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As a kid, my dream was to become an Olympic hockey player. Not quite typical for a young girl, in a sport that was very male dominated.

So I poured hours into hockey, learning the game, improving my skills and trying to make the Olympic team (and while always wearing my socks and sliders). I was passionate about the sport and wanted to do everything I could to climb the ladder.

Despite attending the Olympic training camp, I didn’t make it as an Olympian, but I was fortunate to play Division 1 hockey. While competing, I learned many lessons about grit, teamwork and continual improvement that have stuck with me in my professional career.

Fast forward to 2016. No, not the run up to the Korean Winter Olympics, but my first GBTA Convention. It was here I was introduced to business travel for the first time and was hooked. Just like hockey, I wanted to learn the game, improve my skills and climb that ladder to the top.

And funny enough, that’s where the aptly named GBTA Ladders program came in.

It offered me the chance to network, learn more about the business travel industry and take on a challenging team project. That first season of Ladders taught me a lot about teamwork, improved my presentation skills and further fuelled a new love for business travel and all the amazing people in the industry.

But I still wanted more. I had grown and developed and knew the Business Travel industry now, but there was something missing. I got more involved with GBTA and had one of my first on-camera moments at GBTA in 2017 (I was also 8 months pregnant at the time and therefore had no ‘good side’ for the camera). My passion for the industry had shown me areas I believed could be better and I knew I wanted to change the status quo.

Are you ready for the twist? (Cue the dramatic music that signifies a pivotal point in the film)

In 2019 I joined FESTIVE ROAD, where I could combine my love for business travel with a mission to challenge the sector. I wanted to continue to grow and improve myself, but also take those learnings and create better for the industry as a whole.

My presenting continued but FESTIVE ROAD‘s development approach propelled me to seek new challenges for myself.

I went full circle. Not back to socks and slides, but returning to GBTA Ladders.

I knew that GBTA Ladders was where I wanted to get involved again. I’d poured hours into learning, and growing and I wanted to support people in the way I had been supported when I was a mentee.

As is life, the program had really evolved. I had the chance to be an alumni advisor, working with wonderful mentors and a team of aspirational individuals. I also joined the social media committee to help spread the word about the program and highlight the value that it brings.

Which brings me to the current day. This year, not only am I working with GBTA Ladders again, but this time FESTIVE ROAD is joining me as a 2023 headline sponsor. The culture of FESTIVE ROAD has not only enabled me to discover my values and purpose and to create a vision for how I can inspire and help others grow, but has extended this support to the wider business travel industry, helping a new cohort of individuals through this amazing program.

My dreams of becoming an Olympian Hockey Player may not have come true, but I have grown, evolved and climbed the ladder in business travel, putting every ounce of passion I once committed to the ice, into this amazing industry instead.

To find out more about GBTA Ladders and how the program supports the development of people within our sector, click here.