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To reach Debi Scholar, contact her at debi@debischolar.com or at 908­-304­-4954.

Debi Scholar has saved millions of dollars for many organizations. From the world’s largest professional services firm to a global peace keeping agency to renowned entertainment venues to respected pharmaceutical companies, she has consulted in many industries, with hundreds of companies, saved these organizations millions of dollars, and guided them through the end-to-end management of travel, meetings, expense management and virtual meetings. Debi has led numerous projects for global organizations, entertainment venues and government agencies as she was the PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Lead for Travel and Entertainment Expenses (T&E) engagements and worked for the leading consulting firm for 13 years. After consulting with her clients on engagements, Debi manages and assembles the most knowledgeable team to service the account. This approach is lean, cost effective and efficient for the client. Clients are constantly amazed at the perfection, attention to detail and quick turnaround that Debi and her team provides.

Frequently requested Business Solutions from the Scholar Consulting Group include:

Create vision with strategy
  • Strategic advisory services in travel and meetings
  • Strategic meetings management
  • Virtual meetings management
  • Procurement strategy
  • Policy development and review
  • Business Case and Business Plan development
  • Crisis management services
Drive cost and risk reduction
  • Spend and risk analysis
  • Benchmarking services
  • Fraud and forensics services
  • Meeting and events management
  • Control and compliance services
  • Return on investment calculations
Source suppliers strategically
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Market / service analysis
  • RFP development / response evaluation
  • Standard contract / addendum development and review
  • Negotiation services
  • Cost modeling
  • Service Level Agreement / Key Performance Indicator development and monitoring
Increase operational efficiency
  • Competency development / Training (analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation)
  • Project management
  • Outsourcing services
  • Process mapping, improvement and Six Sigma activities
  • Technology and automation services
Improve performance with audits
  • T&E expense monitoring
  • Meetings management audits
  • Operations review
  • Supplier contract fulfillment
  • Supplier service audits
Change behaviors with Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Carbon footprint analysis and program development
  • Meeting and event activities that align with CSR criteria
  • Virtual meeting support

For a review of over 20 references, please see Debi Scholar’s LinkedIn Profile at
http://www.linkedin.com/in/dscholar.

Debi has the following designations:
  • Wharton Aresty Executive Education/National Business Travel Association (NBTA) Global Leadership Professional (GLP)
  • Meeting Professionals International Certificate in Meetings Management (CMM)
  • Convention Industry Council Certified Meeting Professional (CMP)
  • NBTA Corporate Travel Expert (CTE)
  • Six Sigma Green Belt
  • Chauncey Certified Technical Trainer (CTT)
Debi was selected as:
  • Meetings Management Mover and Shaker by Corporate and Incentive Travel Magazine (2010)
  • Top 20 Changemaker who influenced the meetings management industry by Corporate Meetings and Incentives (2008)
  • Best Meeting Practitioner by Business Travel News (2007)
Case Study #1 Improve Strategic Meeting Management Program (“SMMP”), reduce meeting & events costs, improve processes and align resources
Issue SMMP was loosely managed; meeting and event spend continued to rise while short term bookings increased, causing higher costs and a lack of resources to manage the volume. As a result of some business units choosing not to use the Meeting Services team, visibility into spend was lacking and duplication of effort was increasing. Processes were not consistent and technology usage was not optimized.
Solutions We focused on four primary areas of improvement: a) savings opportunities, b) technology Improvements, c) process improvements and d) organizational linkages and changes. After a thorough spend analysis from accounts payable, corporate, P-card and meeting card data, we identified that the managed spend was only 49% of the total meeting/event spend. The unmanaged spend equaled millions of dollars. We identified groups that were not following meeting policy and held numerous conversations with the business leaders to drive policy compliance. Process changes included creating and communicating an updated meeting policy and service levels with internal meeting sponsors. Strategic sourcing was introduced to obtain optimal efficiency and numerous cost savings initiatives were put into place. Automating more processes, such as calendaring and strategic sourcing with their meeting management technology allowed greater transparency into total meeting spend. Reorganization allowed for expanded leadership opportunities and use of strategic suppliers to manage the increased incoming volume.
Benefits The improved SMMP provided for an additional 18% cost savings/avoidance above the current savings commitment. The technology enhancements led to greater visibility into spend, volume and compliance while improving efficiency. The resource efficiency increased by 35% on face-to-face meetings, based on cost per staff serviced.

