August 2017 Print

President's Report

Dear Chicago Business Travel Association Members:

As the summer comes to a close there are a couple of things I'd like to highlight as they're fast approaching:

  • Our biggest event of the year - the Golf and Croquet Outing - is less than a month away. Register today if you haven't already!
  • Chicago BTA has sold 90% of the golf sponsorships available, but there are still 2 up for grabs. Check out the sponsorship section below for more details. 
  • Our third quarter chapter meeting will be on the same day as the Golf and Croquet Event and will be in the same location this year, so don't miss it! For added convenience, there is a room block on hold for us at the meeting venue (Hilton Chicago/Oakbrook Hills Resort and Conference Center), so book your room before Sept 8th to stay overnight prior to the meeting and event.

Thank you for our generous sponsors for their support, not only for the Golf and Croquet event, but also for everything they've helped provide throughout the year!

Be sure to check out the volunteer and fundraising opportunities coming up with some of our partners - Bear Necessities and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. There are many ways in which you can make a difference in these organizations, and volunteering your time is a great way to start!

Finally, engagement and networking are so important to our industry, and CBTA thrives on the efforts of our members, sponsors, and volunteers. If you want to become more involved, it’s not too late. Contact any of the board members listed here, and learn about the many committee opportunities available.

Have a great rest of your Chicago summer!


Wayne Urbanek
CBTA President

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Sister Chapter Updates

Chicago BTA, like everyone, is thinking about the citizens of Houston and Texas during this difficult time. Our sister chapter, Texas BTA supports 2 charities: Project 88 and His Grace Foundation. His Grace Foundation is asking for donations to help respond to the needs of the patients and families of Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at Texas Children's Hospital who have been affected by Hurrican Harvey.

As a Chapter, Chicago BTA has donated $250 to each of these charities, and we encourage others to donate or pass this along to anyone you know who can help impact recovery efforts.

Project 88  
His Grace Foundation

Right now Texas has many needs, and the patients at the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit of Texas Children’s Hospital are among them. Hurricane Harvey has already deeply affected, even devastated, the patients and their families. Through a long-standing relationship with Texas Children's Hospital and their social workers, His Grace Foundation is committed to continuing to serve this community and caring for these families, but we can’t do it alone.

Please consider making a donation today. Your gift will meet critical, present needs that are arising and will only continue to grow in the following months. We are heartbroken for our community, and we have volunteers who are ready and able to go into the hospital as soon as the roads allow—all we need are the resources. Please give today


His Grace Foundation
P.O. Box 722
Tomball, Texas 77377
(281) 620-4511

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Committee Updates


Do you want to be a part of the golf outing on September 25th but don’t golf or croquet?  If so, we are looking for volunteers to help out before, during and after at the Awards Dinner.  This is a great opportunity to network and enjoy a fun day with fellow Chicago BTA members.

Please contact Angela Sciortino if interested or for additional information at or 301-592-6184.

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Welcome New Members

Michael  Albers
Zach Alpert
Terri  Barton
Allie  Cimo
Steve Miller
Malorie  Packard
Michelle  Pepper
Elizabeth  Peterson
Cathy  Sharpe
Joan  Tanner

American Airlines
Acendas Travel
Viceroy Chicago
A-1 Airport Limousine Service, Inc
AMEX Global Business Travel
Walsh Group
Sysmex America, Inc.
Acendas Travel


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Calendar of Events

Q3 Cocktail Reception

September 24, 2017
5:00 PM CDT to 6:30 PM CDT

Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center
3500 Midwest Rd
Oak Brook, IL 60523

Join us for a Complimentary Welcome Reception Sunday, September 24th @ 5:00 p.m

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Q3 Chapter Meeting – The Truer Cost of Travel Policies & The Changing Landscape of Hotels

September 25, 2017
7:30 AM CDT to 12:00 PM CDT

Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills Resort & Conference Center
3500 Midwest Rd
Oak Brook, IL 60523

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Golf & Croquet for DePaul Scholarship Fund

September 25, 2017
12:00 PM CDT to 8:30 PM CDT

Hilton Oakbrook Hills / Willow Crest Golf Club
3500 Midwest Road
Oakbrook, IL 60523

6th Annual Golf & Croquet Tournament

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Volunteer Day at The Greater Food Depository

October 27, 2017
9:00 AM CDT to 11:45 AM CDT

The Greater Food Depository
4100 W Ann Lurie Place
Chicago, IL 60632

Just us for this volunteer and networking event!

