considerations out of the tourism planning and marketing process. There’s much more complexity about most places than meets the eye—a fuller story—that many destinations aren’t telling. 


This panel will explore the meaning of safety and what truly constitutes a welcoming experience for all types of visitors. Destination managers, travel writers and other content creators will better understand the importance of crafting a destination story that takes into account the full mix of business and community perspectives.

Sophia Hyder Hock
Services Director for Travel Unity
and Founder/CEO of Papilia

First Draft/Draught: Writing Knowledgeably About Beer and Breweries


Gravity is more than just the force that keeps your feet firmly planted on the ground, and a punt isn’t always necessarily a fourth-down football play. When it comes to brewing, gravity refers to the amount of dissolved sugars in a batch of beer, and the punt is the hollow—or dent—found on the bottom of many beer bottles.


The number of craft breweries has exploded over the past few decades, with many of them offering beers that reflect the unique flavors and personality of a destination. Incorporating breweries, beer tastings and brewpubs into travel articles is a great way to give readers a taste of a place. But the industry’s extensive vocabulary and tasting guidelines can make writing knowledgeably about beer a bit daunting.


This session will introduce writers to the language and vocabulary of beer, as well as to popular beer varietals like stouts, lagers and pale ales. You’ll also learn the process for tasting beer—and reporting on its qualities—like a pro.


Editor/Freelance Mini-Marketplace


Travel editors haven’t disappeared; they’re just harder to find. With the support of TravMedia, we are inviting editors of top outlets — those people who make assignments — to join us for a special Editor/Freelance Mini-Marketplace.


Similar to the regular Active/Associate Marketplace, this will be a smaller, more personal event, scheduled for the last two 50-minute professional development sessions of the day.


In eight-minute meetings, editors can outline what they are looking for and freelancers can present their story ideas and special insights. It can be the first step toward a beautiful and productive working relationship.


Active/Freelance members will outnumber editors so participation will be determined by lottery. Not everyone who registers will be able to attend.

Amir Eylon square

Amir Eylon
President & CEO
Longwoods International

Read more here


We’re excited to bring you professional development that will help you improve your craft, your business, and give you a broader understanding of the travel industry.


Whether you’re an Active or Associate, freelancer or editor, publisher or traditional journalist, or represent a destination large or small, we’ve come up with topics and speakers that will provide you with takeaways that can be put into action.


And don’t forget, there will be additional professional development with our keynote and lunch sessions.

Chip Conley square

Chip Conley
Strategic Advisor for Hospitality & Leadership, Airbnb
Founder, Modern Elder Academy

Read more here

New to 2020

One-on-One Writing Coaching Presented by the SATW Editors Council


Get the competitive edge in today’s ever-evolving media landscape by polishing your skills. For the first time at an annual convention, the SATW Editors Council is offering one-on-one coaching – at no cost – for both Actives and Associates. Sign up for half-hour sessions with award-winning members of the Editors Council in the following disciplines:


– Writing

– Podcasting/Interviewing

– Pitching


You’ll be paired with an editor who will get in touch with you to set up a time and place to meet during the convention. The coaching sessions must take place outside of the scheduled convention activities, including Council and Chapter Meetings, Marketplace, and the regular Professional Development program. The editor will ask you to submit, in advance of the convention, a work to be discussed (manuscript, podcast, or sample pitch). These coaching sessions will benefit anyone whose work depends on having great communication skills.


If you’re interested in participating, you’ll be able to sign up during the registration process.




To follow along with all the news about our Milwaukee convention, use and follow the hashtag #SATWMKE.


NOTEThis page and the individual session pages will be updated regularly as information becomes available. The sessions and speakers are subject to change.

Our Speakers Include: