The first Women in Tourism Leadership event held at Nel Restaurant in Sydney in the lead up to International Women’s day has been hailed a resounding success.

Forty-five women representing the wider travel and tourism industry attended the lunch on Friday 6th March to network and hear from influential speakers including: Jacquie Walsh (Managing Director, Southern Holdings Travel Group and The Walshe Group), Kim McKay (Founder and Director, Klick Communications), Katrina Barry (Managing Director, Contiki Holidays), Helen Logas (CEO Luxperience) and Karin Sheppard (COO IHG Australasia Japan, Korea and AMEA Franchising).

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Katrina Barry (Contiki Holidays)

The idea was the brainchild of Holly Galbraith (Founder, Go Future Media) who also emceed the event and Emma Gardiner (Editor, Spice Magazine) who together with KarryOn organised the event.

Whilst the agenda was an initial opportunity to question the balance of women in leadership roles in the industry, it was also a chance to hear more from the inspirational speakers on their varying career journeys and individual styles they’ve all brought to their roles.

“If you think it’s right – just say it”

Karin Sheppard (COO IHG Australasia Japan, Korea and AMEA Franchising).

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Karin Sheppard (IHG) said that whilst there was still work to do at property management level with women in leadership, these were “positive, changing times” for the hotel industry with regard to female leadership roles. Sheppard also spoke of “Women sometimes taking a little longer and overthinking their answers” versus their male counterparts when often a quick response is what’s needed. “If you think it’s right – just say it” she said.

Helen Logas (Luxperience) spoke of the need to “always employ people smarter than you, whoever they may be” and spoke of the importance for women especially to take time to “step back from their role often to look and assess from above” rather than be too task focused and get bogged down in the day to day.

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Whilst Jacqui Walshe (Walshe Group), recently appointed as the only woman on the board of ATEC gave some sound advice around having a 15-25 year strategy when it comes to career planning. Walshe cited that it should be vital to ‘”plan for a family as part of your career path” noting that having a supportive partner and discussing your strategy with them up front is key.

Finally, to finish the discussion (for now anyway), Kim McKay (Klick Communications) and Katrina Barry (Contiki Holidays) both brought a no-nonsense, universal perspective to the conversation, with their advice coming down to ‘always backing yourself’ and being ‘confident in the way you operate’ to ensure you always give yourself your best shot at success.

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A delicious three course meal with and paired wines at the newly opened Nel Restaurant contributed to a fantastic event and overall the lunch was hailed a resounding success by all that attended.

Watch the video here;

Even better, the next lunch is already in the pipeline to be held at (rumour has it) The Intercontinental Hotel in Double Bay. Watch this space!

What are your tips for women to succeed in a leadership role? Will you be at the next event?