Former ASTA president Kathryn W. Sudeikis, currently vice president of corporate relations for All About Travel in Mission, KS, was honored with ASTA's 2008 Travel Agent of the Year Award, during its annual meeting at THETRADESHOW in Orlando. 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.
"In the many years I have known Kathy, she has proven to be a tireless advocate on behalf of ASTA, our industry as a whole and the important role travel agents play," said ASTA president and CEO, Cheryl Hudak. "She has been a champion for the industry, mentoring young agents and spreading the message that travel agents are an essential part of the travel industry. Kathy has devoted her life to the travel industry and I can think of no better person to receive this award as she personifies the words ‘travel agent.' When Kathy says that the travel industry is a relationship business, she means it. She really is there for her clients—and the industry—before, during and after and event."
Sudeikis is a former ASTA national president and CEO and served a two-year term in this role beginning in October 2004. Prior to that, she served as national vice president for four years. Before her national election, Sudeikis was a member of ASTA's board of directors representing the Missouri Valley and Upper Midwest chapters. Sudeikis has also served ASTA as presiding officer of the Chapter Presidents Council and chaired ASTA's 63rd World Congress in St. Louis in 1993.
Sudeikis was the lead issue manager on ASTA's consumer awareness campaign. In that role she oversaw efforts to promote the value of the travel agent and spearheaded the public relations campaign, with the slogan, "Without a travel agent, you're on your own."
A 40-year industry veteran, Sudeikis is frequently quoted in national publications, including the Kansas City newspapers, The Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and USA TODAY. She has appeared on numerous national television programs including FOX News, "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," "The Today Show" and "CBS This Morning." She has also appeared on several radio programs, including National Public Radio, Radio Free Europe and the Armed Forces Radio Network.
Sudeikis earned her Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) distinction in 1976 from The Travel Institute (formerly the Institute of Certified Travel Agents) and was awarded a lifetime membership in 1983. She is currently active on the travel agent advisory boards for Travel & Leisure, Greaves Tours of India, Rail Europe, Dollar-Thrifty Automotive Group and The German National Tourist Board. In the past, she has consulted on a variety of other boards including: Alamo Car Rental, The American Express Travel Agent Advisory Board, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company, Disney Attractions and the state of the Maine.