Patty Olinger Named Among Top 25 Influencers of Meetings Industry
NORTHBROOK, Ill.—October 1, 2020—Patty Olinger, Executive Director of the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of ISSA, was recently named to Northstar Meetings Group’s annual Top 25 Influencers of the Meetings Industry. As meetings, trade shows, and travel came to a halt this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic, the industry faced some of its biggest challenges. Patty Olinger is among the ranks of professionals who were able to pivot under pressure, develop new strategies, and take the lead on helping the meetings industry find a new way forward in the COVID-19 era.
Olinger’s experience working with Ebola patients during her 13-year tenure at Emory University gave her a unique perspective on infectious disease outbreaks. She foresaw that a pandemic was likely and that the world was not prepared, and she even published an article to that effect in January, just before the coronavirus outbreak began to spread widely. When the pandemic hit the U.S., Olinger immediately put that knowledge and experience into action. She developed the GBAC Star program, which certifies facilities and their staffs in infectious disease prevention and response. Earning GBAC Star certification is a concrete way for meeting facilities, businesses, and other public spaces to assure their customers, guests, and employees that they are taking science-based actions to properly clean, disinfect, and reduce the risk of virus transmission.
“It has been really fulfilling to help people have the confidence to reopen safely. It’s not just about the meeting itself, but the whole travel experience,” Olinger told Northstar Meetings Group. So far, GBAC has certified 17 convention centers with 100 more in process alongside other facilities like hotels, airports, sports arenas, and more. “The vision is that people will see the GBAC Star symbol when they get to the airport, on the airplane, and at their hotel. We’re trying to make it so that the whole travel experience is comfortable and safe.”