Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Back to School for All

As my kids head back to school (and my oldest to college…sniff sniff) I find myself telling them learning never ends when they leave school and doesn’t start again simply because they are in a classroom.  Made me think about all our learning opportunities that we may not take advantage of and is making me think I should practice what I preach.


Just today, in my multiple inboxes, I have the following learning opportunities:

  • Meet with a financial advisor for some investing tips
  • Invite to an education event for the industry
  • Reminder about the leadership training classes available internally
  • Chance to meet with school officials to chat about the upcoming year
  • Technical training opportunities
  • Invite to wellness event with classes available


Then I ask myself, how much time can I devote to my learning and still be a mom, a wife, an employee, a VP, a sports fan, a volunteer and a person.  Based on the list above, I counted and I could have 43 hours of training (that isn’t including time away or getting to any of these event….it’s JUST the events) in the list above and that is only in emails I received TODAY! 

Now that is totally unrealistic.  I want to be a mom, a wife, an employee, etc....so how do I tackle this?  I can't be the only one trying to juggle this.  So, I have made a personal promise to myself to learn something each week, or try to learn something each week.  (Let’s be honest, some things may take more than a week to learn.)  It doesn’t have to be anything new, maybe its something I know, but a different look at that issue.  Maybe its something VERY new…I don’t know, but I have to learn something each week.  I encourage all if you to do the same, keep learning, keep growing and keep going. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Steps That Will Make a Difference

Some know I am getting ready to send my oldest daughter off to college.  Lots of things come into play with that readiness, but the one that I hate is getting her ready for that big world where not everyone is your friend and not everyone can be trusted.  Sadly, we have spent a number of family dinners talking about the horrendous topic of human trafficking and I’m asking my readers to join me in putting one foot in front of the other to help.

This year at the GBTA annual convention, we are partnering with ECPAT-USA and American Airlines to raise money and awareness of the epidemic that is taking over the country, human trafficking.  According to ECPAT-USA, 1.2 million children are trafficked every year.  This inaugural 5K will work to bring awareness and raise funds for this issue which has deep implications for the business travel industry. 

Here is your call to action, I invite anyone attending the convention to join me in making a difference, one step at a time and walk or run the inaugural 5k with me on Sunday, August 12.  Registration information can be found at this link.  If you can’t be there Sunday morning, you can still make a donation to the event. 

Now, my personal commitment – for every 100 people registered, I will donate an additional $100 to the event.  So, 100 registered walkers/runners = $100, 200 registered walkers/runners = $200…you get the picture. 

Please help to be a part of the solution.  My hope is that by the time my youngest goes off to college, we won’t have to have the same dinner table conversations because our industry stepped up and made a difference. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Chex Mix

You have all seen the commercial bags of Chex Mix.  You can buy them at any grocery, convenience or even big box stores.  Last week, I was in Costco and overheard a couple talking about “to buy or not to buy the bag of Chex Mix?”  The conversation went something like this:

Wife – I just wanna buy this and not have to worry about it.  The kids will eat it and that’s all I care about. 

Husband – Yeah, this is fine, but I like the stuff you make better.  They don’t add peanuts, I don’t like the pretzels in here and yours is less salty.

Wife – How about we buy this and I add peanuts? 

Husband – I just think you making yours makes more sense because in the end, we know it will get eaten. 

It was a small exchange and in the end, they didn’t buy the Chex Mix because the wife ended it with, “They’ll eat whatever we buy.” 

I was giggling a little bit during the exchange, but I realized this is the state of travel as we know it.  Let me explain. 

Some people want to buy what’s on the shelf.  They don't care about a bag, they can get their seat when they are ready and all that other "stuff" isn't needed.  It’s there, it’s easy, it gets me the basics of what I need and who cares that it’s not EXACTLY what I want? 

Some people want to get all the ingredients and pull it together for the perfect outcome.  They want flexibility in their purchase, their seat, the ability to use the lounge and they want to board first. They are happy to look at the options and create the best product that is more to their liking. 

Who’s right, the husband?  The wife?  BOTH!  The world of travel needs to be able to give people the options they want.  Easy route?  We got that.  More selective?  I think we are working to get to that point, but I think it needs to happen faster. 

Think of travel the next time you see that bag of Chex Mix and work with me to keep this conversation going. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Facebook vs. Mass Surveillance

Last night, my son Dalton was tasked with writing a speech on mass surveillance.  He asked me to look it over and give some pointers.  I think he wrote a pretty good speech, but it got me thinking about what is going on in the way of mass surveillance and things that are happening in the social media platforms. 


Companies like Facebook have been taken to task about selling data and information that the public has been okay sharing with the masses.  I mean, think about it, I post something on Facebook for people to see then I am supposed to be mad when people get that information?  Who is to blame?  The entity where I shared the information.  Let me repeat, where I shared the information.  I am not the smartest kid in the class, but I know that if I wanted to keep anything from people, I would certainly NOT take to Facebook to “keep it from them!” 


