HI-USA Members to Elect 4 Board Seats
HI-USA is looking to its members to fill four At-Large Director seats for its Successor Board. With unification now substantially complete, the Transition Board is stepping down in late March for a Successor Board to take the reins. Now through December 15, members can nominate themselves or someone else to run for one of four Successor Board seats, with the election to follow February 3-24, 2014.
Our Successor Board will provide governance leadership for the fully unified organization. And by looking to our membership base to fill board seats, we’re helping to ensure diverse backgrounds and perspectives in their decision making. Some Directors will have decades of experience in hostels, travel, and community engagement – while others may be just getting started. What unites everyone is their passion for HI-USA and the hostelling movement.
To qualify for an At-Large Director seat, candidates must be paid annual or life members of HI-USA, U.S. residents, and over age 18. To avoid any perceived conflict of interest, employees of HI-USA and its affiliate hostels are not eligible for nomination. However, all paid annual or life members who are over 18 and U.S. residents are eligible to vote in the election.
For more information about nomination criteria and how to apply, click here.
Ask the Transition Board of Directors
As unification wraps up and the new organization is launched, we imagine you have a few questions. The Transition Board will have the answers at a virtual Stakeholder Forum during a two hour web cast on Sunday, December 8 beginning at 1 pm ET/10 am PT.
You can watch the broadcast from your own computer or watch with other stakeholders at any of the following hostels:
- HI-San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf
- HI-New York
- HI-San Diego, Point Loma
- HI-Santa Monica
To watch the live broadcast from your computer, please use the following link on Sunday: http://onlinevideoservice.com/clients/HIUSA/stream.html.
Get involved - Volunteer Facebook Page
HI-USA volunteers across the network are invited to join the new HI-USA Volunteer Facebook Group. The group was created and will be managed by HI-USA, but is all about introducing and building on the passionate community of volunteers across the country.
This online community of volunteers is able to connect and collaborate by posting and answering questions, accessing volunteer related documents (toolkits, travel class presentations, evaluations, forms etc.), posting photos from volunteering and sharing ideas through this online forum. Joining this group is easy; simply follow this link and click the Join Group Button. Please note, if you would like to participate, you must have a Facebook Account.
Our Hostels, Our Regions
From Mountains to Desert to Pacific Coast – Join HI-USA on the 57th Annual Christmas Bike Ride
On the day after Christmas, while most people are sleeping in or playing with new toys, there will be a dedicated group of bicyclists who are embarking on a six-day ride around San Diego County. Now in its 57th year, this longstanding tradition remains a winter tribute to the rich history of cycling and travel in San Diego.
The San Diego hostels began with youth who would come together and ride to various locations around the county. Trips were plentiful and many young people were able to learn about the world and its people through hostelling.
Today, the Christmas Ride participants travel more than 400 miles around San Diego County over six days. From mountains to desert to coast, this challenging adventure is not for the faint at heart, but it is truly worth the effort for its scenic beauty, the friendships made, and lasting memories.
Expected to sell out again, the ride is limited to 100 riders and costs $450 to register. The fee includes overnight stays throughout the ride, breakfast and dinner each day, rider and gear support, a t-shirt and experienced leadership. For more information and to register, visit http://sandiegohostels.org/christmas-bike-ride.php.
HI-New York Crowned Winner In Service Showdown
With one hour on the clock and bragging rights on the line, the first ever Hostel Service Showdown was about to begin. Rows of were tables lined with arts and crafts supplies, strategically laid-out similar to production lines. Teams from HI-Boston and HI-New York were ready to achieve glory for their city and prove which was the fastest in the Northeast. The starting bell rang and each team of twenty staff began to build as many arts and crafts gift packs as they could within the allotted time.
The teams were flying! As the zip-lock bags were passed down the lines they were filled with goodies including coloring book pages, Play-Doh, HI-USA stickers, construction paper, toothbrushes and markers. HI-New York finished first and was crowned Service Showdown champion. Together, the two hostels prepared 500 packages which were donated to Room to Grow. With programs operating in both New York City and Boston, Room to Grow is an organization that supports children being raised in poverty.
This inaugural event was inspired by the Points of Light One America campaign, which seeks to bring together rivals in politics, business, entertainment and other industries to inspire community services and unity.
Southwest Region Onboarding Events Unify Region
On October 29th and 30th, Southwest Region staff gathered in Santa Monica and in San Diego for On-Boarding Events, celebrating its official transformation into a unified region. Staff from HI-San Diego Downtown, HI-San Diego Point Loma, HI-San Pedro and HI-Santa Monica were all in attendance. The onboarding events included informative presentations and interactive dialogue, providing context to the unification process, answering questions, and allowing employees to help shape the values of our new organization.
