The July 2021 Women in Travel and Hospitality Conference was deemed an outstanding success and a touching celebration of female enlightenment. Powered by BLLA and the Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network (TIEWN), this one-day, fully digital experience created a forum for women to support one another and acknowledge the utmost importance of female leaders within a dynamic industry.
At the July gathering, influential women were represented on an international scale. Together, they leaned into their power and discussed the many ways in which women can change the field of travel, tourism, and hospitality for the better. The main theme of the conference was clear: women are resilient, and when that resilience is channeled into work, mountains can be moved. Additionally, leaving a legacy was a key discussion point as was wellness.
The nearly 70 speakers inserted these themes into a range of sessions including discussions, panels, keynotes, fireside chats, and workshops. Topics of wellness initiatives, strategic planning, innovation, career growth, leadership, digital marketing, technology, and industry progression were also addressed.
In addition to the numerous educational opportunities, intimate networking sessions were available throughout the day. Attendees were able to connect one-on-one through a speed-dating App, as well as in virtual introduction rooms. In one of the various testimonials, Vivian Chambers, Founder of the Muse Collection, stated that “It is very rewarding to connect with like-minded, successful women in our industry. It is empowering to hear their success stories.”
With such a phenomenal agenda of speakers for this year’s conference, a wide array of stories, information, and resources were able to be shared with global women in hospitality and travel.
Learning about the importance of education and diversity from women like Assia Riccio, Founder of Evolvin’ Women, Xenia zu Hohenlohe, Founding Partner/Director at Considerate Group, and Dr. Sowon Kim, Associate Professor at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (Switzerland); the attendees gained valuable insights on how crucial working with a diverse group of women is.
As stated by Dr. Sowon Kim, Associate Professor at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (Switzerland), “There’s a strong link between emotional intelligence, empathy, social competencies, resilience, and also the fact of having a sense of purpose and maintaining one’s sense of personal mission.”
In order to adopt a resilient lifestyle, you have to attain the energy to be resilient which includes taking care of your personal wellness. Bev Maloney-Fischback, CEO, Founder and Publisher of Organic Spa Media, and Kim Marshall, Co-Founder of S’Well PR, discussed practical ways to embrace resilience while being mindful of your wellbeing. “Reach out to your community and reach out to your mentors. Reach out to your friends and to your believers,” stated Maloney-Fischback. She later emphasized, “If you take the time and if you look after yourself and you really manage self-care, then the [hard] decisions become easier.”
Attendees also gained perspective from Amber Asher, President & General Counsel of Standard International, a fierce, inspiring woman in a male-dominated industry. In the world of hotels, Asher has the advantage of being knowledgeable in both real estate and the hotel business. She became an expert at her job, and now, she uses her leadership position to encourage other women to be the expert in the room. From a leadership standpoint, our industry is in dire need of change, and as explained by Asher, “Bringing more people to senior roles that are female will only impact that change.”
In an interview with Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President of Advocacy & Communications of World Travel & Tourism Council, strategies for success were discussed. Although the industry is making a comeback, Messina urged that standing out in a crowd is crucial to success in a woman’s professional journey. She discussed how to assess what you are passionate about, and how to harness it to stand out in the industry.
This year, Founder of TIEWN, Frances Kiradjian, announced a new Award – The Legends in Travel & Hospitality Award, a special symbol of merit given to a female leader who goes above and beyond in her work, champions creativity, and challenges the status quo. She will also have achieved a high level of success as witnessed through the organizations served and who’s work positively impacted the industry.
The Winner of the 2021 Award was Thuy (Twee) Carroll, Founder and CEO of Tweet World Travel Group and Managing Director at TKG in Adelaide, Australia — a woman who continually demonstrates all of these qualities and more. Twee was both nominated and selected by the judges for this Award given her success in transforming her travel business into a comprehensive travel technology platform that can thrive beyond the era of Covid-19. As one of Australia’s most skilled female CEOs, she is passionate about tourism and believes in its ability to empower communities and strengthen the society at-large. “We at TIEWN congratulate Twee on her amazing success as well as winning this year’s Award,” stated Frances Kiradjian.
As the conference came to a close, attendees were left with two questions: what will their legacy be, and how will they leave it? As stated by Diana Stobo, Founder/Owner of the Retreat Costa Rica, Founder/CEO of Truth Bar, & Founder of Diana Stobo LLC, “A legacy is everything that you are and the impact that you have on others. In order to leave a legacy, women need to embrace their power and pave their path towards a new reality.”
“We are always so proud of the presentation of this women’s organization and it’s events which are supported by the dozens of speakers, their particular topics of discussion as well as the attendees who tell us all about their experience including meeting many others around the world who attend. We are also grateful in so many ways, to our Sponsors C2C Designs, Greenberg Traurig, Curator Hotel & Resort Collection, Organic Spa Magazine, Meetaways, GitGo, Dragonfly Strategists, Lutron, Marble Systems, Revenue Analytics, and Studio Nile Brand,” stated Frances Kiradjian.
Post-event conference access to all video content and resources can be ordered here at the event site.
Founded in 2008 by Frances Kiradjian, Founder & CEO of BLLA (The Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association), the Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network (TIEWN) was created to facilitate global connections between female hospitality, travel, and tourism executives, both online and face-to-face at conferences and events. TIEWN’s more than 12,500 global members have chosen their life’s work in hotel & lodging, airlines, cruise lines, car rental, travel agencies, corporate travel management, tour operation, rail, and travel technology. With a goal of collaboration and mutual support, TIEWN is in sync with other tourism organizations such as HoteliersGuild, working to improve the industry through the dynamic participation of professional women. TIEWN.com