Olympic Holidays’ Clare Tobin and Royal Caribbean’s Stuart Leven were among those honoured at the 2018 IBM iX everywoman in Travel Awards.
The event, which celebrates outstanding female talent in travel as well as those working to help the progression of women in the industry, was held for the second year in London today.
Joining figures from the world of travel in attendance was Sarah Newton, minister of state for disabled people, health and work.
This year’s event saw the introduction of four new categories including the Male Agent of Change accolade, awarded to Leven, vice-president, EMEA and managing director of RCL Cruises, recognising his "committed to creating a gender-balanced workforce”.
Everywoman said Leven, had taken a "primary role” in addressing the company’s gender pay gap and worked closely with RCL senior leaders to close the gap as well as suggesting organisational changes to reduce the pay gap moving forward.
These included mentoring programmes, accessible to all female managers, and everywomanNetwork membership to all employees in need of resources to help advance their career.
Tobin took home the Leader of Change award and was described as “a true advocate for advancing women in travel”, having announced three senior appointments just two weeks after becoming chief executive of the operator and with a board of directors now 50% female.
Under Tobin’s leadership, 69% of Olympic’s UK office, and 80% of its overseas office are women, making the business 72% female overall.
Earlier in the day the One to Watch award was won by Thomas Cook apprentice sales consultant, Hannah Fairley, who after overcoming her shyness has “flourished” in her role, while her digital marketing initiatives have resulted in 30% increased bookings.
The Tomorrow’s Leader gong, sponsored by TTG Media, was awarded to Alice Hye, services contracts manager at AC Group after growing the company’s service contract portfolio by 42% in her first year and negotiating promotional offers which generated over £20,000 revenue in six months.
Caroline Strachan, managing partner of Festive Road picked up the Entrepreneur award for multiplying the company’s revenue by more than seven times and expanding its operations from the UK and France to Scandinavia, Germany, the US and Australia. She now also runs events that support women working in business travel.
The Above & Beyond award went to Swati Agarwal, financial planning and analysis manager at Celebrity Cruises. She created a Women’s, Multi-Cultural & Part-time Workers Employee Resource Group in 2017, which has accomplished several different initiatives under her leadership, making her a role model for the women in business and a key driver of diversity and equality.
The Team Leader honour went to Roisin O’Sullivan, chief operating officer of walking tours specialist Walks, who completely redesigned the company’s consumer site, leading to a 73% transaction growth in a single year.
The company’s revenue has also multiplied five times and to-date she has hired more than 20 other women, many of whom are now in senior positions.
Another new awarded for 2018 was the International Inspiration accolade scooped by Meenu Vadera, founder of the Azad Foundation and Sakha Consulting Wings in New Delhi.
Having spent 13 years working for Action Aid in Uganda, she moved to India to set up two social enterprises offering employment to oppressed and marginalised women by training them to become professional chauffeurs.
Vadera is now helping the lives of more than 650 women allowing them to generate around €215,000 in collective annual income.
Executive Leader was another award in its inaugural year, won by Julia Kemp, director of international sales and partnerships at Avis Budget Group.
Everywoman said Kemp had helped the company’s “previously male-dominated board” become more gender-balanced with a total of six male and five female directors.
The Special Recognition and Woman of the Year awards were both collected by easyJet airline pilot Kate McWilliams, who at the age of 26, became the world’s youngest female captain.
Everywoman said that in an industry where “only 5% of airline pilots are female” McWilliams’ achievements were “exceptional” and she was now reaching out to thousands of young people, encouraging them to also consider a career in aviation.
Karen Gill, co-founder of everywoman, said: “Our recent white paper showed that access to female role models is a major source of inspiration for 74% of women, who state that role models inspire them to develop their careers. This is why visible female talent is essential in all industries – you can’t be what you can’t see.
“By showcasing the success stories of this year’s winners, we, along with IBM iX, are determined to encourage the individuals that’ll make a valuable contribution to the future of the UK’s thriving travel sector.”