Cherie Richards, commercial director at The Global Travel Group tells Travel Daily UK about GNOW.
The Global Travel Group Conference recently launched The Global Network of Women (GNOW), could you explain what it is?
GNOW champions the role of women in travel, offering members the opportunity to network and hear from inspirational speakers from the world of travel and beyond.
It is a forum to learn and share best practice in promoting women in business. Specifically, the Global Network of Women was established to promote, develop and support the careers of women members of The Global Travel Group.
There will be regular meetings in different regional locations to discuss a wide range of business topics and trends and to promote a diverse workforce across our members.
What are the aims of GNOW?
GNOW came about from my own personal experience of not being able to participate in similar networking events. Too often I found that business networking events took place in London, meaning an entire day away from the office, sometimes an overnight stay, something I couldn’t always justify to the business or to my family. I had to decline too many invitations.
For independent agents, taking similar time away from their businesses can be even harder to justify. When I spoke with our members I found a similar pattern repeated across the board.
GNOW is specifically committed to moving to a different region each quarter to bring the Network close to our members, so that business commitments, geography and home-life priorities no longer pose a barrier to entry to this type of professional development opportunity.
Who is it open to?
It is open to all members of the Global Travel Group. The focus is the push for a diverse and well supported workforce, expanding their industry knowledge, developing new skills and expertise to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Whatever stage of their careers our members are at, we want them to feel welcome at GNOW; the collective and varied experience and knowledge of our members adds such value to the event. We were really happy to also welcome suppliers and partners to our inaugural event last week.
Have there been any events so far or opportunities for agents to join upcoming events?
Yes, we recently hosted our inaugural event at Chester Racecourse. Over 30 agents attended alongside eight suppliers. We have received fantastic feedback from the attendees and lots of interest in future events from those not able to make it this time around.
The morning session included a fun and interactive session, “How to become an effective and confident networker”, which was fitting to kick off the inaugural networking event, and there was also a discussion about GDPR. The afternoon involved one-on-one networking, experimenting with a different style of speed dating with no tables, laptops or props; this was very well received.
It can be all too easy to forget that the best resource we have in the travel industry is one another; sharing experiences and industry knowledge with each other is the most effective tool to promote learning and development. Following the event we have already seen strong professional relationships develop with offers of mentoring from more experienced agent members.
GNOW has only just begun and we’re looking forward to its future.