The Association of Women Travel Executives (AWTE) Annual Award Winners were announced at the annual lunch and awards held at the Swan Underglobe in London on the 5th December 2022. The afternoon was a celebration of success with male and female winners spanning the travel industry, the event saw industry pioneers rewarded for their impact on business and the industry.
The winners are…
The Honorary Award, honouring a female who has gone above and beyond in the past year, sponsored by Gail Kenny, was handed to Alessandro Alonso, Founder, Women in Travel CIC. Alessandra has dedicated her life to economically empowering women, particularly the most disadvantaged, vulnerable, and underrepresented. Recognised as a trailblazer in gender empowerment, Alessandra’s strategic foresight was instrumental in putting diversity on the industry map back when ‘diversity’ was not a commonly used word in this industry. She continues to listen and learn, recently completing the Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from the University of South Florida. In this category, Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO The Advantage Travel Partnership received a High Commendation after proving once again to be an exceptional leader, tirelessly leading Advantage through the continued challenges faced by the travel industry.
The Ambassador Award, recognises a travel industry male professional who actively encourages, enables, and supports women in business, sponsored by Ambassador Cruise Line, was handed to Daniel Pearce, CEO, TTG Media. Dan is a fierce champion and vocal supporter of diversity and inclusion and is committed to driving equality in travel. Since taking the helm at TTG in 2010, Dan has made it his mission to push for a smarter, better and fairer travel industry, offering everyone the opportunity to succeed regardless of their gender, sexuality, age or ethnicity. In 2012 he launched TTG’s 30 Under 30 programme, championing young people in travel and in 2015 oversaw the launch of TTG LGBT and creation of Travel Pride™. He has also been pivotal in establishing partnerships to champion women in travel with everywomen in Travel, Women in Travel and of course, AWTE. In this category, Phil Donnelly, Chief People Officer, Travelport received a High Commendation for his work driving many initiatives and conversations around diversity, equity and inclusion that have had significant benefits for our female leaders.
The Start Up of the Year Award, for an engaging, innovative, and impactful female start-up created to change the way we travel, sponsored by Elman Wall, was handed to Best Workplaces in Travel. Gail Kenny has been inspiring and courageous, not only to launch a new business, but at a time when the industry was starting to recover from the challenge of the pandemic. Gail had the foresight to see the gap in the market, with a concept that could support industry recovery. Understanding what your team are thinking is key and with the addition of the sector benchmark, provides the perfect tool for team retention and recruitment.
The Social Impact Award, for an individual or brand that has shown innovation in ways that have positively impacted the travel community or has developed their strategy in a sustainable and impactful way, sponsored by Scenic, was handed to Intrepid Travel. Sustainable travel has been part of Intrepid’s DNA since it was founded more than thirty years ago. Their founders envisaged a style of travel that would benefit people and the planet. Using local accommodation and transport, eating in neighbourhood restaurants, and travelling with local leaders ensures more authentic experiences and means more money generated through tourism stays where it belongs: in local pockets. In 2018 Intrepid became travel’s largest B Corp, and last year they went through the rigorous process of recertification and improved our score by nearly 10%. In this category, Travelport received a High Commendation on the back of the development of their multi-million-dollar social responsibility plan that includes a global diversity council and an award-winning internship program. They have also developed several important initiatives to encourage social responsibility and ensure the business is having a positive impact on the communities in which it operates.
The Inclusion Award, for a travel brand that has shown outstanding commitment to equality on their board and across the whole business, allowing women to reach their full potential, sponsored by Intrepid, was handed to Travlaw. Travlaw have been advising and supporting the travel and leisure industry for many years on the legal, regulatory and HR aspects of operating. For most of their history, the ownership, Partnership, and senior leadership team has been at least 50% female. Currently the ownership is 50%/50%, and the Partnership 75% female. At all times Travlaw has been engaged with diversity, inclusion, and age-related issues with and on behalf of the industry, and only aims to increase such engagement in future years.
The Rising star of the Year Award, for an individual who is 30 or under, relatively fresh to the industry and has made a significant impact, in partnership with ITT Future You, was handed to Louise Holt. Louise has consistently gone above and beyond to drive growth for Eurocamp. Her technical abilities within paid search, keen eye for spotting opportunities and supportive nature as a manager, has always impressed the senior management team. They have watched her grow both personally and professionally and the results she has delivered are testament to her abilities. Louise is wiser than her years and is certainly a rising star at Eurocamp.
Chair, Lindsay Garvey Jones said, “It was an amazing afternoon of celebration recognising achievements across the industry. All our winners should be extremely proud of themselves. This year the awards were part of our Christmas lunch, which once again was a huge success in a stunning new venue. We owe massive thanks to our sponsors for their continued support throughout 2022. It was so fabulous to see so many people coming together again and a great opportunity for us to meet so many of our new members. The AWTE is going from strength to strength and I’m really looking forward to continuing to support members with a range of events focussing on mental health & wellbeing and personal development throughout the year!”