Tuesday, February 21, 2017

WINiT Needs You

It’s been a while since I talked about WINiT and now more than ever, its time. 

WINiT, Women in Travel, is an organization I am proud to be a part of and have been since the day the “doors” opened.  I have been involved in many ways and now am the Chair of the Board for this amazing organization.  The team, since day one, has been about helping people, all people, women and men!  Helping them to be empowered, enabled and engaged.  Through events like the annual summit, career board or the mentorship program, WINiT is helping men and women in the travel industry. 

Here are some numbers:

  • 3 Annual summits with over 700 attendees.  Some held in conjunction with other events and the most recent was a standalone event that people are still raving about.   
  • Mentoring program going on 3 years with over 140 people engaged as mentors or mentees.  In this program, people are learning from veterans in the industry and veterans of travel are learning from others.
  • Job posting board with many opportunities within our travel community.  
  • WINiT has provided industry speakers and leaders at 13 events and growing. 

When you look at those numbers, most would be shocked to know that all this has been done at NO COST to the member.  All their work has been because of suppliers and individuals who looked at the mission statement and believed in it.  Believed that helping people to be the best version of themselves is a good thing. 

Doing the right thing for the right reasons can only go so far.  WINiT now needs your help to make sure they can continue with their mission.  We want to be able to bring value to everyone who needs it, everyone who wants it and everyone who wants to continue to grow in this industry we call home.  I invite everyone to visit the WINiT page and if you can, make a donation to support this cause so we can keep offering programs, insight, inspiration and a path forward.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sunday in the Rearview Mirror

I am a survivor!  I made it through to other side unscathed, for the most part. 

No, I didn’t run a marathon, I didn’t beat a disease and I didn’t even make it through a challenging meeting.  I lived through the Delta Airlines system outage on Sunday night.  While many would want me to complain and yell about it, I’m not going to do that.  I am, however going to talk about what I learned during the event.

1 – Having a TMC that had my back was a life saver.  The minute I knew about the issue, I called CWT to put a back in plan in place.  Delta, couldn’t show me options, which makes sense when systems are down, but the agency was able to cover my behind so I could have a plan to get to my meetings if things went really wrong. 
2 – Having a mobile solution that wasn’t just the airline app, also saved me.  I couldn’t get into my Delta App, so I couldn’t find my confirmation or flight details.  Having another solution made me feel secure about what info I was missing.
3 – Delta employees faced the challenge with the right attitude.  They opened and kept open a Sky Club that has been closed for renovation to meet the demand.  When I checked in, I asked how long they would be open, they said, “Until our travelers are taken care of.”  What a great testament to serving a customer.  (Trust, they were exhausted when I left there at 1:05am, but you wouldn’t know that based on their attitude.)  Outside the club, I saw employees bringing blankets, pizza, drinks and a smile to those in need.  Sure, it sucked for them, but they got it that it sucked more for the travelers. 
4 – Car rental counters don’t say open “just in case a flight comes in” so when your flight lands, you are stuck with options that exist.  At 3:25am, taxis at Sacramento Airport are few and far between.  Uber and Lyft were both at a 100X.  At that point, I didn’t care, I needed to get to my hotel and to bed, so 100X with Lyft was what I paid.  The line at Super Shuttle was VERY long, but from what I could tell, they were working quickly to get people the help they needed. 
5 – I saw the best in people.  The guy who was going around the G concourse making balloon animals for kids who had enough! 
6 – I saw the worst in people.  The lady who would not move her “real Gucci” bag to the floor or hold it in her lap so someone could sit in the seat. 

So, yes it sucked to be a traveler in this.  Yes, it sucked to get in SOOO late and try to function yesterday.  Is Delta going to have to answer to why and how this could happen twice in a year?  Yes.  Did I learn things that I will share with my travelers?  Heck yeah!  Learning, sharing and still, keep going. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What Lies Ahead

I know I am not the only one looking to the next few months with a very keen eye.  With the new administration, people are wondering how our country will change or if it will change at all. 

From the travel side, I am reading articles about how the new administration will be business friendly.  How the stimulus packages will help drive business development.  How the new administration's focus on keeping and creating jobs in the US.  How the Pres-Elect is focused on infrastructure improvements in airports and aviation security. 

So if I believed everything I read, I would think the Golden Age of Business Travel is upon us.  Companies will be making more money, thus spending more on travel.  Suppliers will be benefiting from programs that help to make them financially profitable.  Travelers will be safer than ever before.

Then, I remember that I live in a world with other people.  People who are set on doing the unspeakable.  (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Paris)  Companies who are going to falter and collapse and people will lose their jobs.  So while I look ahead to the next few months, I choose not to look at it with fear or delight, I choose to look at it with an open mind, a watchful eye and a trained ear. 

2017...the year we all keep going! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Being a Leader

In the past few weeks, I have been thrust back into the role of leading people and also helping lead an organization.  It’s made me think about the leaders I have had in the past and the leader I have been in the past.  I am, not surprising to most, inclined to think about my days as captain of a variety of sports teams. 

As a captain, I was not “in charge”, I was charged with making the team better.  When the team succeeded, I succeeded.  When the team faltered, I faltered.  I knew that I needed to prepare the next level of athletes to be ready to take on my role and the team.  I knew that it was not about that one year, but about building something sustainable and strong for the future. 

