February 2017 Print

President's Report

Robert Zimmerman


Well it is hard to believe that we are just past the halfway mark of February and we have had such mild weather.   It is standard to have cold, bitter weather for the Travel Conference.  This year was on the edge of cold and the rain created some travel difficulty for us.   Now our second event of the year has had mixed weather also in the past, but I do recall a Silent Auction that was near 70 degrees.   We are only a month away from this great event and you never know in Wisconsin.  

We have had some big changes to start the year off.   Our past President and current Chairperson of the Board, Emily Wright, guided us into a new and exciting direction to become an official GBTA Chapter and no longer an Affiliate.   So what does that really mean?  First, our name will now be GBTA Wisconsin Chapter.  To the members it means we have a great deal of information no longer at our finger tips, but in the palm of our hand.   As your new President, it will be my focus to bring to attention the benefits that we have to work with now that we did not have before.   When your company asks you, what is the ROI for being a GBTA WI Chapter member, you will be able to explain to them why you want to attend our meetings and network with so many other travel industry colleagues. 

Thank you to those who were able to attend the Travel Conference in January.   I look forward to this event each year as our attendance is always amazing.  This year is was a transition meeting of sorts.   The new Board of Directors stepped in for the next two years to dedicate their knowledge and experience to our wonderful association and I am excited to work with the board members and committee chairs.

During the first week of February GBTA held the CPC Leadership Summit in Orlando, FL.   This summit is put together by the Chapter Presidents Council (CPC) and allows all the Chapters and Affiliates to send board and committee members to gather for sharing best practices.  With about 39 Chapters and Affiliates attending, it is a great experience and opportunity for us to learn how we can grow to be a stronger chapter and also to brag a bit about things that we feel make us a great chapter in order to inspire others.  We will be sharing some information with you in the near future.

I am very excited to be your President for the next two years.   Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns as we head into the New Year.   GBTA WI Chapter has an amazing team of board and committee members working hard to support you as members and we are open to any questions you may have.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the Silent Auction in Milwaukee at the Safehouse in March!

Robert Zimmerman, GBTA WI Chapter President.

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News, Notes & Upcoming Events


News, Notes & Upcoming Events

By Matt Hoffmann

Our 2017 Education Day was a major success all around! We had an attendance of 102 registered attendees, 63 member and 39 guests and our survey responses were off the charts!!

Everyone who attended is eligible to earn 5 CEU Recertification Credits.  

The speaker presentations are available on the GBTA Wisconsin website, located in the GBTA Wisconsin – Resources Library.  

An enormous THANK YOU goes out to our guest speakers and panelists who made the day a success. Each one brought their travel industry knowledge and expertise, enthusiasm, and passion to help our membership grow and learn. The information absorbed will help strengthen our members’ travel programs and build stronger business relationships to achieve great successes in 2017!

  • Christle Johnson, CTC, GLP – GBTA Update & Importance of Volunteerism

o    GBTA President & Vice President Travel & Business Services, Johnson Downie LLC

  • Kathy A. Briski, GTP, C.P.M - Category Management – Travel Category

o    Travel Category Manager/Strategy Architect Shared Services Group - Supplier Management The Boeing Company

  • Panel - The Future of Ground Transportation
  • Moderator: Kathy A. Briski, GTP, C.P.M. - Travel Category Manager/Strategy Architect Shared Services Group - Supplier Management The Boeing Company, Panel: Peter Browne, President/Owner THINKLimo/Carey Limousine of Wisconsin, Mike Srnec Global Account Manager Avis Budget, Inc. and Doug Pinzer, Global Sales Director GoRiteway
  • Panel - Lodging Marketplace, Effects of a Changing Economy
  • Moderator: Rebecca HasleySenior Global Manager, Travel Meetings & Card, Panel: Jenny Bulgrin, Business Travel Sales Manager, AirBnB, and Linda Gulraiani, CRME, Vice President of Revenue Strategy and Distribution, Marcus Corporation
  • Todd Hunt - Communication Bleeps and Blunders in Business

o    Business Humorist

Education Day 2017 Survey: Click here for the results

I would like to personally thank the following individuals for all of your creativity, hard work and dedication to make the event seamless, entertaining, and a success:

