The finalists in the 2018 IBM iX everywoman in Travel Awards have been announced.
The 29 finalists range from young apprentices starting their career journey to well-established entrepreneurs inspiring other ambitious individuals to join the industry.
IBM iX is Title Partner for the awards, with it described as “dedicated to the diversity agenda of advancing female talent”.
This year’s finalists were selected by some of the industry’s most high-profile leaders including Chris Browne, chief operating officer at easyJet; Jackie Wybrow, senior director, people operations, TripAdvisor; and Jo Rzymowska, vice-president and managing director, Celebrity Cruises.
With new categories introduced for 2018, the awards will celebrate a wider range of talent including the male agents of change advancing the progress of women, and the “international inspirations” who are role models for women around the world – from Stockholm, to Brussels, to New Delhi.
Winners will be announced at a ceremony held at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf on November 14.
Aside from category winners, a Woman of the Year, whose success makes her an exceptional role model and industry ambassador, will also be announced.
The 2018 IBM iX everywoman in Travel Awards category finalists are as follows:
One to Watch, sponsored by Tripadvisor – awarded to a young game-changer under the age of 21 in education or apprenticeship who demonstrates a passion for the travel industry.
• Hannah Fairley, apprentice travel sales consultant, Thomas Cook UK, from Edinburgh
• Sydney Howard, apprentice business travel consultant, Clarity, from Manchester
• Emily Jones, trainee/NVQ, Holidays By Design Cleethorpes, from Cleethorpes
Tomorrow’s Leader, sponsored by TTG Media – awarded to a woman under 30 making a significant contribution to the sector.
• Alice Hye, services contracts manager, AC Group, from West Wickham
• Captain Kate McWilliams, airline captain, easyJet, from Horsham
• Jodie Pilgrim, head of overseas management, Party Hard Travel, from London
Entrepreneur, sponsored by Celebrity Cruises – awarded to an owner/operator of a travel business that has been operating for three years or more whose vision will inspire other women to start their own enterprise.
• Debbie Marshall, managing director, Silver Travel Advisor, from London
• Caroline Strachan, managing partner, Festive Road, from Tunbridge Wells
• Jane Stuart-Palikira, managing director, Ionian Weddings, from Twickenham
Above & Beyond, sponsored by Avis Budget Group – awarded to a woman at any stage of her career that has truly gone above and beyond her role to help drive the organisation’s success.
• Swati Agarwal, FP&A manager, Celebrity Cruises, from Weybridge
• Debrah Dhugga, managing director, Dukes Collection - UK and UAE, from London
• Beverley Kerr, director, Travel Designers, from London
Team Leader, sponsored by easyJet – awarded to a woman whose team leadership has greatly contributed to the organisation’s success.
• Nicola Lickfold, senior director revenue management, Europe, Hilton, from Watford
• Rebecca O’Connor, senior partnerships executive, Hostelling International, from Welwyn Garden City
• Roisin O’Sullivan, chief operating officer, Walks, from Dublin
• Vikki Street, head of business development, The Kings Ferry, from Gillingham
*New for 2018* Leader of Change, sponsored by Hilton – awarded to a woman who is making a significant contribution towards the strategic direction of the business through best practices, employee engagement, improved productivity and innovation.
• Ariane Gorin, president, Expedia Partner Solutions, from London
• Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief operating officer, Advantage Travel Partnership, from London
• Clare Tobin, chief executive, Olympic Holidays, from London
*New for 2018* International Inspiration, sponsored by Gold Medal & Travel 2 – awarded to a woman working outside the UK & Ireland that is a role model for women in her community.
• Lola Akinmade Akertsrom, travel writer, photographer, author, Geotraveler Media, from Stockholm
• Renu Hanegreefs-Snehi, vice-president, corporate communications, PR & reputation management, Radisson Hotel Group, from Brussels
• Meenu Vadera, founder, Azad Foundation and Sakha Consulting Wings, from New Delhi
*New for 2018* Male Agent of Change, sponsored by Heathrow – awarded to a man for his active commitment to advancing the progress of women working in travel.
• Andrew Clarke, senior director, global customer operations, Egencia, from Manchester
• Stuart Leven, vice-president EMEA, & managing director, RCL Cruises, from Weybridge
• Bill Tannahill, chief executive, INC. Travel Group, from Manchester
*New for 2018 * Executive Leader – awarded to a woman making a significant direct financial contribution to the commercial success of the business.
• Joanna Greenfield, general manager FCM Travel UK and Ireland, Flight Centre, from New Malden
• Suzanne Horner, chief executive, Gray Dawes Group, from Colchester
• Kirsten Hughes, managing director, Travel Counsellors, from Urmston
• Julia Kemp, director of international sales & partnerships, Avis Budget Group, from Bracknell
Karen Gill, co-founder of everywoman, said: “With the invaluable support of IBM iX, everywoman is now going to greater lengths to ensure a future-proof pipeline of talent in the sector.
“We look forward to celebrating all winners and finalists in November, who will go on to be the long-term role models and ambassadors the industry needs.”
Daniel Pearce, managing director, TTG Media, said: "TTG Media has worked hard to champion diversity in travel in recent years, and to help all travel professionals achieve their potential and goals.
"As such, we are delighted to be working with everywoman on its everywoman in Travel Awards again in 2018 and have been excited to see the initiative capture the attention of the industry.
“We look forward to helping to raise the profile of this year’s worthy winners, so that they might inspire and encourage other women both inside and outside the travel industry.”
Debbie Vavangas, UKI lead of digital strategy and iX for IBM added: "Over the past two decades, developments in technology have played a fundamental role in the growth of the travel industry.
“Life is all about experiences and digital technology has changed the customer experience and the way in which we connect.
“Companies need to get smarter and adapt continuously as consumer expectations rise. In light of this, we need to recognise the outstanding achievements of those who work within this ever-changing industry. We wish everyone the best of luck.”