Annual TIEWN Gathering Sets New Paradigm for Building a Supportive Community of Professional Women
Annual TIEWN Gathering Sets New Paradigm for Building a Supportive Community of Professional Women Who Can Help Companies Close the Gender Gap. Interactive Sessions Encourage Sharing of Best Practices in Mentorship, Raising Capital, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Financial & Personal Well-being, and the Industry’s Formidable Technology Solutions.
In celebration of Women’s History Month and facing the realities underscored by March 14 as Equal Pay Day, the Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network (TIEWN) held its annual Women in Travel & Hospitality Conference on March 2 & 3 at the Westlake Village Inn (Los Angeles). An intimate group of female (and male) visionaries came together to embrace the beauty of our humanity and recognize the undeniable power of womanhood in today’s world.
With an overarching theme of “Finding Your Circle of Influence,” the two-day conference, powered by BLLA, was packed with inspiring panels, breakout sessions, workshops, discussions, and open Q&A that emphasized key takeaways including 1) wellness is redefined with a deep focus on F&B, as well as aging considerations, 2) being a successful entrepreneur entails not getting too bogged down with numbers and personalizing the customer journey, and 3) there is great value in identifying your circle of influence which becomes your personal board of advisors.
Founded in 2008 by travel industry mainstay, Frances Kiradjian, TIEWN’s mission is to champion women in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries, and the network is committed to passing the torch to the next generation of daring female leaders to the more than 13,000 global members in the network. Kiradjian’s daughter, Ariela, not only helps her run the five divisions of BLLA, but she also acts as host and wellness activist for the event. Ariela’s passion for wellness is woven throughout the agenda, which for the first time included a panel of Wellness Experts.
Ariela Kiradjian (BLLA), Tracy Campbell (The Brand Terminal), and Darlene Cordero (Wellness Culture) discuss creating community and finding mentors with like-minded goals to help women navigate their careers.
The raw, straightforward, and mindful conversations were guided by an incredible roster of facilitators, such as Marissa Hermer - Co-Owner/Partner of Boujis Group, Jersey Banks - Founder/CEO of Urban Cowboy Hotels, Diana Stobo - Owner & CEO of The Retreat Costa Rica, Jenesis Laforcarde - Founder of The Jenesis House, and Tammy Pahel - VP of Spa & Wellness at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort.
The event marked the first time that TIEWN incorporated a live Zoom session into its programming. Aradhana Khowala, CEO of Aptamind Partners and a globally recognized expert on the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries, lit up the virtual stage with her powerful keynote on the data behind female representation in leadership positions.
“Please do not underestimate your own power to make things better. Every second of your time and every second of your attention can be powerful because you are powerful. If we have the attention and resources devoted to advancing women into leadership roles, we can close the gender gap,” stated Aradhana Khowala, CEO & Founder of Aptamind Partners.
Bold anecdotes were organically shared throughout the entire conference, and these words struck a chord with the attendees. One standout was shared by Kari Cardinale from the Modern Elder Academy – life is a series of transitions and our “Third Act” – from 50 years old and onward – should and can be meaningful and productive.
During the End-of-Day Reflections discussion, Jessica Kramer, Founder of a Hospitality Advisory as well as a tech executive, stated, “The thing that came to mind today was how many women in this room did not have a blueprint for leadership, and yet so many of us have created our own paths and are doing amazing things as a result. The vulnerability and the willingness to share that feels like a continued conversation from last year’s conference.”
Executive women in travel, tourism, and hospitality unite as a community and develop lasting connections.
To round out the two days, attendees were invited to a closing Moon Circle, followed by an evening reception at the venue’s beautiful wine cellar. The energy and camaraderie did not stop there, as all attendees were given exclusive access to the virtual event platform App. This allowed them to connect with other attendees to continue the conversation beyond the conference, as well as learn about Sponsors and download Resources.
