Nearly half of eligible Americans have received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and every day the country moves closer to a post-pandemic existence. But what will the new normal look like in travel and live events? WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert and Kayak CEO Steve Hafner discuss how the ways we travel and enjoy entertainment will be permanently altered, while still feeling very familiar.

Engelbert and Hafner also explore the adjustments that could be made to concerts, sporting events and other large gatherings, and whether travel will ever be the same.

Highlights

Kayak CEO Steve Hafner says he believes domestic travel is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels. “We had days last week at Kayak here our search volume was actually up versus 2019 domestically…International leisure, I think, will take some time to develop.” (Washington Post Live)
Kayak CEO Steve Hafner says he could see airlines requiring vaccine passports: “Absolutely. I think airlines — first and foremost — want to get demand back and start flying those routes, and anything that gives consumers comfort…is something the airlines will do on a voluntary basis.” (Washington Post Live)
Last year, the WNBA received a lot of attention for the social activism of its players, but Commissioner Cathy Engelbert says the players have always been civically involved. “They’ve always been activists in the social justice area, and they’ve always done some much work…There’s probably not a WNBA player who doesn’t get really into their communities and really get civically engaged.” (Washington Post Live)
The inaugural WNBA Commissioner's Cup championship game will be played in Phoenix, Arizona. When asked if she would consider moving the game following the recent passage of legislation that would limit the distribution of mail ballot. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said only one game would be played in the state, but added the league will be keeping an eye on the legislation in Arizona and other states. “Obviously, we consider voting rights and access to be critical components of justice…” (Washington Post Live)

Cathy Engelbert

Provided by the WNBA.

In July of 2019, Cathy Engelbert was named the first-ever Commissioner of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and is charged with bolstering visibility for the sport of women’s basketball, empowering the WNBA players, and enhancing fan engagement. Cathy retired as the CEO of Deloitte in June of 2019, after 33 years with the firm. Since Cathy stepped into the role of WNBA Commissioner, she has executed a historic player-first Collective Bargaining Agreement, built and socialized a new economic framework to drive league revenue and owner success, and led the league’s twelve franchises through the COVID-19 pandemic and a successful 2020 season.

Previously, as CEO of Deloitte, Engelbert was first woman ever to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the U.S. where she oversaw one of the largest professional services organizations with more than 100,000 professionals. Over the course of her tenure, she drove a large transformation across the business by moving the firm towards emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, robotics and cloud, including securing ecosystem partnerships with large technology companies, and executing digital acquisitions. Revenues grew more than 30 percent under Engelbert, and her people-first agenda included implementing a holistic well-being culture through programs like Deloitte’s 16-week family leave policy.

As a strong supporter of diversity and inclusion, Engelbert was the first woman to serve as chair of the Catalyst Board, a global non-profit organization that promotes inclusive workplaces for women and was the first woman chair of the Center for Audit Quality Governing Board. She was a founding member of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, is a Vice Chair of the Partnership for New York City and previously served as a member of the Business Roundtable, where she sat on the Education & Workforce and Immigration committees. Cathy currently sits on the McDonald’s Board of Directors (Audit Committee), the Royalty Pharma Board of Directors, and the USGA Executive Committee.

Engelbert was listed as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women for consecutive years. She is ranked on Glassdoor’s annual Employees’ Choice Awards honoring the 100 Highest-Rated CEOs, and among Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York. Engelbert has also been recognized as one of Working Mother magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Moms and one of Fast Company magazine’s Most Productive People.

Engelbert received a B.S. in accounting from Lehigh University and is a certified public accountant licensed in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. During her time at Lehigh, Engelbert was a member of the university’s basketball and lacrosse teams and served as a senior captain for both teams. On the court, she played for former Lehigh coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw. Engelbert’s father, Kurt, played for Naismith Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay at Saint Joseph’s University and was drafted in 1957 by the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.

Engelbert is married and has two children, Julia and Tommy.