  • Kari Fulkerson – Hyatt Regency Milwaukee
  • Lauren Sollazo – Enterprise Holdings
  • Sunshine McNerney – Blue harbor Resort
  • Ryan McAdams – Mitchell International Airport
  • Pat Tracey – Appleton International Airport
  • Emily Wright – Fox World Travel
  • Jesse Funk – Fox World Travel
  • Jennifer Terpstra – Crowne Plaza Milwaukee Airport
  • Megan Leibow - Hertz 
  • Tim Wing – CUNA Mutual Group
  • Liz Barker - Radisson Hotel - Milwaukee West
  • and of course our GBTA Wisconsin President – Robert Zimmerman – Marcus Hotels.
  • There are many others that helped throughout the day and I thank you!!!!



Upcoming Meeting - Wednesday, March 8th (5:30 – 9:00pm) Milwaukee, WI:

19th Annual WBTA Silent Auction – Co-Sponsor Wally Park

Safe House Restaurant

Address: 779 N. Front Street

City: Milwaukee

State: WI

Zip:  53202

Phone:  414-271-2007


This is our main opportunity to raise funds for our chapter and we need every member’s help to make this event our most successful ever. All proceeds from the auction are used for GBTA Wisconsin scholarships, sponsorship formembers to attend the GBTAconvention, as well as other projects for our chapter.

The Silent Auction Committee lead by Tara Wurtz, Hampton Inn and Suites Milwaukee West, has been hard at work preparing for the event. Please see the GBTA Wisconsin Events page for more information on how to donate an item and for the up to date bid listing….there are A LOT of great items up for bid!!!

Date: Wednesday, March 8th

  • 4:15 pm Direct Member Only Session - Round Table
  • 5:30 pm Registration and Silent Auction Opens
  • 7:30pm Silent Auction Closes and a word from our Sponsor, Wally Park
  • 8:00pm to 9:00pm Auction Winners Announced / Check Out Process


Parking: On own, more information will located in upcoming weekly email blasts and on GBTA Wisconsin Events page

Room Block: March 8, 2017

InterContinental Milwaukee

Rate: $99 

Book online or call: 1 888 IC HOTELS

Online Link:

Direct Round Table Session - Wednesday, March 8th (4:15pm – 5:00pm)

Direct Members - we will host a Direct Round Table session prior to the Silent Auction at the InterContinental Milwaukee.  

I look forward to seeing all of you on Wednesday, March 8th! Please contact me if you have any ideas for a chapter meeting or questions regarding our session topics. It is an honor to be your VP of Education; I am here for all of you and look forward to working with you!


Make it a great day!!


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Membership News

Membership Coffee Talk

By Jennifer Terpstra, VP of Membership

It was a very busy start to the year!  We had Travel Conference, membership renewals and learning our new GBTA ‘way of life’ all at the same time – while it was hectic, it was great to learn so much over the last 2 months. 

I was also fortunate to attend the GBTA Leadership Summit, where I attended classes on driving membership, as well as a class on what we can do to retain our quality members.  It was very enlightening to hear about other chapters, and to realize that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to our association.  Our goal last year was to get to 120 members and we ended the year at 101 members.  Of those 101 members, almost all of the members attended at least one event last year.  I was surprised that some of the larger chapters said 25% or more of their members never make it to one meeting in a calendar year.  To me, the benefit of being a part of the association is the education and the networking!  I do plan to strive for that 120 member mark once again.  With the help of my Committee Chair Liz Barker, I believe we can accomplish this, as long as we continue to attract and retain quality members. 

One other tidbit I learned from the summit was that 75% of people will join an organization through word of mouth, while only 15% will join through cold calls.  So with that, I’m asking all of you to spread the word about our wonderful GBTA Wisconsin chapter!  Invite friends, colleagues, co-workers and clients to our meetings.  This is an incredible chapter.  We have engaging members that have a wealth of knowledge, great education components and fun networking opportunities - so let’s help to grow this association together this year as a team! 

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Direct Member News


Direct Member Area News

By Amy Sipsma

Welcome to the Direct Member area news!  I’d like to introduce myself to those who I have not had the opportunity to meet yet, I’m your new Direct Director, Amy Sipsma, from Spectrum Brands in Middleton, WI.  I’m eager to represent the Direct members in GBTA Wisconsin and ensure Direct members ideas and opinions are voiced within the Chapter.