From the sincere testimonials coming in, the 2023 Women in Travel & Hospitality Conference proves to be one for the books. Industry professionals united as a community to embrace their vulnerabilities, share their stories, and rally for an open-minded and open-hearted future for travel, tourism, and hospitality.
TIEWN is grateful for the support of its Headline sponsors: DIRECTV HOSPITALITY, Nestle Premium Waters, Dragonfly Strategists, Lockton, and Greenberg Traurig, as well as its Lifestyle sponsors: Roomza and Studio Nilebrand.
View images from the conference here.
Noteworthy quotes from the conference stage:
“Do the ABCDs: Always Be Collecting Data.” – Marissa Hermer, Co-Owner/Partner of Boujis Group (which includes the restaurants, Olivetta and The Draycott)
“At the end of the day, when you are going to start a business, it’s great to have a great idea, but if you don’t have your bottom line and the foundation taken care of, you can get really far and fall.” – Angela Setters Bessard, CEO of The Real Credit Queen
“Some of the juiciest changes in our life can happen if we really settle into a “messy middle,” and we really savor undoing who we were to explore who we can become.” – Kari Cardinale, SVP of Digital & Alumni Strategy at Modern Elder Academy
“When you’re talking about bringing healthy food into your places of business, the quality of the ingredients is paramount. This is something that is going to define the future of humanity. And, what’s beautiful is that we can all take part in it.” – Oliver English, Co-Founder & CEO of Common Table Creative
Attendees gather for a group photo at the March 2-3 conference by TIEWN & BLLA.
Executive Women in Travel Come Together to Discuss Financial & Personal Wellbeing
Speaker Roster Highlights for TIEWN Conference Held March 2 & 3 in Westlake Village, CA
Los Angeles, CA – With global tourism predicted to reach 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, registrations and the speaker roster for March 2 & 3, Women in Travel & Hospitality (TIEWN) Conference at the Westlake Village Inn in Los Angeles County both reflect that vibrancy.
The agenda of the two-day, interactive event will address the reality that women represent 54% of the workforce in the tourism sector and yet only 4% of the C-Suite positions in tourism are held by women. With a theme of “Finding Your Circle of Influence,” agenda topics will cover technology, business and personal financial wellbeing, mentorship, raising capital, self-growth and tools for mentoring one another along the career path.
“The breadth and depth of wisdom reflected in our roster of speakers this year embodies the sharing mentality that our members embrace, explains Frances Kiradjian, CEO and Founder of both TIEWN and the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association. Today Frances runs the organizations’ five divisions with her daughter, Ariela Kiradjian, who is especially interested in the recent dynamic growth in wellness offerings in the tourism and hospitality industries.
“Wellness goes a lot deeper than yoga mats,” said Ariela. “Mental health is a big part of wellness and so is how you’re treating your staff and yourself so we will be covering those topics as well.”
Speaker highlights from the two-day conference include the ones below. Please visit BLLAEvents.com for a full list of our facilitators (we call our speakers “facilitators” because they engage with all attendees).
Marissa Hermer – Former star of Bravo’s Ladies of London, Hermer will be sharing her insights from a career as restauranteur, entrepreneur and author. Hermer’s experience working alongside Ian Schrager to open the Grammercy Park Hotel as well as partnering with her husband to open the popular Draycott restaurant in Caruso’s Palisades Village and two celebrity haunts in West Hollywood, Olivetta and Issima, should be of particular interest to the group.
Aradhana Khowala – London based travel, diversity & equality expert who is CEO of Aptamind Partners, offers strategic consultancy in sustainable tourism development. She is recognized as a leader in the industry, named as one of the 100 most powerful in hospitality and 25 most influential women. Aradhana is a speaker on diversity, gender equality, and femtech, highlighting the lack of representation in executive tourism and health research.
Chef Oliver English – Having grown up in his family’s restaurant business, Oliver is the Co-Founder & CEO of Common Table Creative (CTC), an impact-driven production & hospitality company specializing in advancing global food, sustainability and social justice issues. CTC creates films and experiences that bring people together and tell stories about the power of food. He created and is currently producing CTC’s signature documentary, Feeding Tomorrow (FT).
