Dave Hilfman’s Monday Memo to GBTA Members

Dear Friends and Colleagues:


I was going to start this Monday morning memo out with the standard Happy New Year greeting but with all that happened last week in Washington D.C., it seemed a little awkward. We’ve all been through so much the past year with the pandemic and frankly I was just looking forward to a smooth and uneventful start to 2021. Obviously that didn’t happen.


I know we all condemn the violence that occurred at the nation’s Capitol and mourn those who were lost. Personally, I will forever be the eternal optimist and am confident we will work through our differences as a country. We’re always better together.


From a travel perspective, there’s so much promise ahead of us with the vaccines and therapies now being distributed. Won’t it be great to finally meet in person again? To that end, GBTA Convention planning is in full swing and registration to this premier event is open. The agenda will offer a lot of valuable content, with both in-person and virtual offerings. Register here while discount rates are available through March 1.


Call for Convention Presentations – Deadline Extended to Feb. 26


Speaking of Convention 2021, we want your expertise! GBTA is seeking industry professionals to present education sessions at Convention. This is an outstanding opportunity to get in front of GBTA event attendees including corporate travel managers, consultants and industry suppliers from the airline, hotel, car, card, agency, and travel technology communities.


If you have new ideas, solutions, and innovations for current issues and challenges that confront the travel industry, click here for more information on submitting a proposal. GBTA will provide the technology to ensure speaker and attendee engagement, both in-person and virtually. The deadline to submit an education session proposal is February 26, 2021.


WINiT Awards – Request for Submissions


Our second WINiT Awards and Virtual Gala is happening March 8, 2021. This special all-virtual event offers you the opportunity to nominate true visionaries and leaders within our industry who are driving positive change for the career advancement of women in travel-related industries.


All global organizations and individuals that work in travel-related industries are eligible to submit nominations in any of the four categories.   Find out how to submit nominations here.


Welcome New Canada Advisory Board Members


GBTA Canada’s Advisory Board has appointed three new allied members and three new direct members to help shape and guide the strategy of GBTA Canada.


Allied Seats:

Chuck Crowder, Vice President Sales & Distribution, WestJet Airlines

Vito Curalli, Executive Director of International Sales and Industry Relations, Hilton

Patrick Doyle, Vice President & General Manager, Canada, American Express Global Business Travel


Direct Member Seats:

Brooke Davis, Global Travel & Events Manager, lululemon

Jon Heppenstall, Manager Sourcing Operations, Corporate Services, Hydro One

Bertie Fernandes, Corporate Travel Manager, Ledcor Group of Companies


We’re thrilled to have the volunteer support of these new members to help expand GBTA’s presence in Canada.


Diversity Committee Nominations


Last week, GBTA announced the launch of a new committee. The global Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Committee will provide resources, education and support to help our industry embrace and drive diversity, equality and inclusion within organizations. This first-of-its-kind committee for GBTA will be chaired by J. Grant Caplan, President at Procurigence, joined by Vice Chair Carol Fergus, Global Travel Manager at Fidelity International, and Vice Chairs from Canada and Latin America (to be named).


This new committee is seeking members who want to be a part of raising awareness and addressing issues of diversity, equality and inclusion in our industry. Click here to complete the membership application.


On a personal note, I want to thank my long-time friends Grant Caplan and Susan Lichtenstein from TAMS for being such strong advocates to launch this committee.


Last Call for Volunteers: Project Unite (ACTE Integration)


With the recent acquisition of the key assets of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), GBTA has the unique opportunity to unite the best of two premier organizations in the business travel industry.


We’re looking for volunteers from across the business travel world (Buyer, Supplier, Media, Member, Non-Member) who have expertise in the following areas to serve on the integration committee:


  • Blended research and education
  • Advocacy
  • Networking
  • Membership
  • Branding


To volunteer for this important effort, email your name, email address and a brief description of your area of interest and expertise to [email protected] by January 13, 2021.


GBTA Europe Town Hall


Join our GBTA Europe Town Hall, this Thursday, January 14 from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. GMT, to hear informative committee updates and GBTA plans for 2021. There will also be discussion of what Brexit means for business travel, with experts from GBTA’s lobbying firm Grayling.

To register for this complimentary session, click here.


Even through an extraordinarily challenging 2020, GBTA has continued to move steadily forward, with so many opportunities for you to get involved. I hope you’ll consider volunteering your time and expertise as we look to a brighter new year ahead.