Last updated: 02:00 PM ET, Wed December 02 2015

USTOA is Smashing The Glass Ceiling With Its First Female Chair

Tour Operator | U.S. Tour Operators Association | David Cogswell | December 02, 2015

USTOA is Smashing The Glass Ceiling With Its First Female Chair

Photo courtesy of Collette


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Terry Dale

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The U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) will usher in its first female chairperson at its annual conference, which will be held Dec. 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.

Paula Twidale, the executive vice president of Collette, the Pawtuckett, R.I.,-based tour operator, will assume the duties of USTOA’s chairperson role for a two-year term beginning at this year’s conference.

Twidale is a travel industry veteran of 35 years. She began her career with Eastern Airlines, working as passenger service manager and interim director at Boston's Logan International Airport. She joined Collette in 1992.

The tour operator trade association has a full-time leader under the title president and CEO and also a leader from the membership who serves as chairperson for a two-year term. Each chairperson arrives at that position after holding various positions in the leadership hierarchy until finally reaching the pinnacle.

USTOA’s President and CEO Terry Dale has served as the association’s leader since 2011. Dale was selected in 2010 after a long vetting process to find a leader to replace Bob Whitley, who had served as president for 32 years. Whitley died in 2010.

Collette is America’s oldest existing tour operator. It was founded in 1918 by Jack Collette as Collette Travel Service offering transportation services and regional tours in the Greyhound Terminal in Boston’s Park Square. Its first tour offering was a 21-day trip to Florida that cost $61.50. Soon after Collette added $50 Cherry Blossom specials to Washington D.C.

Collette Tours was purchased by Dan Sullivan in 1962. Sullivan’s son, also named Dan Sullivan, heads the company today.

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