Tammy Pahel – VP of Spa & Wellness at Carillion Miami Wellness Resort and co-founder of Alchemy Wellness Resorts. Pahel has opened 15 different spa properties and exceeds at reading trends, creating strategic alliances with other wellness brands and making hotel spa wellness offerings not just popular but profitable. She will be sharing her story of creating the country’s first Touchless Spa Therapy Circuit during the pandemic, while exceeding revenue expectations.
Jersey Banks – Founder of boutique hotel and lifestyle brand, Urban Cowboy Hotels shares her dynamic and unlikely origin story about how she and her partner evolved their brand – with 4 + hotels under their umbrella in Brooklyn, Nashville, the Catskills and soon Denver – into a community of travelers and artists.
Diana Stobo – Celebrity chef, best-selling author, health and wellness life coach and founder and owner of The Retreat Costa Rica and a soon-to-open Ayurvedic Healing Center and Spa in Costa Rica. She is also the creator of Truth Bar, an innovative prebiotic and probiotic gut health bar. Stobo speaks on a host of subjects, including digestive health, food as a modality for change, hormone balancing, sex, aging well, weight management & wellness travel.
Dr. Marcus Coplin – Medical director for The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs, CO and Murrieta Hot Springs Resort in Murrieta, California where he advises on science-based usage of thermal mineral hot spring water for health. Dr. Coplin writes and teaches extensively on the re-emergence of Health Resort culture and programming in the 21st century health care field and wellness tourism sector.
TIEWN is grateful for the support of its current Headline sponsors which include: DIRECTV HOSPITALITY, Nestle Premium Waters, Dragonfly Strategists, Lockton, and Greenberg Traurig, as well as its Lifestyle sponsors which include: Roomza and Studio Nilebrand.
Women in various sectors within the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries attend the event, including travel advisors, general managers, owners & entrepreneurs, hospitality developers, marketing & sales executives, tour operators, tourism offices, corporate travel managers, cruise line executives, travel and hospitality technology, premium service & solution providers to travel and hospitality, and students
For tickets to the conference, please visit https://registration.socio.events/e/2023tiewn
Media Contact: Kim S. Marshall, email@example.com
BLLA Announces New Inner Circle Club Members for 2023
The exclusive Club welcomes Lockton and Dragonfly Strategists, key supporters of boutique and lifestyle hotels
Los Angeles, CA – The Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) is elated to announce its newest Inner Circle Club (ICC) members.
The Inner Circle Club is a distinguished network of hospitality companies that are recognized as prominent supporters of BLLA and top leaders in the boutique sector. The newest members, Lockton and Dragonfly Strategists, will join the exclusive club alongside Greenberg Traurig and Nestlé Premium Waters.
BLLA’s Founder & CEO, Frances Kiradjian, and Partner & COO, Ariela Kiradjian, are honored to welcome Lockton, the world's largest privately owned global insurance broker, and Dragonfly Strategists, the hospitality industry’s leading boutique advisory and services firm, to the invitation-only club.
“We are extremely grateful to both Lockton & Dragonfly for their unwavering support of our association over the past few years. It is obvious that they care deeply for the owners, creators, and operators of this sector of hospitality and have a great sense of pride for their organizations and what they have each built. I know they are as excited as we are to include them in this prestigious membership category and welcome them with open arms and hearts,” stated Frances Kiradjian, Founder & CEO of BLLA.
Boutique hospitality is a movement that is paving the way for an immersive, human-centered, and reimagined era of “the boutique lifestyle.” This movement would not exist without leaders who embody the spirit of boutique and believe in boldly advancing the industry’s cultural impact and category innovation.
Andrew Azzarello, Business Insurance and Risk Advisor at Lockton, states, “BLLA is a trailblazer in the hospitality industry. Their dedication to promoting boutique hotels aligns perfectly with our mission to support those dedicated to excellence and individuality. Lockton is thrilled to partner with BLLA and share a common commitment to independence and the belief that true innovation comes from those who are not afraid to challenge the status quo.”
