March 8, 2019

NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality to Host 16th Annual Grossinger-Bergman Distinguished Lecturer Series in Travel and Tourism

The March 13 Event, Titled “Corporate Travel: A Global Forecast,” will feature President and CEO of CWT, Kurt Ekert

NEW YORK, March 8, 2019 – The NYU School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS) Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality will present the 16th Annual Grossinger-Bergman Distinguished Lecturer Series in Travel and Tourism, featuring guest speaker Kurt Ekert, president and CEO of CWT. The event, titled “Corporate Travel: A Global Forecast,” will take place on Wednesday, March 13, and will be moderated by Recep Karaburun, a clinical assistant professor at the Tisch Center.

Corporate travel is a thriving subsector of the tourism industry, which every year generates $1.4 trillion and experiences an average annual growth rate of four percent. It is a major driver of demand for air and ground transportation, accommodations, and travel technologies.

During this lecture, attendees will learn about the emerging industry issues that are affecting business travel today, and the trends that will impact the industry in 2019 and beyond. Some of these developments can be seen as exciting innovations—including the effects of the sharing economy and the development of driverless cars. Others are more challenging for corporate travel managers, including geopolitical tensions, travel restrictions, and data security. The discussion also will focus on global travel pricing and the macroeconomic influences driving it.

Ekert will bring his wealth of industry experience to the discussion, shedding light on how CWT, a global travel management company, helps organizations of all sizes to deliver cost-effective and personalized corporate travel programs that keep its clients’ employees productive and safe on the road. CWT also owns and operates a leading hotel distribution business (RoomIt), and a global meetings and events business, handling nearly 40,000 annual events.

Ekert was appointed president and CEO of CWT in April 2016. He has more than 20 years of experience in global travel, tourism, and technology, having held leadership and governance positions at Cendant, Continental Airlines, eNett, GTA, Orbitz Worldwide, and Travelport. Ekert also serves as vice chairman of the US Department of Commerce Travel & Tourism Advisory Board; is a director of Passur Aerospace, the World Travel & Tourism Council, and the UNGA Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children; and is an adviser to Freebird Inc. He holds a BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from the University of South Carolina, and saw active duty as a US army officer.

The event will take place on Wednesday, March 13, from 6:30-7:45 p.m. (lecture), followed by a reception from 7:45-8:30 p.m., at the NYU Kimmel Center for University Life, Eisner and Lubin Auditorium, 60 Washington Square South (between LaGuardia Place & Thompson Street). To register for the event, click here.

If you are a member of the press who wishes to cover the event, please contact Michael DeMeo at

About Ricelle “Bunny” Grossinger
Ricelle “Bunny” Grossinger is known internationally for her contributions to the hospitality industry. A pioneer in hospitality and travel marketing, she also has been an ardent supporter of the NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, a member of the Tisch Center's advisory board since its inception in 1995, and a generous benefactor of the Center's programs.

Grossinger began her career, which spanned more than 50 years in hospitality and travel marketing, at the Grossinger Hotel and Country Club in the convention and sales department. She went on to work on project development for Global Four Star Tours, Global of London, and Encore Travel Marketing. She then joined the State University of New York and KLM Airlines as an international academic program coordinator. She has her own consulting firm, Bunny Grossinger Enterprises.

Long active in community affairs, Grossinger served on the New York State Tourism Advisory Board through two administrations. She also served on the New York State Job Training Partnership Council, the US Congressional Tourism Caucus Advisory Board, and the NY State Governor’s Economic Advisory Board, as well as the Port Authority Gateway Task Force.

She has been recognized for pioneering the opening of US markets abroad and cited for acknowledging the onset of segmented markets—most notably her work with women business travelers, which resulted in cooperating with Cornell University to present the first Woman Business Traveler Conference at Ithaca. The Tisch Center has recognized Grossinger’s extraordinary contribution to the profession in two ways: naming its Distinguished Lecturer Series in her honor, and presenting the Ricelle “Bunny” Grossinger Hospitality Award annually to the master’s and bachelor’s degree recipients who display the greatest potential for leadership in the hospitality and tourism industry.

