Guest Post: Four Perspectives on Technology


The following is a guest post in our GBTA Ladders Blog Series. The GBTA Ladders program is a unique mentor program designed to help develop the passion and skills of business travel professionals enabling them to help solve the major challenges facing business travel. A call for new mentors and mentees for the next round of the program is open until September 30.

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GBTA Ladders Summit

Four Perspectives on Technology
By: Team Bob – Bob Sommers, Vice President – Global Sales, Delta, mentored this group.
Mentees: Emily Jost, Business Travel Sales Manager – Millennium Hotel Minneapolis; Joshua Amiel, Director Strategic Sales – HRG North America; Michelle Burt, Global Travel Manager – The Mosaic Company; 
Melinda Kirkham, Business Sales Manager – Enterprise Holdings

I will never forget the very first time I flew in an airplane. I was twelve years old and traveling to Phoenix to visit Grandma and Grandpa – a Christmas gift from my parents.  My brother and I had been surprised with our airline tickets on Christmas Eve – actual paper tickets that we had to remember to bring with us to the airport!

Traveling by air was very different back then due to the lack of a number of different personal technologies that have since been developed.  At that time, there were no portable devices to entertain us during the trip.  In the airport, we passed the time by talking and reading.  When we spent two hours on the plane while it was being de-iced, my mom and I read magazines together and she started a journal of our trip in a little notebook.

Now when I travel, I have so many gadgets that I have a section of my luggage reserved just for power cords!  I bring my cell phone, tablet for watching movies, digital SLR camera, laptop for editing and uploading photos during the trip, wireless hot spot for a stronger internet connection to stream Netflix, Kindle for reading, and a portable battery for recharging all of these devices when I don’t have access to an outlet.  At one time I had no problem entertaining myself on a trip without all of this technology, but now I can’t imagine embarking on the travel process with only a few magazines!
Emily Jost, Business Travel Sales Manager – Millennium Hotel Minneapolis

My children are taking over all of the technology in our house… Angry birds Transformers, Angry bird Star Wars. My son draws pictures of iPhones and videogames at school. They fully understand all the remote controls in the house and even have their own email accounts. We have no cable, just Netflix. When I tell them about TV commercials they are incredulous. “You mean you’re watching a show and they stop it for no reason? And you don’t know when it starts again?” They tell me, “That’s crazy!” It is crazy when you think about it. My son gets to play with my old Blackberry and he’s only four. I’m intimidated wondering what their life will look like with even more technology. Managing the complexities around technology is overwhelming and I wonder if things will be easier or harder for them moving forward.
-Joshua Amiel, Director Strategic Sales – HRG North America

To me, if I am not doing a million things all at the same time, life doesn’t seem to be complete or successful.  I have a job, like most of us, where a million things are happening and many people are demanding my attention all at the same time.  Add to that a personal life, and a person can find themselves completely out of time and energy!

With all of the clutter going on in everyone’s lives, companies have tried to come out with their own way of managing it all; smart watches, smart phones and apps for everything from booking a hotel to managing our house while we are traveling.  So… life should be simple and organized; right?  Somehow, mine is less organized than ever before.

I was traveling to do a training session for my company. My smart phone was set up with my travel information.  I also had a list of things I needed to do in my paper notebook. The presentation was on my laptop.  I found myself juggling all of the various media in order to ensure everything I had to accomplish was done.

I am not a “youngster”, who has grown up with the technology advances. A lot of technology is already created in so many forms.  In this era of constant change; with new programs that continue to simplify our lives, maybe one day, this oldie will no longer deal with clutter in her life!
-Michelle Burt, Global Travel Manager – The Mosaic Company

By the standard measures of the year I was born and graduated college, I fall into the popular classification of the “millennial.” But my story flies in the face of that definition.  I have worked for the same company since I graduated college.  I take notes with pen and paper.  I prefer to order pizza over the phone.  I prefer taking a taxi instead of Uber. And for a long time, I didn’t mind being this old school person in a new school world.

But peer pressure set it for me when it came to my social media skills.  I begrudgingly set up my Facebook page years ago, and then took another few years before I actively started using it.   Eventually, I joined LinkedIn – only to take another few years before my profile looked respectable.   Recently, a friend told me that Facebook is for old people and I should really be on Instagram.   Just when I thought I had caught up.

I decided to change.  I scheduled a day when all I did was figure out various social media platforms.

Making the effort was worth it.  I understand how useful these platforms can be in a way that I couldn’t before.   I see opportunities to connect to people and promote ideas that are impactful and make a difference in my personal life and career. I understand the hype.  And, I also see how much people miss out on by not engaging, by holding on to the perspective that the old ways are the best ways.
-Melinda Kirkham, Business Sales Manager – Enterprise Holdings

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