Caryl Helsel, Founder & CEO of Dragonfly Strategists, states, “We are delighted to join as new members of BLLA’s Inner Circle Club. Joining this prestigious group enables us to further our commitment to the boutique, lifestyle, and luxury community, and aligns Dragonfly with some of the best, like-minded professionals in the industry. We look forward to our expanded partnership.”
BLLA is also thrilled to announce that current ICC members, Nestlé Premium Waters and Greenberg Traurig, will be renewing their membership in BLLA’s highly vetted network.
Peter Wright, Division Manager at Nestlé Premium Waters, states, “Nestlé Premium Waters’ San Pellegrino & Acqua Panna brands are delighted to continue our partnership with BLLA as Inner Circle Club members. The unique work BLLA does to bring together boutique hotel industry leaders creates a wonderful opportunity to cultivate new relationships with like-minded hospitality professionals and furthers our ambition to help elevate the guest experience.”
Samantha Ahuja, a shareholder at global law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP in Washington, D.C., states, “Greenberg Traurig is pleased to be a part of BLLA’s Inner Circle Club and to continue to support the organization’s efforts in championing the needs of boutique properties worldwide. The boutique and luxury segment of the hospitality industry is dynamic and growing, and we look forward to helping the association advance its goals.”
Lockton and Dragonfly Strategists will unite with the best in boutique to continue the global mission of BLLA:
To counteract corporate monotony and champion creativity. To forget the forgettable and forge the once-in-a-lifetime. To break down doors and link the most brilliant minds in the industry. To build on our now 10-year legacy of reimagining the multifaceted future of boutique—together.
Please join us in welcoming these new ICC members. BLLA's Inner Circle Club is comprised of trailblazers in their respective spaces whose overall impact will only serve to propel the association and the boutique hospitality industry to new heights. ICC membership includes top sponsorship of BLLA conferences, Committee participation, advertising & marketing benefits, and much more. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
2023 Women in Travel & Hospitality Conference to be held March 2 & 3
Presentations & Interactive Workshops focus on: Controlling Your Circle of Influence, Mentoring in the Tech Age, the Purpose Economy, Making the Most of Intuition, Embracing the Wisdom of Aging, Experiential Branding, Financial Health & more
Los Angeles, CA – The Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network (TIEWN) announces that their 2023 Women in Travel and Hospitality Conference, powered by The Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA), will take place March 2 & 3 at the Westlake Village Inn (Los Angeles).
With a theme of “Finding Your Circle of Influence,” the two-day event will also focus on support for women in the travel and hospitality industry who are raising capital and expanding their businesses, as well as self-growth and a deeper dive into the industry’s formidable technology solutions.
The conference facilitators and attendees will also discuss tools & strategies to help meet both professional and personal goals. The event, which has been held annually since 2013, is supported by a membership of more than 13,000 women around the globe, as well as the additional reach that BLLA has in hospitality.
As the travel industry continues its robust rebound from a devastating global pandemic, the reality is that women represent 54% of the workforce in the tourism sector, (but only 20% of women hold management positions), and less than 4% hold leadership or C-level positions. Also, an undercurrent of ageism continues to prevent many women in hospitality from reaching their potential. TIEWN exists so that females across the travel industry spectrum can draw from their personal experiences to empower and support one another to create fulfilling careers as well as work/life balance.
Day 1 is the Conference portion of the event while Day 2 is formatted like a Retreat – with purposely designed interactive sessions & workshops, showcasing TIEWN’s educational resources and its newly launched mentorship program.
