May 2018 Print

President's Report

Dear Chicago Business Travel Association Members:

We are gearing up for the year's 2nd Chapter Meeting where we will have a Travel Buyer/Direct Member Panel discussion focusing on travel innovation and technology trends, so be sure to register now (it's less than a month away). You will also have an opportunity to take a professional headshot as photographer Brian Fitz is returning for a complimentary photos session for our members. 

I encourage everyone to bring a toiletry item to donate to Stop-It Chicago at the Q2 meeting as well - another opportunity that brings big impact to a worthy cause.

Next up on the schedule after our Chapter meeting is our Member Appreciation Event taking place at Pinstripes - I hope to see you there!

Wayne Urbanek
CBTA President

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Welcome New Members

Full Name

Company Name

Erika  Brum


Becky Bunnin

Courtyard Chicago Magnificent Mile

Maria  Cesario

Hampton Inn & Homewood Suites West Loop

Tony DiMarzio

BCD Travel

Samantha  Jones

RoomIt by CWT

Angelo  Mora

Interstate Hotels & Resorts


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Upcoming Meetings

Register today for the Q2 Chapter Meeting!

June 5, Ritz-Carlton Chicago, 160 E Pearson, Chicago, 7:30a – 12p


Learn from fellow corporate travel buyers about how they are incorporating new technologies for managing travel. 

New third-party technologies are entering the marketplace at rapid speed and the question is, how does it fit into your overall program?   

Come hear from our panel of experts their thoughts on how and when you incorporate this new technology into your program.  They will address the anxiety that comes with what to buy and how to implement, all while protecting your data!

The panel will be moderated by Irina Matz - Director Product Planning, BCD Travel

Koreen Barbara – Global Travel Manager, McDonald
Mary Alice Hansen – Sr. Manager Travel and Expense, Astellas Pharma
Faye Zeidlhack – Global Travel Manager, Shire Pharmaceutical

Gain valuable insight on NDC – New Distribution Capability

John Pittman, Director, Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) will discuss how NDC is transforming the way airline products are retailed to corporations and business travelers and how that affects you!

Watch travel startup companies present new technology to us shark tank style

Kevin Iwamoto, Sr. Consultant of GoldSpring Consulting will moderate the startup disruptors comprising of new technology companies that will showcase their products. We will use Evenium, an interaction technology company to facilitate questions and polling from the audience using our mobile phones.

  • Bizly - Business meetings and events … Bizly eases many pain points of planning business M&E by allowing users to set the parameter of an event on mobile, chat with professional meeting planners and quickly book meeting space.
  • Service- Trip disruption and savings…Service detects savings based on travel reservations. Service automatically detects flight disruptions and hotel savings opportunities based on travel reservations in your inbox. Set up take one minute.
  • for Business… easy one stop shop hotel solution for travel buyers and business travelers 
  • Pana... the first corporate travel platform exclusively for world-class guest trips, including on-site interviews, customer visits, internships and more

Update your LinkedIn photo – Complimentary photo shoot from Brian Fitz Photography

When: Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Where:  Ritz Carlton Chicago, 160 E Pearson St, Chicago, IL 60611

7:30 am - 8:00am     Registration and Breakfast // Brian Fitz Photography
8:00am - 8:30am      Business Meeting / Important Updates
8:30am – 9:30am      Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC) John Pittman discussing NDC
9:30am – 10:30am    Innovation Talk, Shark Tank Style,  Kevin Iwamoto, Moderator
10:30am –11:00am   Break
11:00am –12:00pm   Travel Buyer panel - How are they using emerging tech in their programs, challenges, opportunities.

Learn more about all of our panelists below:

John Pittman
Director of Strategic Accounts, Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC)
John Pittman is director of strategic accounts at the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), where he and his team manage ARC’s relationship with key travel agencies and corporate travel departments. Before coming to ARC, Pittman served as senior vice president at The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), where for 20 years he was responsible for regulatory/industry affairs, market research, marketing, and consumer affairs. Pittman, who is fluent in German, holds a Bachelor of Arts in German and Political Science from James Madison University and a Master of Business Administration from Wilmington College.