Steve Hafner, Kayak CEO

Provided by Kayak.

Steve Hafner is the CEO of KAYAK. Booking Holdings acquired KAYAK for $2.1B in 2013. Steve also oversees OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations. Steve also helped launch Orbitz, the online travel agency, through its $1.3B IPO in 2003. He received a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University.

Content from Siemens Healthineers

This content was produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom was not involved in the production of this content.

While the vaccines are a great next step in fighting the pandemic, we can’t lower our guard. Not all countries have broad access to vaccination. In the U.S. people that have access to vaccines may not have been vaccinated, and children may not be vaccinated until much later in the year. Variants of concern will inevitably continue to appear, and we are seeing areas of the world where infections are at their peak and continue to trend up. As we consider travel and move about the world again, how can we remain safe while traveling? The U.S. State Department warned against travel to about 80% of the world only last month, as many countries continue to contend with surges of the virus. Setting up a testing protocol that is flexible and timely, and keep travelers safe, will be key. Some countries, airports and airlines are already implementing testing measures systematically with success. What does the future of travel look like? We will discuss in this segment. (Washington Post Live)

Travel and Testing: What is Next?

While the vaccines are a great next step in fighting the pandemic, we can’t lower our guard. Not all countries have broad access to vaccination. In the U.S. people that have access to vaccines may not have been vaccinated, and children may not be vaccinated until much later in the year. Variants of concern will inevitably continue to appear, and we are seeing areas of the world where infections are at their peak and continue to trend up. As we consider travel and move about the world again, how can we remain safe while traveling? The U.S. State Department warned against travel to about 80% of the world only last month, as many countries continue to contend with surges of the virus. Setting up a testing protocol that is flexible and timely, and keep travelers safe, will be key. Some countries, airports and airlines are already implementing testing measures systematically with success. What does the future of travel look like? We will discuss in this segment.

Deepak Nath, PhD, President, Siemens Healthineers Laboratory Diagnostics

Deepak Nath was appointed President of Siemens Healthineers Laboratory Diagnostics in February 2018.

Dr. Nath has more than 20 years of wide-ranging leadership experience in healthcare, including general management, strategy, R&D, commercial operations, and change management. Prior to Siemens Healthineers, Dr. Nath served as President of Abbott’s Vascular division and as an executive officer of Abbott. His 10-year career there also comprised a variety of global leadership roles of increasing responsibility, including President of the Molecular Diagnostics division, Divisional Vice President and General Manager of Ibis Biosciences, and several commercial leadership positions across mature and emerging markets.

Earlier in his career, he held positions at Amgen, where he led process improvement initiatives; at McKinsey, serving clients in a range of industries including medical devices and pharma, and as a scientist in the computational physics group at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Dr. Nath has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Mechanics, all from the University of California, Berkeley.

Interviewed by Jeanne Meserve, Journalist, CTV News

Jeanne Meserve is a homeland security expert and analyst, moderator, and award-winning journalist. She is currently a Security Expert for Canada’s CTV News and co-host of the SpyTalk podcast. While a correspondent and anchor at CNN and ABC Jeanne earned her profession’s highest honors, including two Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award. She also contributed to two CNN Peabody Awards.

Jeanne is a member of the Homeland Security Experts Group and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, and serves on the board of the non-profit Space Foundation.

She moderates discussions on topics ranging from technology and security, to medicine and the environment. Her clients include AtlanticLIVE, Washington Post Live, the Munich Security Conference, the Halifax International Security Forum, and the global conferences of the International Women’s Forum.

At CNN Meserve created the homeland security beat, covering intelligence, law enforcement, cyber, aviation, border and port security. She anchored worldwide coverage of the Yitzhak Rabin assassination and the death of Princess Diana, and was the first to report on the devastating flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. She was a key member of the CNN political team during the 1996 and 2000 elections. While at ABC News she covered the State Department and reported from the Middle East, Asia and Europe.