GBTA Ladders: A Mentor Program as Unique as Our Industry


*The following is a guest blog post from GBTA Ladders Leadership members Allison Davis, Manager, Marketing Communications, Ultramar Travel Management and Lauren Wolters, Director of Marketing, Cornerstone Information Systems.*

One needs only read recent headlines to know that the business travel industry is one of constant change, disruptive innovation, increased productivity and an engine of tremendous growth for businesses and the global economy overall. Look at how travel was affected in recent months with multiple travel bans issued then overruled by courts and an electronics ban implemented by both the United States and the United Kingdom. Similarly, look at how, in just a few short years, the sharing economy has overturned the conventional way road warriors travel.

Business travel fuels innovation and is a constantly-evolving field. It is only fitting, then, that GBTA’s mentor program, Ladders, is just as fast-paced, innovative and disruptive as the industry itself.

What is Ladders?
The GBTA Ladders Program is GBTA’s innovative mentor program. Ladders connects corporate travel leaders with industry newcomers to facilitate collaboration and mentorship. However, unlike traditional mentor programs, Ladders participants are placed into diverse teams from within the global business travel industry and assigned to complete a project during the program’s duration. Once complete, the projects have a chance of being selected to be presented during an education session at GBTA Convention – the largest gathering of global business professionals in the world.

Traditional mentor programs – where a senior executive and junior associate meet from time to time – does not fit the needs and demands of the global business travel industry. It is for this reason that GBTA launched GBTA Ladders as an industry-wide, collaborative program rather than an individualized program siloed within one organization or one sector.

Who can join GBTA Ladders?
Given its unique structure, GBTA Ladders seeks both passionate industry leaders who will have a significant hand in shaping the next generation of global business travel leaders as well as those just starting out in their career who want to make strong connections and accelerate their experience within our thriving industry.

While Ladders teams have already been assigned for 2017, we are accepting applications for the 2018 program. Please visit the GBTA Ladders Program website for more information. You can also fill out the Online Application to be considered.

What to Expect in the Ladders Program?
Those who participate in GBTA Ladders – both senior career mentors and junior career mentees – are not signing up for occasional networking and FaceTime opportunities. They are beginning an endeavor as part of a team that will give them the skills they need to succeed in the modern global business travel industry.

Experienced individuals including Directors of Travel and Executives from supplier organizations contribute their time to a team of two to three newcomers. Together, they form a Ladders Group. 

All of the groups meet once per quarter on a call where a subject matter expert presents on a specific topic. Next, groups meet to prepare presentations and later present them to GBTA’s Task Force Leadership. The Task Force Leadership team picks the top three presentations for consideration and awards one Ladders Group the ultimate prize: a chance to present at a GBTA Convention education session.

The structure of the team, the scope of presentations and how and when teams choose to collaborate and communicate is left up to the individual teams.

GBTA Ladders is now in its fourth year providing numerous young business travel leaders the opportunity to create lasting connections while building their knowledge of the business travel industry. This season’s focus is on the next evolution of travel management and driving the future of the industry. Past seasons have focused on everything from globalization and disruptive technology to traveler friction and more. Are you prepared to climb the Ladder?

Visit the GBTA Ladders Program website for more information and stay tuned to the GBTA Blog for a series of upcoming posts on how this season is unfolding as we near our GBTA Ladders Conference this May in San Francisco.

For questions about the program or for more information, please contact us at ladders@gbta.org.

 

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