Though the theme of the Global Business Travel Association’s annual convention, held last week in San Diego (see photo gallery here), was “No Boundaries,” one of the main issues facing attendees was a vote to disband the association’s Allied Leadership Council, made up entirely of suppliers, and for all Allied seats on the GBTA board of directors to be filled though elections rather than appointments. There were presentations and breakfast sessions and plenty of hallway commentary—often centered around the head of the council, Dav El President and CEO Scott Solombrino and his impassioned fight to keep the status quo. In the end, the vote failed and the balance of power between Allieds and Directs (buyers) remains as is.
A world leader who has spent years breaking down the boundaries between countries (and has logged flight miles equivalent to traveling around the world 38 times), Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, U.S. Sentor, and First Lady, was Wednesday’s speaker. She fascinated the crowd with stories of her life as Secretary of State, from what it was like in the situation room the night the Navy Seals raided Osama bin Laden’s compound to meeting with leaders in Togo, who confided that they were learning so much about the U.S. government from watching “West Wing.” When asked about her plans for the future, the 2016 presidential hopeful responded that she wanted to just relax and enjoy her private life “for a while.” The week included two other keynoters: recording star Jewel (who was discovered in San Diego), who shared her poignant personal stories and sang some of her biggest hits; and former First Lady Laura Bush, who spoke about her adjustment to everyday life since leaving White House.