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Matt Assolin

Vice President, RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation

Professional Bio

Matt Assolin brings over two decades of expertise to the chauffeured transportation industry, serving as a driving force in its evolution and growth. Beginning his career in his father’s company, founded in 1982, Matt played an instrumental role in expanding its reach and reputation, establishing it as the premier chauffeured transportation provider in Houston and Austin. Under his leadership, the company experienced exponential growth, launching an extensive affiliate network spanning over 125 countries worldwide.

Currently serving as Vice President for RMA Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation, headquartered in Washington DC, Matt plays a pivotal role in guiding one of the largest chauffeured transportation companies globally. With offices in major cities like New York, Boston, Houston, and Austin, and affiliates in over 600 cities worldwide, RMA sets the standard for excellence in the industry

Matt’s dedication to advancing the chauffeured transportation sector is evident through his active involvement in industry associations. As a past board member of the National Limousine Association (NLA) and current chair of legislative advocacy for the chauffeured transportation industry, he is committed to shaping policies that support industry growth and sustainability.

His leadership extends beyond the chauffeured transportation sector into the realm of business travel advocacy. As Vice-Chair of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Government Relations Committee/Legislative Advisory Council and former chair of the TBTA Government Relations and Finance Committees, Matt plays a vital role in advocating for the interests of business travelers and industry stakeholders on a global scale.

Matt’s educational background includes studies at Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets, Company C-2. Ultimately, he graduated from the University of Houston with degrees in Finance and Economics, equipping him with a strong foundation for success in the business world.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Matt finds fulfillment in coaching select baseball, demonstrating his passion for mentorship and community engagement. Whether navigating the complexities of transportation and business travel or coaching aspiring athletes, Matt’s commitment to excellence and leadership shines through in all his endeavors.

Platform Statement

I am honored to stand before you as a candidate for the GBTA board election, driven by a profound dedication to our association and its members. With over 15 years of active involvement, beginning at the grassroots level within my local chapter BTA(s) in Texas, my journey has been one of passion, advocacy, and service.

My platform is rooted in the fundamental principle that associations exist to serve their members, and board members are entrusted with the responsibility to represent their constituents successfully. If elected, I pledge to focus my efforts on three key areas:

  1. Advocacy and Public Relations: Advocacy lies at the heart of GBTA’s mission. As Vice-Chairman of the Government Relations Committee/Legislative Advisory Council, I have witnessed firsthand the impact of our advocacy efforts in shaping policies that affect our industry. I am committed to continuing this vital work, ensuring that GBTA remains a leading voice in advocating for the interests of our members and member companies on Capitol Hill and beyond. Moreover, I recognize the importance of public relations in raising awareness of the significance of business travel, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we will preserve and promote the crucial role business travel plays in our global community.
  2. Financial Stability and Continuity: The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of financial preparedness. While our association weathered the storm due to foresight with pandemic insurance, we must remain vigilant and proactive in ensuring the financial success and continuity of GBTA. I will work diligently to implement sound financial strategies and safeguards, equipping GBTA to navigate any future challenges that may arise.
  3. Shaping the Association for the Future: Our community has undergone significant changes in recent years, necessitating an evolution within our organization. As board members, it is our responsibility to ensure that GBTA reflects and represents these changes effectively. I am committed to providing robust support at the ground level to our chapters and committees, recognizing them as the backbone of GBTA. Additionally, I will champion the expansion of our international presence and ensure that our association evolves in alignment with the evolving needs and interests of our members.
    While my background may be from the Allied side, I understand and respect that GBTA is a buyer-led organization. With my extensive experience on the Government Relations Committee and Legislative Advisory Council, I have always approached policy decisions with the perspective of all members in mind. As a board member, I will prioritize the collective interests of our members above all else.

I humbly ask for your vote as an at-large Allied representative in this year’s GBTA board election. Together, let us chart a course for a stronger, more resilient association that serves the needs of all its members and ensures the continued success of the business travel industry.

Thank you for your consideration and support.

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Samantha Bean GTP, GLP

Vice President of Sales & Culture, LTD Hospitality Group

Professional Bio

Samantha Bean is a values-based, people-centric, hospitality sales and marketing leader with 15+ years of progressive travel experience, delivering outstanding results to boost organizational performance through servant leadership and strategic execution of sales and marketing initiatives. As the Vice President of Sales and Culture for LTD Hospitality Group, Sam has a proven ability to cast a clear vision of success, plan, collaborate, and galvanize diverse teams to work towards a common goal.

Passionate about volunteerism, Sam was honored as GBTA Allied Member of the Year in 2023 and is a recipient of the GBTA Business Travel Service Award. She is currently serving her second term as GBTA Virginia Chapter President and has served in numerous other capacities on the Chapter board. During her first term as Chapter President, Sam was also elected to serve two terms on the GBTA Chapter President’s Council (CPC) board of directors. She sits on the GBTA Legislative Advocacy Council and participates in GBTA Ladders as alumni advisor.

In constant pursuit of opportunities to better serve her team and community, Sam has an unwavering commitment to continuing education and has earned her GBTA Global Leadership Professional (GLP) designation, Global Travel Professional (GTP) designation and has completed the GBTA Manager’s Level

Certificate through the UVA Darden School of Business. She is certified as a John Maxwell Leadership Coach and Professional Speaker and has had the honor of speaking for various GBTA Chapters and associations and industry events. Recognized for her leadership impact, Sam is also the recipient of the LTD Hospitality Group Founder’s Award.

Sam is an active community volunteer and leader in her church and has a passion for outdoor adventure, obstacle course racing, CrossFit, and all things fitness. 

Platform Statement

I am honored and truly humbled to have been nominated to serve on the GBTA Board of Directors. I readily accepted the nomination as I have a passion for the business travel industry and a clear vision for our association with goals that are sure to inspire commitment, encourage action, and continue to drive member value.  

Recognized as GBTA’s Allied Member of the Year in 2023, if elected, you can expect unwavering commitment and dedication to serving you, our members. 

