WINiT Ad in August BTN


WINiT Members Speak at IMEX America


WINiT Update: Women’s Career Organization Grows

Alison Hall, MeetingsNet
May 31, 2016
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Anyone who attended the Women in Travel (WINiT) Summit in Orlando last July got some big-picture thinking about women’s influence in the world, some practical career takeaways, and the chance to meet nearly 400 other WINiT members, women and men, who share an interest in supporting the visibility and mobility of women in the hospitality, travel, and meetings industry.

Membership in WINiT, which launched in 2014, is free, as is attendance at its annual summit event. Part of the reason for this is the founders’ desire for participation in WINiT to complement—not compete with—members’ participation in other industry associations. While the target audience is professionals in the travel, meeting, event, exhibition, and hospitality industries, overarching career issues are the focus of the education and networking opportunities WINiT presents.

What also makes the organization unique is its emphasis on supporting women at all levels, not just those headed for the C-suite, and the fact that the organization invites men to be members as well, believing that women and men must collaborate in order to promote change and make progress.

Here are some of WINiT’s growth numbers to date:

  • 2,213 members
  • 114 participants in the year-old WINiT Mentor Program
  • 175 volunteers (up from 104 during the WINiT’s first year)
  • 21 donors and 22 in-kind donors (see the list)
  • 9 industry partners: Meeting Professionals International, Association of Corporate Travel Executives, Institute for Health and Human Potential, Global Business Travel Association, MeetingsNet, BTN Group, Young Travel Professionals, Big Speak, and IMEX America
  • New events in London: WINiT members gathered for the WINiT EMEA Half Day Conference in February, the second year of holding an event in conjunction with London’s Business Travel Show

In addition to the three successful programs WINiT launched in its first year of operation: the Mentor Program, a Central Career Board, and the WINiT Classroom (a collection of educational resources and materials), the organization is embarking on WINiT University, or WINiT U, a new outreach program. A partnership with the nonprofit organization Young Travel Professionals, WINiT U will be a collaboration with colleges and universities to do the following:

  • Educate students about careers in travel and hospitality
  • Connect students with professionals in careers in travel and hospitality
  • Launch an internship in travel and hospitality
  • Expand the number of students seeking industry-related degrees

How to Join
Visit the WINiT website to join the organization, explore the career postings, download educational resources, and consider signing up for the WINiT Mentor program.


Congratulations to Mary Bastrentaz for her Business Travel Hall of Fame Induction

Congratulations to Mary Bastrentaz, our Developing Talent Committee co Chair and managing director of Accenture, Business Travel Hall of Fame Induction 

> View Details and All Honorees


WINiT Leadership Attends United Sales’ Leadership Essential Workshops

WINiT Leaders were honored to be invited to United Sales’ Leadership Essential Workshops on November 10, 2015. The workshop was led by Amy Gonzales, Vice President, Global Learning & Development, WOMEN Unlimited.



WINiT Members Speak at IMEX America


WINiT Makes the GoldSpring Top Topics from GBTA

GoldSpring Consulting highlights WINiT as their sixth takeaway from the GBTA Convention, 2015.

Top Six Takeaways from the GBTA Convention, 2015
by GoldSpring Consulting Team

GBTA Convention, 2015 took place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando from July 25-29. Business travel professionals from around the globe came together to listen to industry leaders and veterans engage in diverse educational programming, and network on the expo floor. The GoldSpring Consulting Team left the convention with the following top six takeaways:

1. Mobile is Here to Stay
Many of the educational sessions centered around mobile technology and its use by the business traveler. From virtual payment to mobile hotel check-in, the balance between convenience and security was discussed and debated among veteran suppliers and buyers.

Services that allow real time communication with travelers were a popular topic, as well as the potential widespread industry impact of beacon technology: placing devices in an area (such as an airport or hotel) to send location-based information and updates to mobile devices.

2. Sharing is Chic
The sharing economy got a lot of air time at this year’s convention, with discussion centered around services like Uber, Airbnb and Zipcar, among others. Most corporates, it appears, are not ready to formally endorse these services however.

In a recent poll we conducted of 73 travel buyers, only one had formally approved Uber and Airbnb as within policy. One respondent had formally banned Uber and Airbnb as out of policy, and 71 had not taken action. Almost all cited company liability concerns as their primary reason for staying silent.

Best guess: corporates will slowly embrace these services due to traveler demand, but maintaining pressure on these suppliers to address safety, security and liability must continue.

3. Virtual Card on the Rise
Virtual card was another trending subject that seemed to be everywhere at this year’s convention, both in educational sessions dedicated to the topic and many discussions and demonstrations on the expo floor.

About 10% of the sessions’ audience use virtual cards today while 50% are looking at it. The most common use is for hotels to eliminate direct billing to improve transparency and reconciliation. The next most commonly cited use is for non-employee travel, including recruits and contractors, which reduces exposure to fraud (due to single use number and reduction of manual processing).

Challenges still remain with acceptance rates hovering around 50%, continued use of fax which, although antiquated and not secure, is PCI compliant, and agency fees for integration. 

4. Advice from a Younger Generation
As in, much younger. Concur President, Elena Donio, said she has sought input from fifth graders visiting the office in her introduction of keynote speaker Steve Wozniak.

As Millennial business travelers come of age and the next generation (a.k.a. Generation Z or the Homeland Generation) begins to enter the space in the next 15-20 years, look for increased traveler demand for expanded technological offerings and rapid acceptance of industry innovations.

5. Airlines and the Antitrust Debate
How real are concerns about collusion among the major American airlines? This topic was addressed in several sessions, with much of the discussion stemming from the ongoing Justice Department investigation into whether some of America’s biggest airlines have colluded to keep airfares high.

