Announcing GBTA Ladders

(Reposting from an email issued on April 20, 2014 to GBTA members)

Dear GBTA Members,

We are writing to tell you about an exciting new program: GBTA Ladders.  The Ladders program pairs rising young stars from all parts of the travel industry with superstar industry veterans. Essentially a mentoring program, Ladders gives younger members an opportunity to learn first-hand from some of their more experienced colleagues. As its name suggests, Ladders will help talented young members become the next generation of leaders in the business travel industry.

Please understand, though, that this is not your typical mentor program! Many businesses have wonderful mentor programs of their own where participants learn to build their skills within their company, usually along their area of focus. What makes GBTA Ladders unique is that it – like GBTA – represents all facets of the business travel industry, including airlines, hotels, and ground transportation companies. Participants receive a 360-degree view of the industry and understand how its different components interact.

“For years our members have been challenging the Board to address the gap in talent to fill future key roles in our industry. The GBTA Ladders Program is the first step of many to provide a solution to that challenge.” – Bhart Sarin,GBTA Ladders Board Sponsor.

GBTA Ladders mentees are entrepreneurial travel professionals armed with a strong and innovative spirit, a razor-sharp focus, and a keen understanding of the marketplace. They are well educated, highly versed in technology,  and business-oriented. They have a passion for solving some of the major challenges facing business travel today and tomorrow. Combining that kind of talent with C-level expert mentors who have considerable experience and proven track records of success creates an environment that fosters creativity and ideas that can transform the business travel industry.

How does GBTA Ladders work?

For the program’s first year,  GBTA selected 36 mentees from a highly competitive group of applicants. We based the selections on the individuals’ merits and qualifications, including their involvement in fast-track executive management or similar management programs within their companies, and endorsements from their peers and superiors. The 36 mentees joined with 14 mentors to form 14 cooperative teams, each representing a different vertical sector within the business travel industry. This approach enabled mentees with diverse talents and characteristics to work together and learn from each other. Each team had to develop a presentation on a certain topic and give that presentation to a set of experts within the industry. These judges rated each team’s presentation. The three teams with the highest scores gave their presentation to the entire group of Ladders participants, who determined the winning team.

When we formed GBTA Ladders we set out to create an environment that facilitates the exchange of ideas and invigorates interest in the business of travel among the next generation of professionals. I am proud to be part of this innovative program that inspires passion and fosters creativity and ideas that have the ability to transform business today.” – Caitlin Gomez,  senior director,  Global &Strategic Sales, HRG North America and driving force behind GBTA Ladders.

Beginning April 30, 2014, we will be highlighting the three best teams on the GBTA Blog. Each team will contribute a blog post in each of the next three weeks.

Why is the GBTA Ladders beneficial?

GBTA Ladders facilitates the exchange of ideas and invigorates interest in the business of travel among the next generation of professionals. It seeks out young professionals in the industry not just because they are young, but because they are motivated, engaged, and inspired to elevate the business travel industry. The program provides these emerging leaders with mentors that help them hone their skills; sharpen their problem-solving abilities; and learn to balance work, life, and continuing education. GBTA Ladders also provides these young professionals with invaluable networking opportunities with their peers and colleagues.

I was excited to work with these young professionals whose perspective and energy helped produce such an insightful and educational presentation on creating global travel products. GBTA is on the right path with its Ladders Program in sponsoring opportunities for the next generation of leaders to be heard and help shape the future of our industry.” – Mat Orrego, CEO and Founder, Cornerstone, Mentor, Team Mat.

GBTA is proud of this innovative program, one that will help develop the passion and skills of new professionals to enable them to solve some of the major challenges facing business travel today and tomorrow.

We personally want to thank Caitlin Gomez and Krissy Herman who have spearheaded this wonderful program. Find a full list of all of the mentors and mentees on gbta.org. And of course, stay tuned to the blog to see for yourself how truly extraordinary GBTA Ladders really is.


Donna Kelliher, GBTA President and CEO

Bhart Sarin, GBTA Board Member