As part of my role, I’d like to keep you informed of events that may benefit the companies we represent and most importantly provide support to Direct members by being a source of information & education.  I will be putting together a poll to send out to Direct members to see what topics and areas of interest we can discuss to take the most advantage of our Direct Member Only Sessions following Chapter meetings.

If you’re planning on attending the Silent Auction on March 8th at the Safe House in Milwaukee, hopefully you can make it to the Direct Member Only Session at 4:15pm before the event.  I looking forward to meeting you all and being your advocate in GBTA Wisconsin. 



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Allied Member Spotlight

  Kati Donaho

City of Residence:  Combined Locks, WI

Current Job Title and Employer: Sales Manager- Group & Business Travel; Hyatt Regency Green Bay

Names and ages of children:  Jameson (son, 8) Finley (daughter, 6)

 What is the coolest/strangest thing about your family? My husband is from Texas and we met while I was going to college down there. We actually have a family ranch down in Texas with cows.

Where is your favorite place to travel?  Anywhere warm!

What is your favorite music group, or artist?  Anything country

How long have you been a member of the WBTA?  2 years

What TV show are most embarrassed to admit you watch?  I watch SO many reality shows

If you have a college degree what is your major?  Criminal Justice and Business

What was the first job you held after high school?  US Army

What are your favorite hobbies? Spending time with family, dancing – relaxing!

What is one thing that most people do not know about you?  Many people outside of Green Bay don’t know that I was a “star” dancer for Dancing With Our Stars for the American Red Cross. I won the “People’s Choice” award for the favorite dance, and will be competing in the 2018 All Star Event. I raised over $15,000 in 4 months for the organization for the 2016 event. All proceeds raised go to the American Red Cross. (I’ll make sure to let everyone know once I start training again and raising money for 2018!)

If you “splurge and treat yourself to something”, what would that be?  Something relaxing- pedicure massage etc.

If stranded on an island what book would you take with you? I love the book Zoya by Danielle Steel.

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?  Several Packer players- That is the great thing about living in Green Bay (Donald Driver, AJ Hawk, Clay Matthews, Mason Crosby, Eddie Lacey, James Jones),

What is the best advice you ever received? From my grandfather- If you are easily excited you are not easily disappointed. Basically, take joy in the small victories.


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Advocacy Update


Advocacy (formerly Government Relations) Update

By Pat Tracey

The Government Relations committee will be transitioning to our new name: Advocacy, during 2017. I was accepted onto the GBTA national Advocacy committee in Fall 2016, and we discussed how the term ‘Government Relations’ doesn’t have a positive association.  (…that’s what happens when you get a marketing person on your committee!)

GBTA-Wisconsin is on our way to achieving our 11th annual Chapter Challenge. We should be proud that Wisconsin is 1 of only 4 GBTA Chapters in the U.S to achieve the annual Chapter Challenge every year since inception. THANK YOU to everyone for supporting our GBTA PAC (political action committee) fund-raiser at Travel Conference in January; we raised $1020 to support GBTA’s lobbying efforts. This money goes to support business-travel friendly elected officials in Congress.

This year I’m also serving as a member of the GBTA national Advocacy committee; on Friday Feb 17, I attended a meeting with GBTA officials, Cornerstone lobbying group, and 10 other GBTA Advocacy committee members. This will be a fascinating year to be part of the ‘action’ in Washington DC.

 Here are issues GBTA expects to discuss with Congress in 2017:

  1. Cell phones on airplanes--making phone calls during flight GBTA opposes this
  2. REAL ID implementation in 2018 and 2020 GBTA wants more publicity on this, since travelers who aren’t compliant may be denied boarding onto commercial airplanes.
  3. Travel Ban, and how it may affect the Visa Waiver Program GBTA wants to ensure that business travel is not adversely impacted by new regulations.
  4. FAA re-authorization/Air Traffic Control privatization/NextGen system to replace aircraft radar/Airport PFC’s. These are 4 funding inter-related issues that will impact the future of air travel. GBTA seeks to balance the need for innovation and infrastructure investment, along with keeping taxes on business travel as low as possible.

Please contact me for more information on how these might affect your business travelers.

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