GBTA Chicago Chapter - March Newsletter 2020 Print

President's Report

Dear Chicago Community,

Like many of you I have a heavy heart as we all try to navigate through what is our new normal. The GBTA - Chicago Chapter Board and I believe it is our responsibility during this time to prioritize two things that keep us in line with our mission. Two things that have been the pillars of our chapter success: networking and sharing travel best practices.

Our leadership team intends to be stewards to our chapter during this difficult time as we all try to understand what each day may bring. Our board has been meeting at least once a week to understand all the changes and how we can support our members during this tumultuous time while determining how to stay in front of our wonderful travel community and yet adhere to the social distancing.

Upcoming Meeting
We've partnered with GBTA and will soon receive a license to use Zoom Meetings (allows up to 300 users). Our goal is to have a video conference within the next couple of weeks so that we can stay in touch as a chapter. Julie Walker and Carlo Chirchirillo, our Education Committee Chairs, are currently working on an agenda, so please stay tuned for further details.

Member Strong
We know many of you have been furloughed, and we hope you have received our communications to update your member profile so that you may continue to receive our broadcast messages and announcements. Because of the challenges COVID-19 has brought to our members the board unanimously agreed to assist our members with their membership by approving the following:

  • The GBTA - Chicago Chapter will extend membership status with a March expiration to the end of August and April membership expirations to the end of September at no additional charge.
  • Those displaced, furloughed, or laid off will have an in-transition membership for 6 months at no charge.

Professional Resources

We will continue to focus on connecting our membership with relevant professional resources. One of those is Leslie Evans Thorne; Leslie provides coaching, training, and talent management consulting services and is a monthly guest contributor to our newsletter. She has offered her support specifically to our organization and provides more detail within this newsletter on how to leverage.

The world is struggling with an issue of enormous scale and human impact, and our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).  I remain hopeful with the recent approval of the $2 trillion stimulus plan that the travel industry will get the boost it needs. I do know it will be a long road for all of us before we can go back to some normalcy, but we are all in this together. I will continue to pray that all of you stay well and healthy, and I look forward to seeing you on our first Zoom meeting. If there is anything we can do in the meantime, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Brabb, President
GBTA – Chicago Chapter

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Leslie Evans Thorne,

Prior to her current role, Leslie Evans Thorne was an Executive and Career Coach in New York City, working with all levels of employees within Fortune 500 Companies.


A Letter from Leslie Evans Thorne

My heart goes out to all of you at CBTA.

I am sending my best wishes to those who have been hardest hit by this – first of all, those who might be struggling with the COVID-19 virus. But also to all of you who have been impacted by the current financial conditions, especially you who work in the very badly affected business travel market.

I’m writing to let you know that no matter what your circumstance…

You are NOT alone.

You have this wonderful association offering support, and I'm here to support as well. Here are 3 ways:

  1. GET CLARITY: Read this article on the blog: The 3 Questions: How to Find Work After Covid-19. For inspiration, read The You Are Free Creed
  1. GET CONNECTED: Join my YouAreFree Tribe so we can stay in touch and to receive valuable info, insight, tips and strategies. You’ll also be alerted to new trainings and upcoming programs (click here)
  1. GET HELP: I'll host a Facebook LIVE chat session on my Business Page this week exclusively for CBTA. Save the date: Friday, April 3rd at 11am EST.

The purpose will be to answer YOUR QUESTIONS, address YOUR CONCERNS, and help you sort things out. I'll provide guidance on how to navigate the upcoming months – with or without a job. Anything career related: resumes, what to do if both spouses get laid off? How to find work in this climate? How to manage the emotional swings?

Ask your questions by writing to me at: [email protected] and I'll answer on the spot. All names/emails/identifying information will be confidential. 

If you don’t want to share YOUR concerns/questions, consider sharing what you see someone else struggling with. We are all having our challenges.

Based on what is shared during this session, I am also considering developing “mini-trainings” for you. For example: Write a Resume Based on Talents. (You know how much I stress finding and selling your talents. Today it’s more important than ever.) So let me know…

Don’t stress about timing. I know that some of you have children at home and don’t have time for anything. Others of you are bored out of your minds? Still others might be paralyzed by overwhelm and uncertainty. Wherever you are, you have some resources now. Connect when you can.

Please reach out and let me know what you need. Looking forward to next week. 

See you then, Leslie


Leslie Evans Thorne is a monthly guest contributor to the GBTA - Chicago Chapter Newsletter. For more information about Leslie and her work, visit

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