Can you describe your job for us?
My role of Director of Women's Sales and Marketing was created in March 2006. One of my colleagues in corporate communications who had a passion for women's causes was keeping up on trends in the women's market and began paying attention to what other companies were doing in this arena. She started asking questions internally. How many of our passengers are women? How many are frequent fliers? Subsequently, one of our VP of Sales, another women's advocate, began doing research into the marketplace, talked to several marketing gurus and basically determined we were missing out on a real opportunity. She found that no airline had specifically claimed the space of women travelers. Soon after, my position was created and that same year we also launched a diverse segment marketing team to bring the focus of diversity to the business unit with the goal of integrating segment marketing. My role is to facilitate and focus the company's efforts towards women travelers.
What do you like best about this?
I get to facilitate the connections of incredible women doing incredible things. I work a lot with women's business organizations and the spirit of camaraderie among these women is amazing. To work with a group that asks "How can I help?" knowing that business will grow from that connection is really empowering and rewarding. Empowering women as they travel is wonderful.
What women inspire you?
My mother, number one, who struggled with health issues all her life, but had such a love for life and a natural curiosity. All you had to say to her was "would you like to?" and she would say yes! I also had a high school Spanish teacher who taught the joys of learning and living more than simply the language and focused on different cultures. She introduced to me to a whole world out there waiting to be explored.
You must travel a lot! Where are your favorite destinations?
Sydney is incredible. I love Europe, Italy especially. China was fascinating. A highlight was trudging up the Great Wall of China and imagining the number of people and work it took to build this amazing structure. An inspiring trip I took recently was to Dubai and Oman where I was evaluating a women's travel club - an organization that puts together trips just for women. There were 18 women of all ages and it was founded by a woman who was tired of her husband not wanting to go where she wanted to go on vacation. So she decided to start a company that catered to women with the same interest that needed other people to travel with.
What advice do you have for women in business?
Learn as much as you can about the company you work for, the industry you're in, and your competitors. The power of relationships is so important. Your network can provide access to endless opportunities and information and it makes your work experience fulfilling, especially when you share a history. Seek out people you admire and ask them to mentor you, it's invaluable.
How did you get started doing this?
My background all relates to travel. In my 20's, I had broken my ankle skiing and had time to think about what I wanted to do with my career. I was reading the Sunday paper and saw an ad for a travel agent school and I knew that's what I wanted to do. I completed the travel agent program and never looked back. I started off as a travel counselor and then worked for a hotel chain and car rental agency and eventually ended up working for AirCal which was purchased by American Airlines in 1987. I moved to the Dallas Ft. Worth area and started in reservations. Since then, I've held numerous positions of increasing responsibility in several departments including reservations, human resources and passenger sales. When the women's position became available, I jumped at the opportunity to lead this initiative.
What is your favorite movie? Some Like It Hot
This interview was originally featured in YWTF’s bi-weekly e-newsletter, Younger Women’s Movement, on February 20, 2008.
You can sign up to receive the Younger Women’s Movement at www.ywtf.org
The Younger Women's Task Force (YWTF), a project of the National Council of Women's organizations, is a nationwide, diverse and inclusive grassroots movement dedicated to organizing younger women and their allies to take action on issues that matter most to them. By and for younger women, YWTF works both within and beyond the women's movement, engaging all who are invested in advancing the rights of younger women.
Through its 8 chapters, YWTF members are working to: 1) Provide a stronger voice in the policy making process for women in their 20's and 30's; 2) Increase the impact of younger women activists through the articulation of, and collaboration on, a common agenda; 3) Create a culture of inclusion where decision-making and power are practiced collectively, and members from diverse backgrounds participate in all levels of YWTF; 4) Define and develop the next generation of women leaders; and 5) Create a local and national network for peer mentoring, networking and sharing resources.
To find out more about YWTF, please email Shannon Lynberg at shannonL@ncwo-online.org
The Younger Women's Task Force (YWTF) is proud to announce the 2008-2009 Alexis Geneva Knox Fellowship in support of Younger Women's Leadership, Scholarship, and Advocacy.
This 12-month fellowship will be awarded in June of 2008. The fellowship will provide 1-3 younger women with a chance to pursue artistic, activist, skills building, and/or career advancement opportunities as well as financial assistance, mentoring, and professional leadership consultation.
About the Fellowship
The Alexis Knox Fellowship is an innovative national program designed to support younger women as they build their leadership capacity and support the YWTF community.
The Alexis Knox Fellowship is named in honor of Alexis Knox, a founding member of YWTF and a younger woman whose leadership potential was cut short when she past away in 2006. Still, at 22 years old, Alexis was a seasoned activist at Barnard College and in her volunteer work. She was the first to register for YWTF's founding meet-up, served as co-director of the YWTF NYC Chapter and was an integral member of our community. She will be greatly missed and in establishing this Fellowship, her commitment to women's leadership will live on.
Fellowship Fund: Selected fellows will receive a grant from the Alexis Knox Fellowship Fund of $1,200 to $3,000 to support leadership activities through individual and collaborative projects. Fellows are encouraged to pursue activities that enhance their public leadership skills, reach diverse constituencies, and build community. The Fund also offers fellows the opportunity to collaborate with others within the YWTF community and expand their work beyond their specific chapter city.
Fellowship proposals must directly support the YWTF community. The activities must support younger women and must be inline with YWTF's mission, vision, and values.
Application and Selection Process: All applicants who are active YWTF members must receive a recommendation from their Chapter Director. Applicants who are not active members must attend a chapter meeting, interview with the local chapter director, and submit a letter of recommendation. Applicants who live in cities with no YWTF presence must submit two letters of recommendation. You can download the full application at www.ywtf.org. All application materials must be submitted via email by 5:00PM on May 19th. YWTF Knox Fellow applicants will be reviewed by the YWTF National Coordinator, the Coordinating Board, and the Advisory Board. Selected applicants will be notified in the month of June 2008. Additional contact may be made with fellowship applicants during selection process.
If you have any questions regarding the Knox Fellowship, contact Shannon Lynberg, National Coordinator, at shannonL@ncwo-online.org or 202-293-4506.