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4th Annual A Walk for the Bear

October 29, 2017
9:00 AM CDT to 12:00 PM CDT

Montrose Harbor

Chicago, IL

Join our team and support Bear Necessities

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Q4 Chapter Meeting

December 07, 2017
3:30 PM CST to 7:30 PM CST

Conrad Chicago Hotel
101 E Erie St
Chicago, IL 60611

Join us for the Holiday Event!

Read More

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Allied Council News

Volunteer Day at The Greater Food Depository – Friday October 27 9:00 AM to 11:45 AM.  Pizza (on your own) afterwards at Giordano’s at 5159 S Pulaski.  We have 25 open spots on a first come first save basis.  Please use the below link to register.  You will need to create a User ID and Password if you have not previously registered. 

Any questions please contact Esther Robson at 312-321-7176 or

Registration Link:

Volunteers will be working in an active warehouse and everyone must be registered in order to volunteer in the warehouse. The amount of food we are able to repackage is dependent on the number of scheduled volunteers.  Thank you for your dedication to our mission of making sure no one goes hungry.

Location: 4100 W Ann Lurie Place Chicago, IL 60632.  Pulaski exit off the Stevenson Expressway.  Public Transportation – Orange Line towards Midway Airport.

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Charity Update

Gather your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and join CBTA’s Team and walk together to support pediatric cancer research! 

4th  Annual A Walk for the Bear
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Three Mile Walk at Montrose Harbor
9:00 am Registration

10:00 am Walk Begins  (rain or shine)

Adults (19 and older)            $25
Children (5-18 year olds)       $15
Children (under 5)                 Free
Cancer patients/survivors     Free

Team CBTA will meet by the registration tables prior to the walk.   Please contact Cynthia Dirksen with any questions-312.329.7024 or


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Spotlight a Member

Membership Spotlight – Bonnie Brabb, Travel Manager at TDS, Inc

Bonnie will be a featured panelist speaking at the Q3 Chapter Meeting on September 25th. We wanted to know more about Bonnie and her experience, so we sat down with her to get to know her a little better!

ChicagoBTA:  How long have you been with your current company:
Bonnie: 6 years

ChicagoBTA:  Where are you from?
Bonnie: Southern Colorado – born and raised.

ChicagoBTA: Where is your favorite place to live?
Bonnie: Paris – I would love to live in downtown Paris once I retire. Drinking coffee on the Seine River is something I always tell my boys about..

ChicagoBTA: Tell us a little bit about your family.
Bonnie: I’m married and have 2 children (boys, ages 8 and 11). We love traveling together. One day I’ll take my boys to Paris and show why I love it there and show them the things I’ve been talking about all these years.

ChicagoBTA:  If you weren’t with TDS, Inc where would you be?
Bonnie: I would have my own food truck. It would feature comfort vegetarian food (I’m borderline vegan – just can’t imagine giving up cheese). I have a passion for cooking! I was with my prior company for about 14 years, and I took some time off around the time I had my children. During that time I thought of this idea and even wrote up a whole business plan and presented it to my husband!

ChicagoBTA: What are your favorite hobbies/interests?
Bonnie: I enjoy doing Crossfit, cooking caning foods (tomatoes, pickles, etc) with friends

ChicagoBTA: What is your favorite vacation destination?
Bonnie: Costa Rica. My favorite place there is a place called Manuel Antonio – it’s on a hill overlooking the ocean. A local hotel called La Meripoza, which means “The Butterfly,” is where I like to stay. My husband and I would go there every year for about 5 years before we had kids.

ChicagoBTA:  Where are 3 places you’d like to visit in the future?
Bonnie: I won tickets to Dubai on Emirates at one of our recent CBTA events. It’s always a place I’ve wanted to go. We’re going to visit the Maldives during that trip too since it’s a short plane ride away. I’ve also always wanted to visit New Zealand.

