“There is no end to learning”

The second half of our stay in NYC was almost as full as our stomachs have been throughout our time here. We enjoyed Broadway musicals, grand company, delicious pasta, and fascinating meetings. What a week.

On Wednesday, we met with UNICEF and Accor Hotels. Meeting with Pat Batra, the Chief of Travel and General Services at UNICEF was incredibly interesting due to the complexities that make UNICEF unique from other businesses. The places that UNICEF sends its travelers are not necessarily places to which anyone wishes to travel. These trips are important, but are no holiday for the travelers. For this reason, duty of care alone is an entirely new beast. Pat also mentioned just what duty of care meant to him. He defined it as more than just safety and security, but also the travelers’ health and happiness. Time spent traveling is more than just business, it is time where employees are being taken away from their families and potentially put in harm’s way. This is a serious matter. For this reason, UNICEF’s travel policy was relatively flexible with a large focus on safety and traveler experience. This meeting was also unique from our other appointments because of UNICEF's mission. For 70 years, UNICEF has been operating in 190 countries with the objective of protecting children’s rights. At UNICEF, these children are the stakeholders. Their rights are the number one interest because they build the future. Pat’s final advice to us was to focus on learning. He elaborated that there is no end to learning. He said, “The more you learn, the more successful you will be. You are a student in the class of life every day.”

Thursday, we met with Martin Schneider of American Airlines and Anthony Potts of Oneworld at the JFK International airport. The same gentlemen who treated us to a lovely Italian meal and took us to Chicago on Broadway Tuesday evening showed us similarly luxurious treatment Thursday morning. We were shown the process of flying American Airlines as a first class business traveler: from tarmac Cadillac service to luxurious lounges and fine dining — the quality was premium.

Thursday’s last scheduled appointment was with BCD Travel. After so long researching this company throughout the selection process, I was extremely eager to actually enter a BCD office and meet BCD employees in the flesh. They did not disappoint! We were greeted at the door by Terence McCarthy, the Regional Account Manager based out of BCD’s Manhattan office. Terence was a joy in and of himself. He exuded energy, delight, and sincere hospitality. As we sat down in the conference room and began to take out our notepads and get situated, who bursts into the room but Chicka Elloy! Our fearless leader and the director of talent management at BCD Travel surprised us about a week and a half before we expected to meet him. Chicka is one of those people you meet for the first time and feel as though you have been friends for years. Ultimately, he is the one who selected each of us for this opportunity and we were all elated to meet him. Upon exchanging hugs from our surprise guest, Terence gave us an overview of BCD’s missions, values, culture, and more. We then proceeded to walk a few blocks down the street to Tony’s, a family style Italian restaurant where we shared plenty of pasta and even more laughs. This was a perfect way to spend our last evening in NYC.

A BCD Travel selfie in Time Square!

Now I’m on a flight watching a TED Talk and drinking white wine — and was feeling pretty sophisticated until we hit a little turbulence and I was wearing the wine. Classic. Regardless, there’s nothing to *wine* about here! Ahhh, I can’t wait to fall for Sao Paulo!

Next stop, Sao Paulo!