I have been steadfast in my 15-year leadership journey as an elected member of the GBTA Virginia

Chapter’s Board of Directors, serving in various capacities throughout my tenure from Secretary to President of the association. In addition to my leadership within the Chapter network, I have also served in a number of other capacities within the organization including two terms on the GBTA Chapter President’s Council Board of Directors, multiple years on the Government Relations Committee (now the Legislative Advisory Council), GBTA Ladders, WINiT, and more. 

It’s my belief that GBTA “stands on the shoulders of giants”; we are who we are because of the hard work of the volunteers who came before us. I’ve had the honor and privilege of working alongside many of these leaders. I understand the time and commitment this group has invested and appreciate the impact they’ve had on our organization’s success in these challenging last terms. The current leadership has made tremendous strides in the last term including a renewed focus on the globalization of the association, transparency, and reinvestment in key member value drivers such as the GBTA Academy, the GBTA Foundation, GBTA Ladders and critical issues such as advocacy, sustainability and duty of care. 

But we’re far from done.

While we’ve made progress, there’s still so much to do. GBTA membership was severely impacted by the pandemic, and I believe my tenure in volunteerism and leadership, both within GBTA and my own organization has uniquely positioned me with the intimate knowledge and understanding of the true needs of our members. 

GBTA’s value is in its members and its mission is to be the leading source of business travel knowledge worldwide through education, research, networking and advocacy. Having spent the last 15 years serving within the association and actively participating in nearly every member activity including the full spectrum of GBTA Academy offerings, committees, and advocacy efforts, I come to the table with a clear vision and proven engagement tactics to drive member retention and growth. 

As our industry and individual companies adjust to changing market demands, it is the responsibility of the GBTA Board of Directors to guide the efforts of the organization to maximize key member benefits to stimulate membership value, growth and retention. If elected I would bring my decade-plus years of experience to assist in the advancement of our specialized events, professional development offerings, networking, research, and industry tools, thereby driving member value and positioning the association for growth across all regions.

I believe in the power and value of GBTA membership and engagement. I believe in our mission and vision, and I believe the time is now to clarify the association’s value proposition so that more people can benefit from their participation. To do this, we must communicate how GBTA is the premier industry resource to equip members with the knowledge and resources necessary to navigate the rapidly changing business travel landscape. 

If given the opportunity, I will help to sharpen our vision, advance the mission, and strengthen our advocacy, research, education, and networking efforts. Most importantly, I will continue encouraging transparency, diversity of thought, and growth; driving membership value and ROI.

I would be grateful for your vote and promise to serve on your behalf in the manner in which I have always practiced: with humility and honor. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions about my candidacy, feel free to email me at [email protected]

Learn more about me and follow my GBTA journey on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/samanthabeangtp

GBTA VOLUNTEERISM AND EXPERIENCE

  • Virginia Chapter Elected Board of Directors – President (2024-Present)
  • Ladders Participant – Alumni Advisor (2024)
  • GBTA Legislative Advisory Council Member – (2024-present)
  • GBTA Convention Ambassador – (2023)
  • Virginia Chapter Elected Board of Directors – Chairman (2022-2023)
  • Ladders Participant – Alumni Advisor (2022)
  • Project United: GBTA & ACTE Integration (2021)
  • Ladders Participant – Mentee (2020)
  • GBTA Government Relations Committee (2019 – 2023)
  • Peer Review Committee for Convention Education- (2019-2022)
  • Ladders Participant – Mentee (2019)
  • Virginia Chapter Elected Board of Directors – Vice President (2019-2021)
  • Blue Ribbon Education Panel – (2018-2019)
  • Chapter President’s Council Elected Board – Secretary/Treasurer (2017-2019)
  • Annual Business Travel Professional Service Award Recipient – (2016)
  • Virginia Chapter Elected Board of Directors – Chairman (2016-2018)
  • Chapter President’s Council Elected Board – Secretary/Treasurer (2015-2017)
  • Virginia Chapter President and GBTA Chapter President’s Council Member – (2014-2016)
  • WINiT Social Media Committee – (2014-2016)
  • Annual Legislative Summit Attendee – (2013 – Present)
  • Virginia Chapter Elected Board of Directors – Secretary (2013 – 2015)
  • Virginia Chapter Elected Board of Directors – Secretary (2010 – 2012)
  • Virginia Chapter Member (2009 – Present)
  • Allied Member (2009 – Present)

EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL HONORS:

  • GBTA Allied Member of the Year – 2023
  • GBTA Academy, Global Leadership Professional (GLP) Designation & Cohort – (2020-2021)
  • LTD Hospitality Group, Founders Award Winner – 2020 
  • Department of Defense Travel Office (DTMO) – Certificate of Recognition – 2020 
  • John Maxwell Leadership Coach & Professional Speaker Certification – (2018-2020) 
  • GBTA Academy, Global Leadership Professional (GLP) Certificate Completion – (2017-2020)
  • GBTA Annual Business Travel Professional Service Award Recipient – 2016
  • GBTA Academy, Global Travel Professional® (GTP) Certification – 2014
  • GBTA Academy, Business Travel Management at UVA Darden School of Business Certificate – 2013
  • GBTA Academy, Fundamentals of Business Travel Management™ Certificate – 2012
  • Multi-time GBTA Scholarship Award Recipient – 2011 Chapter Scholarship, 2012 Legislative Summit

Scholarship, 2016 Chapter President’s Council Scholarship, 2019 Chapter Scholarship, 2021 GBTA GLP Scholarship, 2024 GBTA Chapter President’s Council Scholarship  

OTHER INDUSTRY ACTIVITIES AND PROFESSIONAL SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

  • SAP Concur Travel Industry Summit Featured Speaker 
  • GBTA Chapter(s) Multi-Year Featured Speaker 
  • GBTA Leadership Summit Multi-Year Featured Speaker
  • National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA) Lodging Committee 
  • Project Management Institute, Central Virginia Corporate Outreach Volunteer & Featured Speaker
  • Virginia State University School of Hospitality and Tourism Speaker & Advisor

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Fernando Carranza

Associated Global Director, Travel Industry & Business Travel Sales, Omni Hotels & Resorts

Professional Bio

Fernando’s expertise in sales and marketing is demonstrated through his successful track record spanning over 20 years in the hospitality industry. As the Associate Director of Global Sales-Business Transient at Omni Hotels, he plays a pivotal role in driving revenue growth and establishing strong partnerships. Fernando leads the GSO TB Team, overseeing their performance and ensuring alignment with Omni’s strategic objectives. Additionally, he personally manages top-tier accounts, leveraging his extensive experience to develop tailored strategies that showcase the unique value proposition of Omni Hotels. Through his market insight and proactive approach, Fernando has consistently delivered results, facilitating rate increases for clients while identifying and capitalizing on new business opportunities to drive the hotel chain’s success.