About ARC
The Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC) is the premier driver of air travel intelligence and commerce in the travel industry with leading business solutions, travel agency accreditation services, process and financial management tools and high-quality data. In 2017, ARC settled $88.5 billion worth of airline ticket transactions for more than 7,000 travel agencies with 12,000 points of sale. Established in 1984, ARC is an ISO 27001 certified company headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, with offices in Louisville, Kentucky, Tampa, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico. For more information, please visit and


Innovation Talk Panelists:

Moderator: Kevin Iwamoto

Senior Consultant, GoldSpring Consulting

Kevin Iwamoto, Senior Consultant at GoldSpring Consulting, an independent travel management consultancy, brings more than 30 years of experience in corporate travel and meetings/events management.

Iwamoto is a former President & CEO of the Board of Directors for the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).  He has served on numerous corporate and association boards, most recently as a Board member for the US Council for the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation.

Iwamoto has won almost every major industry award in both business travel and the meetings and events industries. Recent accolades include the 2016 MPI Rise Award for Meetings Industry Leadership and the Changemakers Award for MeetingsNet in June 2016, where he was also featured on the magazine’s cover.  He also maintains a popular award-winning industry blog (Gold Magellan Award for Best Industry Blog from Travel Weekly), published though Meetings & Conventions on-line.

Prior to joining GoldSpring Consulting, Iwamoto was Vice President of Industry Strategy for Lanyon, senior global category manager in the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Global Travel & Meetings Team. He has also served as a senior travel account manager with the Walt Disney Company, as well as a corporate sales manager with Northwest Airlines.

Iwamoto holds a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii, a Global Travel Professional (GTP) designation from GBTA and a Global Leadership Professional (GLP) Masters designation from the Wharton School of Business.

Michael Schneider is the founder and CEO of Service, a company that saves consumers money automatically via a connection to their inbox. Currently, Service is active in the travel space - if your hotel room drops in price after you book it, Service will rebook you at the lower rate. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, Service will file a claim with the airline for compensation.

Prior to Service, Schneider was the co-founder and CEO of Mobile Roadie, one of the world’s most successful mobile app platforms, with clients such as Disney, the World Economic Forum, Madonna and the Rolling Stones. Schneider is active in the Los Angeles tech community, having served on the board ofthe Young Entrepreneurs Organization, advising the Southern California Entrepreneurship Academy and speaking regularly at his alma mater - the University of Southern California.

Fast Facts

  • At the age of 15, Schneider founded Video Game Central, where he sold new and used video games online at the advent of the digital age

A serial entrepreneur, Schneider has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Los Angeles County SBA “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award, and was named one of the “Top 20 in their 20s” by the Los Angeles Business Journal

Devon Tivona
Devon is co-founder and CEO at Pana, the first corporate travel platform exclusively for world-class guest trips, including on-site interviews, customer visits, internships and more.
Devon has been building technology companies and products in travel since 2010. He studied Computer Science at CU-Boulder, and he is a recipient of multiple awards and fellowships.

Ron Shah
Ron Shah is a veteran entrepreneur, seasoned venture capitalist and former on-air contributor for CNBC. He is currently Founder and CEO of Bizly, which is on a mission to bring transparency and efficiency to online event bookings. Bizly is now the mandated small meetings solution for several companies in the Fortune 500 and has a comprehensive network of hotels, restaurant private dining, activities and unique venues. 
Ron is involved in several non-profit and charitable endeavors: he is an active participant in the United Way board program, and serves as a board member at Smartspaces. He holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and BBA from the George Washington University.

Zach Alpert
National Account Manager for Business
Zach Alpert is the National TMC Account Manager for for Business.  He has been with since July of 2017 and has helped launch the Booking for Business program in the US and Canada.
He has been in the travel industry since 2011, helping launch Groupon Getaways as the West Coast Sales Manager and the Tour Operator Sales Manager. In 2014, he moved over to Travelzoo to become the Midwest Sales Manager. He and his family live in Evanston, IL and Zach is also a new member of CBTA. for Business is a tailored offering specifically focused on business bookers and travelers to allow seamless booking and managing of business travel in the simplest, smartest and most rewarding way. More than one in five bookings made on are made for business

Travel Manager Panel:

Moderator: Irina Matz
Director, SolutionSource Product Planning
BCD Travel

Irina Matz manages BCD Travel’s SolutionSource marketplace, connecting corporate clients to third party technology solutions. Prior to joining BCD, Irina worked in various product, marketing and business development roles at DHISCO and Sabre. Her roles included growing one of the travel industry’s first B2B app marketplaces, launching an open developer platform and managing startup & emerging venture relationships. Before her career in travel, Irina worked in the transportation industry including leading sales for a black car service and growing a trucking startup from the ground up. She has a deep passion for travel, technology and entrepreneurship.  

