Get to know the winners for Women in Travel 2018!

Did you know it’s already been TWO WHOLE WEEKS since the 2018 Women in Travel Awards?!

We can’t believe it either.

So to finish up the Women in Travel celebrations (for now), we decided to give you a closer look at all our fabulous winners!

These women (and one male champ) have excelled in their careers, and made a real difference in our industry. We also think they’re some of most deserving award winners around.

So without further ado, here’s another look at our 2018 Women in Travel Award winners! We can’t thank all you lovely people enough for attending and supporting this event, as well as all the amazing women in our industry. See you next year!

Aviation winner: Felicity Brown, Chinta Air Tours


Felicity Brown is a force to be reckoned with in the aviation industry. She is one of just five female Chief Pilots in Australia, and is the only female pilot to have ever flown the annual CSIRO aerial survey of the Great Australian Bight.

She’s been with Chinta Air Tours for 15 years, and as Chief Pilot, Felicity encourages flight crew to develop their own style of story-telling, as she believes having flight crew provide information in their own voice adds to the authenticity of the experience. Congrats, Felicity!

Corporate winner: Jess Anscombe, Corporate Traveller

CORPORATE_Jess Anscombe2

Jess Anscombe is always on the lookout for any potential hurdles that might impede women from applying for leadership roles and looks to connect them, upskill them and ensure they’re supported at every level.

Under her guide as general manager, by the end of last year, Corporate Traveller sales had increased by 10.3 per cent, profits increased by 5.2 per cent and there was a significant 13 per cent jump in customer retention to 97 per cent. A deserving winner if we ever saw one.

Cruise winner: Natasha Faithfull, Cruiseabout

CRUISE_Natasha Faithfull Pic

Natasha Faithfull leads with kindness and inspiration, and over the past year she has taken the time to expand her own leadership journey as well as learn how to be vulnerable and allow change.

Through these leadership assets, Cruiseabout achieved a profit growth of 150 per cent from the previous year, and the company has now grown from 27 staff across 10 stores, to 56 staff across 12 stores last year. A big congrats to Natasha!

Employer of the Year winner: Carnival Australia

EMPLOYER_Ann Sherry Pledge for Parity

Carnival Australia is committed to the development and retention of females from the top down and the company has truly proved that it walks the talk in gender equality endeavours.

In addition to having Ann Sherry, the face of diversity in Australia, as the Chair of Carnival Australia championing female talent and providing inspirational leadership, Carnival has 46 per cent female representation within the executive leadership level of the business and 46 per cent female incumbents across all management levels within Carnival Australia (up from 36 per cent five years ago). Congrats to our employer of the year!

Entrepreneur of the Year winner: Jacqui Walshe, The Walshe Group


Despite major business setbacks during Jacqui Walshe’s time as Executive Chairman and Managing Director of The Walshe Group, such as 9/11, the Ansett failure and the Global Financial Crisis, Jacqui’s resilience has kept the company thriving.

Last year Jacqui attended the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference in San Francisco, and over the past five years that she has attended, she has been the only woman in the room from the travel and tourism sector. Which we think is worthy of an award. Luckily, the Women in Travel Awards provided!

Hotel winner: Emma Woodward, Hyatt Regency Sydney

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Emma Woodward never fails to come to work feeling energetic, as she genuinely believes that the environment you work in plays such a large part in how you feel about your job.

Working in a team full of incredible women, she wants her positivity to resonate with them. Congrats Emma!

Male Champion of Change winner: Drew Martinez, Intrepid Group

MALE_Drew Martinez

A few years ago when Drew Martinez was fast progressing in his career, he came across a staggering statistic that would resonate with him: “Men apply for a job when they meet 60 per cent of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100 per cent of them.”

This statistic continues to influence Drew’s actions at Intrepid Group today. Say hello to our 2018 Male Champion of Change, Drew!

Marketer of the Year winner: Vanessa Richards, Excite Holidays


Since joining Excite Holidays Vanessa Richards’ goal has always been to inspire the next generation of travellers.

Vanessa transformed the brand last year to one that would be listened to by agents, one that excited and delivered, and one that focused on the experience and not just the destination. Congrats

Mentor of the Year winner: Tina McIntosh, Busabout

MENTOR_Tina McIntosh

Tina McIntosh takes a 360-degree approach when mentoring, in that she requests her mentees work on their personal goals alongside their professional goals.

