Events

Women in Travel Awards winners’ circle: Nicole Redfern, Wotif

If you haven’t entered the Women in Travel Awards yet or nominated all the incredible women you work with, we’ve got good news for you!

Entries don’t close until Tuesday 17 April at 5pm (AEST), so you still have some time up your sleeve.

Submit your entry now HERE and/or nominate one of your peers HERE. And for more information on the awards, click HERE.

HOWEVER! We strongly advise you don’t leave your application(s) until the last minute, as spruiking yourself can be a daunting task which can only be made worse under pressure.

To give you some inspiration to get cracking, we sat down with Nicole Redfern, head of social media and content at Wotif (part of Expedia Group), and winner of the Social Media category at last year’s Women in Travel Awards.

Here’s what she had to say:

Travel Weekly: How has winning at last year’s Women in Travel Awards positively impacted your career?

Nicole Redfern: Being recognised by my industry peers for the work I love to do was absolutely a career highlight. The award win encouraged me to take the time to not only reflect on my career to date, but also strongly consider where I should push myself next.

In the time since last year’s event, I’ve been promoted internally, made my conference speaking debut and my amazing team won the Corporate Social Media Team of the Year at the Social Media Marketing Awards, so it’s been a big 12 months!

TW: What drew you to work in the travel industry? What makes it worthwhile?

NR: There’s something very special about working in an industry that gives people some of the best moments and memories of their lives. Even after nearly 10 years working in travel, I never take that for granted. The passion Aussies have for not only seeing the world, but their own backyard too, is infectious, and it’s a real privilege to live and breathe that at work every day.

TW: Have you noticed any changes in opportunities for women in the industry over the time that you’ve worked in it?

NR: I’ve certainly seen the number of women in leadership roles in the travel industry increase in my decade in the space, which has been really encouraging. I’m a big believer in the fact that you can’t be what you can’t see and for me, watching women literally lead the way in senior roles is both inspiring and critical to making real change.

TW: What are some of the challenges women face in today’s travel industry? How can they be overcome? What changes would you like to see in the industry to make it more inclusive for women and other minority groups?

NR: It’s not exclusive to the travel industry, but helping female and male employees manage both their career and family aspirations is a big challenge. Expedia Group does this extremely well by promoting workplace flexibility and generous policies, including 18 weeks’ paid primary carer leave and 12 weeks’ paid secondary carer leave for those welcoming a child into their lives. There is also a ‘happy to be back’ program to welcome those returning from extended leave of three months or more.

Not only are those policies in place, but our culture genuinely encourages them to be utilised, which is crucial. The more we as a society embrace the role of both mothers and fathers in caring for children, the better off we will all be.

TW: Has your gender contributed to any challenges throughout your career?

NR: I think women can be more prone to imposter syndrome than their male counterparts and there were times earlier in my career where that was a challenge I faced. Time and experience have helped me overcome that. I’ve also been fortunate that my area of marketing is very much a female-dominated space and many women before me have set up a pathway for success.

TW: Do you think there needs to be more of an industry-wide push to get more females into senior roles?

NR: An industry-wide push can only be a good thing but. ultimately, meaningful change needs to happen at an organisational level. I’ve been very fortunate in my career to not only have had strong female bosses, but male bosses, too, who truly champion women’s empowerment. As a manager and member of our leadership team myself, I’m very aware of leading by example and the influence this can have.

TW: What policies and initiatives does Expedia Group have in place to promote diversity and attract and foster female talent?

NR: Expedia Group has made a lot of progress in ensuring greater gender balance. We have a commitment to gender pay parity and have a number of initiatives in place. As an example, when recruiting for senior directors and above, at least one female interviewee and one female interviewer must be involved in the process.

At a more grassroots level, our WELL (Women at Expedia Group Learning & Leading) initiative is a great example of our team members coming together to support the growth of women in leadership within the organisation through educational opportunities, enriching events and guest speakers who have experience and insight into these areas.

TW: Why do you think events like the Women in Travel Awards need to continue occurring?

NR: I believe events like the Women in Travel Awards are still vital in making a dedicated effort to recognise the amazing work women do. Putting a spotlight on women role models plays an important part in inspiring the next generation of female leaders and encourages us all to do better and be better.

TW: What advice do you have for those wanting to enter this year’s awards?

NR: Back yourself! As women, we’re not always great at sharing and celebrating our accomplishments, but awards like these give us the perfect opportunity to do so. You never know what throwing your hat in the ring might lead to.

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