GBTA Honors Outstanding Members

I originally shared this as an email to all GBTA members and wanted to also post it to our blog to recognize these four great individuals.

Among the notable events at this year’s fantastic Convention were four separate award winners. I would like to call special attention to each of them and recognize their hard work and efforts that propelled them to receive these awards.

Claire Blades was this year’s recipient of the Direct Member of the Year Award, which is given to a buyer member who demonstrates unwavering dedication to the Association and to the travel management industry and whose actions have significantly helped to advance both. Claire is the director of global travel and meetings for Symantec Corporation and has served on the GBTA North America Sustainability Committee for the past six years, the last four as chair.


Claire made her mark on the committee and on GBTA by working on the transition and integration of Project ICARUS into the GBTA family. She has devoted countless hours to GBTA and its members and has set the stage for the growth of corporate sustainability initiatives in North America and across the globe.

Claire is a successful professional with a demanding job and a young family, and is a passionate volunteer who still finds time to command leadership roles at GBTA. She is a stunning example of someone who can do it all!

Caitlin Gomez and Krissy Herman were this year’s Allied Member of the Year award winners. Caitlin and Krissy were the brain trust behind the GBTA Ladders Program. Their idea for GBTA Ladders was to develop a program to create an environment that facilitates the exchange of ideas and invigorates interest in the business travel industry among the next generation of professionals.


In its first year, the program put together a highly competitive group of applicants and paired them with an equally impressive list of mentors. Each team had to develop a presentation and present it to a set of experts within the industry. These judges rated each team’s presentation. The three teams with the highest scores gave their presentation to the entire group of Ladders participants, who determined the winner.

GBTA is proud of this innovative program, one that will help develop the passion and skills of new professionals to enable them to solve some of the major challenges facing business travel today and tomorrow. Caitlin and Krissy’s work are great examples of leadership and innovation at its best.

Jeremy Gardner received a special recognition award. We don’t often give out a special recognition award but as I told Convention attendees, we don’t often have members like Jeremy. Jeremy’s reputation for hard work and valuable insights are widely known throughout the association. My fellow GBTA board member and co-chair of the Chapter TaskForce, Doug Payne, highly recommended Jeremy to serve on the Task Force. It wasn’t long before we tapped his many talents.


The Chapter Task Force set lofty goals, ones that challenged all of us for the better part of two years. Through Jeremy’s dedication, determination and diligence, those lofty goals were met. The Chapter Task Force succeeded only with the full engagement of the Chapter Presidents Council, Chapters and Affiliates throughout North America and yes, Jeremy! He was the architect of the financial modeling and the chief change agent and spokesperson for all key shareholders.

He dedicated countless hours as a volunteer while balancing his family business and his personal commitments.He holds no punches; he is direct and strives for what is best for everyone. Jeremy is a great example to us all!

Congratulations to these four exceptional GBTA Members, and I want to express my deep appreciation for all GBTA volunteers who deliver excellence in leadership every day.