“It has been a wonderful, satisfying journey and an honor to be part
of the history of our Society.”
Bob Vitagliano bids farewell to SITE after 41 years
I attended my first SITE event in 1994. I was immediately embraced by a vibrant, inclusive community and built friendships at that event in Puerto Rico that sustained me throughout my career as an incentive travel professional.
Among the lifelong friendships forged at that time is Bob Vitagliano, then Executive CEO / Executive Vice President of SITE. Last month Bob retired from the industry, ending a staggering 41 year relationship with SITE as a member, Director, Exec Director of the SITE International Foundation, Research Project Manager and CEO/EVP of SITE.
Legacy members of SITE will all have their favourite Bob V story but all of them will highlight Bob’s sharp wit, bright mind, generosity of spirit but, above all, his passion and dedication to the incentive travel industry and his loyal service to SITE.
In a recent conversation, Past President of SITE Foundation, John Iannini, highlighted how he first met Bob in Istanbul, Turkey in 1998. I was there too and recall how Bob, decidedly more comfortable suited and booted in conservative American business attire, allowed himself to be decked out in the full regalia of a Sultan to preside over a rumbumptious 1001 Nights theme affair.
I can still recall the moment during his obligatory “thank you” speech to our hosts when he declared, without irony or apparent self-consciousness “is this not a truly motivational experience?” Bob the Magnificent, indeed!
As the news of Bob’s retirement makes its way around the SITE community, the tributes have started to pour in. Patrick Delaney who was President of SITE in 1992 and active on the Board during Bob’s tenure, recalls his hand-on involvement across all association matters and his immense role as a consensus builder. “Bob, uniquely, was an incentive travel practitioner, he came from the industry and really helped SITE to become a professional association, built for the long game. He put in place the governance structures that still serve us today”, said Delaney.
Other tributes focus on Bob’s more recent role at SITE as Research Project Manager. Madelyn Marusa said: “Knowing and working with Bob in our SITE projects has always been a pleasure! SITE is a better organization, especially SITE Foundation, due to Bob’s input and efforts!”
John Iannini thanked Bob “for all the hard work and dedication to the association. SITE Foundation has benefitted greatly from your expertise”. Tina Weede, a current Trustee at SITE Foundation added: ”I will miss you as my comrade in Research! You kept us going, moving in the right direction and organized, you pushed us to think concepts through and consider different options. We were so much better because of you and your contributions!”
Current SITE Foundation President, Carina Bauer also thanked Bob for his huge contribution to SITE: “I would just like to add my sincere thanks for all you have done for SITE over the years. It has been a true pleasure to work with you and learn from you.
Finally, CEO of SITE, Didier Scaillet, highlighted the “tremendous support” he received from Bob when he was appointed to the CEO role two and a half years ago.
With retirement comes more free time. We wish Bob all the best as he settles into a life of leisure and hope, finally, he gets the opportunity to take up jazz saxophone, a long-treasured ambition of his.
We’ll see you Bob for the 50th anniversary of SITE in 2023, if not before!
If you’ve got a favourite Bob V story, please be sure to share it with us – firstname.lastname@example.org