On International Women’s Day 2021, we’re shining a spotlight on a selection of empowering women in the travel industry. Discover advice, tips and knowledge below:

Zina Bencheikh – Intrepid Travel, Managing Director, EMEA

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are not just buzzwords – they really matter. I’ve seen for myself that bringing together people from different ages, backgrounds and cultures is the secret to building a successful team. Diverse teams bring with them a wider range of experience, making them more productive, innovative and better at problem solving.

Creating a good working culture starts with respect. Office perks are great, but they mean nothing if people don’t feel valued and respected. Create an atmosphere where people are comfortable to speak up. They should know it’s ok to make a mistake, learn from it and move on.

Empower your people – don’t be scared of competition. There’s no need to be threatened by smart young people working their way up the ladder. As a leader, you’ll only deliver results through your people. Empower them and they will shine. The more you support them, the more you will grow yourself.

Samantha Sanz, Chef de Cuisine at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa

Believe in yourself, as individuals in this world, the person you can trust is yourself. Believing in yourself will only push you to reach your goals and dreams. And at the end of the day If you don’t believe in yourself who will?

Learn from your mistakes, don’t dwell on them. Think about what you could’ve done to avoid that mistake or how you could’ve handled it better. Don’t belittle yourself or call yourself names, that will only create negative energy towards yourself. Understand that everybody makes mistakes and we all get to learn from them.

Stay hungry but also stay humble. Ask questions, study hard, explore, imagine, go always above and beyond. If you have ideas that haven’t been done before, always ask the what if? Or why not? Keep your head down and do the work, most times it will be hard, it will be exhausting and not glamorous at all. But hard work always pays off sooner or later. The right attitude will take you to the right places.

Lydia Tomek, Head Winemaker at Ravine Vineyards, Ontario

Be yourself. Often we feel the need to be a certain type of person and fit into a template, but I believe you shouldn’t need to apologise for being who you are. If someone is creative or perhaps dresses in a certain way that’s great and it shouldn’t hold anyone back.”

I am a strong believer in being the first to show up and the last to leave. Working on a farm or winery is demanding and sometimes the workday may run a little longer than expected. I feel that showing up to work on time, being prepared and leaving when all of the work is done is what will keep you safe and focused and ultimately gets the job done properly. In order to reap the benefits, you have to be open to hard work and always ready to go.”

One of the best traits is to be open-minded. Within my industry things are always evolving, whether that is market trends or wine technology. If you are always open to learning and look to find ways to improve that is how you will grow and in my case, this is what keeps the winery sustainable.

Kerry Golds, Managing Director of Abercrombie & Kent and Cox & Kings

Be your authentic self – As much as sometimes we have to make tough decisions, remaining true to your own beliefs is key. When it comes to managing teams, working with peers or dealing with clients, the outcomes really are better when you know that you’ve made decisions that you really believe in and have taken the time to think about the outcome that you would want in their shoes.

Life is all about the journey and less about the destination. When I joined the travel industry as a teenager, it didn’t occur to me that I might find myself on a board of directors before I was 30. But I worked hard, learnt as much as I could from every situation I faced and when the opportunity came, as daunting as it first seemed, I realised that everything I had done over those years had prepared me well. It’s not always obvious when you’re on the journey, it’s when you look back that it all makes sense.

If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will. It can be easy to underestimate your own ability, especially in the early days of your career or even in a new role. Having confidence in yourself is the first step to building others’ confidence in you. Trust your own ability, always look inwards and strive to be better.