Whether current airfares are a natural result of mergers in recent years or something more will be explored in the probe and is a topic many in the travel industry continue to watch with interest.

6. WINiT is Winning
WINiT (Women in Travel)’s Second Annual Summit, titled “Awareness + Inclusion + Action = Impact,” took place on Saturday, July 25. The summit included an excellent lineup of top quality speakers – both highly successful women and men supporting women’s advancement in the industry.

From the WINiT leadership to mentees who have already benefitted from this organization, each had interesting and inspirational stories to tell. The event drew an impressive and diverse crowd of those new to the industry as well as seasoned veterans. There was plenty of time to network with both attendees and the speakers as well as time to learn more about WINiT during the day’s events. If you haven’t already, consider joining WINiT and getting involved in this great network.

Overall, GBTA Convention 2015 was in many ways an expansion on topics broached in previous years. We expect this trend to continue as more corporate programs address and integrate services such as Uber and Airbnb, virtual payment, and mobile technologies, and meet subsequent challenges and/or achieve success along the way. As new developments continue over the next year, we are sure the lineup at GBTA Convention 2016 in Denver will be an interesting one full of new challenges and opportunities to discuss within the business travel industry.


Questions? Contact Colleen at for more information
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Women in the Biz: Huge Growth for WINiT in its Second Year

Alison Hall
July 26, 2015

A C-level panel and lots of accomplished, inspiring, and dedicated women were among the on-stage highlights at the 2nd Annual Women in Travel Summit, attended by some 400 women (and men!) at the Hyatt Regency Orlando July 25, all exemplifying the organization’s mission to “drive change, provide support, and educate the public about the benefits of career development, visibility, and promotion of women in the travel, meeting, event, and exhibition industries.”

A few things make this organization unique, not least of which is that membership (and attendance at the WINiT Summit) is free—to everyone.

Founder Mick Lee also calls WINiT “association agnostic,” meaning that while its summit takes place on the day preceding the Global Business Travel Association, and an event earlier this year, WINiT@ACTE, took place in conjunction with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, WINiT seeks to complement rather than compete with its members’ involvement in other associations. In fact, the CEOs of GBTA, ACTE, and Meeting Professionals International appeared on stage with Lee at the opening of the summit to reinforce their collaboration and share why they are committed to WINiT’s mission. “Just before I took the helm of GBTA in 2013,” said Donna Kelliher, CTC, GLP, president & CEO of the 7,000-member GBTA and director, travel & corporate services, at Dominion, “I was at an event with Mick. She looked at me and said, ‘Notice anything missing on stage?’ I had. There were 21 speakers and only one woman—who was there to introduce a man.”

WINiT’s strategic goals include forming cooperative relationships with other meeting and travel organizations, specifically, IMEX Group, Professional Convention Management Association, International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Society of Independent Show Organizers, and SITE: Society for Incentive Travel Excellence.

WINiT marked some milestones in 2015: approval as a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization; a 77 percent increase in membership to more than 1,800 members; the creation of a pilot Mentor Program that officially launches this fall; and a new Central Career Board at the WINiT Web site.

Networking at WINiT (from left): Jessica Walkoski, Tzell Travel Group; Allison O’Sullivan, ChainIQ; and Leslie Bauer, Airlines Reporting Corp.

Telling it Like it Is
For all of the inspiration of the day—and there was plenty—there were doses of reality from some straight-talking panelists and speakers. During the fascinating C-suite panel (three women, two men), Claudia Sender, CEO of TAM Airlines, cut right through a comment about a lack of female talent as a reason for the dearth of women at the top (4.2 percent of CEOs and 15.7 percent of board members at Fortune 500 companies are women).

This is something she hears often, she said, but what’s far more necessary than developing female talent is “overcoming the unconscious bias” against women. She’s been in conversations, she explained, where a woman is described as bossy and hard to work with while a man with the same style is credited as “a guy who really delivers.” A woman is described as “too soft” while a man is described as “a teambuilder.”

Then she shared a perfect snapshot of unconscious bias from her own life: She’d brought her husband along to an event and stopped at the registration desk. There was some trouble finding her name badge until finally someone looked up her husband’s name. “My badge was stacked inside his,” she said. “I was the plus-one.”

A Day of Advice
On the other hand, Sender was the C-suite panelist who pointed to a particular advantage for women in business today. “Female leadership style is extremely important and highly valued in modern corporations,” she said. “Women are more inclusive than men, and they listen more.” And because this is an era where companies only succeed by considering a diversity of perspectives, these qualities are critical.

The other panelists also offered insights for climbing corporate ladders:

• “You’re not born into any role,” said Norma Corio, CFO, American Express Global Business Travel. “You always have to learn.” So don’t limit yourself to what you think you can do now. Take on assignments that stretch you. “Say yes if you know enough to go forward,” she said. “You learn from the things you do, not from the things you don’t.”

• John Snyder, global president & CEO, BCD Travel, credited his rise to the corner office to hiring and surrounding himself with the best people he could find. “It can be scary to hire someone smarter than you,” he said. But it can also be a canny strategy.

• Jennifer Hill, former CFO at Merrill Lynch, advised women to stop trying to be nice. “You need to think independently, act decisively, and care more about gaining respect than whether people like you or not.”

• And Doug Anderson, president & CEO, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, advised being willing to take a risk with your career. “I look for people who believe they are ready for the next job.”


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WINiT Announces Launch of Central Career Board in GBTA Program

WINiT is pleased to announce the launch of the WINiT Central Career Board. Check out the ad from the GBTA 2015 Convention program:



And please check out the WINiT Central Career Board! Post your jobs and resumé today!


GBTA Convention 2014