April 2018 Print

President's Report

Dear Chicago Business Travel Association Members:

This year is off to a great start for our organization. The Q1 Chapter meeting had record attendance, great content and speakers, and through the live auction we exceeded our goal for the 2018 PAC fund! Our Direct Member Round Table and volunteer opportunity at the Greater Chicago Food Depository each had great participation and provided much value to our members. There is much more down the pipeline, so make sure you check out the line up and register for each event on our website.

The Q2 Chapter Meeting, specifically, will have a travel innovation and technology trends focus, so be sure to register now (it's only 2 months away). Shortly thereafter, our Member Appreciation Event will take place - I hope to see you there!

Education and career development remain a big focus for our organization, so take advantage of other resources available to you in addition to the quarterly meetings. Leslie Evans Thorne is a regular contributor to our monthly newsletter and is a perfect example of one of these resources. My question to all of our members: What specific topics would you like to see her touch on in her articles?

Wayne Urbanek
CBTA President

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Welcome New Members

Claire  Meyers FCM Travel Solutions
Amy  Phillips Gensler
Juan  Teague Freehand Chicago Hotel

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Calendar of Events

Q2 Chapter Meeting

June 05, 2018
7:30 AM CDT to 12:00 PM CDT

The Ritz-Carlton Chicago
160 East Pearson
Chicago, IL 60611

Instant check in the moment you step into the hotel lobby… Using your smart phone as a key card… Booking a new flight before your old one even gets cancelled… Technology is changing quickly. Join our Q2 meeting to discuss new and future technology!

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Member Appreciation Event

June 13, 2018
4:00 PM CDT to 7:00 PM CDT

435 E Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60611

Join us!

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Q3 Chapter Meeting

September 10, 2018
7:30 AM CDT to 12:00 PM CDT

Westin Chicago North Shore
601 N Milwaukee Ave
Wheeling, IL 60090

Virtual Payment, Block Chain Technology, Expense

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Golf & Croquet Outing for DePaul Scholarship Fund

September 10, 2018
12:00 PM CDT to 8:30 PM CDT

Chevy Chase Country Club
1000 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Wheeling, IL 60090

Join us!

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Q4 Holiday & Charity Event

December 06, 2018
3:30 PM CST to 7:30 PM CST

W Chicago - City Center
172 W Adams St,
Chicago, IL 60603

Support the Wood Family Foundation

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The Historian's Corner

Chicago BTA has had a long history of supporting various charities over the years.  Beginning in 2005 for four years, Chicago BTA supported the Fairy Godmother Foundation that granted wishes to terminally ill children, until they ceased operations in October 2008.  For the next three years, Chicago BTA supported the Walter & Connie Payton Foundation that focused on helping the less fortunate find stability while providing positive opportunities needed to live their lives with dignity and pride.  Beginning in 2011, Chicago BTA partnered with Bear Necessities, an organization dedicated to eliminating pediatric cancer and granting Bear Hugs, a customized experience that brightens the life of a child going through cancer.  In 2008, the board decided to dedicate the Q4 chapter meeting to support the chosen charity.  Through the generous support of our members, Chicago BTA has raised close to $150,000 over the years.  A BIG thank you to our members for their generosity that has directly helped so many people in need.  Any questions or comments about these charities, please reach out to:

Walter & Connie Payton Foundation:  http://www.payton34.com/
Bear Necessities:  http://www.bearnecessities.org/

Be on the look out for these upcoming charity events.


June 5th, 2018, at our Q2 meeting we will have a Clothing & Toiletry Drive.

October 11th, 2018 join us at the Ronald McDonald House for some Halloween fun!

December 6th, 2018  at our Q4 meeting we will have a Toy Drive & Silent Auction.


For more information please check out the web site and feel free to reach out to the committee with any questions or comments.


Cynthia Dirksen



Angela Sportiness



Thank you,

Guy Parker & Carole Liberti

Chairs, Historian Committee

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Committee Updates

Looking for a little more involvement in your neighborhood?

The Membership Committee is looking for volunteers to help with building a fantastic program that will affect you and your membership!  

Get involved today!  We need your thoughts, creativity, and a little of your time!

Contact membership@chicagobta.org TODAY!  Or call Susan Bruzan, Membership Chair for more details  773-714-1285.

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Special Events

CBTA’s Golf & Croquet Event 2018

The 2018 Q3 Golf & Croquet Event will be taking place on September 10th, 2018 immediately following the Q3 Chapter Meeting. This year we are taking our talents to the Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling, IL.


Chevy Chase Country Club
1000 N Milwaukee Avenue
Wheeling, IL 60090


To support students at the DePaul School of Hospitality Leadership.
DePaul School of Hospitality Leadership
and for fun!