Koreen Barbara
Global Travel Manager
McDonald’s Corporation

Koreen Barbara is responsible for managing the McDonald’s travel program, her key focus is to deliver the right service to all employees and ensure the right technology, solutions and suppliers are available to meet the demands of the modern McDonald’s business traveler. Her career covers more than 18 years in the travel industry gaining experience and insights across the globe working in Australia, London and now Chicago. Her career began in 2001 working as a travel consultant and then making the move to London in 2003 where she spent 10 years in various senior account management roles with TMC and hotel suppliers. She has had much success in managing global and regional travel programs, delivering value, savings, new ideas and exceptional customer service.

Mary Alice Hansen
Sr Manager, Travel & Expense Reimbursement
Astellas US LLC
Mary Alice has been involved in travel for almost 20 years. As the Travel & Expense Reimbursement Senior Manager, Mary Alice has oversight of the corporate policy, the travel program, expense reporting processing, expense report payments, and corporate credit card program. Her department provides innovative solutions and end-user support to approximate 3200 employees across the Americas Region. Currently she is working with global colleagues to develop a global template and global process for managing corporate card, travel, expense, and policy initiatives.

Mary Alice holds GTP (Global Travel Professional) Certification from GBTA (Global Business Travel Assn) and is currently an active member of her local GBTA Chapter in Chicago. Mary Alice is also serving as an officer in Kan Pai Toastmasters Club.

Faye Zeidlhack
Global Travel Manager
Shire Pharmaceuticals

Faye Zeidlhack has over 30 years experience in the Travel industry from agency to Corporate Travel Management.  As an Associate Director of Global Travel, Faye has oversight of the Travel Management Company, Airline partners, Travel Policy, and the Health Care Professional Travel program. Faye works closely with many different functional areas including Finance, Procurement, Legal and Executive Office.   When Faye joined Shire in 2017, she began the implementation of a new and comprehensive global travel program for two different company cultures with different systems and requirements for 62 countries in 90 days.  Faye is currently working with Shire Meetings and Events on a new global travel solution for Health Care Professionals. 

Faye is a member of GBTA and an active member of Chicago BTA. 

Please Support: 

Please consider donating toiletry items, new/gently used women’s clothing or a gift card for human trafficking victims in need, helping us support Stop-It Chicago. Items will be collected throughout the Q2 meeting

Chicago BTA Education Committee



Gold Sponsor


Venue Sponsor



$100.00 Member registration
$120.00 after 05:00 pm June 2
$75.00 Earlybird rate before May 19

$140.00 Guest Registration
$160.00 after 05:00 pm June 2
$130.00 Earlybird rate before May 19


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Spotlight a Member

Membership Spotlight

Mary Alice Hansen

Senior Manager, Travel & Expense Reimbursement

Astellas US LLC


THANK YOU Mary Alice for allowing us all to get to know you better!

Mary Alice will be featured on our Buyer/Direct Panel at the June 5th Chapter Meeting.


ChicagoBTA:  Where are you from?

I was born in Waukegan, IL – grew up in Elmhurst. I lived one year in Ft Myers, FL when I was 20 years old; the rest of my life has been in Illinois. Currently I live in Arlington Heights.


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

Almost anywhere would be fine with me! Some destinations of special interest would include (but are not limited to) Egypt, Europe, and South Pacific. These are places that always catch my interest and I’d love to see them first hand.


ChicagoBTA: What is your favorite Vacation destination?

Any spot with a beach!


ChicagoBTA: What is your favorite Hobbies/interests?

Sports-wise it’s bowling and golf. Hobbies include sewing, cooking, and chilling!


ChicagoBTA: Tell us a little bit about your family.

I am the youngest of 5 girls – still very close with my sisters. My family consists of 2 beautiful girls (who are both getting married this year) and a wonderful husband of 31 years. My 4-legged child is a long-haired dachshund named Otto; and I have 3 Granddogs: Rhodie, Mr. Pecan, and Ms. Brie.


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

Almost 20 years


ChicagoBTA:  If you weren’t with your company where would you be?

