GBTA Ladders is a mentorship program of the Global Business Travel Association designed to help participants expand their development within the travel and meetings industry. It serves as a platform for emerging leaders in the business travel sector to gain insights, enhance their skills, and navigate the evolving landscape of corporate travel. Each season, Ladders teams, made up of four to six mentees, one alumni advisor and one mentor, work together to solve a business travel industry challenge.
Looking outside of business travel to drive in change
The 2022/2023 season theme was “Looking outside of the industry to drive change.” The goal was to uncover lessons, processes, and inspiration from industries outside of travel.
“Programs like GBTA Ladders help our industry evolve,” said Ali Prejean Smith, Director, Marketing & Communications at BCD Travel. “Ladders encourages participants to think creatively, look at pertinent industry topics with a new lens, and bring together parts of the business that might not typically connect. The professionals who go through the program get hands-on guidance from industry leaders, opportunities to learn across verticals within travel and a globally expanded network.” Prejean has been involved with Ladders since 2014 as a mentee, alumni adviser, sub-committee member, and now program co-chair.
Tag – You’re It with Julie Stuckey, Managing Consultant, Advito
Julie Stuckey, Managing Consultant at Advito, said Ladders has given her so much insight into other areas of the industry, challenged her to think bigger, and already has made a huge impact on her career development.
According to the 2023 U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation, our relationships with others are critical and underappreciated contributors to an individual’s health, safety, resilience, and prosperity. Stuckey’s team project, “Tag – You’re It,” is an app concept for travelers to connect within their social networks to friends and colleagues in locations across the globe, creating higher-value trips by focusing on human connection. While often glamorized, the life of a road warrior can be isolating. Travelers frequently on the road have disruptive social lives and erratic personal schedules, creating traveler friction and career burnout. With the app, travelers can increase social capital right from the palm of their hand.
“I am thrilled to be part of the final four presentations at this year’s GBTA Ladders Summit,” Stuckey said. “This is such a unique opportunity. Over the course of the past six to seven months, our team has put so much time and effort into this project. We’ve learned from each other, celebrated victories, cheered on teammates going through difficulties, and most importantly, worked together as a team to put together a concept we feel can transform the life of any traveler.”
TravelChange with Anja Turner, Vice President Marketing & Communications, BCD Travel
TravelChange is a roundup concept integrated at the business travel transaction level – allowing travelers and corporations to make micro donations by means of rounding up, or in the case of an expense reimbursements, rounding down transactions to apply those donations to great causes. The idea is not new, but the Ladders team made it applicable for the business travel environment.
In short: Travel transactions can be rounded up in online booking tools (OBTs) for charitable donations, but also rounded down at the time of payment via the organization’s expense reimbursement platform. And why is TravelChange so effective? Because research has shown that – based on the psychology of giving – people are more likely to donate with roundup requests via flat dollar amount donations even if the amount is identical.
“My 2023 team has a project underway that is truly transformational. TravelChange has the ability to bring about change and I’m on pins and needles to find out if they win,” said Anja Turner, Vice President Marketing & Communications at BCD, and a mentor this year.
“I’ve had great professional coaches throughout my career and being a Ladders mentor has allowed me to pay forward. It’s time I gladly invest beyond business hours. The camaraderie and seeing team members soar, doing things they didn’t thing capable before, are my favorite part of being a Ladders mentor. This season, I’ve once again learned that trust, understanding, compassion and friendship bonds can form among strangers, even during a 100% virtual project.”
BCD participants for the 2023 GBTA Ladders program are: Julie Dion, National Program Manager (Mentee); Louisa Kamer, Director, Client Retention (Mentee); Malin Knutstedt, Marketing & Communications Manager (Mentee); Lydie Lambert, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications (Mentee); Jamie Meek, Director, Client Retention (Mentee); Cathy Reidel, Travel Manager (Mentee); Julie Stuckey, Managing Consultant (Mentee); Greg Sweeney, Vice President, Multi-National Sales (Mentee); Sarah Whiting, Director, Solutions Consulting (Mentee); Kathy Bedell, Senior Vice President (Mentor); Anja Turner Schulz, Vice President, Marketing & Communications (Mentor); Kristin Lynch, Marketing Manager (Alumni Advisor); Ross Paterson, Senior Director (Alumni Advisor/Committee); Katherine Tomasi, Director, Multi-National Sales (Alumni Advisor Committee); Christina Reichelt, Senior Director, Program Management (Advisory Board); and Ali Prejean Smith, Director, Marketing & Communications (Leadership Co-Chair).
The 2023 GBTA Ladders Summit was held May 24-25 in New Orleans. The winning team, voted on at summit, will deliver their presentations during GBTA Convention 2023, Aug. 13-15, in Dallas. The winner will be announced June 15, on the GBTA Ladders next professional development webinar.
BCD Travel is a Gold Sponsor for GBTA Ladders 2023.
For more information on BCD’s participation, contact Ali Prejean Smith, Director, Marketing & Communications at BCD Travel and GBTA Ladders Leadership Co- Chair. To apply for GBTA Ladders 2024, inquire here.