BCD Travel advances three finalists in GBTA Ladders competition

BCD Travel’s Jamie Meek (United States), Katherine Tomasi (U.S.) and Nick Dewey (United Kingdom) will compete in an intense (but friendly) competition for big ideas during the 2022 GBTA Ladders Summit May 16-18 in Nashville, Tenn. The goal: To present the best potential solution for a challenge in the business travel industry.

Meek, Tomasi, and Dewey are three of nine BCD mentees in the 2021/2022 season of GBTA Ladders, a unique mentorship program of the Global Business Travel Association. GBTA Ladders affords members an opportunity to expand their professional development within the travel and meetings industry. Each season, Ladders teams, made up of four to six mentees, one alumni advisor and one mentor, work together over six months to identify and suggest a resolution for a topic in the season’s assigned theme. The 2021/2022 season theme is “Corporate Responsibility – What’s next?” Participants were tasked with exploring all the ways corporations can step up their game from environmental sustainability, DE&I initiatives, responsible sourcing and more.

Presentation sneak peeks

The presentations from the BCD mentees and their teams address needs-based search ability within online booking platforms; recruiting military spouses to jobs within business travel, helping to ultimately reduce the labor shortages that followed COVID; and driving inclusion and accessibility for travelers with hidden and visible disabilities.

Search/Ability, with BCD’s Jamie Meek, Director, Client Retention: Travel is not inclusive for all; there are shortcomings in the industry for the 1 billion people in the world living with both visible and invisible disabilities alike. The time and effort some need to put into planning travel is alarming. Only 2.7% of people with disabilities traveled in 2019, spending US$58 billion. The Americans with Disabilities Act paved the way for various laws and accommodations, but after 32 years the law’s effects on technology have left room for improvement. This team created a petition to amend Title III of the ADA to mandate online booking tools to provide SEARCHABLE, standard, disabilities content. The team hopes to introduce search ability to the agenda for next month’s GBTA Legislative Summit in D.C. and in front of Congress to prioritize this need across the industry.

Service with Purpose, with BCD’s Katherine Tomasi, Director, Sales: The business travel industry experienced an alarming exodus of talented professionals during COVID – and many of those people never came back. The result: A significant labor shortage. Service with Purpose would connect Military Spouses to jobs within the travel industry. The program would be offered at military bases globally by partnering with employers within the travel industry who can commit to providing job opportunities to program participants.

Accessibility for All, with BCD’s Nick Dewey, Senior Director, Sales: The Accessibility for All project focused specifically on how the industry can promote and drive inclusion for those with visible and invisible disabilities. The team developed a GBTA-led community for travel managers to offer a space and platform to share, educate, inform, and influence. The output included a podcast series, as well as educational material, plus a community forum for travel managers aligned with GBTA under the “Accessibility for All” banner.

The winning team will be announced in June and will present at an education session during GBTA Convention 2022, Aug. 14-17, in San Diego.

Other BCD program participants for the 2021/22 GBTA Ladders season are: Will Pinnell, Vice President, Digital & Global Product Strategy (Advisory board); Christina Reichelt, Senior Director, Program Management (Leadership); Erol Arkan, Vice President, Global Solutions Engineering (Mentor); Anja Turner Schulz, Vice President, Marketing & Communications (Mentor); Ali Prejean Smith, Director Marketing & Communications (Committee co-chair); and mentees Megan Keenan, Marketing Manager; Julie Dion, National Program Manager; Louisa Kamer, Director, Client Retention; Julie Stuckey, Senior Consultant; Tara Stigall, Senior Manager, Information Technology; and Samantha Richards, Senior Manager, Product Planning.

For more information on BCD’s participation, contact Ali Prejean Smith, Director, Marketing & Communications at BCD Travel and GBTA Ladders Co-Committee Chair. To apply for GBTA Ladders 2023, inquire here.

GBTA Ladders Summit 2022 – Nashville, Tenn., May 16-18

BCD Travel is a gold sponsor of the GBTA Ladders mentorship program, whose mission is to create an environment that facilitates the exchange of ideas and invigorates interest in the business of travel among the next generation of business travel professionals. With participants in the program across mentees, mentors, advisory board members and previous keynotes, BCD Travel has supported the program since its inception.

Three BCD speakers will attend as panelists covering professional growth topics including working within a global team, leadership skills and the challenges of corporate social responsibility and ESG.

Featured BCD speakers

Ali Prejean Smith, Director, Marketing & Communications, BCD | Moderator, Leadership 101: How to develop the skills of a successful leader
Erol Arkan, Vice President, Global Solutions Engineering, BCD | Breakout session: Cultural understanding and awareness – improving global relationships
Christina Reichelt, Senior Director, Program Management, BCD | Moderator, Leadership Discussions: Having the tough conversations



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