In her five years at Busabout, there have been four babies born, eight weddings, four house purchases, two international job transfers and over 13 promotions. That’s pretty damn impressive. So impressive we gave her an award!

PR of the Year winner: Abbey Sands, GTI/New Caledonia Tourism/New York State

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Like many things in 2018, Abbey Sands sees travel as being about an experience from which the traveller takes something away, whether that’s gaining authentic knowledge or a newfound way of thinking.

With this mindset, she has evolved into a travel PR professional who thinks beyond just travel, and encourages her clients and brands to be more than just a travel brand, but instead to think more like a lifestyle brand, thus tapping into wider conversations. Congrats Abbey!

Retail winner: Leisa Davis, Helloworld Travel Biloela & Gladstone


Leisa Davis has witnessed immense changes in the travel landscape since bursting onto the scene in 1995.

She understands that clients want cutting edge experiences and destinations, as well as once-in- a-lifetime moments and travel standards that are both comfortable and authentic. And evidently, she also deserved our coveted retail award!

Rising Star of the Year winner: Jenny Gray, Intrepid Group

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Seven years ago Jenny Gray travelled across the pond from London to start her dream job at Intrepid. Having never set foot in Sub Saharan Africa back then, she now manages this highly volatile region, curbing all the challenges it presents.

The pinnacle of her employment has been the female-led range of women’s-only expedition trips which launched on International Women’s Day this year. Amazing work, Jenny!

Road and Rail winner: Lisa Miller, Hertz Australia


With 60 team members in sales, which she directs, Lisa Miller ensures all employees have formalised performance goals, development plans and a career path in place to enable promotion and expansion.

Hertz appointed a female Global CEO 16 months ago, and since then there have been more initiatives to support females in the workplace, in what is very much a male dominated industry. Congrats Lisa!

Sales Person of the Year winner: Rachael Harding, Trafalgar

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As a sales leader, Rachael Harding knew that internal culture would fuel the success of her team, thus the creation of Trafalgar’s #onetribe, a collaborative focus on one goal where everyone understood their piece in the puzzle and how they helped drive business success.

In order to lead Trafalgar’s sales team and contribute to the continuing success of the company, Rachael has taken her mother’s advice of standing up for herself whether that be towards sexism, racism, bullying or gender adversity and through following this she has exceeded both personally and professionally. Which led her to receive one of our fabulous awards!

Social Media winner:  Danielle Kirk, Contiki Holidays

SOCIAL_Danielle Kirk

In 2017, Danielle Kirk was tasked with a mission to increase conversions and sales from Contiki’s social media pages, particularly Facebook. Danielle quickly realised Contiki previously was not utilising the Facebook algorithm to its full potential and increased posting frequency by 400 per cent to maximise its reach and engagement.

From March to December last year, engagement increased from 679,000 to 5.8 million, video views grew by 644 per cent and followers grew by 18 per cent. As a result of this comprehensive social strategy, monthly leads and conversions increased by 101 per cent from 2016. Congrats, Danielle!

Technology winner: Ingrid Picard, Amadeus

TECH_Ingrid Picard

One thing that makes Ingrid Picard tick is when she hears females aspiring to join an IT company but hesitating because they don’t have IT acumen or feel it’s a male domain. In turn she tells them that she didn’t have IT experience 10 years ago either, but it interested her, and she wanted to learn so dived in.

Fortunately, Ingrid works for a company that is a big supporter of women. Congrats Ingrid!

Tourism winner: Lisa Ronson, Tourism Australia

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Lisa Ronson believes strongly in the concept that we shouldn’t do things in isolation. Instead she believes producing integrated campaigns that involve the whole business are more effective. “Fewer, bigger, bolder” is her marketing motto.

Lisa also ensures that her day-to-day behaviour nurtures other women, because she believes that if you do the right thing, both women and men will respond to it. Which is why we gave her an award!

Wholesale winner: Katrina Barry, Contiki

WHOLESALE_Katrina Barry

Katrina Barry’s passion to invest in annual market research and become an expert in youth is one of the leading forces behind Contiki.

And beyond Katrina are seven female leaders who report to her – not in these positions because of their gender – but because they were the very best people for the job. Congrats, Katrina!



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