Case Study #2 Reduce meeting and event spend
Issue Meeting and event spend was hidden throughout the organization. Numerous people in various groups were responsible for this high, indirect spend category without accountability. The client was focused on tactical meeting planning using disparate contracting methods and numerous suppliers. In addition, multiple meetings management companies and destination management companies were used to plan their events without concern for document retention, non-disclosures, HIPPA regulations and other risks. Lastly, significant spend was “unclassified.”
Solutions We analyzed the supplier types and spend categories. We recommended strategic sourcing for airlines, hotels and ancillary support such as meeting management companies and destination management companies. We recommended that they move toward automation and assisted them with rating four meeting management technologies.
Benefits With minimal supplier spend data, we estimated at least $1M in savings opportunities by using strategic sourcing methodologies for the few meetings we reviewed. We also offered recommendations in strategic direction, resource utilization and virtual meetings. The client stated that strategic sourcing will be their first priority in order to reduce costs immediately. They are cutting travel significantly and will consider virtual meetings, or e-meetings, as another cost savings initiative.

Case Study #3 Reduce travel and meeting spend; improve travel program; create meeting program
Issue Client’s goal was to a) reduce travel and meeting spend, b) uncover meeting spend and resources c) review current travel management company practices d) review T&E corporate card supplier, e) and compare their travel suppliers (hotel and air) with best in class.
Solutions The solution required a multi-pronged approach in the following areas:
Travel Management Company (TMC) and Online Booking Tool: We gathered documents so that we could analyze the TMC costs, contract, service level agreement, risk/reward structure, service and support, technology integration, discount structures, risk mitigation and processes. After a thorough analysis, the client decided to conduct a RFP for a travel management company and online booking tool. We prepared the RFP, scorecard and created the response analysis.
T&E Policy and Traveler Behavior: We started the engagement by providing the client with a comprehensive analysis of all T&E and meeting/event spend. We identified that the greatest savings would result from policy changes and travelerbehavior. After revising the T&E policy, we also created a dashboard and compliance structure so that they could monitor data and report savings. We created the communications for travelers and arrangers.
Strategic Sourcing: After a PRISM airline analysis, we found that the client did not use their travel management company to book a majority of the travel thereby losing marketshare with the suppliers. We strengthened the policies, and renegotiated airline and hotel contracts to increase their discount structures based on new, tighter controls.
Meetings and Events: The client had numerous ad-hoc meeting planners and multiple suppliers to manage their meetings/events. We assisted them in creating a strategy, streamlining the operations, reducing the dedicated resources and creating a new meeting/event policy.
T&E Corporate Card: A thorough analysis of their T&E corporate card contract showed that they lost incentive money on staff payment delinquencies. The client also had poor terms on client held days and base points with their corporate card. The client decided to bid their corporate card business.
Ground Transportation, Entertainment, and Restaurants: We proposed new, strengthened ground transportation and entertainment policies in order to reduce spend. We proposed a centralized resource to purchase and distribute entertainment tickets. In addition, we also signed the client up with two restaurant aggregators to obtain rebates from their dining spend.
Sponsorships, Tradeshows and Incentives: The client spend on these categories was less than many companies but we were able to provide them with best practices in these areas to reduce and monitor savings.
Virtual meetings: The client started to use virtual meetings to replace travel, however, it wasn’t mandatory or a part of their previous T&E policy. We added it to their policy and suggested that they improve marketing and training of the tools and benefits.
Value Added Taxes: We identified value added taxes that could be recovered from their international travel spend.
Best Practices: In all categories, we provided the client with best practices so that they could improve their travel and meeting program. We created templates and dashboards that they can use to review suppliers and report savings.
Benefits Within a few weeks, we uncovered numerous opportunities with their current travel management company, improved their travel and meetings program, created their meeting/event program, and helped them uncover 15% savings opportunities on their T&E spend. They recognized the importance of supplier performance, employee compliance and monthly monitoring.
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