October 30, 2014, Phoenix, AZ – ASTA Small Business Network(SBN) is seeing record growth, forming seven new chapters in some of the most important markets in North America. This expansion reaches across the border into Canada, where a new chapter has now formed in Eastern Ontario.
The announcement, made by SBN President Ann van Leeuwen at the start of the SBN Annual Convention, coincides with a 95 percent increase in new member growth this year compared with 2013. “SBN chapters, under the leadership of Chapter Directors, are an integral part of our success, allowing for local networking on issues and education relevant to the independent travel consultant,” she said.
These additions expand the SBN portfolio of chapters to almost 50 locations in the U.S. and Canada, according to SBN Vice President of Sales & Industry Relations Bob Duglin. “We're very proud of each of these local travel professionals and leaders who have stepped up and are serving as a leader of their community within the travel industry," he said.
The most recent addition is a new chapter in Hawai'i with Director Ken Kimi. “SBN is pleased to welcome a chapter in our 50th state, and is also proud to announce our 2015 Annual Conference will be at the Sheraton Kona Resort at Keauhou Bay,” said Duglin. "I have personally known Ken for many years and have a tremendous amount of respect for his professionalism and leadership. It's wonderful that we now have a home chapter for our 2015 Conference."
From the Northeast, new chapters include Delaware Valley comprising the greater Philadelphia Metro area with Director Gina Alzate. Also new to the SBN family is the New York City Chapter, which spun off from the Long Island Chapter with Co-Directors Camille Pepe Sperezza and Cheryl Jones-Felton. In Northern Virginia, Debby Culp has stepped up to serve as Chapter Director in that area, giving SBN a presence with three chapters in the Metro DC/Baltimore market.
In Florida, SBN has expanded to three chapters in South Florida, adding the Miami-Dade Chapter with Director Martin Mendiola, and the Palm Treasure Chapter with Co-Directors Linda Gaddy and Debbie Pascalli. Southeast Region and South Florida Chapter Director Eddie Woodham noted, "We're very pleased to welcome these two new chapters to SBN that has formed out of the growth of the Fort Lauderdale-based South Florida SBN Chapter."
In Canada, the new Eastern Ontario Chapter is based in Ottawa with Co-Directors Jerry and Alain Goudreault.
SBN is the travel industry’s leading national trade association representing independent contractors, outside sales consultants, cruise and tour oriented consultants, group oriented travel professionals and traditional ARC-appointed travel agencies that provide services and support to such professionals. Established in 1986, SBN’s mission is to represent the interest of independent travel entrepreneurs and to promote professionalism and recognition for the professional independent consultant. SBN is an affiliate of ASTA, the American Society of Travel Advisors, the world’s largest travel trade association.