As a captain, I could not force people to see things “my way”, I was there to help them to see the way.  The way to win, the way to succeed, the way to support others, the way to lose with dignity and the way to learn something every day. 

As a captain, I could never do it all.  I had to have the help of fellow captains and teammates.  I had to earn their trust, day in and day out and I had to give them my trust, day in and day out.  It’s tough to create a team without trust in each other. 

As a captain, I couldn’t say, “do this” and expect it would be done.  There were times I had to show them how, I had to give them options and let them make the best choice.  Telling them how to do things was never as good as showing them how to do things and helping them to learn how and why.  (I have vivid memories of being shown and then teaching the drop-step under the basket.  Just showing me how to do it was never going to work, they had to help me learn!)  

I am excited about the roles that have been set out before me.  I am excited to work with the folks on both teams to make them and the organizations better and let’s be honest, as a leader, I am certain I will learn more from them than any of them will learn from me.  Still learning, still growing, still going. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Living in the Age of Airplanes...I Can't Wait!

In case you haven't heard me talk about this documentary, indulge me for a minute.  It's a documentary showcasing the 100 years of aviation.  It is a great history lesson, but also, a great visual reminder of how amazing the world is.  My favorite line from the movie, "We see more in a single glance than others saw in a lifetime."  I think about the places I have traveled because of aviation and I think about the civilizations long ago that never traveled more than 20 miles from their home.  This film celebrates what we too often take for granted. 

It was created by Brian Terwilliger, narrated by Harrison Ford, score for the movie was done by James Horner.  The documentary was picked up by National Geographic and since it's release date in 2015, it has been shown in specially selected locations throughout the globe. 

Now, you can own it yourself!  I ordered my copy from Amazon and can't wait to see it again this week!  If you need more info, check out http://www.airplanesmovie.com/. 

Waiting patiently for my copy to arrive so I can start making the popcorn, I keep going! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Survivor Season

If you follow this blog, you know I am not a reality TV watcher.  As a matter of fact, I don't have much time for TV in general.  (From last Friday to this Thursday, we will have had 15 sports events in our house and NONE of those are practices, all games!  See what I mean about not much time for TV...)  Okay, get back on track Rita!  Anyway, I don't watch much TV but I saw an ad for the new Survivor season.  It's Millennials vs. Gen-X'ers and this mix up has fascinated me so I find myself setting my DVR for this program...why?

In week one, they found out about the generational split.  Teams started to form, love lives started to blossom in the millennial camp and adversaries were targeted.  The Gen-X team went to work making a shelter and Millennials, not really having any ideas where to start, made their way through it.  Took a few more breaks than the others, but got it done. 

As the weeks progress, you can see an interesting difference.  Millennials work together for a common cause, set all the drama aside to be winners.  Gen-X'ers see strength and experience as the most important attributes.  Sometimes hard work pays off and sometimes, that lack of teamwork gets in the way of their overall goal, staying on Survivor Island. 

There is a little romance on the Millennial team between two of the "cool kids."  It's also a horrible throwback to high school when the cool kids were the people everyone followed and wanted to be like.  On the Gen-Xer team, a bro-mance was just shot out of the air when they sent home the oldest person on the team who thought he was a long timer because of his buddies.  On this team, the women were the ones to stand up and see their future if they bro-mance was not impacted. 

I have to say, the physical challenges are weighted in the Millennials advantage.  They are younger, more fit and certainly more agile.  I don't have a suggestion on how to change that, but when you put 18-34 year olds against 35-60 year olds, physical challenges are difficult. 

Note, this is not a promotion for CBS or the show, but I do find the inner workings of the tribes VERY interesting.  I see it everyday life both at work and in my social outings.  In some cases I am on the older side and in some, I on the younger side.  I see people working differently together and naturally, I adapt to whatever the team make-up needs.  Will be interesting to watch the rest of this season and who survives and keeps going. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Flying High With a Win!

A few weeks ago, I was flying to San Francisco on a Saturday afternoon.  Little did I know when I booked the trip, my flight from Denver to SFO was going to smack dab in the middle of the NDSU/Iowa football game.  I waited with anticipation for the aircraft to be designated. I was so hoping for a flight with DirecTV, but alas, my flight only had Wi-Fi.  Then, I had a plan and if it didn’t work, so be it. 

I downloaded the DirecTV app to my iPad and knowing that in-air Wi-Fi would not allow streaming of things like Netflix or Hulu, I thought it was worth a shot.  I boarded the plane, paid for Wi-Fi and prayed that my work around was really going to work.  To my surprise and delight, I was able to watch the NDSU Bison take down the then, #13 in the nation Iowa Hawkeyes with a field goal as the clock ticked away the last few seconds.  I felt bad for my seat mate because I think she thought I was having a seizure but eventually she caught on and even asked the score every now and then! 

50 years ago, I would have had to read about the win the next day in the paper because it would have never been on TV.  20 years ago, it would have been on TV, but only in the local markets.  5 years ago, I would have been able to watch it in any market assuming I had a subscription service.  A few weeks back, I watched the win 30,000 feet in the air with some quick thinking and a prayer that it would work.  My oh my, (personal homage to Scott Miller, the voice of the Bison) how times have changed! 

Now I know, that whether I am cheering on the Bison, the Fight Hawks (I guess that is their new name), the Vikings or maybe even the Eagles, I just might be able to do it when all the odds are stacked against me as long as I keep going.