A female leader in business is still seen as ‘interesting’

A female leader in business is still seen as ‘interesting’

Today’s guest blog is from Jo Rzymowska, MD Celebrity Cruises, UK and Ireland. Jo will be speaking at the Women in Travel meet up at WTM, so don’t miss the opportunity to hear from her live as well as enjoying her thoughts on the topic of women and leadership below. 

Unfortunately, being a female leader in business still makes you interesting. There simply aren’t enough of us.

That’s why I’m pleased to be speaking at the WTM Women in Travel meet-up event during World Travel Market 2015. I’m hoping to meet more of the women who will be leaders in travel in the future, and the women and men who will inspire them to get there.

Events like the WTM Women in Travel meet-up provide a reason for the travel industry to take a moment to think through how we can attract more great female talent into the sector, and retain it.

We also need to show young people first thinking about their careers, those considering a career change, that travel is a business that recognises the value that women can bring to the boardroom table, and is a diverse and rewarding choice.

Personally, for me events such as the WTM Women in Travel meet-up are really inspiring. I meet incredible people who are all at different stages in their career, all have different stories to tell about being an ambitious female in business, and all who I learn different things from.

From my own career experience, I know that having exceptional mentors and people you trust to chew-the-fat when it comes to crunch-time decisions, are really important. The moments where my career accelerated have all been down to other people giving me an opportunity, or pushing me to a situation that felt uncomfortable.

None of us takes the next difficult step without encouragement. My hope for the WTM Women in Travel meet-up is that many of us attending meet our next mentor or the next person who will present an unexpected opportunity. Responding to change and making hard decisions is what makes of us better at our roles, and improves our comfort when taking risks.

For me, the greatest risk is that I will remain being a minority as a female managing director in the travel sector. I hope that you join me at this meet-up and show me that my fears are unfounded. I look forward to meeting the future female business leaders.

See you on 3 November 2015 at ExCel.

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Alessandra is founder of social enterprise Women in Travel CIC which she launched in January 2017 to provide communities in key regions (for example UK, Middle East, Africa and Latin America) with a sustainable livelihood by enabling women to become economically independent through entrepreneurship and a thriving career in the travel and tourism industry. Alessandra is also Chief Mentor & Consultant at Everyday Mentor, where she provides mentoring, coaching and consulting services to a range of clients in the commercial and public sector. Alessandra also collaborates with a number of Universities, including Hertfordshire, Normandy and Surrey. Alessandra is passionate about gender in tourism and has written and spoken extensively on the subject over the last 12 years, including at the United Nations World Tourism Day. She is well known as co-founder of Shine People and Places – a boutique outfit dedicate to supporting women in the workplace - and The Shine Awards for Women Achievements in Travel Tourism Hospitality and Events, which she ran between 2004 and 2010 before Sector Skills Council People 1st took them over. Prior to Shine Alessandra worked at KPMG, where she built the Travel & Tourism division, and the World Travel and Tourism Council. Alessandra has an executive MBA from the University of Ediburgh/Grande Ecole Pons combined; she is a qualified coach/mentor for performance in the workplace and she is a member of several industry bodies including AWTE and the UK Tourism Society.

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