P e a c e  a n d   U n d e r s t a n d i n g 
 T h r o u g h   T r a v e l   &  H o s t i n g

2022 Director Election Results

We had six well qualified and capable candidates in this year's Directors' election. For many, the choices were difficult.

We wish to congratulate: 

Bill Magargal
Tys Sniffen
Eileen M. Rowley
Shelley Mitchell

Welcome to the 2023 Board of Directors!

And to the other Candidates, we look forward to your continued support and contributions to the success of US Servas. To everyone that participated - candidates and voters, THANK YOU!

Bill Magargal

 
Residence Woodbourne, NY
Occupation IT Director, Asten Group - tree surgeon, construction, long-arm quilter, stand-up comedy (this one is a lie)
Education BS Textile Engineering/management
How my skills and experiences will contribute Experience with Member Help Team
Previous Volunteer Experiences Web developer, Washington Square Music Festival
 New ideas to benefit Servas Publicity
Return to Candidate List 

Tys Sniffen

 
Residence Boulder Creek, CA
Occupation

Travel Bag Business Owner currently
Web Project Manager
Consultant for small business
non-profit Exec staff

Education BA, Hamline University
How my skills and experiences will contribute I've been on numerous non-profit boards my entire life, from high school onwards. I enjoy working with dedicated people on growing orgs and making decisions easier, more transparent and more democratic. I have been in Servas since about 2004, and have hosted many dozens of people, and traveled as well. I've been to I think 2 national conferences, and presented at one. I've been paying attention to the US Servas national situation for maybe 6 years, so I'm aware of some of the challenges and opportunities.
Previous Volunteer Experiences I've been on boards for 30 plus years, often as the top leadership, though I'm fine NOT being the top leadership as well. I have a strange enjoyment of understanding bylaws and seeing where they can be improved. I believe in striving for consensus in group decisions, rather than forcing hard votes, but I also prize action and decisiveness over doing nothing.
 New ideas to benefit Servas

I do, and I hope that anyone considering me for a board position will examine these and decide if they are willing to hear me push for these things if I am involved. If not, please don't bother nominating/voting for me.

There are two sides in Servas, between those who see it as a hospitality travel club, and those who see it as a global peace organization, and I am completely in the hospitality travel group. Of course I want and support peace, and wouldn't fight anyone trying to do something, but my whole reason for being in Servas is the international connections. I feel there are more efficient ways to affect peace.

Thus, I am willing to be in Servas to help it expand international connections between people - members -and to me that means helping more individuals become a part of Servas so they both host and travel. Thus, as a board member, I would be focused on membership growth and all other forms of growth. Some of those areas that I would like to see worked on include:

  • marketing:  spending real money on marketing to people in the US so they know about Servas and get excited about participating. When I say real money, I mean digital marketing campaigns in the $10k-$20k/annually range. This might also include finding and actively recruiting travel 'influencers' who can use their platforms to promote Servas to new audiences.
  • membership growth/enrollment: it seems the new US pricing structure is going well. So well, we're making money as a non-profit, rather than spending it. I would actively push to both LOWER the membership cost and make sure we spend all the annual income on growth tactics so that we begin to scale to be more comparable to other hospitality orgs. This might include more website design/updates, but actually, things seem fine in that area to me.
  • membership intake: I'm unaware of the current state of the interviewer teams, and I hope they don't feel overwhelmed. From my past exposure, I believe there are ways we can improve the interview process by going more online (eg Zoom) but in addition, upping the need for references for every potential member. We want to make sure we keep the culture of Servas alive, but we need to make sure potential members are recruited/interviewed/accepted as quickly as possible... and that means within a week of their first indication of interest.
  • Business Partnerships/membership benefits: there is a huge potential for US Servas to do things FOR our members beyond simple access to host lists. I would want to actively pursue possible partnerships with businesses or organizations that would offer exclusive benefits to our members for the opportunity to market to them (in the newsletter or on ads on the website). Of course being careful about standards and not getting overly commercial, we can easily offer benefits to members that would outweigh any hesitation on paying for a membership fee. Examples might include travel insurance and - note my potential conflict of interest here (I run a travel gear business)- a partnership with a travel gear business that gives discounts to Servas members while donating to Servas with every purchase.
  • Partnerships/relationships with other global travel non-profits: while this is a long term idea, and a struggle, there should be obvious crossover with other like-minded organizations, so that both orgs benefit. Peace Corp alumni, Foreign Student Exchanges, Rotary Club placements, and other examples should have a relationship with Servas so that every member of those orgs know about Servas as they transition out of those.

Again, if you don't like any of these ideas, don't vote for me. I think Servas is a fabulous organization and I have a huge amount of respect for the volunteers who have kept it going all these years.

Return to Candidate List 

Eileen Rowley


Residence Rhinebeck, NY
Occupation

Principal Mediator: Atlantis Mediation, LLC (self-employed, owner). Over thirty years experience providing mediation services. Mostly divorce/separation. Also experienced in workplace, interpersonal, environmental.

Education Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH
How my skills and experiences will contribute

Over several decades, my experiences as a traveler and host with Servas have brought me some of the most significant relationships in my life.  I have a great enthusiasm for Servas, the measurable goodness of Servas, and all the unmeasurable benefits of Servas that emanate from its core, like concentric circles.

I have several decades of experience managing volunteers, appreciating them.  I have extensive experience as an interviewer, as well as networking to bring the best of everyone together.  

Some have suggested that my skills as a mediator might be useful to Servas in some manner.

Previous Volunteer Experiences

My volunteer history includes serving on the New York State Dispute Resolution board for eight years, volunteering at a local level for my House representative, and serving as an interviewer with Servas.

 New ideas to benefit Servas To help bring in a fresh group of younger members, I believe outreach through social media platforms could be very effective, in some type of coordinated manner.  For example, if each Servas member was encouraged to post on their Instagram account, periodically, some information about Servas, that might have a ripple effect by informing a greater circle of people about the benefits of becoming a Servas member (at no cost to anyone).
Return to Candidate List  

Shelley Mitchel

 
Residence Palm Desert, CA
Occupation Self employed writer now. Former grant writer, nonprofit manager, United States Servas Office Administrator (2009-2013), university lecturer, preschool teacher
Education MA English from Cal Poly Humboldt
How my skills and experiences will contribute I am a former Servas office administrator and for the past year have been serving on the Servas bylaws team. In 2020-21, I helped with the transition to a virtual organization. I have a lot of history and background with USS, and hope to continue working on policies, procedures and other organizational infrastructure. I enjoy creating and sending newsletters, including serving as the Open Doors newsletter editor from 2009-2019,  and would like to participate in the communications and tech committees.
Previous Volunteer Experiences I have served as an AAUW volunteer for many years (as president of several branches, a state board member and national committee member). I was an active AFS volunteer for many years supporting high school exchange students from all over the world and currently volunteer as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and as a Leadership Board Member at Cal State San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus in the Osher Lifelong Learning Program. I also love to volunteer at the Palm Springs international film festival and other local cultural events.
 New ideas to benefit Servas I think we need to continue to refine the online tools that are already in use. USS has made a lot of progress in creating platforms for volunteers to communicate. I would like to see more training so that volunteers use these tools more effectively.
Return to Candidate List  

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