The start of 2021 has brought us three new women meeting industry leaders: Aoife Delaney as the new president of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, Kari Vrba as chair of the Incentive Research Foundation board of trustees, and Suzanne Neufang as executive director of the combined Global Business Travel Association and Association of Corporate Travel Executives.
Here’s more on three new meeting industry leaders who recently took their posts at SITE, the IRF and GBTA: Aoife Delaney, Kari Vrba and Suzanne Neufang.
The DMC Network’s Aoife Delaney, CIS, CITP, is the new president of the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence. Her father, Patrick Delaney, CIS, CITP, CITE, CMM, CMP, was the first non-U.S. resident to serve as SITE president when he took on the role in 1992.
“SITE has always been an integral part of my personal and professional life and becoming SITE president is a source of immense pride to me,” says Aiofe Delaney, in a press statement. “I’m deeply grateful to all those who have helped me along the way, especially my great friend and mentor, Jenn Glynn, whose legacy I hope to emulate. I’d also like to single out the ownership and leadership at the DMC Network who have generously and extensively invested in my SITE participation because they believe passionately in the power of incentive travel.”
Kari Vrba has been named chair of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) board of trustees.
Vrba has been involved with the IRF for six years and has served on multiple committees, and as secretary and vice chair of the board of trustees prior to this week’s appointment. “The members of the IRF Board of Trustees bring a tremendous level of expertise and passion for the incentives industry,” Vrba said in a press statement. “I’m excited to work with this talented group as we develop the IRF’s strategy to deliver relevant and impactful research and education to existing and new audiences over the next five years.”
GBTA has announced the hiring of Suzanne Neufang as its next executive director. Neufang will lead the combined GBTA and Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).
Neufang was hired after a review of over 130 candidates from around the world. The months-long process was led by an independent search committee of industry leaders and staff. The search was coordinated by leading association consulting firm MCI-USA, which served as a third-party hub to screen applicants and facilitate the extensive interview process.
Neufang, whose executive career has included senior leadership roles with several high-profile travel and technology companies, most recently served as senior vice president-Americas for HRS Global Hotel Solutions. Before HRS, Neufang worked for 10 years as an executive leader with Sabre Travel Network, GetThere and Travelocity and later as a divisional chief marketing officer for Fortune 500 software giant Intuit. An active member of GBTA since 2005, Neufang led ACTE as board president from 2012 to 2014 and as a board member from 2014 to 2018. She served as ACTE’s interim executive director during summer 2012.
“It’s not a secret that business travel is at an historic low point as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in crises we find opportunities to be bold and to excel,” said Neufang, in press materials. “Business travel has been down before and we have recovered—always coming back more technologically savvy, data-focused, and globally connected. The key questions for me are when we as an industry will recover, and how we as GBTA can drive economic and industry recovery to be even faster.
Neufang will take over on February 24 from Dave Hilfman, who since July 2020 has served as the Association’s interim executive director. Hilfman will remain with GBTA in a temporary consulting role to smooth the transition.
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