GBTA Chicago Chapter - March 2021 Newsletter Print

President's Report


Happy Spring to all, and I hope you have continued to stay healthy and well. Not sure how you’re doing on your March Madness brackets but mine was shot in the first 24 hours.  However, I'm happy to say our Membership March Madness Campaign is scoring a lot of points. I'm so thrilled to inform you that we passed the 300-member milestone! This is incredible work - thank you to our Membership Committee for scoring such great results.

We kicked off our Q1 meeting on March 25th with the new technology concept - Health Travel Pass.  I want to thank our moderator Scott Gillespie from tClara for his amazing work along with United Airlines, Ann Stahmer; BCD, Jorge Mesa; IATA, Pierre Charbonneau; and American Airlines, Preston Peterson for making this very important topic known as we see more and more travelers take to the skies.  We learned so much about what our future could possibly look like post COVID-19. With 121 million people already vaccinated worldwide we know travel will look so much different in the next year. 

Looking ahead, I'm very excited for April’s meeting as we have GBTA’s new Executive Director, Suzanne Neufang, addressing our Chicago Chapter. She will discuss her vision for GBTA and how she is leading the organization and our industry through the pandemic. We will also have GBTA's Shane Downey, VP of Government Relations and Volunteer Relations, addressing the upcoming Ready.Safe.Travel. program set to kick off in May. 

I'm also excited to share that our Chapter's Annual Golf and Croquet event is back on August 30th. We all know we need this and what a great way to get back to a sense of normalcy. Our Golf Committee will be updating our website and we will start to campaign for sponsorship. Stay tuned for more information.

Lastly, I'm looking forward to this week's "Coffee With The Board" meeting on Thursday, April 1st. If you haven’t already registered, please do so now (check out the calendar of events below)! I hope you have a great April, enjoy the warmer weather and see you soon,

Bonnie Brabb
GBTA - Chicago Chapter, President

Back to top


Join us on April 29 at 1:00 CST as GBTA Executive Director Suzanne Neufang and Vice President of Government Relations Shane Downey give you the “scoop” on all things GBTA. 

Attendees can hear the latest vision of GBTA and discover how your company stands to gain from the advocacy efforts.  Learn about how Ready.Safe.Travel is reuniting the global business travel industry and driving momentum toward a full recovery.  Take advantage of the education that will prepare you for the evolution of business travel as a result of the on-going pandemic.

We are excited to welcome:

Suzanne Neufang, GBTA Executive Director


Shane Downey - GBTA Vice President of Government Relations and Volunteer Relations

For registration details click here.

Back to top

Membership Corner

March Madness is here and in more ways than one! 

Our Chicago Chapter is offering complimentary membership in 2021 and we're recruiting new Members to join our organization. Hurry to take advantage of this one-time opportunity. If you or anyone you know is interested simply follow these five steps OR click here to join.

Still not convinced? Check out our 2021 Event line up here, and check back often as more will be updated throughout the year - you won't want to miss out!

Back to top

Spotlight a Member

Celebrating Mary Alice Hansen’s Retirement

Astellas Pharmaceuticals

  • How long have you been in the travel industry? Twenty-years ago I started in procurement and twenty-two years later I’m still doing it, so I must be doing something right! They have been remarkably interesting and happy years.


  • One piece of advice for our industry colleagues? Leverage the people who have been there before you; they are such a wealth of knowledge. Learn about anything that is related to travel, even if you think it’s not going to matter to your business; it’s always good to have that base knowledge


  • What are you most proud of in your career? At the age of forty-eight, I decided that I was going to get my college degree and get my degree before my daughters. I beat them by a year, so I did it! The best thing about going to school as an adult is that you can argue with the professors; you’ve been there, you’ve seen it


Check out who invited Mary Alice to join our Association, as well as where she plans to travel next - Click here for our full interview

The GBTA - Chicago Chapter would like to wish you the best on your new adventures!

Back to top

Government Relations

A message from Kim Conway, your Government Relations Committe chair:

GBTA position on Global Policies:

GBTA EU, Canada, LATAM and U.S. members gathered to discuss global policies. These policies, set by GBTA members, are a vital part of our global legislative efforts. More information and additional policy statements will soon be released.

