Meet the women of Tourwriter

This International women's day we are celebrating the women of Tourwriter

Within the tourism industry the workforce is made up of 54% women, which is higher than the broader economy at 39%. Although, the higher number of women in the industry does not equal a higher number of women leaders, with only 20% holding management positions and of those only 8% hold positions of high responsibility

For the technology industry the numbers tell an interesting story. The workforce is made up of nearly 33% women, so a smaller amount than the broader economy, yet women in leadership in the technology industry is growing rapidly. From 2019 to 2022 women in leadership roles increased by 20%, so that one in four leadership roles in big technology companies are held by women. This is due to companies recognising that diverse workforces are good for business, so are making public commitments to improve their gender diversity and actively take action.  

Here at Tourwriter we are proud to have strong and thoughtful women in various roles in the company. They combine their expertise of both tourism and technology to support our wider customers. This International women’s day we thought it would be appropriate to ask them some questions to get their perspective on their careers, experiences, inspiration, opportunities and how they think we can take action to increase women’s voices.

What is your leadership style and was it shaped by anyone or anything?

Ashleigh- Head of Operations
My leadership skills are continuously being shaped by those around me and new things I am learning. I don’t have a specific style, instead I focus more on the environment I want to create for my team, which is empowering people and creating a high-trust experience.Giving them my full confidence that they can get the job done, or ask the questions they need to enable them to do their role.

Lisa- Head of Growth
I like the Servant leadership style, as I believe it is a strong way to demonstrate that as a leader you are there first and foremost to support and enable your team to do great work- which obviously then supports the company goals. But it’s your people first. It allows genuine empathy that builds trust and creates a collaborative way of working for a team.

Sina- Head of Product
I take aspects from a variety of different leadership styles and combine them to create my own unique approach to leadership. The coach style provides the essence of my style, because of the way it focuses on leading by example. I also focus on bringing my team members up, by encouraging them to challenge themselves and work on individual growth. The democratic leadership style influences my approach to listening to and actioning team feedback. I want to make sure my team feels their opinions and observations are valued and heard. I am actively working on becoming a more strategic leader, by focusing more on what we are trying to achieve, and explaining to my team how we are going to achieve it.

66% of Tourwriter's leadership team are women.

What are you most proud of doing?

Ashleigh- Head of Operations
I am most proud of, and probably will always be, becoming a mother to my son. I have learnt so much, so many things about myself,  how I want to raise him and the values I want to instil in him. It has given me a different perspective on things I want to focus on.

Lisa- Head of Growth
I am proud of the way I have shaped and built my career to date. I’ve been fortunate to have a global career and have transferred my core marketing skills across quite varied industries.  Also, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to hit ‘pause’ and take a career sabbatical in my thirties for nearly a year of solid travel across South America. This wasn’t the “usual” time to step out of your career and at the time a more conservative manager thought this was a risky move. I spent nine months in South America and actually was head hunted and recruited for my next role while travelling  and the skills, memories and experiences I had made my life so much richer and ultimately unlocked new possibilities for my career.

Sina- Head of Product
I am most proud of the progression of my teams, the last project we do is always the best project, seeing that constant improvement and growth. It is exciting to see my team become better versions of themselves and their individual skills grow.

“I think It is important to look back at where you started and acknowledge where you are now so you can celebrate that progression as individuals and as a team.”

Sina Zimmerman- Head of product at tourwriter

What has building a company from the start taught you?

Denise- Co-founder and Customer Growth and Onboarding Manager
The importance of having complete belief in your vision. That the success of the company ultimately comes from not only excellent leadership, but from an entire team of committed individuals who truly care about the work they do and can be relied on to ‘get the job done’. I have learnt the need for resilience and the value of absolute focus. The opportunities are immense and choosing what you are not going to do is as important as deciding what you are going to do. I have also learnt that change is constant, the challenges are endless and there is always more to learn. Finally, it has taught me to celebrate the wins, big and small, and to have fun along the way.

At Tourwriter, 52% of our team is made up of women.

How have you seen the tourism industry evolve to empower and support women?

Denise- Co-founder and Customer Growth and Onboarding Manager
Definitely. I started my travel career working in the second Flight Centre in Earl’s Court. I won’t say how long ago that was, but although there were women managing some of the companies we worked with, men predominantly held the senior positions. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then making the tourism industry, for the most part, a land of opportunity for everyone.

What do you think about women leaders being poorly represented in the Tourism industry and what can be done to increase it?

Lisa- Head of Growth 
The industry of tourism is a great place for females to work within. There are shining lights within the industry, such as a Tourwriter who has two-thirds of our leadership team being women. Demonstrating that it is possible within this industry to perform at the top level regardless of gender. 

Sina- Head of Product 
I have noticed most of the workforce are women and a lot of the new recruits into the industry are women but for leadership positions companies often hire externally, or cross functionally instead of training leadership qualities into their current staff.

