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The Group Travel Leader Small Market Meetings Going on Faith

Personal accounts: Well connected

Stenseng hosts birthday celebrations, Christmas parties and other events for 55 Connection members

A travelogue in progress
That bank president was part of 55 Connection’s World War II-themed trip to France a few years ago.

“Our motorcoach had left the airport, and we were in line to board the plane when I learned the trip had been canceled due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland. You’ll probably remember that air travel was impossible over much of the Atlantic Ocean during that time,” Stenseng said.

“Talk about disappointment! There were such long faces while we waited for the bus to return. The president pulled me aside and said, ‘Lynda, we have to do something. Let’s have a party.’ So we found a restaurant at a wonderful venue that opened up just for us. And yes, we had a great party, but it was bittersweet.

“While we were able to go to France months later, the president was not able to go. He did go with us to Alaska, where high winds and bad weather didn’t add to anyone’s enjoyment. He’s such a great guy and supporter, he just bemoaned, ‘I think I’m a jinx to this group.’”

Stenseng related another chapter from her travel adventures that involved a massive snowstorm in Missouri while her group was en route to New Orleans by motorcoach.

“An 18-wheeler had jackknifed, and everyone, including the police, seemed to be in a ditch. We were stuck on that motorcoach from 8:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon with little but a few treats onboard.

“When things finally opened up, there was nothing open. I ended up walking through waist-high snow to knock on the back door of an International House of Pancakes and asked them to help, and while the manager had sent everyone home because of the storm — someone came by foot, and they fed us — yay!

“We arrived at our hotel in Arkansas at 1:30 in the morning. Our wonderful group made the best of it.”

55 Connection 
members are connected
This dedicated director considers her position more than a job.

“Many of our travelers are my best friends, and 55 Connection members are truly like family,” Stenseng said. “I have learned so much through their wisdom — it’s all just a treasure to me.

“And our bank certainly treasures the 55 Connection business, rolling out the red carpet for two birthday celebrations and one Christmas party every year. Sit-down dinners, entertainment — these events are expensive, and the guests are treated like royalty.

“Our club goes way beyond travel, as it is important for me to not only know every name, but know about their children, their dogs, their sicknesses and events in their lives. When people feel like they are needed and appreciated, they are less likely to go to the competition.

“But aren’t we all that way?” Stenseng said. “Making the personal connections is such an important part of this job; but that is pretty easy when you know that while every individual is different, most have a wonderful heart.”