BABTA President's Message

20 August 2020

Dear BABTA Members,

Let me begin with a sincere, “How are you?”  Over the past several months an unimaginable disaster has overtaken the travel industry.  No one could have predicted the shutdown of travel and the subsequent furloughs and layoffs that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.  Many of our colleagues are looking for work and some may not be able to return to the travel industry.  My heart goes out to those struggling to make difficult decisions and redirect their lives.  All of us at BABTA should be looking out for opportunities that might arise and share those with our friends in the travel industry. CFO’s of public companies are anticipating travel spend to slowly creep upward as part of their operating expenses in the first quarter of 2021, although it will take potentially years to fully recover.

BABTA continues to try to reach its membership with virtual meetings and keep travel networking alive in the Bay Area.  Through the able efforts of Jason Beckham, meetings have addressed working from home, support efforts in Washington, and Black Lives Matter.  In the coming months we will continue to try to provide value to our members and assist them to continue their careers.  That said, if you have been furloughed or laid off, contact Mazie Rice ([email protected]) to get your membership extended for at least six months free of charge.

The business of the moment has been the passage of some bylaw changes that reorganizes the Board and leadership to more align with the GBTA bylaws.  The new position created is Executive Vice President.  This position will support the president and fill in for needed projects as required by BABTA.   Thank you to those who voted to make this change to our bylaws.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic it has been extremely difficult to hold an election of new board officers in 2020.  The BABTA Board has canvassed those who might be interested in running for a position and found the field very limited at this time.  Therefore, the Board has voted to extend the position of some officers currently serving by one year.  This means there will be no election of new officers in 2020.  If any member has an objection to this extension, please let me know as soon as possible and we will discuss any suggested alternatives.

From the recent Black Lives Matter virtual sessions the BABTA Board has decided to create a new position.  We are pleased to announce there will be a new Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Community created for BABTA with the expectation that new bylaw changes will allow this position to evolve into a Board position.  Jan Tomlinson of CWT has graciously agreed to step into this new position.  Further information about this important effort by BABTA will be forthcoming. 

In addition, there are some vacancies to be filled that I will appoint as president for the next year.  Mark Vega has left the industry and his position of VP of Venues is vacant.  We thank Mark for all the great work he has done and wish him well in the future. 

The following is the list of new positions and appointments for 2021, effective immediately:

  • Appointed Executive Vice President: Carey Pascoe (Dolby)
  • Appointed VP of Venues: Ryan Sieroty (Accor)
  • Appointed VP of Technology: David Toledo (Synergy)
  • Extended VP of Public Relations: Frankie Rodriguez (Slack)
  • Extended VP of Special Projects: Amanda Chorro-Predes (Avis-Budget)
  • Extended VP of Business Development: Chris Wang (BEI Hotel)
  • Extended VP of Membership: Mazie Rice (Cathay Pacific)
  • Extended as Director at Large: Judy Emma (Twitter)
  • Extended as Director at Large: Heather Parodi (Ross)
  • Extended as Director at Large: Lindsey Berg Maclean (Point Hospitality)
  • Extended as Chairperson: Greg Sweeney (Egencia)
  • Continuing as VP Treasury: Eric Schwartz (EHI)
  • Continuing as VP Administration: Katie Romanko (Dropbox)
  • Continuing as VP Programs: Jason Beckham (Airbnb)
  • Continuing as VP Government Relations: Gyasi Edwards
  • Continuing as President: Mark Ziegler (NetApp)

In 2021 we will hold a new election for all positions except for those extended. Because our bylaws call for some positions to be filled in even years and some in odd years, we will hold an election for the 2021 positions as usual but those who have extended will have their positions appointed by the new president elected for the 2022-23 term.  Appointed positions in 2021 will be elected in 2022. 

This is a long email.  I appreciate your continued support and hope that the pandemic can be controlled so that all of us can return to some measure of ‘normalcy’.  Whatever the new normal looks like, BABTA will be here for its members.  I do appreciate all of you and your efforts to further the travel industry.  Thank you and best wishes to you all!

Best regards / Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Saludos / 顺颂商祺 /Sincères salutations / सादर,


Mark Ziegler, CCTE, GLP, GTP
Senior Travel Manager
Global Travel Services

[email protected]

President – Bay Area Business Travel Association