2nd Quarter 2018 Print

President's Report

Velia Cox


On April 9th Houston held Texas Education Day with guest speaker Reid Ryan, what a wonderful opportunity to hear him share stories about his dad, the Houston Astros, his personal baseball career, and the teamwork he has experienced. Thank you to all who made it from our SAGBTA chapter, your support is greatly appreciated by Michael Donohue (Houston President) and his chapter. I was so proud of the energy and participation we showed while we were there. Next year Stacy Day (Dallas President) will be waiting for our support in Dallas, hopefully Blake Miller (Austin President), Michael and I can get another VIP bus together for that event too. It was quite a sight at the end of the event when three beautiful busses pulled up to take us home to our respective cities.

  • San Antonio CTA Limo / Andy Hernandez
  • Austin & Dallas Nikko's Limo

In April, FBI Special Agent Hector Morales spoke at the luncheon regarding Active Shooters Training. It was amazing to hear stories and take away knowledge from the two agents that attended. We received so much positive responses from the surveys from this training that we will invite them back again.

Our May lunch meeting will be at the San Antonio Airport where attendance will be capped at forty attendees so register early to guarantee your spot. Then in June our luncheon will be at the Hilton San Antonio Hill Country.

Hope you had a great time at fiesta!

#NIOSA #KingWilliams #Cornyation #BattleofFlowersParade  #LaReinadelaFeriadelasFlores #Coronation and so much more.

Velia Cox

Thank you to the board members and volunteers for all the time / hard work to putting these events together, I can’t express how proud I am to be your Chapter President.

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Calendar of Events

2018 May Meeting

May 15, 2018
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
San Antonio International Airport
9800 Airport Blvd.
San Antonio, TX 78216


June 21, 2018
11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Hilton San Antonio Hill Country
9800 Westover Hills Blvd.
San Antonio, TX 78251

Kathy Cantwell

With over 25 years management in the travel industry, Kathy has expansive knowledge of the technical and operational requirements needed to deliver highly successful travel management programs.  As part of a ‘team that can fit in a single cab’, Kathy was a key member of AirPlus at its infancy for US operations.  Using her prior 15+ years experience as Director of Operations at Sato Travel, Kathy leveraged her knowledge of GDS integration, back office functionality and global TMC operations to successfully grow AirPlus in the US.  As part of the AirPlus executive team, Kathy is committed to see virtual payments be efficient, effective and beneficial in all aspects of travel for corporate customers as well as travelers.

Juliann Pless
Senior Vice President, Travel Solutions

Juliann oversees the sales and operations of the company’s travel solution, CSI Travel. Juliann has successfully managed the team responsible for the growth of CSI Travel by establishing strategic partnerships, building brand awareness, and increasing customer engagement. She frequently shares her expertise in corporate travel payment solutions through national speaking engagements.

Prior to CSI, Juliann began her career at Parker Hannifin as a purchasing agent. She graduated from Stetson University’s School of Business Administration with a major in Marketing and a minor in Electronic Business Solutions. She is a member of GBTA Ladders and co-leads CSI’s charity committee and oversees corporate philanthropy for CSI’s Power2Change Foundation. In 2014, Juliann was honored among the top ’40 Under 40’ rising business stars in the region.


$30.00 San Antonio GBTA Member 
$50.00 after 5:00 pm June 17

$45.00 Guest Ticket
$65.00 after 05:00 pm June 17

$30.00 All Access Ticket
$50.00 after 5:00 pm June 17

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Direct Member Spotlight

Bobby White


Current Role and for how long at this company?  VP Financial Strategy, SWBC for 18 years. I am part of the Accounting and Financial team at SWBC. One focus is to manage the travel and expense program, contract and related opportunities.           

Work history you’d like to share: I spent 17 years at Diamond Shamrock / Ultramar, now Valero.  Various roles included accounting (pipeline, refinery, corporate and regulatory), accounts payable supervisor, auditor and strategic sourcing/TQM.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of and why?  Passing the FINRA Series 7 and Series 24 license examinations for the SWBC Broker Dealer operations. 

