Spotlight on Michelle De Costa, 2021 WINiT Top 50 Women in Travel Recipient


As Global Head of the Meetings and Travel Center of Excellence at Takeda, Michelle is responsible for leading Takeda’s strategy, policy, and processes for Travel, Meetings & Events, Fleet and Private Aviation across the global organization. Michelle is a corporate travel and meetings industry veteran who built a lifelong passion for all things travel while working for the airlines, travel management companies, and a variety of fortune 100 companies. In addition to making the WINiT Top 50 list, Michelle was named Business Travel News Travel Manager of the Year and one of the Top 25 Most Influential Business Travel Executives, as well as earning the GBTA Masters Honors Award.

What do you love about the business travel industry?
My love for the travel industry began when I accepted a position at Delta Air Lines while studying to become an industrial psychologist at George Mason University. Everything about working for an airline was exciting, from supporting business travelers who were making important meeting connections to ensuring leisure travelers were getting a positive start to their dream vacations to everything in between. It instilled a deep passion that propelled me to explore all angles of the travel and meetings industry. People have an natural tendency to be drawn toward travel and exploration, and the same is true for those who work in the industry. There is a very special bond created with those you meet in this industry, and I’ve built lifelong friendships and business relationships along the way. There are endless opportunities to learn, grow, expand and it is the people you meet in this industry that inspire you to harness the magic and follow your dreams.

Who or what inspires you to continue working hard, even on the most challenging days?
My global team and their relentless drive, passion, and unapologetic mission to create extraordinary experiences for Takeda employees and the patients we serve. Together we’ve built an impermeable psychological safety barrier that allows us to draw energy from each other when we need it and truly bring our whole selves to work without judgment. One of our team members describes it this way: “If one of the team members were falling off a cliff, without thinking, planning, or hesitating, we’d form a human chain to save them.” This team and how hard they work around the clock to make Takeda’s purpose of transforming patient’s lives a reality, inspires me to push through even on the most challenging days.

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