We are looking forward to seeing all our CBTA Members out for a day of Golf or Croquet to support our partners at DePaul University. Last year we raised over $10,000 in scholarship funds for students at the DePaul School of Hospitality Leadership.

We cannot do it without our CBTA Members so register to play with friends, co-workers and customers. Your registration includes a lunch prior to the event, your round of golf, GPS guided golf cart and dinner reception after the event.  

You can register to play at: Golf & Croquet Outing Registration



We also cannot do this without the support of our sponsors! Last year we had a record number of attendees and look to see even more of our members out there on September 10th. Our event sponsorships are a great way to promote your business, engage with our members and support a great cause.

SPONSORSHIPS ARE NOW AVAILABLE (and sell out quickly): 2018 Golf Outing Sponsorship Catalog

Or contact us directly with questions at golf@chicagobta.org



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Spotlight a Member

Membership Spotlight

Meghan Hartsell, Direct Member CBTA, Travel at William Blair



ChicagoBTA:  How long have you been with your current company:

Meghan: I started 7 years ago this coming July.


ChicagoBTA:  Where are you from?

Meghan: I’m from the Chicagoland area.  I was born on the Southside and grew up in the Western suburbs.


ChicagoBTA: Tell us a little bit about your family.

Meghan: I have the stereotypically large, Irish family.  We have so many cousins scattered throughout the area that my boss, Trish Rothman, jokes that I’m related to the entire city.  It leads to some really fun (and crowded) family parties.


ChicagoBTA:  If you weren’t with William Blair where would you be?

Meghan: I was in publishing and journalism before William Blair, so probably something related to that.  Or writing trashy romance novels.  I promised my grandma that I would write one and dedicate it to her (she LOVED them), so that one is still on the table.


ChicagoBTA: What is your favorite place to live…

Meghan: Paris!  I was lucky enough to live there for a year and a half.  When I win the lottery, I’ll move back.  I’ve been sneakily teaching my fiancé French phrases so that he’ll be more amenable to retiring there.  He can already order beer and wine, so he’s pretty set.


ChicagoBTA: What is your favoriteHobbies/interests?

Meghan: I’m a voracious reader.  I used to get in trouble for school for not doing my homework because I’d decided to read a book instead.  I did get excellent grades in English, though!  (Please don’t use this statement as an excuse to critique my grammar here.)  I also play guitar and sing.  Like everyone else, I watch copious amounts of Netflix.


ChicagoBTA: What is your favorite vacation destination?

Meghan: I won’t put Paris again, although I would go there all the time if I could get away with it.  I really love Seattle and Ireland (to visit family).


ChicagoBTA:  Where are 3 places you’d like to visit in the future and why?

Meghan: Just three?  The Taj Mahal because I think it’s stunning and the story behind it is fascinating.  I want to see the pyramids in Giza because they are an extreme feat of engineering.  I tried going in 2011, but that was right when Arab Spring happened so I cancelled my trip.  I also want to see the Grand Canyon, because I think it’s beautiful and awe inspiring.


ChicagoBTA:  What person from history would you want to meet and why?

Meghan: I’m about to show my Literature Major geekiness here, but Jane Austen.  She had a sharp wit, and her books show such an amazing understanding of human nature and provide a really intelligent social commentary.  There’s a reason her books resonate with people even now.


ChicagoBTA: What is something most people wouldn’t know about you?

Meghan: I studied opera singing, but don’t ask for a demonstration now.  I’m a little rusty, and your ears won’t appreciate it.


ChicagoBTA:  If you were offered one million dollars or the ability to have one superpower for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?

Meghan: I’d choose the superpower, and I’d choose being able to teleport wherever I want to go.  I’d save so much time and money, and I could probably convince people to pay me a lot to deliver things within seconds.  If I do it right, I could make more than a million dollars ;)


ChicagoBTA:  How long have you been a member of Chicago BTA and why is this organization of interest to you?  What are your goals within the organization?

Meghan: I’ve been a member for 5 years.  I think it’s the best way to network with other professionals in the industry.  The vendor/client relationship gets limited, and I’ve found it more helpful to work with people on a different level and really get to know them.  I personally think it leads to better partnerships and more transparency.  Girls Scouts always taught me to leave things better than you found them, so that’s my goal for the organization.


ChicagoBTA:  What attracted you to the travel/hospitality industry? 

Meghan: The same reason we all join this industry: I LOVE to travel.  Seeing new places, experiencing new things, and meeting new people makes life better.


Thank you, Meghan! We appreciate and greatly value your continued involvement and time spent investing in CBTA.