Before joining Omni Hotels, Fernando Carranza amassed valuable experience in the hospitality industry. During his four-year tenure at Hilton Hotels, he served as the Director of Global National Corporate Accounts, where he further refined his sales and marketing skills while managing corporate client relationships on a national scale.

Fernando’s longest tenure was with Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group, where he spent over 17 years as the Director of Global Accounts. This extensive experience underscores his dedication and proficiency in managing complex client portfolios, solidifying his reputation as a trusted expert in the field.

Additionally, Fernando expanded his professional repertoire during a two-year engagement with WorldHotels, further enhancing his industry knowledge and expertise. These diverse experiences have equipped Fernando with a comprehensive understanding of the hospitality landscape, enabling him to excel in his role at Omni Hotels and drive continued success in sales and marketing.

Fernando is actively involved in Business Travel Associations along the West Coast, emphasizing relationship-building and staying abreast of emerging trends. He plays a crucial role in growth strategies at Omni Hotels, assisting in the acquisition of new accounts and brand expansion.

A significant aspect of Fernando’s professional involvement lies in his active participation within the GBTA community. He has been deeply engaged across multiple chapters, particularly in the Membership Committee, where he fosters community engagement and growth. Additionally, Fernando organizes roundtable discussions on critical topics such as preventing sexual exploitation in the industry, collaborating with ECPAT to raise awareness and promote action.

His contributions extend to “State of the Industry” discussions, providing valuable insights to fellow members, and participating in annual events to support the association’s endeavors.

Fernando’s dedication to diversity and inclusion is evident in his advocacy within GBTA, where he offers a distinct viewpoint as a minority individual. His experiences, insights, and commitment to diverse communities enrich discussions and contribute to a comprehensive understanding of industry challenges and opportunities.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Fernando’s love for family, golf, and travel adds depth to his character, showcasing a well-rounded individual dedicated to both personal and professional fulfillment.

Overall, Fernando Carranza’s story exemplifies resilience, passion, and a commitment to excellence that continues to propel him forward in his journey within the hospitality industry.

Platform Statement

Introduction: As a member of the Global Business Travel Association, I am committed to advancing the interests and welfare of business travelers worldwide. With a focus on innovation, sustainability, and inclusivity, I present this platform to address the pressing issues facing the business travel industry today.

Core Values:

  • Advocacy: We believe in advocating for the needs and rights of business travelers, ensuring their safety, convenience, and well-being.
  • Collaboration: We recognize the power of collaboration and partnerships to drive positive change within the industry.
  • Innovation: We are committed to embracing innovation and technology to enhance the business travel experience and improve efficiency.
  • Sustainability: We understand the importance of sustainable practices in business travel to minimize environmental impact and promote responsible tourism.
  • Inclusivity: We strive to create an inclusive and diverse environment within the business travel community, respecting the needs and perspectives of all travelers.

Key Issues:

  1. Digital Transformation: Embrace digital transformation to streamline processes, enhance communication, and improve the overall travel experience.
  2. Environmental Sustainability: Promote sustainable travel practices, including carbon footprint reduction, waste management, and support for eco-friendly transportation options.
  3. Diversity and Inclusion: Foster diversity and inclusion within the business travel industry through education, training, and support for underrepresented groups.
  4. Policy Advocacy: Advocate for policies that support the needs of business travelers, including visa facilitation, border security, and travel infrastructure development.

Proposed Actions:

  1. Invest in technological solutions to streamline booking processes, enhance traveler communication, and provide real-time updates on travel disruptions.
  2. Launch initiatives to reduce carbon emissions from business travel,  supporting sustainable transportation options, and offsetting carbon footprints.
  3. Partner with organizations and initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and within the business travel industry.
  4. Engage with policymakers and government agencies to advocate for policies that facilitate safe and efficient business travel, including visa simplification and investment in travel infrastructure.

Benefits and Impact:

  • Improved traveler safety and well-being
  • Increased efficiency and productivity in business travel operations
  • Reduced environmental impact and contribution to sustainable development goals
  • Enhanced diversity and inclusion within the business travel community
  • Strengthened advocacy efforts and influence on policymaking

Conclusion: In conclusion, I am committed to championing the interests of business travelers and advancing the goals of the Global Business Travel Association. By prioritizing safety, embracing innovation, promoting sustainability, and fostering diversity and inclusion, we can build a more resilient and inclusive business travel industry for the future. Together, let us work towards a brighter and more sustainable future for business travel worldwide.

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Kim Conway

Director, Fragomen/Nomadic

Professional Bio

I am closing in on 30 years for travel industry experience with over 17 years supporting clients develop international business traveler programs; focusing on immigration compliance; streamlined delivery of required documents to ensure traveler compliance and a world class client experience.  I have been an active member and volunteer for GBTA for over 15 years.

Since beginning in the travel industry in 1996 I have worked in the Airline and Hotel industry as well as in the immigration sector, supporting travelers cross international borders.

Travel Industry Experience:

  • Residence Inn by Marriott – Front Desk Operations
  • American Airlines – Reservations, Sales, and Operations
  • Travisa Visa Service – Vice President Operations
  • Fragomen Nomadic – Director Americas

Relevant GBTA Experience:

  • GBTA Chicago Chapter Board member
  • GBTA Chicago Chapter Government Relations Committee Chair
  • Presented at Education Sessions for GBTA Chapters, GBTA Conferences, and GBTA Convention
  • Attended Legislative Summits, Conferences in Toronto, Brussels, Munich, Hamburg (looking forward to Copenhagen) and have attended Convention for last 11 years.
  • Attend Chapter meetings outside of Chicago chapter and attended Leadership Summit 2023
  • Presented Digital Nomad Session in Ready! Safe! Travel! Training
  • I am a champion in my company obtaining additional support for attendance to events in Mexico and Singapore and always looking for new ways to partner with our offices in UAE and India.  My advocacy of GBTA in the Firm has led to more sponsorship of GBTA by our Firm at local chapters and most recently as a Main stage sponsor in Toronto.

