Skal International Orlando members called to serve locally and beyond

ORLANDO, Florida - The second largest Skal Club in the United States, ranked in the Top 10 in the world, didn't get there just by chance.

Skal International Orlando members called to serve locally and beyond

ORLANDO, Florida – The second largest Skal Club in the United States, ranked in the Top 10 in the world, didn’t get there just by chance. It took the hard work and commitment of dedicated members to plant a strong club foundation in 1973, make recruiting a priority and put leaders into place to carry out key initiatives.

Past Presidents Grant Bannen, Dennis BeMent, Fred Corrigan, Barbara Kenney and Tom White have more than 100 years combined Skal membership, leadership and service among them. Each has played a pivotal role in the success of Skal International Orlando, as well as at the national and international levels, literally putting their club on the map. “They are the backbone of our club, leading the way for members and new officers alike,” said current club president Richard Scinta. “Skal around the world knows about Skal International Orlando because of these fine industry professionals.”

Grant Bannen, Skal International Orlando president from 2009-2010, has attended five world congresses and six SIUSA conferences. “My entire experience in Skal has given me a whole different perspective culturally and internationally,” he remarked. “It is wonderful to use the Skal international network in business and also form friendships all over the world. I have a great deal of pride in telling colleagues around the world about my club’s energy and vitality. Our members are high-caliber industry professionals.”

Dennis BeMent, club president from 2003-2004, is also proud of Skal International Orlando’s growth and development, and an opportunity to carry the club’s flag abroad. “Fostering the initiative of recruitment, quality meeting venues and increased attendance were important when I lead the club. We built a world-class organization by recruiting local tourism leaders to share the experience,” recalled BeMent. “As chairman of the Nominations Committee, I see a succession of influential presidents, each bringing their own contribution to make our club stronger.” BeMent attended international congresses in Croatia, Budapest, Calgary and Jamaica, allowing him to experience the depth and diversity of Skal first-hand.

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For Fred Corrigan, club president from 2005-2006, the international networking through Skal has been an incredible value to his business and personal travel experiences. “You walk into an international congress not knowing anyone, and walk out with dozens of new friends. It’s also just incredible to go to the Skal booth at a huge trade show, like World Travel Market in London and ITB in Berlin, and be embraced and remembered by dozens of people just by wearing your Skal pin,” exclaimed Corrigan. His silent auction work, securing high quality hotel stays on an international level, thrives through his Skal global contacts.

Barbara Kenney, president from 2010-2011, continues to enjoy her international involvement in Skal as the club’s SIUSA representative. “You meet wonderful people and experience Skal at a whole different level, to the core of the organization,” she said. Kenney has been involved in many Skal International Orlando endeavors, establishing the Skal Cares golf tournament which raised over $33,000 for the Perry Pavilion at Dr. Phillips Hospital, being among those who formed the club’s Young Skal group, and producing the club’s Member Directory for the last five years. “Our Skal International Orlando meetings are more than a quick lunch and are so conducive for forming friendships and talking business,” Kenney added.

Tom White, club president from 1995-1996 and past president of Skal International USA, is currently executive secretary/treasurer for the club and considered a chief navigator by the club’s many presidents. “When I joined Skal as a travel agent, another member invited me to do business in Australia. I didn’t know anything about the destination, but I took a fam trip there, got business support and training, and started working with the Australia tourism folks. I became their Eastern USA rep and my business just grew. It all worked very well. If I wouldn’t have been in Skal, it would have never happened,” explained White. “At a Skal congress in Germany, I met a new contact to offer a new hotel in my program there. Another huge benefit of Skal and international business contacts.”

According to White, Skal provides all the right tools and resources for those already working on an international level or for those who want to grow their business into international markets. “It’s there, just look for it and take it,” he said.

Skal International Orlando was voted Skal International Club of the Year 2006-2007 and North American Club of the Year in 2007. For more information, go to For membership information, contact Dennis BeMent, Membership Development Officer, Skal International Orlando, at [email protected]

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