Bold topics on this year’s agenda include:
Ignoring Gender as a Tool for Success
Maneuvering the Purpose Economy
Secrets to Recruiting Gen Z
Trusting Your Intuition
Personal Finances, Raising Capital & Boosting Sales
Mentorship in the Technology Space
Crafting an Economically Viable & Cutting-Edge Wellness Program for Your Hotel
Keys to Experiential Branding
The Beauty of Aging
Women in various sectors within the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries attend the event, including travel advisors, general managers, owners & entrepreneurs, hospitality developers, marketing & sales executives, tour operators, tourism offices, corporate travel managers, cruise line executives, travel and hospitality technology, premium service & solution providers to travel and hospitality, and students.
Tickets are available here. There are discounts for official members of TIEWN or BLLA. If you would like to become a member to receive the Member rate, apply here for TIEWN and/or here for BLLA. Student pricing is available. Please contact email@example.com. There will be an exclusive networking platform for attendees to build their own personal profiles, as well as connect with each other and receive communication such as the agenda and other announcements during the conference.
Sponsorships are also available and offer a range of digital and in-person benefits, such as speaking opportunities and marketing promotions before and during the event. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. The network is grateful for the support of the current TOP SPONSORS, including: DIRECTV HOSPITALITY, Nestle Premium Waters, Dragonfly Strategists, Lockton, Greenberg Traurig, and Selfbook.
About TIEWN – Founded in 2008 by Frances Kiradjian, Founder & CEO of BLLA (The Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association), the Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network (TIEWN) was created to facilitate global connections between female hospitality, travel, and tourism executives. TIEWN’s more than 13,000 global members have chosen their life’s work in hotel & lodging, airlines, cruise lines, car rental, travel agencies, corporate travel management, tour operation, rail, and travel technology. With a goal of collaboration and mutual support, TIEWN is in sync with other travel and hospitality organizations, working to improve the industry through the dynamic participation of professional women. TIEWN.com
Media Contact – Kim S. Marshall, email@example.com
Group image from the 2018 Women in Travel & Hospitality Conference by TIEWN
BLLA Relaunches StayBoutique™ As Booking & Media Platform
Board Announced to Oversee First Authenticated Selection of Independently Owned Boutique Hotels, Alternative Lodging, and Small Businesses Targeting Discerning Travelers
With the boutique hotel sector experiencing a 7.7% growth compared to 2021, the mother-daughter duo of Frances and Ariela Kiradjian, who brought the world BLLA (Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association), announced that 2023 will see an expansion and enhancement of their referral site, stay-boutique.com, to a booking and media platform that vets and verifies boutique hotels for consumers. As they have done with the other divisions of BLLA, the Kiradjians have invited hospitality industry thought-leaders to join the new board of StayBoutique™ who have experiences from companies such as Expedia, Saudi Tourism Authority, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, and more.
Boutique hotels are typically stylish, multi-concept hotels, situated in attractive destinations, that offer individualized service to their guests while being owned independently of big hotel chains. Interestingly, the enhanced site will also include alternative lodgings fitting the boutique lifestyle as well as boutique businesses such as craft coffee companies, restaurants/bars, spas/wellness facilities, retail, museums, fitness centers, and more, all of which are independently owned establishments that StayBoutique already highlights on its site and in its CityGuides.
Although there are a number of existing booking sites that have a selection of boutique hotels, many include improperly tagged hotels that are not at all boutique. With BLLA clarifying what qualifies as a true boutique hotel, their StayBoutique is the first booking site 100% focused on the sector. As the site’s logo delightfully exemplifies, these will be “cherry-picked,” approved & verified boutique hotels for consumers who seek out the boutique lifestyle.
StayBoutique also defines itself as a Media Platform since it will include interviews, travel stories, commentary, videos, a podcast, and other storytelling tools that highlight the boutique lifestyle, including features in the company’s print and digital editions of StayBoutique Magazine. The multi-platform stories will underscore that these one-of-a-kind travel experiences – including supporting small businesses in the destination – are the heart and soul of the travel industry.