ChicagoBTA:  What person from history would you want to meet and why?
Bonnie: Cleopatra – she is fierce

ChicagoBTA: What is something most people wouldn’t know about you?
Bonnie: Some people might not know this about me but I can have a pretty hot temper at times

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?
Bonnie: Long story short, my brother is in need of kidney and in the organ donor world there’s a saying that goes “be a super hero and save a life – donate...” I would love to be a superhero and be an advocate for organ donation, so I can push people to donate if possible or register to become an organ donor. I even tried donating a kidney to my brother myself but wasn’t a perfect match.

ChicagoBTA:  How long have you been a member of Chicago BTA and why is this organization of interest to you?  
Bonnie: I’ve been a member for 6 years. I’ve been dealing with travel industry for about 15 – 20 years, but not always in the capacity of my current role. When I attended my first GBTA conference I learned so much about the travel industry and definitely wanted to be a part of it. I love the travel component, but I love all the other parts too – managing procurement, working with vendors, contracting hotel and airline agreements, but most of all the education component. CBTA has allowed me to keep learning and growing through continued education. I’m lucky to be working for a company that also supports education too. Networking is also great; I’ve met so many great people, especially being on the board – its offered me everything.

ChicagoBTA:  What attracted you to the travel/hospitality industry? 
Bonnie: Going back to my first GBTA convention and seeing all these people dedicated to their profession, the education involved, and learning about the GLP program, I was inspired to learn more about the industry and to be a part of it. I love my current role because I get to dabble in a little bit of everything – I’m the business owner for the corporate P-Card program, I negotiate corporate contracts for air/hotel/car, I manage the travel and expense program, and more.

I’m almost done earning my GLP certification – something I value very much because continuing education is so important. I highly recommend the GLP program to anyone in the business. It proves that you are committed to your industry and can carry you through multiple parts of it – airline, travel, hotel, travel manager roles.

Bonnie has been going through the GLP certification program for the last 4-5 years (the typical length of the program), and is scheduled to earn her designation next August. Well done Bonnie!

We’re excited to hear more about your professional experiences during our Travel Buyer Panel at the Chicago BTA Q3 Chapter Meeting on September 25th. Register for the meeting here: 

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Sponsorship Opportunities

Thank you everyone who has already committed to our event Q3 Golf Event benefiting DePaul's School of Hospitality scholarship fund. We have sold 90% of our golf sponsorship packages and we have a great group of people registered to play golf and croquet. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to sponsor the Q3 Golf event and showcase your company.

Secure your sponsorship package today, because spots are selling out fast! Consider sponsoring one of the last two available opportunities:

Online Fundraising Platform Sponsor, $1500

Appetizer Sponsor, $1000

To secure your package today, visit our site.

Thank you to Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills, United Airlines, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Viceroy Hotels, Spot Hero, Enterprise Holdings, BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, Elkay, Delta Air Lines, Avis Budget Group, Adtrav, The Blackstone Hotel, Marriott Chicago Southwest Burr Ridge, The Pass Family, Choice Hotels, LightHouse Consulting, CorpTrav, Fox World Travel, Crowne Plaza Chicago West Loop, OML Worldwide, The Alise Chicago, Travel Leaders, Club Quarters Hotel, Virgin America, and The Thompson Chicago for your support of the golf event. 

Also, don’t forget there are still sponsorship opportunities available for the Q3 Chapter Meeting, taking place just before the golf & croquet outing. Whether you’re looking for visibility, speaking engagements, or more, we have a package that will fit your business needs. Thank you to our Q3 Venue Sponsor: Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills, Q3 Keynote Speaker Sponsor: RoomIt by CWT and Q3 Copper Sponsor: Travel Leaders for partnering with us for this event. Visit our catalog to secure your spot today.



United Airlines – Chicago’s One and Only Hometown Airline, is proud to be the event sponsor for the 2017 CBTA Golf Outing!

With their ongoing focus on the education of today’s youth, and specifically the DePaul School of Hospitality, United has donated 4 round trip coach class tickets anywhere in the Continental US48, Mexico, and Caribbean. Participants also have the opportunity on the first hole to compete in a ‘Straightest Drive’ competition, where United will be awarding a generous gift for the winner.






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