Sojern Voices: Sylvia Weiler Reflects on her Career as a Travel Trailblazer

Sojern Voices: Sylvia Weiler Reflects on her Career as a Travel Trailblazer

For more than 17 years, I have been an active member of the travel and tourism industry, including my current role at Sojern as VP Audience Strategy & Development, and I can’t tell you what it means to work in such a dynamic field. I love the purpose that my job gives me, and I love knowing that through my work, I contribute to making people’s dreams come true. From planning that once in a lifetime vacation, to trips home to visit loved ones, it’s an honour to play a part in making those travels a reality.

My love for travel has been shared with everyone around me, and my husband and I have instilled the importance of travel in our family. My own children embrace the adventures of travel in the same way I do. Now aged 11 and 13, they have had the privilege to visit amazing parts of the world, including Botswana and most recently, Japan. This is all because of what I do for work.

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It has not come without its sacrifices. I can’t count the number of birthdays, first days of school, parent-teacher conferences, anniversaries, and other personal milestones that I have missed out on because of work travel, like many working parents. And although I regret missing some of these important milestones, I do it because I love what I do. Through working at an agile and innovative company like Sojern, I have the flexibility to work from different locations, take the time I need with my family, and I’ve also been able to tag personal trips onto my business travels, so that I can catch up with those nearest and dearest to me.

About a year ago at an industry dinner, I found myself surrounded by 15 smart, accomplished, and driven women leaders from across travel and tourism. We quickly discovered that we shared similar challenges: balancing our personal and professional lives; being women leaders in what is still a somewhat male-dominated industry; regrets for not always being home to kiss our children good night; disappointment for not playing golf. We also shared our greatest connection, our shared love and appreciation for the travel industry.

My career has taken me to incredible places and I have had an opportunity to work with and learn from amazing people over the years. I’ve nurtured and developed relationships with the biggest brands in travel, and worked to build a team that I am incredibly proud of.

This is my salute to all the amazing women in travel who help to make other people’s travel dreams come true!

Alessandra is a senior professional and qualified coach-mentor with 18 years of business experience spent working in the commercial sector, mostly consulting for the travel, tourism, hospitality and event management industry. Current and recent clients include Tourism Boards, Trade Associations, Hotels, Caterers and Educational Institutions. In 2011 Alessandra was appointed visiting lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire within the Travel Tourism Hospitality and Events faculty of the Business School and has taught in a variety of establishments including The Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne and more recently The University of Normandie’s Business School. Alessandra is passionate about gender in tourism and has written and spoken extensively on the subject, including at the United Nations World Tourism Day. She is well known as co-founder of Shine People and Places – a boutique outfit dedicate to supporting women in the workplace - and The Shine Awards for Women Achievements in Travel Tourism Hospitality and Events, which she run between 2004 and 2010 before Sector Skills Council People 1st took them over. Prior to Shine Alessandra worked at KPMG, where she built the Travel & Tourism division, and the World Travel and Tourism Council.

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