An Interview with Skal Florida Board Member Stefanie Zambelli

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  1. What is your occupation? I’m the International marketing manager for Darden Restaurants where I support 60 franchise restaurants. Among others, we have restaurants in South and Central America, US Territories, Middle East and we are currently expanding in Asia. As I grew up in Europe and lived in 7 cities across 3 continents over the past 12 years, I have a global mindset and international marketing is a great fit.
  2. How did you get involved in Skal? How long have you been a member? I joined Skal as a Young Skal Professional member in April of 2014 and have been with the Club for almost 6 years. I originally got introduced by Nicole Cutrufo, a former Young Skal member who is now part of Skal Rome. About two years ago I transitioned into active membership.
  3. What do you like most about being a Skal Member? I truly enjoy the values of our organization and the people that are part of Skal. We always support each other in a genuine and respectful way and have an incredible global reach. In 2016 I had the opportunity to attend the Skal World Congress in Monte Carlo and meeting Skalleagues from all over the world was an eye-opening experience and deepened my commitment to the organization. I enjoy being able to give back to our club by growing our Orlando Young Skal program and by building relationships with other clubs from across the world.
  4. What is your role on the board? I first joined the board as a non-voting Young Skal member and transitioned into the Director and YS Chairperson position two years ago. My purpose is to grow our next
    generation of Skalleagues, by introducing the right student and professional members, integrating them with the organization and providing them with opportunities.
  5. Tell us about the success of your recent Silent auction. We launched our first YS Silent Auction in 2019 and were able to raise funds to support two of our YS student members to attend NASC in Hawaii. Building on this success we recently hosted our 2nd annual Share the Love with Young Skal silent auction to offer this incredible opportunity again and support two of our members to attend an upcoming Skal Conference also this year.
  6. What is Skal Orlando doing to engage Young Skal members?
    We established many great programs over the past two years to further engage our Young Skalleagues and to provide them with meaningful opportunities. We launched our first mentorship program last year where we connected student members with a Skalleague, we partner with the I-Drive Chamber of Commerce and offer an annual YS scholarship to attend a 10-month Tourism Leadership program, we host educational events for students and of course our annual silent auction to support at least one YS member to attend a Skal Conference. It is critical to have a healthy ratio of Young Skalleagues to the overall Club size (our target is 10%) and to focus on quality over quantity. We interview all our incoming Young Skal members and set clear expectations. We also nurture a strong relationship with Rosen College to recruit the best and most engaged students. I’m incredibly proud of the Young Skal members that we currently have in our club.
  7. How do you think Skal is competitive amongst other travel and hospitality organizations? We are the leader! The exclusivity, values and mission of Skal sets us apart from other organizations and it is our responsibility to protect our culture.
  8. What is the biggest opportunity that Skal is facing today? Making sure that we are connecting with younger generations, introducing motivated YS members, nurturing the relationship and getting them excitement to seek an active membership in the future. As the leaders of Skal it is our responsibility to create an inclusive environment and to integrate Young Skalleagues into the club – if done right,
    there is a benefit for all members.
  9. Do you have any Skal “career” ambitions? Interesting question… if there is an opportunity to add value and to make a difference, I would love to get involved.
  10. Fast forward 10 years from now…what will the Skal Orlando club look like? Hopefully, we will see many of today’s Young Skalleagues wear a blue badge in the organization and continue to grow a strong Young Skal program. In our industry we all know, that people make the difference.

Thank you Stefanie on your insight and experiences!

To learn more about Skal Orlando, visit:

To view the latest Skal Orlando auction results, click here

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