Ready, Steady… Women In Travel Meetup 2018!

Ready, Steady… Women In Travel Meetup 2018!

With two weeks to go before WTM London, I am proud and delighted that this year we will celebrate our 5th Women in Travel Meetup under the theme of ‘Make Mine Social: how to reconcile passion, purpose and profit’.

On this occasion again we have gathered some amazing speakers who in the initial panel debate will be discussing how, as owners, founders or managers of successful businesses, it is actually possible to be financially successful yet socially driven and impactful.

According to L.V., GM of Good Hotel London, Good Hotel is on a mission to show that ‘Every business can be a social business’. In practice this is increasingly happening around the world and perhaps especially so in the UK where, according to research by national body Social Enterprise UK ‘there are 100,000 social enterprises (in the UK) contributing over £60bn to the UK economy’. This is certainly a number to be reckoned with, and one which the British Government sees as a potential model for most if not all future business.

But is every social business a social enterprise? Actually social enterprise exists in the U.K. as a legal entity, a limited company that reinvests its profit into its mission, but in other regions and countries this is not necessarily the case. In reality, whatever the structure, businesses can decide to dedicate part of their service delivery or their profit to a social purpose. Kate Webb’s motive for setting up the Responsible Safari Company was fuelled by the vision and desire to ensure tourism benefits local people, offers employment and business to Malawians, and runs as a company and not a charity.

It seems women have a big role to play in social entrepreneurship and we will be discussing this also with Vicki of Earths-Changers, whose website aggregates travel companies offering all sorts of socially and environmentally focussed experiences and tours. She says that ‘sustainability is mainly done by women do-ers’ and this is true whether it is social or environmental, ideally both in fact.

Women seem to be increasingly seeking to reconcile meaning and purpose with profit when they set up businesses, hence their social enterprising.
However involved though, as is often the case, bigger businesses are still predominantly male-dominated. GAdventures is certainly one of them, and we look forward to hearing from them about their social vision and why it matters.

Whether it is due to reticence in taking risks, lack of confidence or lack of financial understanding this is something we will also attempt to discuss on the panel, especially as one of the large banks – NatWest- has now agreed to join us on the day.

So I am certain there will be somebody for everyone at the panel debate and the group mentoring that follows, where speakers and additional mentors can answer your questions and provide invaluable insights in small and personalised groups.

This is what makes Women in Travel Meetup a truly unique event and ever so popular! Remember to register through Eventbrite for the mentoring session if you wish to ensure your place. Two thirds of all available seats have already gone so do not waste a minute, register yourself now!

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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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