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Community Outreach

Human trafficking is a severe issue that is considered to be modern day slavery. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act defines “severe forms of trafficking in persons” as: someone who is forced, tricked (fraud), or threatened (coerced), to perform an act of labor or commercial sex.

The idea of human trafficking has become distorted as we see in movies where the young girl who is traveling internationally gets kidnapped and locked in the basement, or someone desperately asking for help in an emergency situation to lure a victim. Although these situations do happen they are the rarest forms of human trafficking. Creating awareness by using rare depictions of human trafficking can negatively influence the population to be so concerned with avoiding those extreme situations that we are now blinded by how many victims are affected by human trafficking. 

There are approximately 800,000 to 900,000 people trafficked across international borders worldwide each year, and between 14,500 and 17,500 of those victims are trafficked into the United States. Women and children make up 80% of the victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking occurs in every state, including Illinois. In 2017 there were 632 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and 193 human trafficking cases reported.

The Salvation Army has created a program, Stop-IT, to help eliminate human trafficking. Stop-IT builds relationships with trafficked persons through outreach, ongoing case management and support, and service referrals. Stop-It also facilitates a drop-in space for young women, which is a safe space for those at risk of trafficking or who have traded sex to survive.  With the help of this program the victims can find rest, resources, and build community.

The Stop-It program is focused on providing support to human trafficking victims, and to create awareness in our communities. In efforts of raising public awareness, Stop-It focuses on educating the community on trafficking “red flags” and what can be done. Stop-It firmly believes it is a fundamental human right to be free of exploitation in all its forms, and that every person has inherent dignity and worth.

The Community Outreach Committee has reached out to Stop-It to see how we can have an impact on the victims of human trafficking right here in Chicago. The best way to get involved is to assist Stop-It with their efforts of providing the victims with the basic life necessities that they do not have access to.

What you can do to help:

We will be collecting items during our Q2 CBTA meeting that the Community Outreach Committee will be delivering to the Stop-It facility in Chicago. The items we will be looking for include but are not limited to:  new toiletry items, new or gently used women’s clothing, cash donations, gift cards to Walgreens or women’s clothing stores, etc.

Human trafficking is something that will not go away without the strength and support of the community, and this is a great way for all of us to help the victims that are right here in our own community.

Please reach out to Cynthia Dirksen or Angela Sciortino with any questions or concerns.


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” – Martin Luther King Jr.






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Leslie Evans Thorne, YouAreFree.com

Talent Meets Opportunity

By Leslie Evans Thorne


Where your talent meets a need in the marketplace, there is opportunity.


Most people start with looking for the opportunity.

They look for a job.

They seek a career.

They search for work.


In other words, they search outside themselves.

They look to the market, to a company, an industry or a sector in order to find their place. They look for a job, or a place on the corporate ladder, or the org chart, wanting to find their spot.

Once they identify what they think they want to do or where they think they might fit, then they go into the marketplace to compete with others for these pre-defined boxes.

Is this what you are doing? That’s the old way of doing things. There is a better way.

Start with you and what you have to bring to the marketplace.

Your search begins by looking within yourself and determining what you have of value to offer the marketplace, whether it is inside your current company or with another firm. Instead of looking outside and trying to fit yourself into a sector, an industry, a profession, a career or a job – and this is what we were taught to do – look instead at what you have to offer the market.

What need can you fill?

What problem do you solve?

Who can you help?

What can you create?

With whom can you partner?

How can you add value?


THE KEY: Look within yourself.

What do you like to do, love to do?

What brings you joy?

Where do you get in the zone? Doing what? (Answering these questions can give you clues to finding your talent and your brilliance.)

Here are some questions to get you started with figuring out what you have to offer the marketplace:

What do you do really well?

What do you love to do?

What do you do that enables you to get results?

What results have you gotten?

What are your talents?

What are your skills?

What has your experience been?

When you can answer these questions, you’ll know more about what you have to offer the marketplace. You’ll have clarity around your talents, skills, experience and this insight will give you the ability to weave them together into your UNIQUE VALUE PROPOSITION (UVP). Your UVP is what you have of value to offer the marketplace. Once you know this, you can go out and make things happen. You’ll be better able to shape work around what you have to offer. You will be able to “make opportunity.”

Don’t look for opportunity. Make it happen. It starts with you…


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In Case You Missed It

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." -Mahatma Gandhi


On Friday, March 23rd Chicago BTA's Community Outreach Committee and other members volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Together with other local organizations we were able to provide meals to 40,604 Chicagoans. We cased 1,277 Turkeys which totaled 48,725 pounds of food!

This was a wonderful opportunity for CBTA to give back to Chicagoland communities and we're looking forward to the next event. Please consider joining our cause!

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