November 2018 Print

President's Report

Dear Chicago Business Travel Association Members,

The Q4 Holiday and Charity event will be held on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at W CHICAGO - CITY CENTER from 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Please register and join us as we support the Wood Family Foundation! Thank you to our generous sponsors American Airlines, Egencia, and United. 

A few reminders regarding the event: 

  • Jamie Rhee, Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner is our keynote speaker and will discuss the enhancements at O'Hare and Midway
  • Bring toys to contribute to the Toy Drive to benefit the children at the Ronald McDonald House
  • Retired Chicago Cubs Pitcher, Kerry Wood, will be attending - net proceeds from autographed baseballs and photos will be donated to the Wood Family Foundation

Save the date for our Q1 2019 meeting, and keep checking back on our website as more events are announced for next year.



Wayne Urbanek
Chicago Chapter of the Global Business Travel Association

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Welcome New Members

Cindy  Goffinet

Hickory Farms

Elizabeth  Hofmaier

West Monroe Partners

Katie  Rao

ParkWhiz, Inc.

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Upcoming Meetings

We are pleased to announce that retired Chicago Cubs pitcher, Kerry Wood, will be attending our Q4 fundraising event on December 6th

Kerry and  Executive Director of Wood Family Foundation, Laura Muriello, will be sharing information about their Pitch In program, and how we personally can be involved with the positive impact of the future of the children in our Chicago community.

About the Wood Family Foundation:

Established in 2011 by Chicago Cubs pitcher, Kerry Wood and his wife, Sarah, the Wood Family Foundation (WFF) works to improve the lives of children in Chicago. The WFF acts as an advocate for children in the Chicago community, inspiring others to join them in their mission.

All of their programs and activities are based on the belief that a child’s potential should never be underestimated and that building long-standing relationships with children and their families are the best way to nurture that potential. That’s why the Wood Family Foundation prides itself on providing support, not just on a one-time basis, but through long-term relationships with kids and their communities, ensuring the consistency and emotional structure they need to succeed.

Despite the curveballs that may come their way, everyone should be given a chance in life regardless of resources or geography. The Wood Family Foundation facilitates relationships that provide support and opportunities to empower youth and their families to succeed in life.



Gold Meeting Sponsor:



Silver Meeting Sponsor:


Venue Sponsor:

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Community Outreach

Hello CBTA Members!

As many of you know, the Q4 meeting is combined with our holiday fundraiser to raise money for a great cause that benefits children right here in our own town of Chicago. Our December meeting and charity fundraiser benefits the Wood Family Foundation (chosen by our members in 2017), which facilitates relationships between at risk youth and mentors that can help, support, and empower them in the Chicagoland area.

We are asking for your generous support and donations for our raffle/auction fundraisers. Your contribution(s) will give you the ability to showcase your company at our end of the year CBTA fundraising event and our online fundraising platform.

Please see the attached donation form to complete and send in with your donation.

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Leslie Evans Thorne,

The very latest from Leslie Evans Thorne, who spoke at our Q3 meeting:


The Three Questions: Question #1

By Leslie Evans Thorne

You have the right to create work you love, -- work that is fun, work that is

meaningful, work that allows you to develop your talents, and work that is

rewarding (and I mean financially).

That is your right.

That is your responsibility.

That is your privilege.


But how? How do you “create work?” What does that really mean?


If you are like most of us, you were taught to search for the perfect job or project

by going out into the marketplace and looking for what is available. You seek out

the “box.” And, then you try to find ways to fit yourself into that predefined box.

This is a reactive process. Reactive in the sense that you are responding or reacting

to work that is out there and that has been predefined by someone else. It’s hard

to create meaningful, fun, fulfilling work that way when it’s someone else’s box of

things to do.


Creating work is a proactive process. You don’t start by seeing how you can fit

yourself into a box. (Ha ha... If you are anything like me, you don’t fit in a box!)

Don’t start by looking into the job market to see what role you can fill. Begin by

looking within yourself. Don’t look for projects you can apply for in your company. Start with you and figure out what you have to offer.


In order to create work effectively, you must be able to answer three questions. Here is the first one:

  1. Who am I and what do I have to offer the marketplace?

Think of your talents, your gifts, and your abilities, all those things you do well and

that come naturally to you. You can add in your skills and experience and weave

together what I call a "value proposition."

