Today’s guest blog post comes from Caitlin Gomez, senior director of Global Markets at HRG and co-creator of the GBTA Ladders Program.
Today, GBTA issued a call for new mentors and mentees for the GBTA Ladders Program. This program is near and dear to my heart as I worked with Krissy Herman, vice president of Program Management at KesselRun Consulting, to create the GBTA Ladders Program in 2013. We saw a void and didn’t want to fill it with your average everyday mentor program, so we came up with an innovative initiative to help develop the passion and skills of business travel professionals enabling them to help solve the major challenges facing business travel.
Thanks to talented industry veterans willing to give their time and ambitious mentees ready to grow not only their careers, but the business travel industry as a whole, the Ladders program jumped off to a successful start and continues to gain steam. What makes GBTA Ladders unique is that it – like GBTA – represents all facets of the business travel industry, including airlines, hotels and ground transportation companies. Participants receive a 360-degree view of the industry and understand how its different components interact.
GBTA Ladders places members into carefully crafted teams from a cross-section of the industry led by a highly-esteemed member of the corporate travel community who serves as the team mentor. The teams are given the assignment of building a compelling presentation around a current industry topic. Presentation topics ranged from a futuristic video depicting the “Business Trip of the Future” to a Shark Tank-style new business pitch about a company providing beacon technology. The projects are presented to a team of judges and the winning team is awarded the opportunity to present at an education session during GBTA’s annual Convention.
GBTA Ladders offers mentees an opportunity to develop their talents in multiple ways throughout the course of the program term. In addition to the presentations, GBTA Ladders held its first annual GBTA Ladders Summit in April of 2015. GBTA Ladders also provides educational components and forums for members from different industry segments to showcase their talents and skill sets to some of the industry’s key players.
Don’t just take my word for it though. This is what Kristen Koenig, senior account executive at Cvent and mentee member of “Team Hervé” (Hervé Sedky, Regional President at Reed Exhibitions Americas), has to say about GBTA Ladders: “[Ladders is] an opportunity to not only expand my professional development within the travel and meetings industry, but to also gain true lifelong colleagues and friends. From the first presentation assignment to the GBTA Ladders Summit to culminate the year, there is no other mentor-mentee program like this in our industry. I feel incredibly lucky to have enjoyed such a rewarding experience both personally & professionally.”
Mentors agree. Participating mentors have found the experience to be a two-way street and rewarding far beyond simply educating and influencing the future leaders of the travel industry. Mark Casto, CEO of Casto travel and mentor of this year’s winning team said, “I initially agreed to be a mentor as a means to help encourage the next generation of travel professionals. What I didn’t realize is how much they would teach me about the industry we all know and love.”
Being a part of GBTA Ladders is a unique and exclusive opportunity to connect with some of the travel industry’s top talent. I strongly encourage you to join the program. As the GBTA Ladders Leadership team looks to grow the program for the 2015-2016 term, we are looking for both travel veterans wishing to serve as mentors and coaches, as well as ambitious potential mentees looking for an opportunity to develop their talent. To learn more or to apply for Ladders, please email [email protected] by September 30, 2015.