Platform Statement

I am excited to announce that I have accepted a nomination to run for GBTA Board of Directors Allied Member.  As a Director for Nomadic I support Global Business Travel multiple times a day.  I am excited that GBTA over the last several years has been reinforcing the Global in GBTA.  As a member of the Board of Directors I look to continue to with that focus.

I am closing in on 30 years for travel industry experience with over 17 years supporting clients develop international business traveler programs; focusing on immigration compliance; streamlined delivery of required documents to ensure traveler compliance and a world class client experience.  I have been an active member and volunteer for GBTA for over 15 years.

Since beginning in the travel industry in 1996 I have worked in the Airline and Hotel industry as well as in the immigration sector, supporting travelers cross international borders.

GBTA ALLIED MEMBER PLATFORM STATEMENT

I am running for GBTA’s Board of Directors because I have been an active Member of GBTA for over 15 years and I am excited to volunteer my energy and expertise to all GBTA members.  I plan to listen to the many voices that lead to one purpose.

When I joined the GBTA Chicago Chapter I was committed to being involved and volunteering.  I joined the Government Relations Committee where I successfully supported the Chicago chapter make chapter partner each year that I have been on the Committee.  When there was an opportunity to be Co-chair of the Committee and be a member of the Board I gladly stepped up.  When needed I volunteer to help with other committees.

I enjoy attending meetings and providing content for education sessions.  This year the Conference in Toronto was an amazing experience, and it is always such an honor to be chosen and trusted to deliver educational content to our members.  For the remainder of 2024 I am looking forward to Chicago Pick your Path and Monte Carlo night, LA Education Day, Salt Lake City Travel Show, Legislative Summit, Convention in Atlanta, WINit Gala, Sustainability Summit and Conference in Copenhagen and I am sure many other interesting meeting and events that I will have an opportunity to attend.

I am committed to supporting local chapters and international locations by listening to membership and being able to share successes that other chapters have had, so that we can all deliver the best opportunities to our membership.

I look forward to talking to as many of you as possible over the coming months.  I am committed to listening to the many voices that support one purpose.  I am also committed to raising your ideas to the board during my tenure.

I bring a set of values to the table and one of them is I am fixer and have been referred to as “Winston Wolf” on more than one occasion.  I have a passion for building successful inclusive teams and know how to lead during challenging times and when times are optimal!  I am willing to think outside of the box, listen to ideas, develop a plan forward, and stay committed to the implementation.  I look forward to bringing these strengths and values to the GBTA Board of Directors.  I would be thrilled to have your vote.

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Annette Cumming

Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer, BTP Automation

Professional Bio

Annette is a distinguished and forward-thinking executive and a driving force in business travel. With over three decades of industry expertise and two decades dedicated to catalyzing revenue growth, she possesses a remarkable track record of guiding organizations to breakthrough success and elevating them to new heights.

Her leadership is widely recognized, and she is regarded as a subject matter expert and an innovative senior executive. Annette’s unstoppable determination has allowed her to assist organizations in unlocking business value, realizing their strategic visions, and achieving accelerated growth, ultimately transforming them into thriving enterprises.  Her proven success lies in her deep understanding of the competitive landscape within the business travel industry. She excels at aligning marketing strategies with customers’ evolving needs, consistently delivering remarkable results in a rapidly changing business environment. 

Annette is a widely acknowledged and impactful influencer in her career. She is known for her extensive expertise in personal development, industry processes, and scalable solutions and her unique ability to provide a competitive edge that distinguishes her from other leaders.

Her career has been marked by a talent for turning challenges into world-class growth strategies, optimizing product and brand performance, and reshaping organizations into global industry leaders. Annette’s contributions extend beyond her professional roles; she has actively participated on committees such as the GBTA Technology and Accommodations Committees, Female Founders in Hospitality, and GBTA WINiT Mentorship and Community Connections teams. She was the 2024 recipient of the GBTA WINiT Most Innovative Trailblazer Award. 

Manager at American Express Global Business Travel. Following that, from 1999 to 2001, she assumed the position of Global Travel and Expense Program Manager for Wam!Net and Retek, Inc. During this time, Annette was responsible for overseeing a substantial $100 million Travel and Entertainment Program, playing a pivotal role in shaping the organization’s budget framework, policy development, and vendor negotiations.

From 2001 to 2012, Annette was the Global Client Services Manager at American Express Business Travel, working with the company’s top global technology customers. Annette expanded the company’s global presence and footprint into 30 diverse markets around the globe.

From 2012 to 2017 and again from 2018 to 2021, Annette served as the Vice President of Channel Sales at Deem, Inc.  From 2017 to 2018, Annette joined Travelport as the Head of Americas Digital Sales and Hospitality leading the efforts to transform how their Travelport customers access and consume hotel data at point of sale. 

In 2022, Annette embarked on a dynamic career path, taking on the simultaneous roles of Co-Founder, Chief Revenue Officer, and Head of Marketing at BTP Automation. In these multifaceted positions, she plays a pivotal role in driving the startup’s growth trajectory by designing and executing comprehensive revenue strategies and product innovation. Under her leadership, BTP Automation has won numerous awards, such as the PhocusWire 2024 Hot Travel Startup, Plug and Play Innovation Award, and F-Prime Tech Titans recipient. 

Platform Statement

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”  – John F. Kennedy

Hello, my name is Annette Cumming, and I am running as a candidate for the Global Allied Supplier seat on the GBTA Board of Directors.

My dedication to leading transformative change within our industry uniquely positions me for this role. I firmly believe that the inevitability of change presents us with a golden opportunity to ignite innovation and foster growth for the upcoming generation of travel professionals. By working together and embracing adaptability, we can navigate the ever-changing landscape of business travel with agility and resilience to drive positive outcomes for business and enhanced experiences for business travelers.  

