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Seifert Named ASTA Travel Agent of the YearSeptember 14, 2009 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
Mary Louise Seifert, owner of Welcome Aboard Vacation Center, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ, was honored today with ASTA’s 2009 Travel Agent of the Year Award, during its annual meeting at THETRADESHOW in Las Vegas. The award, inspired by Joseph W. Rosenbluth, recognizes an active travel agent member who has made a great contribution to the travel industry and whose outstanding influence and professional activity have advanced the status of travel agents.
“Mary Louise has been a tireless advocate for travel throughout the years she has been in the business,” said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. “She brings integrity and wisdom to every issue she tackles and regardless of the challenge before her, she approaches it with compassion, intelligence and a large dose of common sense. Mary Louise is always looking for the win-win. She has used these traits to build a travel business that is highly respected locally, regionally and nationally, just as she is herself.”
Seifert first began in the travel and tourism field in 1973 when she joined her family’s business. Two years later, she became a member of ASTA and since then has been active at both the chapter level—holding various offices in the Arizona sub-chapter since 1980—and national level.
As president of the Arizona Chapter, Seifert went on to take her chapter through a period of significant membership and financial growth. In 1996, she was elected to the national Board of Directors, representing Area 16 (Arizona and Rocky Mountain Chapters). This term was followed by her election in 2000 to the position of National Treasurer, a position she held for two consecutive terms. During her tenure as treasurer, she was the first to introduce a balanced-budget policy and took on the daunting task of chairing the Governance Task Force, charged developing a new governance structure for the new ASTA. In 2004 she was elected as ASTA’s National Secretary. Additionally, she chaired ASTA’s Special Projects Committee in 2006 and has served on ASTA’s Budget and Finance Committee.
She has been a member of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, the Main Street Association, and was secretary/treasurer of Travel Agents for Fairness in Public Spending. Seifert also has sat on numerous advisory boards, including those for Thrifty and National Car Rentals.
In 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003 Seifert was named one of the most powerful women in travel by Travel Agent Magazine. The Business Journal of Phoenix profiled Mary Louise in their September 1997 issue, recognizing her influential role in the travel industry, her business leadership and her dedication to state and local politics. A long-time advocate for the travel agent industry, Seifert started a consumer travel show, featuring travel agents and suppliers.