Women’s Leadership Initiative

After its popular debut last year, the Women's Leadership Initiative returns for 2019! This is an essential session for men and women to explore what technology companies need to thrive in the future.

Along with a review of Phocuswright's Gender Parity Survey 2018 data and insights, we'll delve into the ecosystem of travel technology, innovation and distribution leadership to identify the skills and attributes most needed in the space.

Only 30% of survey respondents rate gender parity in the travel industry above "adequate." And there is much room for growth with respect to leadership roles: 42% disagreed that leadership opportunities are equally available to all employees, and a whopping 76% cited the absence of a leadership track as the number one obstacle.

The session features Phocuswright LeadHER Mentors, advocates for internal initiatives who share what they are doing to connect and encourage female advancement into leadership in their own companies and throughout the industry. We'll then break into a workshop format to discuss how innovation, creative thinking and strong leadership can ensure that we are positioned to grow into the future with our best and brightest at the helm.

View more information about becoming a Phocuswright LeadHER mentor below.

Let your voice be heard

Men and women in travel technology will gather at this essential session during Phocuswright Europe. We'll present results of the Gender Parity Survey 2018 and uncover how companies within the travel technology ecosystem stack up when it comes to promoting women's leadership.

Apply to be a LeadHER

Become a Phocuswright LeadHER and define the future of work

Are you involved an a program that advances women's leadership in your workplace or in the industry? Are you willing to educate others in the industry about your initiatives? Get out front and be an advocate for women in travel technology.

Connect with some of the sharpest minds in the industry and facilitate stimulating conversations.

Apply today to become a Phocuswright LeadHER and inspire our audience: Apply here

Apply to be a Phocuswright LeadHER

What is the purpose of this event?

This event provides a platform for companies who have implemented women's leadership initiatives to share and inspire others in the industry. These selected LeadHERs share the details with a table of attendees and are available throughout the event to talk about those initiatives informally. In-line with our "culture of connection," this event is intended to facilitate networking and connection.

As an industry and community, we are committed to innovation, creative thinking and strong leadership. How are we positioned to grow into the future, ensuring that our best and brightest are at the helm?

The following sources bring some interesting context to the discussion:

  • According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, having women in leadership positions is associated with better team dynamics, stronger financial performance and greater productivity.
  • Deloitte's "Smashing IT's Glass Ceiling" makes a business case for gender-diverse teams in technology, citing improved operational and financial performance, increased innovation and more.
  • According to the World Economic Forum's "The Future of Jobs Report 2018," by 2020 the most needed skills will be emotional intelligence, people management, complex problem-solving and critical thinking – skills frequently attributed to women.
  • "Women Matter: The business and economic case for gender diversity" by McKinsey & Co., reveals that companies with strong female representation on executive committees perform better than those without women in the C-suite.


How can I participate?

  • Please attend and bring your colleagues
  • Tell people who are attending The Phocuswright Conference to attend and support this initiative
  • If you're involved in a women's leadership initiative: apply to be a LeadHER Mentor
  • Become a sponsor of the Women's Leadership Initiative event. Contact us for more information.
Apply to be a 2019 Phocuswright LeadHER

2018 Phocuswright LeadHERs

  • Rhonda Sloan, Global Head of Travel Communications, AIG Travel
  • Alix Arguelles, Vice President, Online Travel Group, Amadeus
  • Anthony Rader , Manager Sales Strategy, American Airlines
  • Julia Pirrung, Founder, AXUS
  • Erika Sanchez, Head of Global Supply and Managing Director, CarRentals.com GmbH
  • Michelle Vincent, Industry Manager, Travel, Facebook
  • Seija Samoylenko, Business Development, Hopjump
  • Susan Billingsley, Vice President, Marketing, Intent Media Inc.
  • Christina Heggie, Investment Principal, Jetblue Ventures
  • Krista Pappas, Senior Vice President , Lola
  • Carol Hutzelman, Co-founder, Phocuswright
  • KP Phelan, CEO, Rome2rio
  • Traci Mercer, Senior Vice President, Global Lodging, Ground & Sea, Sabre Corporation
  • Sylvia Weiler, Vice President of Audiences, Sojern
  • Helen Enriquez, VP, Product Development, Technology Solutions
  • Jenn Lee, VP of Sales and Marketing, Travel Planners International
  • Cara Whitehill, Chief Commercial Officer, Traxo
  • LouAnn Daggs Carter, Global Director, Strategic Initiatives, TripAdvisor


2018 Phocuswright LeadHER Panelists

  • Dorothy Dowling, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
  • Eva Jenner, Vice President, Sales, Holland America Line and Seabourn
  • Erika Moore, VP and GM, US Sales, Travelport
  • Siew Hoon Yeoh, Founder, WIT and Editorial Director, Northstar Travel Group Asia


2018 Session Moderator

  • Mary Pat Sullivan, Founder, Sullivan Marketing Associates