With 38 years of rich experience in Business Travel, I bring a diverse perspective to this position. I have (literally) sat at all sides of the table and can empathize and represent all points of view from our members. Because of my roles as a supplier, buyer, and, most recently, co-founder of a startup dedicated to building innovative travel technology, I am confident in my ability to provide a transparent and well-rounded approach. 

Volunteerism is one of the core tenets of business travel, and that spirit continues to drive our industry’s progress. I have dedicated my time and passion to the GBTA Technology and Accommodations Committees, Female Founders in Hospitality, and GBTA WINiT Mentorship and Community Connections teams. I was honored to be awarded the 2024 GBTA WINiT Most Innovative Trailblazer Award. 

My vision is centered on collaboration, empowerment, and forward-thinking strategies. I am deeply committed to fostering an environment where diverse perspectives are not just welcomed but celebrated. I believe that by tapping into the collective wisdom of our community, together, we can redefine the future of our industry and make business travel a catalyst for positive change on a global scale. 

I am excited to help lead this charge with fellow board members and invite you to join me on this transformative journey. I am truly honored to be part of such a fantastic organization and have the opportunity to represent all our members. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support and consideration as you elect your next Supplier board representative.

Annette Cumming
Co-Founder and CRO BTP
Automation

Your vote matters! I’m eager to hear from you and welcome any questions or thoughts you may have. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected], [email protected] or connect with me through my LinkedIn profile.  

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Katharine Farrell

Manager, Sales Marketing Digital Comms, Delta Air Lines

Professional Bio

Katharine Farrell has been a longtime supporter and member of GBTA. She attended her first GBTA (then NBTA) Convention in 2007 in Boston as an intern for Eos Airlines. Today, she is in her second term as co-chair of the GBTA WINiT Education & Development Committee. She remains active in the GBTA Ladders program as a final presentation judge after participating as a mentee, alumni advisor and committee member for several years. In 2021 and 2023 she was recognized as a Top Women in Travel honoree by GBTA WINiT and was part of the winning GBTA Ladders team in 2017.

Katharine joined Delta Air Lines as Manager – Sales Digital Marketing Communications in 2022. In this role, she leads the strategy for internal communications and external B2B digital marketing for Global Sales. Prior to joining Delta, Katharine served as president of Dots & Lines, Inc., an independent marketing and communications agency she co-founded that specialized in serving travel industry clients. Katharine has held various marketing roles throughout her career, managing digital marketing, social media content and public relations initiatives.

Platform Statement

Members of the Global Business Travel Association,

I am honored to present my candidacy for the GBTA Board of Directors, focusing on three crucial pillars: Membership, Education, and Technology. If you are as excited and passionate about the opportunities I outline in these areas, I humbly ask that you vote “Farrell for the Future” and elect me to fill one of the three open Allied At Large seats before voting closes on June 25.

Membership lies at the heart of our organization. I pledge to enhance our membership experience by taking action to foster our sense of community and belonging. With my involvement in the Ladders program as well as WINiT, I have found incredible value in more intimate gatherings and idea sharing among members and would look to replicate this smaller group environment to better connect our members across verticals, companies, and regions.

Education is essential to our organizational value proposition. I am committed to improving professional development opportunities to meet your individual needs and our industry’s evolving needs. I will review existing educational opportunities including workshops, sessions, webinars, and certification programs with an unwavering focus on maximizing membership value and will offer new ideas to bring more members to GBTA both in the U.S. and across the globe.

 Technology is transforming the way we travel and do business. I will champion the use of innovative solutions to drive better member experiences and outcomes for our association. In my experience as a longtime member and volunteer with GBTA, as well as organizing educational sessions for WINiT and working with GBTA on behalf of multiple supplier customers in my agency days, I know the pain points and opportunities for improvement that will allow members to better access GBTA benefits including research, educational content, events and more.

If you’ve had a chance to get to know me over the past few years, you know I am always looking for creative ways to continue to build upon the foundation laid before I step into a role. I encourage you to get in touch with me directly if you have feedback or recommendations as I seek your vote for the open Allied At Large seat. Please vote “Farrell for the Future” before voting closes on June 25. Thank you.

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Evan Koppel

Director of Sales – Atlantic Region, United Airlines

Professional Bio

Evan Koppel is the Director of Sales – Atlantic Region for United Airlines based at the carriers’ hub in Washington, DC.   In this role since April 2014, Evan is responsible for directing a team that manages relationships with corporations, government agencies, civic organizations, and sponsorship partners.  These partners represent over $900 million in annual revenue to United Airlines.

Evan currently sits on the boards of Destination DC Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Committee For Dulles.   In addition, he serves as the Aviation Chair for the National Defense Transportation Association and sits on the Transportation Committee for the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

An active member of the Global Business Travel Association, he served on the board of the Ohio Valley chapter, a member of the GBTA Sustainability Committee, a Global Leadership Professional designee and a multi-year veteran of the GBTA Legislative Summit.

Evan was recognized by Crain’s for their 40 under 40 list of Northeast Ohio’s leading young executives: the recipient of the SME Cleveland Distinguished Marketing & Sales Award and American Diabetes Association Father of the Year. 

He attended Bryant University where he received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.  

Platform Statement

Greetings fellow GBTA members- 

My name is Evan Koppel, and I am running for the Supplier-at-Large seat on the GBTA Board.

Throughout my 3 decades in the travel industry, I have always been one to further educate and involve myself in this organization to ensure that: 1) I was astute to the latest industry issues and had a voice in the process;  2) To give myself every opportunity to be informed so that I could be the best consultant for my customers and advocate for my company; and 3) To build relationships with smart, dedicated and engaged individuals across all areas of this fascinating industry.   It is for this reason, why I have always found value in my GBTA membership.

