CBTA December Newsletter Print

President's Report

Dear Chicago Business Travel Association,

What a spectacular year! There are so many things to be proud of as we close out 2019. I know I speak for the CBTA Board when I say we're so grateful to have you all as a part of this great community of travel professionals.

The CBTA Board and I look forward to what 2020 brings - we already have big plans as we celebrate CBTA's 50th anniverary. 

Q4 Charity and Holiday Meeting
Thank you to our members and partners for making this year's sold out event a success! A big thank you to American Airlines for their sponsorship and for sharing the beautiful  conference space at Wrigley - what an iconic venue with perfect scenary. Thank you to United Airlines, SkyTeam, and Egencia for their continued sponsorship and for making our Q4 meeting a triumphant event.

As a result of your charitable contributions, CBTA will be able to donate $10,000 to Kerry Wood's very own Wood Family  Foundation.  A big THANK YOU to Steve Ross for matching our first $1,000 donation! It was fun seeing everyone get involved. 

I'd like to thank the CBTA Board, our members, volunteers, Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs for all you do for our Chapter.  May your Holiday Season be bright, safe, joyous, blessed and  full of love with your families.  Here’s to the end of a successful year and on to 2020.

Bonnie Brabb, President
Chicago Business Travel Association

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Special Events


Thank you to everyone who joined us and supported our Q4 Holiday Reception and Fundraiser benefiting the Wood Family Foundation last week! 



A heartfelt Thank You to all of you who donated items for our auction and raffle and to those who bid on these items, purchased raffle tickets, and directly donated to the Wood Family Foundation.  


At the event, we said hello to some new faces including GBTA President, Bhart Sarin, and unfortunately said good bye to some long-time members of the board.  We all left the meeting feeling even prouder to call Chicago home after hearing Dave Whitaker, President and CEO of Choose Chicago, present on why Chicago is such a hospitable city – let’s all start spreading the word: Chicago - Home is where… 

From left to right: Mike Albers (American Airlines), Rafael Grullon (Protravel Inc), Dan Wheeler (Hertz), Liane Mannes (The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel), David Martell (Turn Left Consulting)

From left to right: Edgar Chavez (Avis Budget Group), Rick Casavechia (Avis Budget Group and 2019 acclaimed CBTA Photographer), Leslie Ahern (Avis Budget Group)

Happy Holidays, and make sure to check out the rest of the event photos here.

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Charity Update

From the Community Volunteer Committee: 

Thank you to everyone who supported the Wood Family Foundation (WFF) by donating dollars or time and by attending the Q4 event! We have enjoyed our partnership with the WFF and are proud of the significant impact CBTA has had on the kids benefiting from this program.

As you know, Chicago BTA selects a new charity partner every two years and we are excited to announce that our charity partner for 2020-2021 is LYDIA Home. LYDIA Home provides hope, healing, and home to children in foster care here in Chicago. We had two great organizations to choose from and we thank all members who voted.  

LYDIA Home, lydiahome.org 

If anyone is interested in joining the Community Volunteer Committee, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]. We look forward to doing great things for the children at LYDIA Home!


Additional volunteer opportunity:

CBTA members came together and wrapped up the year with a community outreach activity at the DePaul Seton Soup Kitchen where we served breakfast to about 100 very hungry people in the community. It was a rewarding experience and we look forward to doing more of these in 2020.  Thank you to the great ladies who participated!

If you are interested in volunteering on your own or with work colleagues, please visit: https://stvdep.org/outreach/ for additional information.

From left to right: Pam Clark, Claudia Podgorny, Angela Sciortino, Franny Singer, Barbara Laken

Pictured: Claudia Podgorny and Barbara Laken

A huge thank you to all who volunteered time and money this year, supported our causes, and helped make a positive impact in the community we live and work.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Happy Holidays!

Angela and Sam

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Committee Chronicles

Spotlight: Education and Programs

In an ever changing and evolving travel industry, the Chicago BTA Education Committee is committed to bringing its members relevant and timely educational and networking opportunities throughout the year.  The committee’s goal is to achieve the organizations’ mission of delivering resources and professional development to our members.  Our committee is comprised of well-seasoned travel experts that are devoted to ensuring this mission is professionally met while having a little fun and “Getting our Learning on”.

This is your CBTA!  Have you ever attended a CBTA quarterly meeting and wondered how do they find all these great speakers and put on such a production every quarter?  Or, have you thought - I have an idea for a really good topic that would be beneficial for membership?  As we prepare for the 2020 meetings, we are thinking about what topics are of interest to our members and how we are going to shape the 50th Anniversary year of Chicago Business Travel Association.

The Education Committee is ready to brainstorm ideas and roll our sleeves up to make sure CBTA has a successful year!


