Skål International President’s Chain of Office Ceremony

The presentation of the 2021 President’s Chain of Office was held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on Wednesday, January 20, at a joint meeting between Skål International Calgary and Skål International Canadian Rockies.

With Coronavirus restrictions in place within the Province of Alberta, meeting in person is prohibited. However, Marc Rheaume, Skål International Canada Vice President, member of the Calgary club, and VP of the Delta Calgary South Hotel by Marriott, secured permission from Alberta Health Services to host live events.

The hotel includes an interior Atrium with guest room balconies facing the courtyard, allowing individual ‘private’ spaces for guests to view events below and enjoy dinner in a safe, distanced environment.

Skål International Calgary invited the Canadian Rockies Executive Board to join them in hosting this prestigious ceremony. The evening began with a cocktail reception where participants enjoyed COVID-friendly games and activities from their respective balconies. President Bill was honored to have special guest Jean-Francois Côté, ISC Vice President, who traveled from Quebec City, attend the event.

The Chain ceremony followed the reception, with testimonials in support of President Bill’s Skål International career delivered by Marc and Jean-Francois. Both Marc and Jean-Francois bestowed the Chain of Office on President Bill, as participants viewed the ceremony from their balconies. President Bill then delivered his Presidential message (attached).

Once the ceremony was over, a 4-course dinner, complete with wine pairings, was delivered to each room by hotel staff. Dinner tables were set on the balconies so participants could visit, from an appropriate distance, while enjoying the delicious meal as well as the entertainment.

Members from Skål International Calgary and Skål International Canadian Rockies were thankful and appreciative of the opportunity to share in this special event while recognizing one of their own ascend to Skål International President's position. President Bill thanked the attendees for their support, member engagement, and their enthusiasm for Skål International, and wished everyone a healthy and prosperous year.

President’s Chain Presentation Message

Calgary, January 20. 2021

As my Presidential Year begins, I reflect on our prestigious organization and how things might have looked back in 1934, when we became International. 

Our founding fathers had a vision of a strong, connected tourism industry built on friendship to promote travel amongst member countries. This was the fundamental value of Skål International, the ties that bind us together, and they are as important today as they were in our infancy.

The cooperation and solidarity amongst the Tourism Industry members are still vital in today’s Global Economic Environment. 

My membership in Skål International goes back to 1992, but my first exposure to Skål International was as Director of F&B at the Banff Springs Hotel (Fairmont), hosting the 1986 Skål International Canadian Rockies Christmas Gala. I remember the pomp and ceremony as we rolled out the red carpet for this elite group of industry 'heavy hitters'. I remember the fussing over every detail but what stayed with me from that night was the Skål Toast! 

I thought… "what a wonderful exchange of well-being to each other!"

Yes, the Skål Toast, four expressions of goodwill that form the 4 Pillars of Skål International. 

The Scandinavian word ‘SKÅL’ translates in English to the words that form our toast:

  • Happiness: wishing everyone prosperity and joy in our personal and business lives.

  • Good Health: an appropriate greeting at any time and especially during COVID.

  • Friendship: the true bond that brings us together, makes us better people, and helps us do business together.

  • Long Life: so that we can share good times, our friendships, and build stronger business relationships.  

I think Skål International would be better off if we all practiced these wishes in our daily lives.

It is an absolute honor for me to represent Canada as the 2021 World President and to continue the vision of our founders some 87 years ago! (first Assembly was April 28, 1934). 

We, as leaders in Skål International cannot take our responsibilities for granted; we must make a difference and work to strengthen our industry and Organization. We are charged with making decisions for all members' benefit, and I pledge to do just that!

Let me leave you with this thought…

“There are Friends; there is Family…

and then there are Friends that become Family!”

Thank you, everyone, and have a great year… SKÅL!