Coleman Launches Campaign for ASTA National Director Post
By James Shillinglaw
July 03, 2012 3:06 PM
ASTA member Jason Coleman on July 3 launched a campaign he’s calling “Radical Change for a Revitalized ASTA” as part of his effort to win one of the four at-large national director posts open in this year’s ASTA election. Coleman is the fourth candidate to run for the at-large national board seats. On June 27, three Travel Leaders Group executives – Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group; Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion; and John Lovell, president of Vacation.com – also announced their candidacies for the board. Voting for the at-large director posts begins on July 5.
“I am excited to launch my ‘Choose Jason’ campaign today and I’m humbled with the support I have already received,” said Coleman, who owns his own travel agency, Jason Coleman, Inc., in Los Angeles. “This is probably the most important ASTA election in the last 25 years,” Coleman added. “ASTA’s troubled financial situation, declining membership, and waning relevancy in the minds of travel agents is beyond critical at this point. The future of the trade organization will be ‘make or break’ in the next 12-18 months. It is essential that ASTA members take note and elect board candidates who have a vision of success, diverse business backgrounds, and who represent the ASTA they want to be a part of.”
Coleman said his campaign website, ChooseJason.com, includes three video messages; a bio of his experience and leadership positions within ASTA and the travel industry; an outline of the three biggest challenges facing ASTA, including his vision for what he plans to do to respond to those challenges; and a list of his endorsements and supporters, including many chapter presidents and current leaders of the organization.
“There’s so much I want to say that can’t be communicated in a couple of emails to members,” Coleman said. “So I decided a multi-faceted approach would better serve the members. Voters can watch the three 3-minute videos and hear why I’m running, straight from my mouth. The website also provides a place for me to expand on what I think ASTA's challenges are and my plans if I am elected to represent the members.”
Coleman said his “Radical Change for a Revitalized ASTA” campaign is built around his understanding of ASTA’s three biggest challenges: (1) relevancy to the travel agency community and the purpose of the organization; (2) declining membership and its impact on resources; and (3) volunteer leaders at all levels of the organization.
“ASTA's board must embrace radical change for ASTA to remain relevant,” Coleman said. “Radical change, rather than incremental change, is necessary because the environment has changed considerably and ASTA as an association has not kept pace. We must reinvent our organization once again for the long term interests of our industry. That requires we examine the business of ASTA, determine what we are proficient at doing, and abandon those things where we are not a market leader.”
Coleman, who is finishing his two-year term as SoCal ASTA chapter president and third year as president of ASTA’s Young Professionals Society in September, said he is running in this election to propose radical change from day one. “Those who know me know I will do exactly that,” he said. “I have a proven track record of implementing positive changes, asking questions, making tough decisions, all the while working in a collaborative environment.”