A Productive Year as Board Chair
Chase Poffenberger, ATA’s Executive Vice President, just finished her year as the Board Chair of the National Tour Association (NTA). She focused her energy in this critical recovery year on the Association’s work in sustainability and advocacy for the travel industry.
On her watch, NTA formalized a permanent Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group to the Board, and joined with other travel industry leaders to commit to permanent and purposeful action to diversify the travel industry. Chase also joined a sustainability pilot program facilitated by Tourism Cares, NTA’s philanthropy partner, which invited tour operators to look at their business critically to accelerate key sustainability goals.
Finally, she supported the association’s government relations work advocating for economic relief for hard-hit small businesses; equitable entry for tour groups into national parks; science-based, county-by-county COVID travel guidance (instead of blanket closures); and the urgent need for consular offices and embassies to expedite passport and visa processing. Chase remains on the board for an additional year and will continue to advocate for the industry’s recovery.
New Brands Launch Travel Programs
Several of ATA’s new collaborating partners launched travel programs this past fall!
ARTNews, the oldest and most widely circulated arts magazine in the world, launched ARTNews Travel. ARTNews travelers will be whisked away to visit private ateliers, vibrant arts districts and iconic collections, all in the company of in-house professionals who will provide sophisticated analysis and engaging commentary along the way.
Bicycling Magazine has launched an exclusive cycling tour in Tuscany along the roads of Chianti, including L’Eroica Vintage Route, and the Backroads of San Gimignano, and has appointed Editor and Racing Cyclist Dan Chabanov to lead it.
Decanter, a global wine media brand, launched Decanter Wine Experiences, a series of carefully curated wine trips hosted by the magazine’s regional wine specialists. Starting with a trip to the Rhône valley, expert Matt Walls has curated a series of exclusive experiences, including a welcome dinner at award-winning Chef Phillippe Giradon’s Michelin-starred hotel and restaurant, Domaine de Clairefontaine.
Fred Plotkin, world-famous opera expert and gastronome, has curated a trip to his home town of New York City that will include three operas (Turandot, Lucia di Lammermoor, Madama Butterfly) at the Metropolitan Opera and tickets to The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster. Anyone who has traveled with Fred Plotkin knows that one also eats very well with menus he creates and wines he selects!
Announcing Four Sr. Level Promotions at ATA
We’re proud to announce the promotions of four superstar colleagues!
Emma Impavido, Senior Director, Educational Travel Programs
Over the course of two decades, Emma designed and operated some of the company’s most creative, complex, and highly rated programs. As Director, she skillfully managed a talented team dedicated to telling the important stories of the organizations ATA serves through excellent educational travel programs. In October, she led a smashing culinary trip that she designed to Italy, headlined by hosts/chefs Nancy Silverton and Ruth Reichl and journalist Laurie Ochoa. But Emma’s contributions don’t stop there! Early in 2022, as Chair of ATA’s Green Committee, she will be sharing a roadmap for ATA’s sustainability journey for the next ten years. We are deeply indebted to Emma for the many ways she has contributed to ATA’s success: creative program designer, expert problem solver, inspiring leader!
Shelley Jessee, Senior Director, Marketing for CET
Shelley was promoted the same year she earned her MBA from UNC Chapel Hill AND gave birth to twin girls, Quinn and Kate! Indeed, “Super Woman” would be a more apt title. She has strategically managed CET’s annual marketing schedule, scholarships, and travel budget, and she’s been a valued member of the CET Executive Team. Outside of CET, she’s contributed to the field by serving on the NAFSA Education Abroad Knowledge Community Leadership Team from 2014-2018, the NAFSA Local Arrangements Committee for the DC Conference in 2019, and the Fund for Education Abroad’s Host Committee for the Scholar Gala. Shelley’s leadership and steady hand have also been put to good use in leading educational travel programs—taking Chef Edward Lee and his followers to Kentucky for an exclusive Bourbon Experience earlier this fall.
Randall Salisbury, Vice President, CET Programs
He served as Program Manager and Senior Program Manager for Italy, before becoming a Regional Director in 2014. In 2019, Randall was promoted and tasked with unifying the CET Program Team. He applied his management experience to balance workloads, reduce inconsistencies, and motivate the team. At the beginning of the pandemic, Randall and team brought students home, determined refunds, pivoted to pursue new opportunities, and made difficult decisions about program staff and locations. During this time, Randall’s management responsibilities expanded as he took on the leadership of Health & Safety, High School Pre-College/Gap, and Academic Affairs. Throughout the last 20 months of uncertainty, Randall has consistently demonstrated leadership, resilience, sound judgment, loyalty, and clarity of purpose. Randall’s contributions encompass the entire organization—from leading culinary trips to Italy with world-famous chefs to orchestrating fun field days and magical Fund for Education Abroad annual galas. We are not sure how he does it all—and so well—but he does!
Vanessa Sterling, Director of Health and Safety
Vanessa was hired to standardize, organize, and elevate CET’s response to health and safety. Since early 2020, Vanessa has taken point on COVID response with parents and university partners, successfully represented CET in almost 100 program post-COVID reapprovals with study abroad offices and represented CET in three national webinars. She provides consulting to university partners on health and safety, and designed, wrote, updated, and promoted the CET COVID Playbook. While Vanessa’s tenure at ATA is not long, she has known us longer than most, having been a CET student in China in the day. We feel privileged to have such a fine, wise mind devoted to protecting our most precious charges: our students!