Edward Snowden is still in Russia trying to get a fair trial for exposing the NSA and their monitoring tactics, yet the government doesn’t need to answer to any of the questions around that topic?  They were monitoring cell records, emails and texts that people thought were private exchanges? 


Sometime I wonder if I am only one who sees the irony in these things.  Okay, moving on….

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Talk

A few weekends back, we took a family road trip to “The Cities” (aka Minneapolis/St. Paul.)  In the car, I thought it was the perfect time to have “the talk” with our 17, 16 and 13 year old.  Now, before you stop reading and think “This just got weird!”, know that I am talking about the ALICE training they have been receiving in schools.  ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. 


In schools today, they are talking about how to act, react and defend in the wake of an active shooter or threat in the area.  We talked about best practices they have learned and heard about.  I talked about some of the things I have been watching and exploring in my job and we talked about our family plan if something like this ever came up. 


While I hate the thought of anyone I love having to deal with these scenarios, I think it’s important to arm people we love with the tools to make the right decisions when needed.  I encourage travelers, security managers, employees, employers, parents and friends to have those “what if” conversations.  I know I learned from my kids and I think they learned something from me.  I also hope, that in my quest to keep going, I, nor anyone I know, has to use the skills we discussed. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

What the What??

The airlines that have been in the news lately should be ashamed of their service and delivery, but there are more questions that need to be asked. 

Allegiant was lambasted on a 60 Minute special about their dismal safety records and what looks like them trying to hide their challenges. 

Sun Country left people in Mexico because “their seasonal service ended” and those left there were told their next option is JUNE!? 

What the what is going on here? 

Allegiant, seemingly has flown below the radar on safety and the FAA has known about it but hasn’t done anything to bring their challenges to the public.  Instead, they have been sending them letters about their problems?  No sanctions, no enforcement of safety rules, nothing that would hit the eyes of the public.  In an article from CBS News, it states, “Over the last three years, the FAA has switched it’s priorities from actively enforcing safety rules with fines, warning letters and sanctions – which become part of the public record – to working with the airlines behind the scenes to fix the problems.”   So, the FAA knew and did nothing to tell the public and allow them to make informed decisions.  Interesting!   (I urge you to go back in time and look at my blogpost from Jan 13, 2014.  These issues have been going on for YEARS under the radar and that is wrong!)

Sun Country passengers were made to pay thousands of dollars out of their own pockets to complete their travel because they had a weather cancelation and they cannot be responsible in those scenarios.  So, they have NO responsibility to their customers to give them options or at least help them find options?  Interesting! 

Someone needs to hold these airlines to a standard of safety and reliability.  Seems as if the agencies who are meant to do that are NOT, so who?  The travelling public?  The media?  Let’s be honest, in the next three days, these issues will have rolled off the TV and newspapers and people will move on to the next issue.  This one cannot be left on the cutting room floor.  Travelers need to reach out to their government officials and keep these stories going.  I have already started a note to my peeps in Washington to not let this be a forgotten issue.  I urge all of my readers to do the same thing.  With a passion for purpose, I keep going. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

All the Comforts of Home

Recently I have been spending a fair share of nights in hotels.  People ask me all the time, "Do you have a favorite brand?"  Yes, I do...my house.  But when that can't happen, I look for all the comforts of home.  Here are things I love to have when I check into a hotel for a night or maybe longer. 

My TV, my way.  I want to be able to stream from my device to the TV in my room and I want to know that the sleep timer works!  I am like many, I never WATCH TV, I have it on for noise.  I fall asleep to noise so I don't have to hear hallways noise, etc.  Plus, being able to stream Grace & Frankie or my DirecTV DVR is a nice feature.  Not having this will make me rethink coming back to the hotel in the future. 

Reliable Wi-Fi that I don't need a degree to figure out.  I want to be able to easily connect and move on with my work. This one is game changer too.  If reliability is an issue, I take my business elsewhere because I need to be connected when I travel for work. 

Ice.  I drink iced beverages all day.  I love to have an ice machine close that I can go to as needed or a service that will bring it to me when I want. 

Plug-ins a plenty.  I am sitting in a hotel room now and I have a phone, an iPad, a laptop, a portable charger, a hair dryer, straightener and headset all plugged in. 

Bottles of water.  I think this is a standard request anymore, but I am shocked by the hotels who do not offer water in the rooms. 

Windows that open.  I love to bring the outdoors in and sometimes, that isn't possible. 

Oh, the list could go on and on, but those are my hot topics and I don't think my wish/want list is different that most corporate travelers.  Heading off to my bed to see if I can figure out the sleep timer on my TV so I can get some rest so tomorrow I can keep going.