What we can do as leaders, is to look for women who are in the company already, have the potential to be leaders and who want to learn. Let’s raise those women up. Leaders who have worked through the ranks in the Tourism industry bring this level of empathy, understanding and a lead by example approach for their team. If you have a travel business and you recognise great potential in someone young, make sure you give them the opportunities to grow

Lara- Head of Marketing 
Women already in leadership roles are going to have to own this one. It’s our responsibility to give opportunities to women we work with. Inspire them to speak up, encourage them to take ownership and empower them by leading by example.

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

Ashleigh- Head of Operations
I truly believe in “You can’t be what you can’t see”.  If you can’t see yourself or a person from your community represented in a role then it’s hard to imagine that you will be able to get to that role in the future. As we see diversity come through organisations it encourages future generations to aim for and believe they can have a seat at the table.

Samantha- Marketing Specialist 
Diversity in the workplace is important because it creates space for different perspectives, new ideas and unique experiences. By creating an environment where teams can bring their different backgrounds and different thought patterns together, they have the opportunity to come up with solutions that might not have been possible without each other’s unique offering. For me personally, I enjoy working with a wide variety of people because I can learn more and expand my understanding. 

Hamrutha- Quality Assurance Engineer 
The meaning of diversity has become more complex. A diversified workforce includes people with variety across many different categories, such as: religion, culture, sexual orientation, language, educational backgrounds, skills and abilities. The benefits of diversity includes; Everybody bringing a different point of view to the table; Giving people the opportunity to learn from each other; Encourages innovation through combining different ideas; And attracting a wider customer base.

Tourwriter is proudly diverse with employees from a variety of nationalities. Just like our tour operators are located around the world.

We’ve been really inspired to learn about the Magna Carta of Women in the Philippines. What is your perspective on this and do you think it has affected your career?

Sarah- Customer Success Executive
The Magna Carta of Women in the Philippines provides a comprehensive framework for promoting gender equality and empowering women in various aspects of their lives, including their careers. It eliminates all forms of discrimination and provides equal opportunities for men and women.

As a working individual, I have personally experienced the benefits of the Magna Carta of Women.This law has helped me achieve career growth by ensuring that I have the same opportunities as my male colleagues. The Magna Carta of Women mandates equal pay for equal work, which has helped to close the gender pay gap in many industries. It also provides safeguards against gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, which can create a safer and more supportive environment for women to pursue their careers.

Overall, the Magna Carta of Women is a valuable contribution to defining the rights of Filipino women and promoting progress towards a more equitable society.

Gerlie- Marketing Assistant
It’s good to know that we have the Magna Carta of Women in the Philippines. I believe in equality especially when it comes to work. Filipina’s nowadays are more daring and knowledgeable when it comes to overcoming fears and dangerous aspects of their lives. The law affected me in a way that in the Philippines, no one really can tell you what to do or where to apply to get a job of your dream, as long as you have the skill, knowledge and experience you should go for it.

If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Ashleigh- Head of Operations

  1. Emily Weiss, who is the founder of Glossier, which is a direct to consumer cosmetic brand. She has this amazing power to build community.
  2. Allyson Felix, who is a USA olympian track runner. After leaving her Nike sponsorship she created her own shoe brand called Saysh, which focuses on designing shoes to meet the needs of women.
  3. Julia Arnott-neenee, she is focused on bringing the Pacifica communities to become more engaged with tech and helping them to get into tech roles through a social enterprise she founded called Fibre Fale.

Lisa- Head of Growth 

  1. Michelle Obama, I draw inspiration from how she handles pressure and is fiercely intelligent. How she established her career and use her platform to effect change while inspiring a whole generation of women.
  2. Pandora Sykes, What I love about Pandora is her thirst for knowledge and how she turns what she learns into insight while challenging the status quo. She is amazingly intelligent and I always learn something new from her books and podcasts.
  3. Mary Portas, she has a retail background as creative director for selfridges. She has the ability to understand trends with an eye to what the future is bringing. She also focuses on women empowerment and encourages modern workforces to have a female perspective for collaboration.

Sina- Head of Product 

  1. Marie Curie– Because of her scientific background and curiosity to discover new things.
  2. Harriet Tubman– because of the courage and bravery of her actions throughout her life. 
  3. Cleopatra – Because she was in a male dominated society and was one of the first women who was in a leadership position.
How does the travel industry actually work?

How does the travel industry actually work?

Who are the key players in the industry, where do they all fit together and how does the industry actually work?! There’s no doubt that the travel industry is a confusing space to wrap your head around so we’ve broken it down for you in this easy new resource.

Tourism news websites you can trust

Tourism news websites you can trust

In the tourism industry it can be hard to differentiate the reliable travel news sources from the not-so-trustworthy ones. In this blog we summarise the top travel news websites that tour operators, travel agencies and DMC’s should pay attention to.

How to set your team up for success when introducing new software

How to set your team up for success when introducing new software

Making changes happen is hard. Especially when it is something that will create a significant impact on the way you work, like new software. We discover what change management is and how it can assist you, your leaders and your team in creating new processes that will make you more successful in the long run. Is it time for a change?