08 Mar Internova Travel Group UK bosses pledge to continue challenging gender bias in the travel industry as they celebrate International Women’s Day
With three out of four of the most senior positions filled by woman across the group, the UK business units pledge to continue grass-roots development and championing diversity in celebration of International Women’s Day 2021
LONDON (8 March 2021) – All four of Internova Travel Group’s UK businesses have pledged a commitment to continuing to challenge gender bias as they look ahead to developing the next generation of leaders in the travel industry.
-Jason Oshiokpekhai, Managing Director of Global Travel Collection in the UK
The businesses, which incorporate ALTOUR UK, Barrhead Travel, Global Travel Collection and Your Event Solutions, are already bucking the trend in travel with 75% of their most senior positions currently filled by females. The leaders say they are proud of the opportunities available but want to continue making an impact and encourage conversation about gender equality across the wider industry.
Maria Baty (Managing Director at ALTOUR UK), Jacqueline Dobson (President of Barrhead Travel) and Sue Gill (CEO of Your Event Solutions) have been championing women in the workplace for several decades with all three having risen through the ranks to lead their respective businesses.
Global Travel Collection, led by Managing Director Jason Oshiokpekhai, mirrors the gender balance found across the Internova Travel Group UK businesses and will this week celebrate the newly-announced internal promotion of two female directors: Francesca Mendola who takes the helm as Global Account Director and Alexandra Habuc as Human Resources Director.
Together, the businesses plan to pave the way for the next generation of aspiring travel professionals, by fostering an internal tailored programme of mentoring, professional development and nurturing an inclusive and diverse culture. The business leaders say that maintaining sustainable talent pipelines and creating positive role models will be key to unlocking talent from within.
The Internova Travel Group women are leading the way by demonstrating that glass ceilings can be shattered and by creating a positive platform for senior women in travel. While representation for women in Board-Level or Executive Level positions remains firmly under 30% in the UK, women represent 56% of the wider leadership teams within Internova Travel Group in the UK.
Across the businesses, senior women can be found defying gender stereotypes with female leaders occupying some of the most senior roles within faculties such as Operations and IT.
Here’s what the Internova Group Business Leaders have to say about highlighting the importance of continuing to address the gender inequalities across the travel industry.
Maria Baty, Managing Director of ALTOUR UK, said:
“We would like to shine a light on all women in travel at ALTOUR and the contribution they are making. The theme this year for IWD of “Choose to Challenge” is very relevant. The travel industry has been challenged like no other during the last year of the pandemic and my team has been challenged by the events of this year and worked hard to ensure the continued success of the business.
“They have challenged themselves not only in the workplace but outside in their communities. Choosing to support other women and their local communities to make a difference to those around them benefits society as a whole as well has having a meaningful impact on how we value one another in the workplace. We’re proud to be working on an initiative to encourage and foster an environment of support and mentoring amongst our colleagues.”
Jacqueline Dobson, President of Barrhead Travel, said:
“I have worked more than 20 years in almost every part of our business. In a culture where having a family was an asset, not a hinderance, to career advancement and where there were plenty of female role models to mentor and inspire.
“I am proud to say that seven out of nine of our directors are female, many of whom started as trainees or travel consultants and have progressed as the business has expanded and grown – myself included. Meanwhile across our wider leadership team, 75% are female.
“That strong and diverse leadership team has been essential as we navigated through the challenge of pandemic, supporting colleagues and customers alike. The key is not parachuting in female talent from outside into senior roles, but to grow and nurture our own.”
Sue Gill, CEO of Your Event Solutions, said:
“When I was a young girl in Bradford leaving school at 16, I was dreaming about travelling the world – but never did I dream of leading my own, successful global business. Today, the world is bigger than I ever dreamed of. I am proud to be one of 12 global Executive Leaders of Internova Travel Group and I am privileged to feel represented, not just as a woman on the executive team, but a voice who is heard and genuinely enjoys collaboration with some of the most experienced peers in our industry.
“If I told my 12-year-old self this would be the future, I possibly wouldn’t believe it. As leaders, we have a responsibility to ensure that every child from every background – irrespective of gender, race or religion – has access to equal opportunities. We need to ensure the next generation has big dreams and big ambitions, and that we continue to challenge society to ensure there are no obstacles based on bias and exclusivity.”
Jason Oshiokpekhai, Managing Director of Global Travel Collection in the UK, said:
“Organisations are more successful when they embrace diversity and inclusion at every level and that includes having female representation in leadership roles. “Everyone Belongs” is one of our core values that guides us every day.
“In the past year, both Internova Travel Group UK and GTC UK have undergone major transformations during the most difficult period in our industry’s history. We’ve nevertheless been able to grow our network of independent travel advisors, add new client support and establish GTC UK as a standalone brand. This success is owed in large part to the exceptional efforts of Francesca Mendola and Alexandra Habuc, who will continue to drive positive change in their new roles as directors.”
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About Internova Travel Group
Internova Travel Group is one of the largest travel services companies in the world with a collection of leading brands delivering high-touch, personal travel expertise to leisure and corporate clients. Internova manages leisure, business and franchise firms through a portfolio of distinctive divisions. Internova represents more than 65,000 travel advisors in over 6,000 company-owned and affiliated locations predominantly in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with a presence in more than 80 countries.