How Mentoring Can Enhance Your Travel and Tourism Career

How Mentoring Can Enhance Your Travel and Tourism Career

At Women in Travel we often hear about the importance of mentoring for women and how having a mentor can enhance our career in Travel and Tourism. Indeed, in recent years, mentoring has become a buzz-word. You only need to pick up a female magazine, a business publications or google the word to find out that many thousands of pages have been written on it. But why?
Mentoring is as old as humankind. The word transports us back to ancient Greek mythology, to the time when Ulysses entrusted his son to his friend Mentor before leaving for a long war. Ulysses asked mentor to turn his boy into a man, to teach him the rope of life. Ever since mentoring signifies a relationship with an older and wiser person who ‘has been there, got the t-shirt’ and can therefore share his/her wisdom with you.

But how does this apply to our day and age of technological progress and fast paced communication?
Mentoring has evolved over time, but its core aspects remain and so does its value.

As an individual woman or man you can use a mentor, or more than one, for different personal and professional purposes:

-To address on-going issues and challenges, in your personal and professional life
-To help you raise your own confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness
-To help you identify and pursue a pathway, whether in relation to work or your private life
-To start new projects, careers, or indeed a business.

There are almost no limits to what mentoring can do for you, because it is meant to be a safe yet energising environment in which to discuss ideas within the fear of being judged or assessed in any way. A mentor is there to support you, stimulate your thinking, and stretch you at times. BUT above everything else a mentor is there to help you achieve YOUR potential.

Mentors can be found in many context: in work, at a club, within professional associations. Many mentoring relationships are informal and therefore free.
These can work very well and suit your situation if you have clarity about your objectives and you fully trust the mentor.

As you attend ATM and more specifically the Women in Travel event look out for possible mentors. If you find that you click with somebody or somebody inspires you because of what they have achieved, they are potentially perfect mentoring material!

There are however situations in which it is better for you to put some more structure around the relationship. For example, when clarity is missing or when you need to identify positive and tangible outcomes. In these cases a ‘professionally trained’ or qualified mentor is a better choice.

Is all mentoring done one a one to one, face to face basis? Technology has helped us develop different way to deliver mentoring and it is not uncommon to have a remote relationship, taking place over Skype or other such media.

Moreover, mentoring can also take place in a group context, can be reversed (a younger person mentoring a more senior professional), can be focused on specific areas (supporting and promoting women in the work place, maternity and returners mentoring and so on). Often these approaches are found within companies who have embedded mentoring in the way they operate.

As an individual, I encourage you to look around you to see if you can find a mentor to help you grow in different areas of your life. Through mentoring you will discover opportunities and options you did not know you had.

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Alessandra is founder of social enterprise Women in Travel CIC which she launched in January 2017 to provide communities in key regions (for example UK, Middle East, Africa and Latin America) with a sustainable livelihood by enabling women to become economically independent through entrepreneurship and a thriving career in the travel and tourism industry. Alessandra is also Chief Mentor & Consultant at Everyday Mentor, where she provides mentoring, coaching and consulting services to a range of clients in the commercial and public sector. Alessandra also collaborates with a number of Universities, including Hertfordshire, Normandy and Surrey. Alessandra is passionate about gender in tourism and has written and spoken extensively on the subject over the last 12 years, 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 ran 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. Alessandra has an executive MBA from the University of Ediburgh/Grande Ecole Pons combined; she is a qualified coach/mentor for performance in the workplace and she is a member of several industry bodies including AWTE and the UK Tourism Society.

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