At the end of July, I had the honor of participating in the first Female Leaders in Travel Conclave held at Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun. In attendance were 23 women from 18 travel agencies that collectively represented over $600 million in annual travel sales.
The four-day event featured mindfulness training, roundtable discussions and strategic planning sessions. Along the way each participant shared a personal story about the journey toward leadership.
A Bonding Experience
The event was inspirational, and I walked away having developed a unique bond with the women who attended. Having been to upward of 100 conferences over the last 25 years, I found this the first event I attended that was exclusively devoted to encouraging women in the travel industry to rise and, while rising, propel other females to rise, too.
Women represent 84 percent of travel advisors in the U.S. and Canada; however, only 14 percent of women are in C-suites and hold leadership positions in travel companies. And that begs several questions: Are the voices of the travel workforce being heard by those at the helm? Why are so few females rising in the ranks? Is there anything that can be done to help women develop the skills needed to fill leadership positions?
Changing the Status Quo
Although there are no clear answers to these questions, the first step in changing the status quo is for travel advisors to be aware of the gender gap within the leadership positions in travel companies. For those in leadership positions, it’s important to look within and explore opportunities for mentoring female leaders while encouraging gender equality.
Supporting One Another
The scarcity of opportunities for females in leadership positions often brings on increased competition among women; however, when women support one another in the workplace, their voices can grow louder.
It’s also necessary to recognize the tour operators, hoteliers and cruise lines that promote female leadership in their organizations and support those brands.
As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, said, “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”
Source: Travel Pulse
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