February 2018 Print

President's Report


Velia Cox, President

Dear SA GBTA Members and Friends,

We kicked off 2018 ready to build on our chapter’s success for this year, we are appreciative to all of you that have joined us for this educational adventure, we promise we have some amazing fresh content and good times ahead.


For the January monthly meeting we introduced some of the 2018 Committee Chairs followed by Embassy of Hope. Embassy of Hope and Lt. Jimmy Sides from SA PD Vice Unit, showed us an in depth presentation on signs of human trafficking

February’s meeting we had Jenny Carnes present an update on the half a million+ out of town visitors that will be coming to SA for Final Four. 

Join us for the March meeting, Tom Ervin who specializes in computer intrusions and the dissection of computer viruses and worms, will present to us: Anatomy of Cyber Attacks


This year we were able to send five SA GBTA board members to the 15th Annual GBTA Leadership Summit in Portland. In attendance were more than 170 chapter and affiliate leaders from all parts of the country. Our team was able to network and collaborate with other leaders to discuss chapter challenges and opportunities through collaborative education sessions. While in Portland, the board took the opportunity to tour the Portland AirBnB office, it was exciting to tour their open and warm workplace culture.

We have several scholarships available to our members and will announce some of these recipients at the March meeting.


3rd Annual St Patrick’s Day
Don’t be disappointed if you can’t go to Dublin this year for St. Patrick’s Day because Bobby White, FUNraising Chair, and his committee have a splendid event planned for St. Patrick’s Day. This event will include attending the St. Patty’s Day River Parade, whiskey tastings, rooftop sundeck and a luxurious party bus. Thank you Enterprise, CTA Limo, Hilton Garden Inn on Houston St., Marriott NW. and Omni La Mansion (sponsorship packages are still available).

Texas Education Day 2018: World Series of Travel in Houston
There will be an estimated 300 travel industry attendees from Houston, Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio. This year there will be shuttle service to TED, Chriselda Barrientes & CTA Limo will be coordinating this event.

First Annual Golf tournament
Rita Wenthold, Golf Committee Chair and Melissa Schmidt, Co-chair had their first meeting, they had over twenty volunteers attend! I was humbly grateful to have witnessed the team’s ideas and expertise being shared, I have no doubt that this is going to be a successful fundraiser.

Each of our committee’s priority is to bring you new educational content and exciting networking fundraisers. If there is anything that we can do to make SA GBTA a better organization for you, please let us know.

Thank you for your continued support and participation.


Velia Cox



Back to top

Calendar of Events

2018 March Meeting

Anatomy of Cyber Attacks

March 15, 2018
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Hilton Garden Inn San Antonio-Live Oak Conference Center
8101 Pat Booker Rd 
San Antonio, TX 78233


Tom Ervin
Computer Scientist


Tom Ervin has been supporting the FBI with cyber forensics analysis for the past seventeen years. He specializes in computer intrusions and the dissection of computer viruses and worms.

In 2000, Tom helped establish the FBI's first malicious code laboratory at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

He has been working at the San Antonio Division since 2010, supporting the Cyber Squad on criminal and national security investigations.

Tom holds BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering.

Tickets available on the website: REGISTER BEFOR MARCH 12TH FOR THE DISCOUNTED RATE


Meeting/Event Information

3rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Event

March 17, 2018
2:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Marriott Northwest
3233 NW Loop 410 
San Antonio, TX 78213




Back to top

Meeting Highlights

The GBTA Learership Summit took place at the ned of January in Portland, OR. Several members of our TEAM learned how to better fulfill their duties as Board Members and newtorked with others within the National GBTA Organization who can be great resources to make our San Antonio Chapter better for the members.


The 1 Quarter Allied Meeting was held at the Wyndham Garden Riverwalk and featured Veronica Morales with The Social Being to discuss Social Media dos and don’ts. Veronica’s presentation was insightful, helpful, and enlightening for the attendees and very much appreciated.

The January Luncheon was held at the Embassy Suites Brooks City Base. The new Board lead by Velia Cox had the opportunity to share their position responsibilities and goals with the attendees. We then had a very informative presentation from the Embassy of Hope founder Elizabeth Crooks with cooperation from the San Antonio Police Department about Human Trafficking.

The February Luncheon was held at the Drury Plaza in Stone Oak, Jenny Carnes with San Antonio Sports Foundation share with us the exciting details of the Final Four coming to San Antonio in just a few short weeks.

Back to top

Allied Member Spotlight

Ellyn McLain

Current Role and for how long at this company? I am the Travel Industry Sales Manager with La Cantera resort and Spa and have been with the company for just over a year!

 What professional accomplishment are you most proud of and why? Once I finished college back in December of 2016, my goal was to get my foot in the door with hospitality sales. I grew a love for the industry working in hotel operations and felt this was a wonderful career path that could showcase my skills. I was hired at La Cantera January of 2017 as a sales admin and I had a clear goal in mind to grow and to obtain a sales management position within a year at the company. After 5 months of being in my admin role, with a lot of hard work and perseverance, I received my promotion as Travel Industry Sales manager.

