Message from the Office of the GBTA President – Convention Recap and Look Ahead

*The following blog post was originally sent as an email to GBTA Members.*

It was such a pleasure seeing so many of you last month in Denver at GBTA Convention 2016. With more than 6,500 attendees and our first time in history to sell out 100 percent of the exhibition floor, it was our biggest and best yet. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet, reconnect and network with so many amazing people in this industry.

During our time in Denver, we heard from incredible speakers including United’s Oscar Munoz and TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, who shared their industry insight and discussed opportunities and challenges ahead, both for their organizations and the industry as a whole. We had a front row seat to panel discussions on issues ranging from market consolidation within the industry to the rapidly changing ground transportation sector. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and Astronaut Scott Kelly provided attendees with invaluable advice on life and career and a first-hand look at the amazing journeys that have led them to where they are today.

Peyton Manning shared a quote that resonated within me. He said that as a leader that you should lead by your dreams and cultivate that same attitude in the people who work with you and for you. In our industry, it is easy to do this because we are all very passionate about the travel industry and are constantly looking for ways to make it better. At our core, our passion for the industry is what drives us to succeed.

Peyton Manning

In addition to the phenomenal speakers, there were more than 80 education sessions on a wide range of topics covering everything from best practices in duty of care and the impact of the latest technology on the business travel experience. In addition, our expo floor was filled with leading industry suppliers showcasing the latest and greatest products and technologies available.

Expo Floor
One of my favorite things about Convention is the opportunity it offers to honor our volunteer members. This association is driven by volunteers and we would not experience the success we have today without your hard work. Several members were honored with special awards and recognitions and because that is too important to only receive a quick mention here, keep an eye out for another communication coming shortly from me recognizing our outstanding members.

Time does not stop for GBTA, however, once Convention is over. All of the revenue raised from Convention goes back towards improving, educating and advocating for the business travel industry. The calendar for the year ahead is already filled with events, education and networking opportunities across the globe. At the end of this month we will host our Energy, Resources & Marine (ERM) Travel Symposium in Rio followed closely by an early-September Business Travel Symposium in India.

Our Travel Sourcing Series for buyers continues in Canada along with two more ERM Symposiums planned – one in the United States and the second in Canada, respectively. We will host our next Conferences in Buenos Aires and Frankfurt and, of course, preparations for Convention in Boston in 2017 are already well underway. In September at our All Committee Summit we will dive deeper into Convention 2017 planning and will develop the theme for next year. I will update you after that meeting on how our planning is going.

For now, we hope that you incorporate this year’s theme of Balance into your life and into your travel programs—and in doing so, continue the innovations that help drive our industry to new heights.

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Christle Johnson currently serves as the Vice President of Travel & Business Services for Johnson Downie, a boutique executive search firm that specializes solely in partners of law firms. In addition to overseeing the meetings and travel for the employees, recruiters, candidates and firms they are working with, she is also tasked with the development and implementation of their travel program. Christle launched her career in the travel industry 23 years ago as a Sales Manager for a large regional travel agency before spending almost 15 years with National Car Rental as a Director, Strategic Accounts. Always seeking to improve her knowledge in the industry, Christle earned her Certified Corporate Travel Manager (CCTE) designation from GBTA and Cornell University (2007), her Certificate of Professional Development for completion of The Global Leadership Professional Program at The Wharton School (2009), her Global Leadership Professional (GLP) Designation from The Wharton School (2010), and her Global Travel Professional (GTP) Certification (2012). She has received numerous awards including the GBTA Business Travel Professional Service Award in 2009, the GBTA Foundation Scholarship Recipient in 2007 and was both the Austin BTA Allied Member of the Year and a Texas BTA Allied Member of the Year Nominee in 2003. She was elected to serve as President of GBTA during the 2015 Special Election and will serve a two-year term.

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  • Avatar
    Natasha Kvitka
    August 17, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Thank you for the amazing experience we had. It is always a pleasure and honor for the BusinessVisaHQ team to be a part of GBTA events. Convention in Denver this year was extremely informative, and it was really an inspiration to hear from all the great speakers so passionate about travel! Only the best memories from Denver… And we already look forward to Canada Travel Sourcing Series!

    • Avatar
      Nancy Tudorache
      August 18, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      GBTA Canada is thrilled to have BusinessVisaHQ be part of our Travel Sourcing Series… Thank you for all of your support and for sharing your wonderful GBTA Convention experience! See you in Toronto in September!!!