Over the years I have been a board member of the Ohio Valley BTA, and an active participant in multiple chapters including Greater DC Metro, Virginia, New England and North Carolina. I value our committee work as a past member of the GBTA Sustainability Committee for three years, and our education and advocacy programs as I completed my designation for the GBTA GLP program and a multi-year veteran of the GBTA Legislative Summit. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to run for this position, and today I ask for your support.  As a board member, I would have three main priorities: 

  1. Drive member engagement by strengthening local chapter programming 
    With my experience participating in chapter meetings all over the country, I have observed that the strongest chapters are those that have a regular meeting cadence, offer relevant and current content, and where direct members have built connections with other travel buyers. The strength of these chapters fuels the growth of GBTA as a whole. 

    As a board member, I would focus more resources and attention on delivering chapter level programming and exclusive engagements that drive direct member connections and value. This would include specific and applicable programming such as goal setting, traveler communications, executive presence to c-suite, leadership training, traveler friction strategies and technology, just to name a few.

  2. Establish GBTA’s position at the forefront of transformational technology change 
    Technology is causing a seismic shift in our industry, and many of our members need help navigating their options for the future. There’s a distinct need for an unbiased resource to help members understand topics like NDC, and this presents a huge opportunity for GBTA to lead the way. 

    As a board member, I would encourage our organization to provide the structure, guidance and education our members so urgently need. This would include: 

    • Complete a “single source of truth” GBTA platform and resource library with relevant and applicable information on the technology, links to supplier pages, topical articles, and updates charts on technology products/solutions.
    • Provide guidelines and forums to help buyers and suppliers have fact-based, solution-oriented conversations to reach a joint understanding around strategy, direction and impact to travel programs and end-users.  o    Establish buyer case studies that can serve as roadmaps for our members as they work through the impact of these technological changes will have on their businesses and travel programs. 

  3. Double-down on industry advocacy and leadership 
    Leaning on my strong advocacy background, I would ensure GBTA can shape legislation and guidelines to best reflect the composition and interests of its membership.  Over the past 8 years, I spearheaded United Airlines’ participation in the GBTA Legislative Summit, where we have routinely had the largest contingent of any organization in attendance. This event has become a must for our sales team, as they gain insights into how our democracy works and how it affects change on our industry. I have also participated in the US Travel Association/Destination Capitol Hill with a similar focus on our top travel priorities. Additionally, as a Washington, DC resident with an office alongside our government affairs team, I am perfectly situated to draw upon their expertise and networks.

    As a board member, I would encourage and develop supplier collaboration and utilize the resources of GBTA to ensure top industry roadblocks are addressed effectively and in a timely manner.  There are a multitude of important topics, but I find the following are particularly critical at this point in time:  

    • Making travel accessible and inclusive for all  o   Helping to create a more sustainable future for business travel  o Immediately addressing visa and customs wait times that discourage travel
    • Supporting funding for an Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Tourism to focus on matters of particular importance to our industry 

I have built a career on being a strong leader, listener, and advocate. Some have called me “the voice of reason,” and I believe that stems from my ability to empathize, use diplomacy and to see issues from all perspectives. Between these qualities and my professional background, I am uniquely qualified for the supplier-at-large board seat and would be honored to serve and represent you.  I look forward to working with each of you to make GBTA, and therefore your involvement in GBTA, stronger and more valuable than ever before. 

Please contact me with any questions at [email protected] or 216-832-3970. You can also find me on Linked In: Evan Koppel, GLP.  Thank you for your support!  

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Amy Padgett

SVP, Travel Ecosystem, Center

Professional Bio

Amy is passionate about making business travel easier for travelers and their companies.  She has worked in the corporate travel and expense industry for more than twenty years starting with UATP – the first credit card, ever! From there she joined AirPlus International as an original member of a new leadership team charged with introducing AirPlus to the North American marketplace. Following AirPlus, she managed the development and evolution of one of Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s four key lines of business focusing on traveler security, risk mitigation, and crisis management worldwide.  Amy joined Concur in 2011 where she worked on the teams that created and evolved the Concur App Center and Concur TripLink.  Ater ten years at Concur, she spent just over a year and a half at IDEMIA where she led a team of marketing and communication professionals in defining and executing their North American business line marketing strategy and communications programs.  Amy rejoined Concur in early 2023 to serve at the VP, Travel Marketing Strategy.  She’s thrilled to begin her next chapter with Center (getcenter.com) in May 2024 as SVP, Travel Ecosystem. 

Amy lives in Richmond, VA with her husband and two dogs.  She received her BA from George Mason University and her MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University and was recognized as one of GBTA/WINiT’s (Women in Travel) 2019 top 40 Women in Travel.

VBTA and GBTA Involvement:

  • Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Technology Committee Member (August 2022 – Present)
  • Global Bustiness Travel Association (GBTA) member (2018 – Present).  Note:  Member throughout the years since 2000 (NBTA).
  • VBTA member (2018-2019, 2021 – present)
  • Virginia GBTA Chapter Vice President (2024 – present)

Professional Activities and Honors:

GBTA WinIt top 40 Women in Travel 2019
Board member, Secretary, Education Foundation for African Children (EFFAC) 2022 – present
SAP Catalyst (2017 – 2021)

Platform Statement

I am grateful for the nomination for the At-Large Allied Board Seat.  I have found tremendous value in being a member of GBTA for many years, and a leader in the Virginia GBTA chapter, and am thrilled to have the opportunity run for the seat to uphold the mission of GBTA as a leader on the Board.   

I will standby, support, and amplify GBTA’s commitments to its members and managed travel industry, leaning into the key pillars of community, learning, and advocacy.  As an established leader with deep industry knowledge, managed travel technology experience, and global communications and marketing acumen, I will:  

  • Help to strengthen the GBTA Community by deepening the bonds between the local chapters and Global by amplifying the value that GBTA delivers to the industry.  Only 30% of local chapter members are also members of GBTA.  I will help unlock the value that GBTA has to offer for the chapters and industry at large.  I will also work to expand our community by partnering with the board and chapters to promote GBTA to colleges and universities.  Our industry is growing and changing, and there’s an opportunity to extend the value of GBTA to the new workforce. 
  • Continue to advocate for the GBTA Learning initiatives that have contributed to my own growth and development in the managed travel space.  GBTA should be the go-to resource for managed travel thought leadership and references.  Education is always a top priority, and I will continue to contribute to GBTA’s resources and open industry dialogue to move us all forward. 
  • Support managed travel Advocacy among allied and direct members worldwide.  We need to continue to build bridges to represent all the voices of GBTA members and the managed travel community at large to represent industry trends that impact all of us.   