Assuming money wasn’t an issue, I would be sewing costumes for a theatre company somewhere.


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

Because of his impact on the world, I would like to meet Jesus Christ. His existence and the support of his beliefs has mandated so much of our history, I’d like to meet him to see just how dynamic he was.


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

Not really sure – I don’t have many secrets – I’m pretty much an open book. I did a couple of low budget commercials, but that’s about all the exciting stuff I’ve ever done!


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?

I would chose the super power – the ability to say the right thing to people to help them, cheer them on, support in times of crisis. The rewards garnered from that would exceed a million bucks in no time!


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

I needed a job and lied about understanding travel! Fortunately, I am a quick study and had an excellent mentor from the TMC. Now that I’m in the business, I can’t imagine working in another category!


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?

I don’t recall my exact start date; it was Midwest BTA at the time. I think around 2001 or 2002 – the big GBTA Convention was in Atlanta that year.

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Calendar of Events

Q2 Chapter Meeting- Chicago BTA Travel Innovation Talk!

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

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

Join our Q2 meeting to discuss new and future technology, and don’t miss our corporate travel buyer’s panel as they discuss how they are incorporating new technologies for managing travel!

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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 City Center
172 W Adams St,
Chicago, IL 60603

Support the Wood Family Foundation

Read More

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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


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Committee Updates

Help us support Stop-It. We will be collecting items during our June 5th Q2 CBTA meeting in donation to the Stop-It facility in Chicago.

The items we will be collecting include, but are not limited to: new toiletry items, new or gently used women’s clothing, cash donations, gift cards (ex. Walgreens or women’s clothing stores, etc.).

For additional information see the attached article, visit the Stop-It website, or contact the CBTA Education Committee.  

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Leslie Evans Thorne,

Do you need a tune-up?

Everyone who drives knows they need to get a regular tune-up for their car.

Since I spent 23 years in New York City without a car, this concept of getting my car checked regularly was something I had to learn. But even for us non-car owners, getting a tune-up is common sense.

The oil needs to be checked, the oil filter cleaned, the brakes need adjusting, the tires need air and the whole system needs to be tested and checked to make sure that everything is working together for optimum efficiency – and to make sure the car is “in alignment.” Otherwise, you can end up with shimmies and shakes and a car that is dangerous to drive.

But, did you know the same is true for your work path? You need regular tune-ups.

How else can you make sure that you are “on track” with your goals and dreams? How else can you make sure that you are moving forward towards your target? How can you measure your progress?

A tune-up will help keep you in alignment with your goals.

A tune-up will help you to see what’s working in your worklife, what’s not working, and how to make adjustments to get to your goal more quickly.

Without a tune-up, it’s hard to know where you are in relation to your plan. Are you on track? Are you moving in the right direction? Has your plan changed?

Without a tune-up, it’s easy to drift away from your plan. You want to make sure that you are choosing work experiences and projects that are propelling you towards your goal, instead of defaulting to work experiences that just come your way. It can be tempting to accept a project just because it is right in front of you, instead of looking for the right work situation, role or project that will get you to the next step of your plan. A tune-up will keep you focused and on target.

Without a tune-up, it’s easy to get stuck and comfortable. Sure, it can feel good to keep doing the same old thing. But, feeling comfortable usually means that you aren’t growing, stretching, learning. Sometimes it’s hard to see when you are just treading water and need to move forward.

Without a tune-up, you won’t be able to see when you are right where you need to be. Sometimes a tune-up can just affirm that you are right where you need to be, doing what you need to do. It helps you measure where you are and what you are accomplishing.

How do you perform a tune-up? You are going to want to look at your long-term goal, where you want to be and what you want to be doing. Look at the kinds of things you’ll need to get there; ie., skills, experiences, and projects. Do you know what kind of work you want to do long-term? What form will it take? – taking a role in a company, performing a series of projects, or starting a practice or new business? And, what’s the first step you need to take to get there? Map it out. And, if you have already done this work, you’ll want to measure your progress against your plan. That is a tune-up.



Conduct your own “tune-up” and see where you are in your workpath progress.

Sit quietly with a sheet of paper. Write down your long-term goals, where you want to go. Then map out smaller goals. If you have already done this work, look at what you mapped out previously and measure your progress against this measuring tool. Look at where there are discrepancies and list the ways you will get back on track. Let me know how you do!

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Follow the Conversation


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