About Eddie Bergman
Eddie Bergman is president of Innovative Development Services (IDS), a full-service consulting firm that focuses on tourism marketing and development, as well as on real estate management services in New York City. He also is CEO of Proxima Hospitality Group, a restaurant management company, which owns and manages Hill and Bay (Murray Hill, NYC).

Bergman cofounded and serves as president of the board of MCW (Miracle Corners of the World), an NGO devoted to empowering youth to make positive change in their communities, with a special focus on Africa. He was appointed a goodwill ambassador for The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the economic development program of the African Union, in recognition of his service as executive director of the Africa Travel Association, a position he held for nearly a decade (2006-2015).

Bergman serves on the boards and advisory boards of several international organizations in the non-profit, education, and travel and trade sectors, including Shared Interest, the International Crisis Group, NYU Africa House, and NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study. He also has served on the boards of the Museum for African Art, the Rubin Museum of Art, and the Synergos Institute. He has received several humanitarian awards for his work, including the 2009 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

About the Grossinger-Bergman Distinguished Lecturer Series in Travel and Tourism
Established in 2003, the NYUSPS Tisch Center of Hospitality’s annual Grossinger-Bergman Distinguished Lecturer Series provides a forum for the discussion of significant issues and developments within the business of tourism. The speakers and panelists selected to participate epitomize the highest level of accomplishment for leadership in the hospitality and tourism industry. Recent guests have included: Christopher Heywood, senior vice president, global communications, NYC & Company; Katie McBreen, vice president of communications and research, Grocery Manufacturer’s Association; and Mike Murphy, former senior vice president of upscale brands, Choice Hotels International.

About the NYUSPS Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality
The NYU School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, now celebrating 24 years of academic excellence, is a leading center for the study of hospitality, travel, and tourism. Founded in 1995, the Tisch Center was established in response to the growing need for hospitality and tourism undergraduate and graduate education. Its cutting-edge curricula attracts bright, motivated students who seek to become leaders in their fields.

Through its undergraduate degree in hotel and tourism management, its graduate degrees in hospitality industry studies, tourism management, and event management; a plethora of Professional Pathways programs; and its world-renowned hospitality investment conference, students gain the knowledge and the skill sets that enable them to manage change, to communicate, to thrive in complex work environments, and to advance the businesses of hospitality, travel, and tourism. For more information about the NYUSPS Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, visit

About the NYU School of Professional Studies

Established in 1934, the NYU School of Professional Studies (NYUSPS) is one of NYU’s several degree-granting schools and colleges—each with a unique academic profile. The reputation of NYUSPS arises from its place as the NYU home for industry-focused education and applied research that is related to key knowledge-based fields, in which the New York region leads globally. This is manifest in the School’s diverse graduate, undergraduate, and Professional Pathways programs that span a broad range of disciplines including: Accounting, Finance, and Law; Applied Health; Arts, Design, and Film, and TV; Economic and Urban Development; English Language Learning; Entrepreneurship; Fundraising and Grantmaking; Global Affairs; Global Security, Conflict, and Cybercrime; Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism Management; Humanities; Human Resource Management and Development; Languages; Management and Systems; Marketing; Professional Writing; Project Management; Public Relations and Corporate Communication; Publishing; Real Estate, Real Estate Development, and Construction Management; Sports Business; and Translation.

More than 80 distinguished full-time faculty members collaborate with an exceptional cadre of practitioner/ adjunct faculty members and lecturers to create a vibrant professional and academic environment that educates nearly 5,400 degree-seeking students from around the globe each year. In addition, the School fulfills the recurrent professional education needs of local, national, and international economies, as evidenced by over 18,000 Professional Pathways enrollments in Career Advancement Courses, Certificates, and Diploma Programs. The School’s community is enriched by nearly 25,000 degree-holding alumni worldwide, many of whom serve as mentors, guest speakers, and advisory board members. For more information about the NYU School of Professional Studies, visit

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