GBTA’s focus is, “to equip members with the knowledge and resources necessary to navigate the rapidly changing business travel landscape resulting in improved managed travel programs, top line business growth, and exemplary careers.”  I believe that I can positively contribute to this focus as an Allied member of the GBTA Board. 

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Kevin Sullivan

Managing Director, Sales, Southwest Airlines

Professional Bio

Kevin Sullivan is a member of the Southwest Business Team where he serves as a managing director of sales. He is responsible for the Global and National Sales, Sales Analytics, and Customer Success Teams. Kevin is based in Dallas, Texas.  Kevin’s primary focus areas are developing his People, co-creating the Southwest Business sales strategy, and growing a multi-billion-dollar portfolio.  

Kevin has 23 years’ experience in the airline industry. His background includes serving as the marketing manager for the Houston and South Texas markets at Southwest.  After two years in this role, Kevin was hired as one of five founding members of the corporate sales team overseeing all sales activities with Fortune 1000 companies. His team’s efforts led to the expansion of the dedicated sales team in 2007. With the continued success and evolution of the department, Kevin was promoted to director, senior director, and serves as now managing director of field sales.

In addition to his Southwest Airlines Leader responsibilities, Kevin has been active member of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) for over twenty years. He has supported local business travel association chapters through membership, sponsorship, and speaking engagements. He’s held roles with the Aviation Committee and Allied Leadership Council. Kevin currently serves on the GBTA Board of Directors as Treasurer.

Kevin has been married to his beautiful wife, Anna, for 13 years. His pride and joy are his two children, Liam Joseph and Lauren Riley. 

Platform Statement

My name is Kevin Sullivan, and I am currently the Managing Director of Sales at Southwest Airlines as well as serving as Treasurer on the GBTA Board of Directors. It has been an honor to serve the membership over the last two year, and I am grateful to be nominated to serve one more term as an Allied Member At Large on the Board of Directors. GBTA has outlined its purpose to provide education, community building, and advocacy the industry needs to continue to evolve and thrive. As the largest business travel association in the world, GTBA relies upon experienced and passionate professionals to enhance its strategy and co-create a member-centric organization. If re-elected, I will continue to be an effective advocate for buyers, suppliers, and those new to the industry. I feel a great sense of pride for all GBTA has accomplished during my time on the board including financial recovery from the pandemic, experiencing growth in both new membership and existing member engagement, and developing a robust multi-year global roadmap.

As a 20+ year airline industry executive and active GBTA member who has held many roles on the Aviation Committee and Allied Leadership Council, I am passionate about business travel, the relationships we have with each other and our respective travelers and taking this important organization into its next chapter. If fortunate to be elected for another term, my primary role would be to continue serving members and collaborate on the journey of being the world’s most trusted business travel association. Given my recent board experience, there are three areas I would like to see us continue our focus on:

Engage Locally, Expand Globally

  • As the association expands globally (Asia Pacific, Europe, Canada, and Latin America), we must diversify our strategy by supporting the unique regional needs important to those members and their local industry (industries).
  • Continue to grow local chapter membership that leads to engaged, global members.
  • Build a pipeline of new, diverse members to include the next generation of travel professionals, be more inclusive of new small business and meeting stakeholders, and welcome new emerging suppliers.

Evolve into a Member-Centric Association

  • Develop a Return on Membership that clearly defines the value of the association and role within each member’s company.
  • Continue to build a sense of belonging and gratitude within the association.
  • Enhance the membership experience with new, customized offerings.

Educate Members to Navigate the Complex Ecosystem  

  • Continue to be the industry leader through data driven research and insights.
  • Drive innovation through HUB and event learning and peer benchmarking.
  • Create dynamic education to help our industry navigate complex topics like distribution, sustainability, and the future of AI.

A growing and active membership base influences positive change, advances industry knowledge and skills, develops solutions, and cares for people. I am grateful to GBTA for unlocking so many personal and professional opportunities for me, and I would welcome the opportunity to continue to give back.  Whether you vote for me or any of the other very qualified candidates, I remain committed to helping GBTA create an association of belonging, inspiration, and advancement.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with feedback or recommendations.  My email is [email protected] and my office line is 214-792-4962.

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Rick Versace

President & CEO, A1A Global Ground

Professional Bio

Rick Versace is a seasoned entrepreneur and business leader, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. A lifelong ground transportation executive, he began his career with a company named Apple Express in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Demonstrating a keen business acumen early on, he expanded his operations by opening three additional offices in Park Slope, Bedford Stuyvesant, and Staten Island. His journey in the industry is marked by a relentless pursuit of excellence in customer service, paired with a strategic adoption of the latest technology.

Rick’s educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in finance and investments from the City University of New York Baruch College. While studying, he worked on Wall Street, enhancing his understanding of financial markets and corporate strategy. This experience proved invaluable as he later built a major transportation company in New York through sweat equity.

In 1996, seeking new horizons, Rick moved with his wife Peggy and their five children to South Florida, where they purchased multiple transportation companies. These acquisitions laid the foundation for what would eventually become A1A Global Ground, a worldwide provider of luxury transportation and a prominent name in the industry. Under Rick’s leadership, A1A Limo not only achieved recognition as an Inc. 5000 company but also earned numerous awards and accolades, including LCT Operator of the Year Award, and the Magellan Award.

In addition to his achievements in transportation, Rick owns a Real Estate investment company and  a golf apparel business called On Par which he owns with his son.

Currently, Rick serves as the President of the Florida Limousine Association, a role he has held for the last ten years and is a board member and Treasurer of the National Limousine Association. He is also actively involved in his community as a member of the South Florida GBTA, the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce and the Palm Beach County Convention Center and Visitor’s Bureau. He services as the Grand Knight for the St. Jude’s Knights of Columbus. He and his wife Peggy are deeply committed to philanthropy and support organizations like The Make a Wish Foundation, the George Snow Foundation and The St. Jude’s Children’s Cancer Research Hospital.

