Ahead of the inaugural everywoman in Travel Awards, Sophie Dekkers, UK country director at easyJet and member of the judging panel, explains why this is such an important event.
This year will see the launch of the inaugural everywoman in Travel Awards, searching out the most exceptional women working within the UK travel industry.
Sophie Dekkers, UK country director at easyJet, is a member of the judging panel and believes that mentoring women in the industry is key – with her employer supporting her all the way.
She joined easyJet in 2009 as customer insight manager before rising up the ranks.
Dekkers is a founding member of easyJet’s Women’s Network, and has spoken at a number of events, including the keynote slot for Management Today’s Inspiring Women’s Conference. “I’m lucky that easyJet has the same agenda,” she says.
In the year ending September 2015, women made up 6% of easyJet’s new pilot intake and 5% of its total pilot community, before the airline’s Amy Johnson Flying Initiative was launched in October, with the aim of doubling the number of female new entrant pilots to 12% in two years. Such was the success of the initiative that easyJet was able to achieve the 12% target in its first year.
Dekkers continues: “I mentor eight women in the industry, and have sadly had to put a limit on it, although I do try to help anyone who comes and asks for advice.
“I am fortunate to have had Carolyn McCall as a role model. Before she joined easyJet, I thought women had to make a trade-off between having a family and leading a business, but she has proven that it is possible to be a mum-of-three as well as Ftse 100 chief executive.
“It was also a great learning experience to observe her in action – the way she manages to control a room, but not by raising her voice, swearing or becoming masculine, as I’d seen other female leaders do.
“She did tell me I’d be an anomaly in the playground, being a full-time working mum, but as long as I make time for the school plays and sports days, then I’m there for the moments that matter.”