As staff entered the meeting room, they were greeted with t-shirts, drawstring bags, Stronger Together wristbands, and a warm welcome from Donna Stewart, VP of Human Resources. CEO Russ Hedge provided background on the unification process and shared the exemplary satisfaction ratings at each hostel in the Southwest Region, all ranging from 90-100%!
Southwest Region VP Sue Schaffner introduced herself and made inspiring remarks about the region’s opportunity for hostel growth and HI-USA leadership. As the day progressed, employees learned more about HI’s commitment to protect each hostel’s unique identity, while providing opportunities for personal growth, improved benefits, and staff feedback into new policies and procedures.
Donna Stewart facilitated an interactive session that invited attendees to weigh in on organizational values and express what’s most important to them. The ideas will be combined with those of other regions to develop a values statement for the unified organization. A special highlight of the Santa Monica on-boarding was presentation of employee recognition awards to hostel staff.
With the completion of this onboarding event, the Southwest Region has now officially unified. The staff of all association hostels will be taking part in an On-Boarding Event for orientation to the unified organization. For questions, please contact Donna at email@example.com.
Helmut Rueckert Named Senior Vice President for Programs
Helmut Rueckert has been selected to be the Senior Vice President for Programs. He has over 28 years of experience in all aspects of the hospitality industry in the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe. Most recently, he served as the EVP of Hotel Operations at PMHS-Hospitality Strategies in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw a portfolio of 17 hotels and was actively involved in revenue management, brand relations, and sourcing growth opportunities. Earlier in his career, he was instrumental in building company infrastructure and portfolio at Crescent Hotels and Resorts, increasing their portfolio from four properties to over 50 in five years. Additionally, he has over 15 years of experience in multi-unit, multi-brand responsibilities in executive management.
Having grown up in Germany and being part of the hospitality industry for nearly three decades, Helmut understands hostels. With the benefit of many conversations during the interview process, he also understands our wider Vision 2020 aspirations around education and engagement, and has the experience and enthusiasm to be an important part in realizing them.
In his role at HI-USA, Helmut will be actively involved in engaging HI-USA’s leadership and staff in the visioning, planning, and strategic development of program initiatives around hostels, education and engagement. He will directly supervise and work with the five Regional Vice Presidents, the VP of Community Engagement and Education, the VP of Hostel Development, and the VP of Hostel Services. He will join us on January 6, 2014.
Resource Development Director Announced
Andrey Gidaspov has joined the HI-USA Advancement team as Resource Development Director. In this role, he will design and execute a comprehensive fund development strategy that supports HI-USA’s Vision 2020. Andrey brings a blend of business development expertise and nonprofit fundraising experience, with the entrepreneurial creativity needed to meet our aggressive fundraising goals. At American Councils for International Education, Andrey led the diversification of the donor base and opened new markets. He also created new relationships with private donors, international banks and corporate accounts for The Washington Center, a nonprofit organization that provides university students with opportunities to work and learn in Washington, D.C.
Andrey received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and a Ph.D. in Political Science from State Institute of Oriental Languages in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Andrey has traveled to many corners of the world, and he speaks native Russian and has studied Mandarin, Arabic, and Turkish. In his spare time he enjoys poetry, songwriting and creative cooking.
HI-DC Welcomes New Assistant General Manager
HI-DC welcomes Jeff Becan as its new Assistant General Manager. Interested in languages, and curious about people, he studied sociology at St. Louis University and earned his master’s in linguistics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Upon experiencing the hostelling lifestyle, he was immediately hooked and travelled extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. In 2003, Jeff turned this passion into a career and managed the HI-USA Nantucket hostel for three seasons, which he considered of the best three years of his life.
Continuing to work in hostels, he spent three summers managing a seasonal hostel in Bar Harbor, Maine, and working through during winters at HI-DC. Prior to accepting the AGM role at HI-DC, he spent five months sailing from Bell Harbor to Key West which “was the adventure of a lifetime. I wouldn’t hesitate to live and travel on a boat again.” When the opportunity to return to DC arose, Jeff went for it. “My favorite aspect of hostelling is the people,” said Becan. “You can’t always afford to travel the world, but when you work at a hostel, the world comes to you.”
Marketing Director Position Now Posted
Are you an innovative leader with a deep background in digital marketing? If so, we’re looking for you! We are currently recruiting for the Marketing Director position based in our Silver Spring office. The Director of Marketing will collaborate with the Chief Marketing & Development Officer to design and execute a content-based marketing strategy that establishes HI-USA as a mission-driven, fun, dynamic, authentic hostelling experience. The Director will build national awareness of HI-USA hostels, promote the unique local experiences within our network, and drive revenue.