Why did you join the SA-GBTA?    Founding Secretary of the Chapter. I’m interested in all aspect of travel industry and wanted learn more.  

Are you currently on a committee/board within our chapter? Yes, I am the FUNraising Chair and the Director at Large.

What are the biggest changes you’ve experienced in regard to working with travel?  Changes by airlines to make ancillary fees, no longer just change fees but including in cabin baggage, seat and food/beverage options. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of working with travel?  Keeping in touch with the changes and developing challenges. 

Do you have a hero or a mentor that made a difference for you, either professionally or personally and if so, why?  Dr Russell Briner, UTSA professor and division of accounting chair.  Russell and his wife Virginia are my San Antonio parents. He gave me guidance as I needed it. His leadership was a pleasure to emulate in my professional endeavors. Through the Spurs highs and lows, I was his partner in Spurs season tickets for 14 years until he passed away. Thanks Russell, you are still a gem in my life. 

Please share a couple of the most memorable experiences in your life: A combined with favorite trip below.

Favorite trip you’ve taken:   Australia and New Zealand, Downunder in 1999. A dream for many years, Doubtful Sound is the most serene place I’ve experienced, not easiest to get to but AWESOME. 

Favorite pastime hobby or leisure activity: All things wine and vineyard and traveling there to do it.

Favorite Restaurant:Embers and Fralos, some very dear friends own them. 

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Allied Member Spotlight

Ashley Ramirez

Hilton San Antonio Airport

Current Role and for how long at this company?   Business Travel Sales Manager at the Hilton San Antonio Airport; 8 months          

Work history you’d like to share: Started in hotel sales in 2010 during my senior year of college. Expected it to be simply a summer job, and I ended up enjoying it so much that I stuck with it. Since then, I have grown so much! In the past 8 years, I have served as a Director of Sales for 4 hotels, opened 2 properties and met many wonderful people I now consider close friends and family.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of and why?  successfully opening 2 hotels in downtown Houston as the youngest Director of Sales in the market

Why did you join the SA-GBTA?  At the time, I was new to the city, and wanted to quickly get connected with other sales leaders and clients in the community.        

Are you currently on a committee/board within our chapter?   I'm a board member and oversee the membership committee. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of working with travel?   The people I've met. From peers in the industry, employers and clients, they have all had a little part in helping me grow personally and professionally. 

Do you have a hero or a mentor that made a difference for you, either professionally or personally and if so, why? So many it's hard to choose one! I worked for a company a few years ago that provided me multiple amazing mentors/leaders who forever changed my life. My favorite lessons they taught me were (1) take things serious, don't take them personal, (2) know and take care of your people and (3) never forget where you came from and those who helped you along the way. 

Please share a couple of the most memorable experiences in your life: Many of them have happened within the last year. Moving to San Antonio, buying a house and getting engaged. 

Favorite trip you’ve taken:  Hawaii, nearly every place we visited looked like it could be on a postcard. 

Favorite pastime hobby or leisure activity: Hanging out with my family

If you could invite one person, living or deceased to a dinner party, who would it be and why? Mother Teresa for her great example of selflessly loving and serving people

Where do you live / marital status/children/pets: Dignowity (near downtown) with my fiance.

Favorite Restaurant: Alamo Cafe, can't get enough of those homemade tortillas!

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SA-GBTA Membership Update

Welcome new members:

Caitlin Gerger – Drury Hotels; referred by Morgan Rushofksy

Kevin Dombrow – Water Walk

Angie Adams – Water Walk’ referred by Kevin Dombrow

Thank you to our renewed members:

Liz Rivera – Phoenix Hospitality Group

LaFonda Ximenez – Commercial Travel, Valero

Monica Sanford – Hilton San Antonio Hill Country Hotel

We currently have a 4 way tie for our recruting member of the quarter. There is still time for a winner to pull ahead so keep on referring new members to our chapter for membership!

