Alison Hall, MeetingsNet
May 31, 2016
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Anyone who attended the Women in Travel (WINiT) Summit in Orlando last July got some big-picture thinking about women’s influence in the world, some practical career takeaways, and the chance to meet nearly 400 other WINiT members, women and men, who share an interest in supporting the visibility and mobility of women in the hospitality, travel, and meetings industry.
Membership in WINiT, which launched in 2014, is free, as is attendance at its annual summit event. Part of the reason for this is the founders’ desire for participation in WINiT to complement—not compete with—members’ participation in other industry associations. While the target audience is professionals in the travel, meeting, event, exhibition, and hospitality industries, overarching career issues are the focus of the education and networking opportunities WINiT presents.
What also makes the organization unique is its emphasis on supporting women at all levels, not just those headed for the C-suite, and the fact that the organization invites men to be members as well, believing that women and men must collaborate in order to promote change and make progress.
Here are some of WINiT’s growth numbers to date:
- 2,213 members
- 114 participants in the year-old WINiT Mentor Program
- 175 volunteers (up from 104 during the WINiT’s first year)
- 21 donors and 22 in-kind donors (see the list)
- 9 industry partners: Meeting Professionals International, Association of Corporate Travel Executives, Institute for Health and Human Potential, Global Business Travel Association, MeetingsNet, BTN Group, Young Travel Professionals, Big Speak, and IMEX America
- New events in London: WINiT members gathered for the WINiT EMEA Half Day Conference in February, the second year of holding an event in conjunction with London’s Business Travel Show
In addition to the three successful programs WINiT launched in its first year of operation: the Mentor Program, a Central Career Board, and the WINiT Classroom (a collection of educational resources and materials), the organization is embarking on WINiT University, or WINiT U, a new outreach program. A partnership with the nonprofit organization Young Travel Professionals, WINiT U will be a collaboration with colleges and universities to do the following:
- Educate students about careers in travel and hospitality
- Connect students with professionals in careers in travel and hospitality
- Launch an internship in travel and hospitality
- Expand the number of students seeking industry-related degrees
How to Join
Visit the WINiT website to join the organization for free, explore the career postings, download educational resources, and consider signing up for the WINiT Mentor program.
The 2016 WINiT Summit is set for November 12 at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel. Attendance is free. Sign up to be notified when registration opens.