WINiT by GBTA ramps up for the future with new Strategic Advisory Board and Glass Breaker appointments


Alexandria, VA – WINiT by GBTA announced today new appointments to its Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) as well as the debut of a new Glass Breakers initiative, all designed to advance WINiT’s continued growth, program development and volunteer impact. Working in partnership with the Global Business Travel Association, WINiT is a global network of women and men focused on driving positive change for the career mobility of women in travel-related industries.

The new leadership appointments on WINiT’s 21-member Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) are:

  • Dorothy Dowling, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Best Western Hotels & Resorts, and former WINiT Chair who will serve as the WINiT Strategic Senior Advisor. In this newly created role, the former SAB Chairperson will continue to serve as a senior advisor to support transition and ensure succession planning.
  • Michelle (Mick) Lee, Managing Director, BNY Mellon, Direct Member GBTA Board and former WINiT Vice Chair, who will now serve as Chair of the WINiT SAB as well as lead the WINiT Gala, Convention, and Social Media Committees.
  • Beth Kinerk, Senior Vice President of Sales, Avis Budget Group, former WINiT SAB member, who will serve as SAB Vice Chair.

Additionally, Kelly Kuhn, former Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer and currently a Special Advisor to executive leadership at CWT, has been appointed as the newest member of the SAB.

“I’m very excited about the year ahead for WINiT,” said Lee. “I have known and worked with Kelly for over 15 years, and her energy and thought leadership will be a strong complement to the diverse and powerful leaders on the WINiT SAB.”

“Advancing the career mobility of women in travel-related industries has never been more critical than it is now,” said Kuhn. “I’m thrilled to join this extraordinary group of leaders to advocate for the advancement of women throughout our industry, as we seek to gain back those we lost from the workforce as a result of the pandemic.”

WINiT is also rolling out a strategic initiative called Glass Breakers with new appointees. In this senior strategic visionary role, SAB members will focus on breaking new ground — and the proverbial glass ceilings — by focusing on specific goals and serving as advocates for advancing WINiT’s programs and objectives. Glass Breakers appointees are:

  • MENTORING AND INDUSTRY WORKFORCE SUSTAINABILITY: Mary Ellen Hess, Executive Vice President Business Development, Corporate Travel Management (CTM)
  • REDEFINING RETURN TO THE ROAD AND RETURN TO THE OFFICE: Patti Huska, Chief People Officer, American Express Global Business Travel
  • EDUCATION: Christle Johnson, Vice President, Travel and Business Services, Johnson Downie LLC
  • ALLYSHIP: Melissa Maher, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Industry Engagement, Expedia, Inc.
  • TECHNOLOGY: Traci Mercer, Senior Vice President, Global Lodging, Ground and Sea, Sabre Travel Network

Also aligned to its priority focus areas, Aileen Furlong, Managing Director, Global Corporate Sales, United Airlines and SAB member will serve as the WINiT representative on GBTA’s DEI Committee.

“We are expanding volunteer opportunities on the Board through the creation of sub-committees with targeted initiatives to progress gender equality in our 2022 programming” said Lee, “Look for more details in our social media channels, including specific roles for men to engage with WINiT. As Mahatma Gandhi said, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. The time is now, and the place is WINiT.”

WINiT provides members and the industry with a variety of unique career development opportunities including leadership and education, training and mentoring, and inspirational and networking events. Some of the organization’s programs in the coming months include timely topics such as career advancement, gaining technology insights, promoting an inclusive and diverse culture and work-life balance and well-being.

View the full WINiT Strategic Advisory Board and find out more about WINiT here.

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