The collective travel industry knowledge of the new Board will be a driving force for helping StayBoutique™ become a major voice in travel. StayBoutique’s new Board of Advisors includes:
Melissa Maher -- Most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Vice President of Marketing and Industry Engagement at Expedia Group. Melissa is a forward-thinking strategist with a multifaceted perspective and deep insights into global marketing, public relations, communications, diversity & inclusion, technology, and commercial relationship-building across the hospitality sector.
John Wallis -- Principal at Rule No. 1, a consultancy that helps organizations define and truly live their Purpose and Values focusing on leadership behavior. John is Past CMO and Global Head of Brand Strategy for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Dorothy Dowling -- Past CMO of Best Western International, a C Suite Marketing and Commercial Leader, Public Company Board Director, a leader in global digital, E-commerce, and loyalty marketing, as well as global commercial B2B expertise.
Edie Rodriguez -- Member of the Board of Directors Saudi Tourism Authority, former CEO of Crystal Cruises & former Chairwoman of the Americas for Ponant Cruises. Edie is a decisive leader with extensive experience in the global cruise, travel, hospitality, luxury, and technology industries.
Caryl Helsel -- Founder & CEO of Dragonfly Strategists, a holistic advisory firm specializing in commercial, IT, and operations advisory. Helsel is a specialist in commercial and IT strategy, business and relationship development, and was recently awarded the inaugural TIEWN (Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network) Fearless Woman of the Year Award.
Hilda Delgado -- Chief Financial Officer of Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, a leading luxury and lifestyle brand and hotel management company recognized for its collection of luxury and urban hotels, voted “Top Ten Hotel Brand” in Travel & Leisure magazine.
Spending on accommodation is the Global Tourism Industry's biggest source of revenue, accounting for 19.0% of industry revenue in 2021 and even more in 2022. The Boutique Hotel Industry revenue in 2021 was $12.4 billion, with projected growth (2021-2026) at 11.1%. (Source: IBISWorld, Global Tourism, Industry Report 2021)
“The boutique hotel sector accounts for nearly 5,500 hotels across the U.S. alone,” said Christian E. Hardigree, hospitality industry educator and Regional Chancellor, University of South Florida St. Petersburg. “The pandemic has driven travelers toward the boutique market, which is expected to rake in $16.9 billion in revenue this year."
According to BLLA founder, Frances Kiradjian, market drivers for the boutique hotel sector include emerging tourism and corporate industries across various regions, rising disposable income, increasing standard of living, and the rise in preference for unique hotel experiences. Consumer feedback shows they also enjoy the local focus, attention to detail, and personalized service afforded to them at boutique hotels.
Supported by the establishment of the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) in 2009, boutique hotels have emerged over the last decade to successfully compete with larger brands that were previously considered unconquerable ‘giants’ in the hospitality landscape. However, since there was no exact definition of what a boutique hotel is, there was no complete list of vetted & verified authentic global boutique hotels, until now.
The StayBoutique™ website allows users to book a hotel of their choosing directly, thereby establishing a relationship with the hotel from the first interaction. In the role of “matchmaker,” StayBoutique acts as the client’s advocate and a valuable partner to the hotel. The hotels will also have the opportunity to become an official member of BLLA in order to take advantage of their annual leadership and hotel investment events and to take advantage of a multitude of resources -- from vendor discounts to accessing a portal exclusive to hotel members, enabling them to connect and learn from each other.
First launched in 2018, BLLA’s (Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association) stay-boutique.com referral site will be expanded and enhanced in 2023 to vet and verify over 30,000 boutique hotels around the world for possible inclusion in the booking and media platform. Approved hotels will be searchable on the site and have the ability to upgrade their listing to receive benefits, including being featured first in search. The mission is to leverage the legacy of BLLA and its unique network and to assist travelers in their pursuit of truly one-of-a-kind experiences, offering them the highest standard of boutique hotels and brands from global destinations. Under the guidance of BLLA, the official association to the world’s independent boutique hotels, StayBoutique™ is dedicated to leading the modern renaissance of the Boutique Lifestyle Industry.
Media Contact: Kim S. Marshall, firstname.lastname@example.org