GBTA – VACCINATIONS AND TRAVEL: Vaccination, or vaccination certificates, should not be compulsory for traveling (even once they are widely available), but vaccinated travelers or those with verified immunity should be exempted from entry bans, testing and quarantine – in accordance with the latest scientific insights on the reduced ability of those vaccinated to still spread the virus.

GBTA – DIGITAL HEALTH VERIFICATION: Governments need to establish a digital verification system for test and vaccination. Governments should consider the following as they move forward:

  • A common set of international standards will help governments assess that a particular person has been approved.
    • Standards should include a negative test result or record of vaccination or immunity certificate and meets the entry requirement form a destination.
  • Governments should also consider work being done by IATA, ICAO, OECD and other organizations and countries so that as much standardization and interoperability as possible can be achieved.
  • This solution should be user-friendly, GDPR-compliant and facilitate travel. Whilst these solutions are still being developed, existing tools (such as national official coronavirus apps or the existing WHO yellow card) should be used as a verification method in the meantime.


Don't miss Suzanne Neufang and Shane Downey at our upcoming April 29th Chapter event for more updates!

Back to top

Allied Council News

Vaccines are rolling along, optimism is in the air and Spring is around the corner.  

Join us for our second virtual Networking Happy Hour -  Thursday May 6 from 4-5pm CST

Let’s stay connected as we gradually return to travel, click here to register.

Back to top

Charity Update

HOPE is a future.
Lydia empowers kids exposed to trauma to believe in a brighter tomorrow.

HEALING is the restoration of God-given dignity.
Lydia provides an integrated, holistic approach to help children recover from the emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse they’ve endured.

HOME is finding a child’s forever family.
For those who live at Lydia, home means a safe and nurturing environment for them to grow.

A small act of kindness can bring lots of joy to these children. If you wish to participate along with other GBTA - Chicago Chapter members in our Birthday Campaign and send a card to one, several or all of the children at LYDIA Home please email [email protected]

In efforts to ensure each child receives the same number of cards, we ask that you email Angela, Chair of the Community Volunteer Committee, to be assigned a child’s name to whom you could send a card.

Back to top

In Case You Missed It

A big thank you to our panelists from our "Health Travel Pass" event from Thursday, March 25th. There was a great turnout at this event.  We hope you found this event educational.

An additional thank you to Scott Gillespie for moderating this informative event.


Back to top

Scholarship Opportunities

GBTA is excited to announce the launch of a new GBTA global scholarship program, made possible by the contributions of a GBTA sponsor that wishes to remain anonymous. The new scholarship program is designed to make GBTA Academy courses accessible for hundreds of members during this difficult time.

Scholarship recipients may use the funds for the Certificate in Corporate Travel Execution (CCTE) program, which GBTA will be relaunching later this year in partnership with Cornell University, or for other education programs offered by GBTA Academy including:

  • Fundamentals for Business Travel Management
  • Advanced Principles of Business Travel Management
  • Fundamentals of Strategic Meeting Management
  • Global Leadership Professional (GLP) education courses and designation programs
  • Those who are interested and qualify to sit for the Global Travel Professional (GTP) Certification exam

Learn more about GBTA professional development and education programs for business travel professionals at every level. If you have any questions please email [email protected].

Back to top

Calendar of Events

Future Meetings

Virtual Coffee Break With The Board

April 01, 2021
8:30 AM CDT - 9:00 AM CDT

Zoom Meeting

Join Us!

Read More

Register Now

Spilling The Tea: The Inspired Future Of GBTA

April 29, 2021
1:00 PM CDT - 2:15 PM CDT

Zoom Meeting

Join Us!

Read More

Register Now

Zoom Networking Happy Hour

May 06, 2021
4:00 PM CDT - 5:00 PM CDT

Zoom Meeting

Join Us!

Read More

Register Now

Direct Member Round Table

May 12, 2021
3:00 PM CDT - 4:00 PM CDT

Zoom Meeting

Join Us!

Read More

Register Now

Back to top

Follow the Conversation


Did you know? Our monthly newsletter is featured on our website after each publication - feel free to share with friends and prospective members.

Back to top