What you need to know about the Education Committee:

  • The goal of the Education Committee is to Empower our members to stay ahead of industry trends and be leaders in their profession through our programs.
  • This committee is an avenue for individuals joining CBTA who want to help shape the content of the quarterly meetings.
  • Here are a few examples of internal activities for which members of this committee would be called on to assist
  •    Developing content for quarterly meeting
  •    Sourcing speakers
  •    Developing social media and website content to promote quarterly meetings
  •    Coordinating master presentation
  •    Volunteering day of quarterly meetings – Timekeeper, greeter, Q&A


We are always looking to add members to our committee so that we can continue to present the best content at our chapter’s quarterly meetings. Please reach out to Julie Walker at [email protected] or Carlo Chirchirillo [email protected] if you would like to join our efforts!

Meet your Education Committee Co-Chairs:

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Scholarship Committee Update

Congratulations to our 2020 CBTA Scholarship Winners!

CBTA Membership/Meetings Scholarship:

  • Esther Robson
  • Carol Kozola
  • Amber Russo
  • Cindy Frank


GBTA Conference Scholarship:

  • Tom Crocker
  • Jerry Aguiar
  • Tamara Aaknes


Continuing Education Scholarship:

  • Susan Bruzan


GLP Scholarship:

  • Angela Sciortino

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Membership Corner

Susan Bruzan, CTIE, GTP
JTB USA Business Travel

A Note from the Membership Committee Chair, Susan Bruzan: 

We have our largest turnover in the month of December.  This happens because of the previous system where everyone, and I mean everyone, used to expire at the end of the year. Now, thankfully, we use rolling expirations.  So if you’ve been a member for quite some time, please log into your account and take a look at your membership expiration date and renew early!

On another note, thank you to all who completed our membership survey recently. If you're interested in the results click here to view.

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Sponsorship Opportunities

2020 is almost upon us--have you planned your marketing outreach yet?

Consider a sponsorship with the Chicago BTA! With opportunities including product visibility, memberships, & presentation time, CBTA has a lot to offer you. For a full listing of sponsorship opportunities please visit our site

Any questions? Contact [email protected]

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Calendar of Events

on to 2020...

We're thrilled to announce the quarterly meeting line-up for 2020! Register today to take advantage of early bird pricing.


Q1 Chicago BTA Chapter Meeting

March 02, 2020
7:30 AM CST - 12:00 PM CST

Convene Monroe
311 W Monroe St
Chicago, IL 60606

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Register Now


Q2 Chicago BTA Chapter Meeting

April 27, 2020
7:30 AM CDT - 12:00 PM CDT

The St. Jane Hotel
230 N Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60601

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Register Now


Q3 Meeting

August 21, 2020
7:30 AM CDT - 12:00 PM CDT

Renaissance Chicago O'Hare Suites Hotel
8500 W Bryn Mawr Ave
Chicago, IL 60631

Join us!

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Q4 Holiday Charity Event

December 02, 2020
7:30 AM CST - 12:00 PM CST

The Dalcy
302 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607

Charity event benefiting our Community Engagement Partner

Read More

Register Now

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Leslie Evans Thorne, YouAreFree.com

Find Work in Today’s Job Market: Two Approaches
By Leslie Evans Thorne

For those of you who don’t know…

There are four ways of finding work in today’s economy. That’s right. Just four ways.

Today, I will share the first two with you. Here they are, along with my recommendations:

  1. Traditional: This is how most people look for work. They write up their resume as a history of everything they’ve done and put it out into the marketplace, hoping for a reply. A reply that never comes. And, they wonder why.

This method doesn’t work, for several reasons. First of all, if you are writing your resume as a history of everything you’ve done, you are expecting the prospective employer to take the time to translate what you’ve done into what they need. No one has the time to do that. Your resume will land in the trash. It’s not strategic.

Secondly, if you are not targeting what you have in your resume to the job specs, you will never get hired. The job market is way too competitive. Companies can afford to hire exactly what they are looking for. If they want to hire an owner of a three-eared hamster, they can (I’m being facetious, but you know what I mean).

Finally, if you are just putting yourself out there, applying everywhere, hoping that your resume will stick, I can tell you, it won’t. You have to be very strategic about where you are applying in order to be seen above the fray.

  1. Targeted: This option is where you get very focused and targeted about how you present yourself. For example, if you are looking for a copywriting position in the advertising industry, you will know exactly what the companies are looking for at your level, and include examples in your resume of how you demonstrated the important skill sets.

It may sound counterintuitive, but the more focused your resume, the better chance you have of getting it read. This flies in the face of what most people want to do. Most people want to make themselves as broadly appealing as possible so as to be considered for the widest number of jobs. Sounds good, but in reality, this strategy produces the opposite result. The more broadly appealing you make yourself, the less chance you have for finding any job.

Be bold, take a stand for what you have to offer, figure out who needs what you have, and make your case of providing value to them.

Reach out if you need help: [email protected]

Leslie Evans Thorne is a monthly guest contributor to the CBTA Newsletter. For more information about Leslie and her work, visit https://www.youarefree.com/

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