WINiT, the new Women in Travel initiative launched earlier this year, held its first conference in Los Angeles immediately before GBTA. The group has already attracted 1,800 members representing US$15 billion of business travel spending.
Founder and CEO Michelle (Mick) Lee describes WINiT’s objectives as supporting career development and promoting and increasing the visibility of women in the travel industry. WINiT is for women and men of all levels and is not limited by geography, with programs that cross all industry associations and groups.
Advisory board members include hospitality professionals such as Kathleen Matthews, executive vice president and chief communications and public affairs officer, Marriott International; and Katie Benson, regional vice president, Langham Hospitality Group, North America. In addition, discussions at the first WINiT event were focused on the Mentor Program and led by Carlson President and CEO Trudy Rautio and WINiT Director Dawn Repoli.
With sponsors like Starwood, American Express, Citi, United and American Airlines, WINiT is attracting a level of engagement that speaks to the timing and fit of this kind of organization. With an ambition to become a global organization in time, part of the inspiration behind WINiT has been advice and support received from its mentor the Clinton Global Initiative, which convenes in Manhattan for its 10th annual meeting this week, with WINiT in attendance.