Rick’s personal interests include boating, golfing, and flying planes. He is also a talented singer-songwriter who plays the keyboard and guitar, showcasing his artistic side alongside his business and philanthropic endeavors.

Platform Statement

Building a Future-Ready GBTA:

Foster Education and Professional Development: Ensure that GBTA members continue to have access to top-tier educational resources and certification programs that align with the evolving demands of the travel industry.

Strengthen Community and Engagement: Help create a robust sense of community among members by enhancing personal engagement and providing valuable networking opportunities, ensuring GBTA remains indispensable to global travel professionals.

Elevating GBTA’s Public Relations:

Enhance Media Engagement and Outreach: Strengthen GBTA’s public relations by enhancing media strategies and outreach programs. Focus on elevating GBTA’s visibility and influence through proactive communication and by highlighting key initiatives and successes in the business travel industry.

Promote Transparency and Open Communication: Commit to transparency in all GBTA operations and communications, ensuring that members and the public are well-informed of GBTA’s goals, initiatives, and achievements.

 Sustainable Travel Management:

Champion Sustainable Business Travel: Lead the charge in sustainable travel management by promoting the “Sustainable Travel Management Practices” .  Focus on practical climate action strategies, managing and reducing carbon emissions, and fostering sustainable technology adoption within business travel.

 Advocacy and Member Support:

Advocate in Washington DC and with Local Legislators for Policies that encourage travel and the safety of our travelers. Encourage Innovation to make travel easier and more stress free. Actively participate in shaping travel policies that support sustainable practices and technological innovations. Engage with policymakers and industry leaders to promote the interests of GBTA members.

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Katie Virtue

Head of Sales and Marketing at FESTIVE ROAD

Professional Bio

Katie is Head of Sales and Marketing at FESTIVE ROAD, the only people first and purpose led company providing consulting and outsourcing services for global travel, meetings and expense programs. Our mission is to create better experiences for our clients, environments for our people, and thought leadership for our industry. Katie creates better as she leads the sales and marketing functions and supports the industry as a speaker and in a variety of volunteer roles. She is a GBTA Ladders mentor and Chair of the GBTA Technology Committee. She was named to the 2023 GBTA WINiT Top 50 in the category of Women Innovating the Way We Travel.

Outside of work, Katie is President of the Board for Community Resource Services, a non-profit focused on diminish the effects of poverty in Avon and Avon Lake.  She loves speaking and coaching people on her 70% solution to find Bold Balance (the good B’s!) and implement behaviors that help avoid Burnout (the bad B!). She also has a crazy goal to run the world and complete a half marathon on every continent.

Platform Statement

Let’s Change the Narrative of Business Travel

In the past few years, I’ve seen the opportunity. The opportunity for all of us, who work in business travel, to elevate our roles, our sector and our voice.

  • From travel being viewed as transactional to travel owning a seat at the table with a strategic voice
  • From a younger workforce that might not know the career paths in travel to making our industry the most desirable career choice
  • From an inward view of our sector to the establishment of external partnerships allowing us to accelerate advocacy

GBTA has started initiatives in all of these areas to take hold of the opportunity. I believe that I can help continue to change the narrative to position global business travel differently.

And that’s why I, Katie Virtue am honored to run for the GBTA Board of Directors – Allied Seat.

In my active role in GBTA, whether through Chairing the technology committee, mentoring in the Ladders program, supporting WINiT or in visiting and speaking at many of the local chapters and global events, I’ve listened. Listened to you, the members, to understand your view of the opportunity and the obstacles in the way. I listened and will continue to do so because it’s critical to represent your views in my role on the board if I were elected.

I’ve taken your input, combined it with my knowledge of the macro trends impacting business travel and my drive to create a better industry, and formed 3 key pillars for my campaign linked directly to the GBTA pillars of Learning, Community and Advocacy. My pillars are:

1. Learning: Support travel to own a ‘Seat at the Table’

2. Community: Make our industry the most desirable career choice

3. Advocacy: Accelerate impact through external partnerships

I believe I can support GBTA in executing these pillars to change the narrative and bring further benefits to members.

How I will help Change the Narrative

  • To own our seat at the table, imagine if we created a competency framework of the knowledge and skills needed in business travel to guide training modules that not only includes the Global Travel Professional certification which tests knowledge but then skill based education on the use of AI, giving executive presentations and building business cases.
  • To make our industry the most desirable career choice, imagine if we had a position on our board at the global and even chapter level for a university student, to represent the voice and build strong bonds with the incoming generation of the workforce.
  • To accelerate impact through external partnerships, imagine if we associate board members and committee members from associations and non-profits outside of business travel at a global, regional and chapter level to support advocacy efforts in key areas such as sustainability, accessibility, infrastructure, diversity and others.

My Experience

I have a different view. I can’t tell you that I’ve had 30 years of industry knowledge and experience to apply. However, I have a fresh perspective. I joined the industry only 9 years ago, but it was the GBTA chapter members that welcomed me and gave me a sense of community. It was the GBTA Global members who presented me with career opportunities and pointed me down the path to learn and develop. It was the GBTA programs that I’ve been a part of which have given me the confidence to advocate for change. Just in 9 years. The pillars of GBTA applied directly to me and helped me change my own narrative. Now there are new macro trends impacting our sector and we have new challenges to overcome. I’ll harness my experience, including the roles below, to bring my fresh perspective and support the GBTA team with delivery of its goals.

  • GBTA Allied Member 
  • GBTA Technology Committee Chair & Member 
  • GBTA Ladders Mentor, Alumni Advisor and Mentee
  • GBTA Ladders Co-Mentor of the Year
  • GBTA Chapter Speaker
  • GBTA Peer-to-Peer Taskforce
  • WINiT Mentoring Committee member
  • WINiT Top 50 – Women Innovating the Way We Travel
  • TAMS Committee Chair
  • Board President, Community Resource Services
  • NCAA Division 1 Ice Hockey Athlete

So, I ask that you listen to all of the candidate’s messages and think about what Learning, Community and Advocacy mean to you. And if you believe that we can Change the Narrative with me, Katie Virtue, as your representative, then please give me your vote when voting opens on May 24th. Thank you.