Finalists announced in the inaugural 2017 everywoman in Travel Awards

The finalists in the inaugural everywoman in Travel Awards have been announced today, from an apprentice improving customer satisfaction ratings to a founder mentoring female entrepreneurs and an operations director breaking glass ceilings. The 18 finalists were hand-selected by a judging panel comprising some of the travel industry’s most discerning senior figures including Sophie Dekkers, UK Country Director at EasyJet and Jo Rzymowska, Vice President & Managing Director, UK and Ireland & Asia at Celebrity Cruises. The awards programme was launched this year to help recognise the exceptional women within the travel industry whose success stories will inspire the next generation and ensure the future pipeline of female talent.

While women are currently making 70% of all travel decisions and 72% of all travel agents are women, only 33% are actually leading travel organisations*. Female representation in the boardroom is even lower, where they hold between just 5% and 8% of corporate board member roles within publically owned hospitality businesses. This shows the breadth of opportunities available to young women and girls across the 73 million new travel jobs that will be created by 2022 **

The everywoman in Travel Awards finalists were identified for their career achievements to date and potential to make a significant impact on the travel industry both inside and outside of their organisations. Whether they are the founders of some of the most innovative companies or making a difference within the companies they work for, they represent the wide range of talent present across different ages, career stages and backgrounds.

everywoman has achieved immense success with its other awards programmes over the past 15 years in industries including transport and logistics, retail, technology and entrepreneurship, with winners and finalists becoming long-term everywoman ambassadors.

The winners will be announced at the everywoman in Travel Awards ceremony at East Wintergarden, located between the iconic towers of Canary Wharf in London on 16 November. Beyond category winners, an extraordinary Woman of the Year Award, whose passion, success and accessibility makes her an exceptional role model and a great industry ambassador, will also be announced.


The 2017 everywoman in Travel Awards category finalists are as follows:


One to Watch, sponsored by TripAdvisor, awarded to a young game-changer in education or an apprenticeship who demonstrates a passion for the travel industry:

  • Ellie Barton, Apprentice, Hays Travel from Darlington
  • Albane Grimprel, Business Student, GEM (Grenoble Ecole de Management) from London
  • Sylvana Walsh, Customer and Owner Service Advisor, Hoseasons from Lowestoft


Tomorrow’s Leader, sponsored by TTG Media, awarded to a woman under 30 making a significant contribution to the sector

  • Rebecca Hipkin, Travel Support Team Leader, Intrepid Group from London
  • Sophie Holtom, Business Services Manager, arrangeMY from Worcester
  • Jillian Jackson, Loyalty & Partnerships Executive, Hilton from Glasgow


Entrepreneur, sponsored by Silversea Cruises, awarded to an owner / operator of a travel business that has been operating for three years or more, whose vision will inspire other women to start their own enterprise

  • Jessica Bain, Co-founder and Head of Trade Relations, Latin Routes from Surrey
  • Mary McKenna, Managing Director, Tour America from Dublin
  • Abi Wright, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Spabreaks.com from Newbury, London


Above & Beyond, sponsored by The Travel Network Group, awarded to a woman at any stage of her career that has truly gone above and beyond her role to help drive the organisation's success

  • Susan Boxall, Customer Service Executive, Kuoni Travel from Dorking
  • Wendi Knibbs, Global Sales Evolution Specialist, Hilton from Watford
  • Karen Morris, Global Operations Director, Travel Counsellors from Manchester


Team Leader, sponsored by AvisBudget, awarded to a woman whose team leadership has greatly contributed to the organisation’s success:

  • Anna Macleod, Business Travel Manager, arrangeMY from Worcester
  • Sacha Peters, Head of Marketing, Ski Solutions from London
  • Angela Terry, Contact Centre Manager, TUI from Swansea


Leader, sponsored by Kuoni, awarded to a woman making a significant contribution to the strategic direction of the business

  • Wendy Atkin-Smith, Managing Director, Viking Cruises UK from London
  • Lindsey Esse, Managing Director, Darwin Escapes from Oxford
  • Helen Caron, Distribution & Cruise Director, TUI from Luton


Karen Gill MBE, co-founder of everywoman, comments: “We have selected some of the most talented women currently working in the UK’s travel industry and are confident their success stories will be a true inspiration to the next generation. What makes this group of women truly unique is the diversity of talent they represent across the whole sector. We look forward to continuing to celebrate their achievements at the awards ceremony in November.”

Daniel Pearce, managing director, TTG Media, comments: “As a champion of diversity in travel, TTG Media is delighted to have worked with everywoman on the first ever everywoman in Travel Awards. Women are truly at the heart of the travel industry, although as with many other business sectors there are not enough women in senior positions. We hope to help change that by celebrating the very best women in travel with the awards and offering inspiration to others both inside and outside of this brilliant industry.”

Jo Rzymowska, vice president and managing director, UK & Ireland and Asia, Celebrity Cruises: “We are incredibly proud to be a founder sponsor of the everywoman in Travel Awards. Seeing over 60 companies backing these awards with such high-quality nominations is impressive and inspiring. Our industry is only as strong as the people in it. The more diverse the people, the more inclusive the opportunities for progression and the more barriers to entry dismantled, the stronger it will be. We can’t wait for the awards ceremony on 16 November.”