Annual TIEWN Gathering Sets New Paradigm for Building a Supportive Community of Professional Women Who Can Help Companies Close The Gender Gap
Interactive Sessions Encourage Sharing of Best Practices in Mentorship, Raising Capital, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Financial & Personal Well-Being, and The Industry’s Formidable Technology Solutions.
In celebration of Women's History Month and facing the realities underscored by March 14 as Equal Pay Day, the Travel Industry Executive Women's Network (TIEWN) held its annual Women in Travel & Hospitality Conference on March 2 & 3 at the Westlake Village Inn (Los Angeles). An intimate group of female (and male) visionaries came together to embrace the beauty of our humanity and recognize the undeniable power of womanhood in today's world.
With an overarching theme of "Finding Your Circle of Influence," the two-day conference, powered by BLLA, was packed with inspiring panels, breakout sessions, workshops, discussions, and open Q&A that emphasized key takeaways including 1) wellness is redefined with a deep focus on F&B, as well as aging considerations, 2) being a successful entrepreneur entails not getting too bogged down with numbers and personalizing the customer journey, and 3) there is great value in identifying your circle of influence which becomes your personal board of advisors.
Founded in 2008 by travel industry mainstay, Frances Kiradjian, TIEWN's mission is to champion women in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries, and the network is committed to passing the torch to the next generation of daring female leaders to the more than 13,000 global members in the network. Kiradjian's daughter, Ariela, not only helps her run the five divisions of BLLA, but she also acts as host and wellness activist for the event. Ariela's passion for wellness is woven throughout the agenda, which for the first time included a panel of Wellness Experts.
The raw, straightforward, and mindful conversations were guided by an incredible roster of facilitators, such as Marissa Hermer - Co-Owner/Partner of Boujis Group, Jersey Banks - Founder/CEO of Urban Cowboy Hotels, Diana Stobo - Owner & CEO of The Retreat Costa Rica, Jenesis Laforcarde - Founder of The Jenesis House, and Tammy Pahel - VP of Spa & Wellness at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort.
The event marked the first time that TIEWN incorporated a live Zoom session into its programming. Aradhana Khowala, CEO of Aptamind Partners and a globally recognized expert on the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries, lit up the virtual stage with her powerful keynote on the data behind female representation in leadership positions.
"Please do not underestimate your own power to make things better. Every second of your time and every second of your attention can be powerful because you are powerful. If we have the attention and resources devoted to advancing women into leadership roles, we can close the gender gap," stated Aradhana Khowala, CEO & Founder of Aptamind Partners.
Bold anecdotes were organically shared throughout the entire conference, and these words struck a chord with the attendees. One standout was shared by Kari Cardinale from the Modern Elder Academy - life is a series of transitions and our "Third Act" - from 50 years old and onward - should and can be meaningful and productive.
During the End-of-Day Reflections discussion, Jessica Kramer, Founder of a Hospitality Advisory as well as a tech executive, stated, "The thing that came to mind today was how many women in this room did not have a blueprint for leadership, and yet so many of us have created our own paths and are doing amazing things as a result. The vulnerability and the willingness to share that feels like a continued conversation from last year's conference."
To round out the two days, attendees were invited to a closing Moon Circle, followed by an evening reception at the venue's beautiful wine cellar. The energy and camaraderie did not stop there, as all attendees were given exclusive access to the virtual event platform App. This allowed them to connect with other attendees to continue the conversation beyond the conference, as well as learn about Sponsors and download Resources.
From the sincere testimonials coming in, the 2023 Women in Travel & Hospitality Conference proves to be one for the books. Industry professionals united as a community to embrace their vulnerabilities, share their stories, and rally for an open-minded and open-hearted future for travel, tourism, and hospitality.
TIEWN is grateful for the support of its Headline sponsors: DIRECTV HOSPITALITY, Nestle Premium Waters, Dragonfly Strategists, Lockton, and Greenberg Traurig, as well as its Lifestyle sponsors: Roomza and Studio Nilebrand.
View images from the conference here .
Noteworthy quotes from the conference stage:
- "Do the ABCDs: Always Be Collecting Data." - Marissa Hermer, Co-Owner/Partner of Boujis Group (which includes the restaurants, Olivetta and The Draycott)
- "At the end of the day, when you are going to start a business, it's great to have a great idea, but if you don't have your bottom line and the foundation taken care of, you can get really far and fall." - Angela Setters Bessard, CEO of The Real Credit Queen
- "Some of the juiciest changes in our life can happen if we really settle into a "messy middle," and we really savor undoing who we were to explore who we can become." - Kari Cardinale, SVP of Digital & Alumni Strategy at Modern Elder Academy
- "When you're talking about bringing healthy food into your places of business, the quality of the ingredients is paramount. This is something that is going to define the future of humanity. And, what's beautiful is that we can all take part in it." - Oliver English, Co-Founder & CEO of Common Table Creative