Finalists announced for the 2019 Revolut everywoman in Travel Awards


The 2019 Revolut everywoman in Travel Awards finalists were announced today. From young apprentices starting their career journey, to well-established entrepreneurs inspiring other ambitious individuals to join the industry, the 33 finalists are the role models whose success stories will encourage the next generation of travel stars.  

The global travel and tourism sector is considered to be among the world’s largest economic activities and The World Travel and Tourism Council claim that in 2018 travel and tourism contributed $8.8 trillion to the global economy, providing 319 million jobs within the sector1. In the United Kingdom, the hospitality, travel and leisure sector is the third largest private sector employer in the country, providing employment for 3.2 million people2 and this vast opportunity the industry presents for employment has resulted in almost twice as many female employers in travel and tourism than other sectors3 offering women opportunities in leadership and entrepreneurship. Over the last year, the 63% of FTSE 100 hospitality, travel and leisure companies reached the 33% target of female board members. However, despite this achievement, only 10% of women are in CEO, CFO and Chair roles and companies still need to work hard to meet the 33% target of female representation across boards and executives’ committees by 20204. The 2019 Revolut everywoman in Travel Awards programme is vital in recognising the achievements of females and males within the sector who are making significant contributions to reach these targets and promote young talent to strive to success.

This year’s finalists were hand-selected by the industry’s most discerning leaders including:

Rhiannon Dowdall, Head of CRS Programme at Heathrow; Pippa Jacks, Group Editor at TTG Media; Rachel Temperton, Head of Travel & Tourism for Allianz Partners; Clare Tobin, Chief Executive, Olympic Holidays and Jo Rzymowska, Vice President & Managing Director at Celebrity Cruises, to name a few.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony held at East Wintergarden, located between the iconic towers of Canary Wharf in London on 13 November 2019. Aside from category winners, an extraordinary Woman of the Year, whose success makes her an exceptional role model and industry ambassador, will also be announced. A new category has been introduced for 2019, called the Disruptor Award, looking for a woman who is challenging issues in the industry in a creative, unconventional and pioneering way.


The 2019 Revolut everywoman in Travel Awards category finalists are as follows:

*NEW FOR 2019* Disruptor Award, sponsored by Celebrity Cruises – Awarded to a woman who is challenging the status quo, in an unconventional and innovative way.

  • Deborah Potts, Founding Director at Summit Advisory (Part of the Elman Wall Group) from London
  • Helena Beard, Founder and Managing Director at China Travel Outbound from Brighton
  • Merilee Karr, Founder and CEO at UnderTheDoormat from London


Above & Beyond Award, sponsored by Avis Budget 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.

  • Cristina Muñoz, Senior Brand Partnerships Manager at Cunard from Southampton
  • Danielle Grant, HR Manager at Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited from London
  • Jean Cook, Depot Administrator at Great Western Railway from Bristol


Entrepreneur Award – 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.

  • Alice Todd, Cofounder and Managing Director at SwimQuest Holidays from London
  • Karen Ross, Founder & Director at In2Action from Isle of Wight
  • Wendy Shand, Founding Director of Tots to Travel from Stamford


Executive Leader Award sponsored by Olympic Holidays – Awarded to a woman whose team leadership has greatly contributed to the organisation’s success.

  • Cherie Richards, Commercial Director at The Global Travel Group from Sandycroft
  • Kay Harriman, Senior HR Director UK & Ireland, Human Resources Europe at Hilton from Watforde
  • Sara Pastor, Managing Director, Destinations, EMEA at ADARA from Barcelona


International Inspiration Award  sponsored by Gold Medal/Travel2 Awarded to a woman working outside the UK & Ireland that is a role model for women in her community.

  • Captain Kate McCue, Master Captain at Celebrity Cruises
  • Indira Gurung, Treasurer of the Executive Board at SASANE from Nepal
  • Zina Bencheikh, Regional General Manager EMENA – PEAK DMC at Intrepid Group from Marrakech


Leader of Change Award, sponsored by Hilton Awarded to a woman who is making a significant contribution towards the strategic direction of the business through best practices, employee engagement, improved productivity and innovation.

  • Komal Tekchandani, Head of IT Business Change at Heathrow Airport from London
  • Lisa Henning, Chief Operating Officer at The Travel Network Group from Woking
  • Lorraine Quinn, Head of Sales, Ireland at Celebrity Cruises UK from Dublin
  • Paula Ellis, Group General Manager at Retreats Group Ltd from St. David’s


Male Agent of Change, Awarded to a man for his active commitment to advancing the progress of women working in travel.

  • Abubakar Siddeeq, Head of Customer Proposition at Great Western Railway from London
  • Ben Bengougam, SVP Human Resources at Hilton from Watford
  • Derek Jones, CEO at Der Touristik UK from London
  • Darren Cook, Vice President Engineering Operations EMEA at Hilton from Watford
  • Sean Collins, CEO of MBNA Thames Clippers from London


One to Watch, sponsored by TripAdvisor – Awarded to a young game-changer under the age of 25 in education or apprenticeship who demonstrates a passion for the travel industry.

  • Ana Seidi, Former Student at Leeds Beckett University from Leeds
  • Asvitha Selvarajah, Accounts Supervisor at AC Group from London
  • Daymer Eshelby, International Tourism Managment Student at University of Derby from Buxton


Team Leader, sponsored by Heathrow – Awarded to a woman whose team leadership has greatly contributed to the organisation’s success.

  • Asher Prower, Project Manager at Gatwick Airport from London
  • Joanna Athanasiou, Senior Director RMCC Europe at Hilton from Watford
  • Tolene Van der Merwe, Director of Tourism, Malta Tourism from London


Tomorrow’s Leader sponsored by TTG Media – Awarded to a woman under 30 making a significant contribution to the sector.

  • Anna Ganthaler, Lead consultant on Strategy and Business Transformation, TUI, London
  • Evlynne Smith, UK Digital Lead for Travel and Transport, IBM from London
  • Hayley Goddard, UK&I Resourcing Manager, Thomas Cook from Peterbourough  


Pioneer of the Year – A special recognition Award to honour a female travel pioneer whose wanderlust has inspired others to broaden their travel horizons. This particular category is voted by Telegraph Readers, and the winner of the Award is selected by the public vote.

  • Belinda Bennett, Cruise Captain at Windstar Cruises
  • Mary Beard, Author and Professor
  • Susannah Cery, Founder of Our Tribe Travels
  • Phoebe Smith, Presenter, Author and Broadcaster 
  • Sarah Keenlyside, Founder of Bespoke Travel Company
  • Saba Douglas-Hamilton, Wildlife Conservationist


Thomas Tudehope, Head of Public Affairs at Revolut Ltd, comments: “Revolut is thrilled to be supporting the 2019 everywoman in Travel awards. Revolut has an important and distinct association with the travel industry as eager jet-setters take off across the globe with their Revolut card. Travel broadens our horizons and opens our eyes to the many wonders – natural and cultural – that our world has on offer. But, more importantly, it is the source of employment for millions, and supports an industry that is as diverse as it is dynamic. At Revolut we’re passionate about travel and this year we are delighted to be sponsoring these awards that will recognise so many brilliant individuals and the inspiring work they are doing each and every day.”

Karen Gill MBE, Co-Founder of everywoman, comments: “This year’s finalists represent the talented men and women passionate and determined to achieve gender equality within the travel industry. We are excited for these incredible role models to aspire the next generation of talent in the sector and continue to promote the importance of the everywoman in Travel Awards. It’s clear that the travel industry is moving in the right director to achieve gender equality, but there is still a way to go.”