In Incentive Travel, Special Events, Strategic Meetings

At SDI, experience matters – your experience and what happens when work with us, your guests’ experience and how positive and motivated they feel, and our experience of 28 years and a team that has done it all, seen it all, and come through it all flawlessly.

Continuing our theme of Experience Matters, we’re welcoming you “Inside the Experience” and giving you a glimpse into the incredible team members that make working with SDI such an exceptional experience.

Meet Anita Stimson, Senior Account Manager

How long have you been with SDI?

I’ve worked with SDI full-time for 6.5 years but I spent 10 years before that working with the SDI team and clients as a freelancer – so nearing 20 years in total.

What do you love most about your job?

Working at SDI brings the freedom to get our work done creatively and effectively, including flexible schedules that allow us to work the best way for each of us individually. Having such a supportive and experienced team means that we have years of collective knowledge and expertise to leverage for assistance, guidance and input. You can always find someone who has been through a similar challenge or has visited the part of the world you’re asking about.

Why is incentive travel important?

It’s been proven in study after study that incentive travel has a huge, positive impact on morale. It’s a much stronger incentive than cash, which might be used to pay for bills or necessities, and the recipient forgets about the reward or doesn’t get any pleasure of positive memories from it. Overwhelmingly the scales are tipped towards incentive travel in employee happiness and engagement with the company.

What’s the most challenging situation you’ve faced in your role?

Our biggest client’s acquisition significantly changed the scale and logistical needs for its annual sales meeting, just 8 months before the event. Being held in a popular warm weather destination during high season with limited hotel availability, bringing the event from 1,500 to 3,000 was no small task. Even our client questioned if it would be possible.

Our incredible team was able to come together and pull off the near impossible – not just finding the additional hotel rooms, but rebooking venues for kick-off meetings and the closing party, booking transportation from hotels across the destination, and placing staff and production teams in 10 different hotels in order to accommodate the needed support.

Without the incredible team and partnerships SDI has established, this wouldn’t have been possible. Because of our experience and relationships, we were able to deliver a world-class event that continue every year.

What’s your craziest / funniest / weirdest travel story?

How about my most fun? I was about to board a plane from Chicago to Florida to attend a client’s sales meeting. While sitting at the airport, I heard from a group of friends (we often travel with a groupof 8 couples), that there was a terrific opportunity to spend three days in Dublin at a very discounted price – right around St. Patrick’s Day! By the time I got off the plane in Florida, the trip was a go, and we spent three days exploring the city during the day and the pubs all evening. It was an exhausting, whirlwind of a trip but so incredibly fun.

My most extraordinary travel experience was after winning a first-class trip to Bangkok and Istanbul on Turkish Airlines. Our flight had a private chef in first class, and we enjoyed the most incredible meals while en-route and then explored two incredible destinations that few people get to see. It was very special.

What’s has been your favorite destination to visit with SDI?

I’m a fan of the islands – Nevis, the Caymans, Anguilla. They are still unspoiled and special and there is something incredible about the quiet peaceful nature in those places.

What’s on your bucket list?

I would definitely like to spend more time in Europe but first on my bucket list is the Grand Canyon. I’ve traveled around the world, but I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon. I recently put in for the lottery to stay in the lodge at the bottom of the canyon – it’s a 10 mile hike down, and of course a 10 mile hike back up. Crossing my fingers that in April 2022 I’ll finally get to cross this trip off the list.

About Us: SDI Meetings & Incentives is the global-yet-boutique meetings, incentives and special events partner driven by the basic truth that Experience Matters.  Creating custom experiences to reward performance and fuel growth, SDI taps decades of expertise to deliver solutions managed from concept through execution by one tenured point of contact. We’ve produced programs around the world, for groups from 10 to thousands, combining the exact right elements to support our clients’ goals and to motivate and inspire their attendees. Find out more and contact us at