Definitions of Membership

Definitions of Membership:

  • Direct Membership - Corporate business Travel buyers, meeting managers, or travel policy administrators on behalf of your corporation.  As a Community Direct member, enjoy the benefits of networking with your peers and take advantage of educational opportunities right in your local area. 

  • Allied Membership - Corporate business travel suppliers who sell travel related goods and services to our Direct members.  As a Community Allied member, enjoy the benefits of networking with travel buyers and your peers and educational and sponsorship opportunities right in your local area.

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SA-GBTA Updates

 San Antonio GBTA Sponsorship Opportunities

The San Antonio GBTA invites you to participate as a sponsor to maximize your membership and your company’s return on investment.

Sponsorship opportunities are designed to increase your marketing exposure to a highly targeted group of corporate travel buyers while at the same time funding our chapter growth and education. This financial support provides the resources needed for San Antonio GBTA to continue to provide exceptional educational speakers, philanthropy, networking and scholarship opportunities.

This is a great opportunity for both new and existing travel related businesses to increase their exposure to key travel decision makers in San Antonio and its surrounding areas.

Our sponsorship opportunities fit any budget and consist of a combination of:

Membership   Meeting Newsletter Venue Website & Web Link

For detailed information, on any of our sponsorship opportunities, please visit our website at


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Community Service

The Christy’s Hope Gala and Golf Classic 

May 10-May 11, 2018 at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort

2018 Gala Emcee – Melissa Dohme

It’s a true miracle that Melissa Dohme Hill is alive and healthy today. In January of 2012, her high school ex-boyfriend brutally attacked her by stabbing her 32 times in the neck, face, arms, and hands attempting to take her life. The attack caused her entire blood volume to be replaced twice, resulting her to flat-line four times and suffer a stroke in the emergency room. Following that horrific night and her miraculous recovery, Melissa developed the conviction to become an advocate and speak out against domestic violence. She has shared her story with thousands of people, speaking at various domestic violence events, conferences, high schools, and colleges. Melissa has been featured in national and international publications and television shows, including: People Magazine, 48 HOURS “Live to Tell”, Inside Edition, Good Morning America, Today Show, BBC News, Fox News, CNN, Nancy Grace on HLN, Investigative Discovery and many more.

Family violence is the #1 crime and cause of injury to women in the U.S. and is believed to be the most common, yet least reported crime in the country. The San Antonio Battered Women’s Shelter has become a model for the nation by introducing innovative programs designed to help women and children become more self-sufficient, and Christy’s Hope is pleased to help contribute resources to ensure its continued success. With over 51,000 victims served annually, the San Antonio Battered Women and Children’s Shelter is more than just a place for families to come and rest – it is a place where families support each other, and receive the care needed to heal.

The cost for the Shelter to provide their services is approximately $170 per night. The Shelter has never, nor ever will, turn anyone away. Christy’s Hope looks towards the San Antonio community to help the Shelter maintain their open arms policy, and never have to turn a family away due to lack of funding.
Since Christy’s Hope’s 1st tournament, we have raised money for the Shelter to purchase a truck to assist in moving families quickly and safely. Additionally with the funds raised, the San Antonio Battered Women’s Shelter has added a new playground, living quarters, a new dining facility, and a new laundry room. They were also able to furnish the women’s living area of the new Shelter. Recently, they made the decision to provide the women and children with computers and educational software. This past year at our 18th Annual Christy’s Hope Gala & Golf Event, we raised $330,000!! Since its inception 19 years ago, Christy’s Hope charity golf tournament has donated 100% of the proceeds to the shelter, which is now totaling over $2.7 million.

Christy’s Hope is an organization that donates 100% of its proceeds to the Battered Women and Children’s Center. The charity was founded by Christy Prescott in 1998 as she saw a need in the community. Christine Prescott is the CEO of CTP Inc. and Rennert Travel.

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