Vice-President of TL Network Canada Christine James was a featured speaker during Internova Travel Group’s special virtual celebration held last week to spotlight women in travel.
The event, which was watched by more than 300 people, was produced in honour of Women’s History Month to explore the history of women in travel, hear executives discuss their path to leadership and learn from travel advisors who run their own businesses.
James participated in a panel discussion to share her stories and offer valuable insights on becoming a leader.
Oksana Mashchak from Centre Holidays, a TL Network Canada Affiliate, also contributed to the discussion.
“It’s truly an honour to work with so many women in leadership and women entrepreneurs across all the business divisions and functions at our company,” said J.D. O’Hara, chief executive officer, Internova Travel Group, one of the industry’s largest travel services companies representing more than 65,000 travel advisors worldwide. “As we celebrate women in travel, it’s important to continue to lift up and empower those around us. I congratulate these women on their success, and I pledge to join them in striving to do better in forging a more gender-balanced workplace.”
Kathy Christianson, vice-president of human resources, Global Travel Collection, kicked off the event, which started with a slide show highlighting female travelers and explorers who made history.
The session was presented by Becky Powell, chief strategy officer, Global Travel Collection, Jackie Friedman, president of Nexion Travel Group, Annie Scrivanich, senior vice-president of cruise specialists and Cindy Schlansky, chief development officer, Global Travel Collection.
The first panel featured executives who described their paths to leadership and offered advice to other women to take action and advocate for themselves in their careers.
“We all need to do a better job at a supporting each other. We also need to do a far better job at supporting our sisters. As women advance in their careers, we are hesitant to ask for what we believe we deserve. Women should take the lead on that - always make sure you’re heard and that you’re asking. Don’t wait to be chosen,” said Christine James.
Oksana Mashchak added: “As you start out as a travel advisor, I recommend finding a mentor to help you as you grow and advise you on the initial setup of your business. Don’t try to sell everything to everyone. Do what you love most. Get out there and meet people to create new business by getting out of your comfort zone.”
Christianson noted how people, women especially, “are looking to move ahead in their careers as we all continue to advocate for gender equality.”
“We created this event for everyone at Internova Travel Group to find inspiration and learn from one another. But the biggest inspiration to me was what happened after the event – colleagues began reaching out to one another. New friendships, networks, and informal mentorships are being formed," she stated.
“Clearly, there is a strong desire among strong women to lift each other up, and I am grateful to be part of this special community.”
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