Specifically and literally, how do you propose to add value to a company, a team, an organization? What do you really have to offer and what makes you unique and different from everyone else?

Always focus on talents. Think of your accomplishments, and ask yourself what it took to accomplish your results.

Remember always, if you need help or have questions about this, reach out to me at I’m happy to hear from you…


  1. Question #2 will be in next month’s newsletter…

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In Case You Missed It

It was a SPOOKTUCULAR EVENT at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital!

THANK YOU to everyone who volunteered to help decorate for Halloween!


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Spotlight a Member

Member Spotlight

Suzanne Boyan, GTP at ZS

ChicagoBTA:  Where are you from?
I grew up in Lincolnshire. Currently live in Ravenswood and getting ready to head back north to Deerfield.

ChicagoBTA:  Where are 3 places you’d like to visit in the future and why?
I’d love to go to Australia for the food scene, but it’s also the second-to-last continent to check off my list. I suppose then I should say, Antarctica so I can say I’ve visited all of the continents. I’d also like to go on a safari although I’m less picky about where. 

ChicagoBTA: What is your favorite Vacation destination?
It’s definitely a toss-up between Arizona and Florida. Really anywhere hot is my preferred vacation destination, but Arizona has beautiful mountain ranges and amazing hiking. Florida for the beaches.

ChicagoBTA: What is your favorite Hobbies/interests?
I enjoy reading. I find it actually puts me in a good mood and prevents me from going on social media as much.

ChicagoBTA: Tell us a little bit about your family.
My husband works in TV so he has the cool job. He’s a sports producer for WGN. Our black lab, Comiskey, is currently on a diet and rather grouchy about it. Abraham is our 20-month-old son who is the love of my life. He’s also the reason I sleep extremely well. My greatest accomplishment to date is teaching him how to say “I love you” which he quickly realized will get him out trouble.

ChicagoBTA:  How long have you been with your current company?
Working on 7 years! I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it.

ChicagoBTA:  If you weren’t with your company where would you be?
I hope a similar position, but if I couldn’t be doing this then I would definitely be doing something in hospitality. I might go back to hotel management or into teaching hospitality.

ChicagoBTA:  What person from history would you want to meet and why?
So many to choose from! Abraham Lincoln (my son’s namesake) is my top choice. He was such an interesting president. Obviously very forward thinking for the time, he actually broke off his engagement with Mary because her family owned slaves, but then they got back together. It would be interesting to know how he managed his in-laws during the civil war. The nation was extremely divisive then and it would be interesting to know how he planned to repair relations with between the north and south.

ChicagoBTA: What is something most people wouldn’t know about you?
I hate bad surprises to the point that I Google the ending of books to ensure it ends happily. I feel very similarly about movies. The world is a scary enough place. I’d like my fantasy world in books and movies to be happier.

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’d probably choose the superpower and I’d like the ability to know when someone is being truthful.

ChicagoBTA:  What attracted you to the travel/hospitality industry? 
People are fascinating and it’s very much a people business. I love trying to understand the motivations behind people’s decisions or personalities. It also helps put people’s actions into perspective.

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 think it’s been 2 years, but 4 months were spent on maternity leave. Business travel is interesting, especially now. There are a lot of changes coming and it’s helpful to have peers that are going through it too.

I’d like to get more involved with the government relations committee. There are a lot of issues that affect our travelers and their productivity, which stem from the FAA.

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Calendar of Events

Q4 Holiday & Charity Event

December 06, 2018
3:30 PM CST to 7:30 PM CST

W Chicago - City Center
172 W Adams St,
Chicago, IL 60603

Hear from new Chicago Aviation Commissioner on O’Hare and Midway Airport expansion 2019 and join Kerry Wood, Chicago Cub to help us support the Wood Family Foundation.

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2019 schedule forthcoming, but for now save the date for Q1:


Q1 Chapter Meeting

March 04, 2019
7:30 AM CST to 12:00 PM CST

Sofitel Chicago Magnificant Mile
20 East Chestnut Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Government relations focused meeting

Read More

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Follow the Conversation


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