 Why did you join the SA-GBTA? Being new to the Travel Industry, specifically Business Travel, joining the SA GBTA was essential in getting to know other in the industry and building new relationships. The experience so far has been wonderful, even in just a short amount of time.

How do you envision SA-GBTA making a difference for you professionally? I have already seen the benefits of being a part of SA GBTA. Within just a few months I have met many individuals who are essential in relationship maintenance, not just for my company, but for personal connections and those who provide wonderful feedback and mentor-ship. Again, being so new to the industry, I thoroughly appreciated all feedback or advice to improve my skills and aid in my career advancement.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working with travel? By far, the most rewarding aspect working in travel is meeting new people all over the world. Learning about cultures outside of your own from the source, there is nothing else like it. When you build these relationships you will always have someone, somewhere that you can reach out to no matter where you are in the world.

 Do you have a hero or a mentor that made a difference for you, either professionally or personally and if so, why?  Words cannot express fully the impact that my mentor, Courtney Watson, has made on my life. I became Courtney’s admin a couple months into working at La Cantera. She is our Director of Travel Industry sales and after researching the many facets of hospitality sales, I knew Travel Industry was the perfect fit for me. She guided me to reach my best potential to be prepared for my current role. Her continued guidance is cherished and I am lucky to have her as a mentor.

 Please share a couple of the most memorable experiences in your life  While I have had many awesome experiences two that come to mind was my time I spent living abroad in Florence and my first Virtuoso Travel Week in Vegas.

Many years ago, (without revealing my age ;) ), I moved to Florence on a whim when my best friend Georgette went to study abroad there. My original intention was to stay for three months. That turned into two years. I was able to see some amazing countries and experience new cultures I never in my wildest dreams could have understood without being submerged into it.

I attended Virtuoso Travel week, 2 weeks after I was in my new role. IT was my first conference ever and I had no idea what to expect. It was incredible! An entire week of networking with some of the biggest names in the industry and on such a large scale. There was nothing else quite like it!

Favorite trip you’ve taken:  My absolute favorite trip was my week of backpacking on the west coast of Spain. Each city and town had its own unique qualities, almost like going into several different countries with the same language! I think Malaga was still my favorite city I visited on that trip.

 If you could invite one person, living or deceased to a dinner party, who would it be and why?  Hands down, Kristen Wiig. It would be the most hilarious dinner I would ever attend!

 Where do you live / marital status/children/pets?  I live in San Antonio, Texas, I am Single and I have one amazing fur baby, my dog Fonda who is an old lady at 11 years old.

Favorite Restaurant: While San Antonio has many amazing restaurants that I frequent, my absolute favorite is Seed in New Orleans. I am a vegetarian, so having dinner out can be a challenge in the South. It is nice to have restaurants like Seed where I am able to eat everything on the menu!

Back to top

SA-GBTA Membership Update

Contribution by Ashley Ramirez- Membership Chair

 We are happy to welcome the following new  and recently renewed members:

Pamela Weber - Director of Corporate Bus Development at Corporate Travel Management.

Mary Lee Rigamonti – Director of Global Travel at Acelity

Teresa Cavallo – President at Corporate Travel Planners

Melanie Camarillo – Group Sales at SuperShuttle of San Antonio

Melissa Schmidt – Avis Budget Group

Cecil Williams – Independent Travel Agent at Big Shot Travel

Mario Mauricio – Director of Sales at The Emily Morgan Hotel

Sarah Pegues (Embry) – Director of Sales at Springhill Suites Northwest at The Rim

Melanie Bruce – Assistant Director of Sales at Hyatt Regency San Antonio

With the start of the year, we’ve seen quite a few membership renewals come through. If you know you’re membership has recently expired, please note there is a 30 day grace period to renew without being charged non-member fees for our monthly meetings. If you need assistance renewing your membership, please do not hesitate to contact us as

Many of our new members come recommended by current members of our GBTA chapter. If you have peers or travel industry partners who you know would benefit from joining our team, we encourage you to invite them to our monthly meetings. We can even help cover the cost for direct members who are attending our monthly meetings for the first time. There are also prizes throughout the year for those who assist with adding to our growing chapter. Simply ask the membership team for more info.

If you have any questions about how to join this great group or any fun events we have coming up, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of the following membership team members:

Ashley Ramirez 

Melissa Kim

Chriselda Barrientes

Lisa York

Morgan Rushofsky

Bella Zavala

We look forward to seeing all of you at our next monthly meeting!

Back to top

Community Service

Contribution by Brenda Trevino- Community Outreach Chair

The Embassy of Hope has been selected again for 2018 as our Community Outreach Nonprofit. Founder Elizabeth Crooks did a presentation at the January meeting where she pointed out what to look for and how many of our members have an opportunity to discover and report Human Trafficking. We raised $365 at the February meeting opportunity drawing.

You can purchase Embassy of Hope Medals for $13 at this link:

On July 19th we are planning a FUNdraiser again this year to support Embassy of Hope called "Paint n Sip" at Pinot's Palette, stay tuned!

Back to top


Have you registered for TED in Houston yet?

We will offer CTA shuttle service from San Antonio to Houston and back at an affordable fee which will help save your company money. More information and registration coming soon on our website.

TED 2018

Back to top