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Direct Member Roundtable September 18, 2013

September 18, 2013
8:15 AM CDT to 11:30 AM CDT
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The Langham Hotel Chicago
330 N Wabash
Chicago, IL 60611

Have your travelers or customers ever said to you, “I can find it cheaper online”?  

Do you think it is time to let them do what they want?

Well… you aren’t alone and Mr. Bruce Finch, Travel Manager at Autodesk decided to do something about it.  He partnered up with Brad Seitz, President and CEO at Topaz International to perform an audit on Autodesk’s reservations.  He wanted to find out if his travelers were right.

In a recent article published by BTN , writer Jay Boehmer shared Mr. Finch’s story with the travel industry.   The article was titled “Autodesk’s Audit Affirmation: Firm Says No To ‘2.0’ After Topaz Confirms Managed Program’s Value”

However, some want to know if the ideas of “Travel 2.0” impact corporate culture.  Mary Batal, Strategic Sourcing Manager for Travel from Rockwell Automation, decided to join the GLP designation program with industry colleagues from the GBTA Foundation and conduct a 12 month study about corporate cultures and travel programs.

Please join us for a lively discussion on these and other ideas around the issue.  Guest speakers Bruce Finch, Mary Batal and Brad Seitz will share the audit experience and answer how culture may determine your course of action.


Speaker Bios -

Bradley Seitz has over twenty years of experience in corporate travel management. In his current position as President and Chief Executive Officer for Topaz International, he has the unique role of assessing both the corporate side and the supplier side of travel, as an independent third party. He began his corporate travel career at Xerox Corporation in the Corporate Travel Department, and then moved to management roles at Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Rosenbluth International.

Brad is also currently a professor of Business at the University of Southern Maine, teaching small business and entrepreneurship. He has an undergraduate degree in Finance from Suffolk University in Boston, and a Masters in Business Administration from Babson College. He has received Management Certificates from the Carlson Executive Program at the University of Minnesota and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been named one of the top 100 speakers in America.

 He served as the treasurer of the Association for Corporate Travel Executives for four years and is also an active member of the Global Business Travel Association. Brad and Topaz International have been seen in a wide variety of news media, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today and National Public Radio. Topaz International has been in business for 30 years and operates in over 80 countries worldwide.

 He lives in Maine with his wife of 23 years, and has three children that are usually spread around the globe in various locations pursuing their dreams.

 Bruce Finch is the Director of Global Travel and Workplace Sustainability Programs for Autodesk, Inc., the world's leading 2 and 3D design software and digital content company based in San Rafael, California.  

Bruce has over 25 years of travel industry experience on both the supplier and buyer side including such companies as Eastern Airlines, The Gillette Company and FleetBoston Financial. 

Bruce received a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography with a Certification in Travel and Tourism from Salem State University, achieved CTA and CTC certifications from the Institute of Certified Travel Agents, and CCTE and GTP certifications from GBTA. 

Bruce served as chairperson of the technology committee for the New England Business Travel Association, co-chaired the former NBTA technology committee and was the US Representative on the Board of Directors for the Association of Corporate Travel Executives.  Currently Bruce serves on the Salem State University Travel and Tourism Advisory Board and on GBTA’s Sustainability Committee.

Mary Batal joined Rockwell Automation in September 2012 as the Strategic Sourcing Manager for Global Travel.   With 20 years of travel industry experience, Mary excels at global implementations, project management and long-term strategic planning.  Her focus at Rockwell is to globalize the travel services platform within Asia, deploy a global corporate card programme and deliver savings via a robust Demand Management system.

Prior to joining Rockwell Automation, Mary was the Global Travel Manager (Americas) for AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals where she redesigned the global hotel programme and saved $4.7MM in the first year of the programme’s three-year plan.  Mary has held positions with American Airlines, Sabre, Carlson Wagonlit, Martiz and American Express.  With American Express, she provided global account management for the Global Business Partner group.

Mary’s educational vitae include an AS in Travel Tourism and a BES in Technical Education from the University of Akron. Mary has received the Global Leadership Professional certificate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mary annually participates in the Susan G. Komen Walk for Breast Cancer research and takes special interest in the community through volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and fund-raising for the local food bank and Little Sisters of the Poor Senior Housing.

Mary relocated from the Philadelphia/Wilmington area and his happy to return to Chicago-land which she considers the “center of the universe”. Mary has logged nearly 3 million travel miles and enjoys cooking, entertaining and Pilates. An avid reader and Kindle convert, Mary holds a first-degree black belt in Kwanmukan karate. 

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