Inspiring Women on the Power of Travel

Inspiring Women on the Power of Travel

Inspiring Women on the Power of Travel

ONE OF THE BEST THINGS about travel is that, at its most inspiring, it allows us to celebrate diversity, to embrace our differences (and similarities) as we see the world. In the wise words of Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

When it comes to the travel industry, however, there is still a lot of work to be done concerning diversity and gender equality. For instance, the general workforce of hotels are primarily women, a fact not reflected in stats for leadership and C-suite levels. But that’s not to say there are no trailblazers to be found. To mark International Women’s Day 2024, we speak to four inspiring female leaders in the travel industry on their love of travel and the trip that impacted them the most. 

Candice D’Cruz, International Women’s Day 2024

Backstory

Candice D’Cruz remembers the exact moment when she decided to jump head first into the hospitality industry. While working as a marketing and communications manager for Burj Khalifa over a decade ago, she was intrigued at the attention to detail required to open the Armani Hotel Dubai within the iconic towers. “Until then, my work had primarily focused on products and aligning them with brand ethos. I vividly recall turning to a colleague and asking, ‘Is there a specific set of qualifications needed to dive into the hospitality sector?’ 

She soon discovered how welcoming the industry was, and her career leap took her from working in Starwood and Marriott in the Middle East to a more senior role at Hilton Asia-Pacific based out of Singapore. “Communications is a specialism flush with female leaders, but this is not true for all areas in hospitality. A personal mission of mine is to foster female leadership across the various divisions including engineering, F&B, operations and more.” Throughout her career, the mother of two has also advocated for work-life integration by emphasizing the importance of not sacrificing one aspect for the other. 

Hammam ritual at Hilton Maldives
Hammam ritual, Amingiri Spa. Courtesy of Hilton Maldives Amingiri Resort

It’s no surprise that she sees travel as an instrument of learning for her children. “For me, travel is all about human connection. Travel helps nurture global citizenship in my children by focusing on experiences over nationality. It’s a means to broaden minds, fostering an appreciation for the undiscovered; it also cultivates values such as tolerance, kindness, and inclusiveness,” she says. 

The trip that changed her

Cherry Blossoms with Sunset in Japan
Cherry blossoms with sunset. Photo by GettyImages/© copyright 2011 Sharleen Chao

Out of the many trips she’s taken over the years, the one that sticks with her the most is a visit to Kyoto, where she savored the details and traditions that characterizes a journey to this ancient city. “While you often hear about the beauty of Japanese history and culture in movies and books, experiencing it first-hand truly takes your breath away. Whether it’s witnessing the elegance of cherry blossoms, observing the tea ceremony, or marveling at a chef’s meticulous preparation of fresh fish, every layer leaves a lasting impression.”

Hermione Joye, International Women’s Day 2024

Backstory

From doing an advertising internship in New York to working in tech at Google, Joye has led a very colorful career so far. Travel has always been a big part of her work, and it’s also a personal passion for the Singapore-based Australian mother of three. “Travel is such a powerful tool, in that it facilitates transformational experiences and creates incredibly meaningful lifelong memories. It makes up a huge proportion of, as Glenn Fogel beautifully puts it, “the memories that flood your mind,” and I can certainly say that it has changed me as a person.” 

In terms of merging travel and tech, a meeting with the CEO of Expedia Group at a summit in Silicon Valley talking about Google Ads products became what she calls a ‘career-affirming incident’ and an ‘a-ha moment’. She realized the depth of the impact that Google could have when partnering with clients, both to their businesses and to their consumers. “Even now, years later, I feel a deep sense of pride to be working in an industry that is so consistently on the cutting edge of technology and brings such meaning and fulfillment to so many people,” she says about her travel-centric role at the tech giant. 

Silicon Valley around San Jose
Silicon Valley around San Jose. Photo by GettyImages/Charles O’Rear

This year alone, Joye has already visited five different countries and describes travel as freedom. Joye says, “Without travel, life would be dull. Travel allows you to learn through doing, seeing and feeling. Travel allows you to step away from your day-to-day life, to unwind, reconnect with yourself and at times, if you want, be a totally different person!”

The trip that changed her

Travel by train in Europe
Photo by GettyImages/Zbynek Pospisil

Joye says that backpacking in Europe as a 20-year-old was one of her most impactful trips ever. She took every mode of transport to see the continent—trains, buses, planes and more—while also learning to be independent. “I grew up a lot. I had a much better understanding of what it meant to be self-reliant, and faith in my own ability to take care of myself.” After the trip, Joye came up with the idea for her first start up: a digital personalized gift buying service called presently.com.au.

Mai Vejjajiva Timblick, International Women’s Day 2024

Backstory

Having lived in more countries you can count on one hand—namely Thailand, Canada, Belgium, France, the U.S., the U.K. and more—Mai Vejjajiva Timblick is no stranger to travel. So perhaps it makes sense that she’s in an industry that encourages people to see the world. 

“Hotels have always been part of my life. I learned what makes people feel at home and the minutiae of design details made to evoke the feeling of belonging.” Her extensive exposure to different countries and cultures has led to her move from investment banking into branding—first working at luxury home furnishings and fabrics at Jim Thompson, where she traveled to meet talented designers and architects as well as to see projects in Paris, New York, Tokyo and beyond. After 20 years at the company, she took on a chief global branding officer role at another Thai giant, Sansiri, before moving to The Standard, a hotel brand known for design-led properties that break traditions.

The Standard Hua Hin
Courtesy of The Standard Hua Hin

As chief creative officer, Timblick ensures that The Standard remains as distinctive and forward-thinking as they expand globally. “This means creating compelling narratives for every new hotel that shapes the guest experience, cultivating the brand’s cultural programming and looking into the burgeoning retail business,” she shares. As one of the few female C-suite leaders in the space, Timblick believes in the power of open-mindedness and celebrating the unique qualities of individuals and their personalities to help them thrive. 

The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon
Courtesy of The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon

The trip that changed her

Naturally, her role takes her to the four corners of the globe. She calls travel “addictive” and loves meeting new people, experiencing new smells, seeing grit and beauty wherever she goes. While she’s circled the world many times over, Timblick’s most impactful “trip” is not about the distance. “Having always been a city girl all my life and although I still spend many days in London, the “trip” of moving to live in the countryside has been one of the most transformative experiences. Here, the connection with nature, having inner peace and being present is a new but true source of inspiration. This shift of gear has been a meaningful one.” 

Kristina Snaith-Lense, International Women’s Day 2024

Backstory

Hospitality runs in Snaith-Lense’s blood and she knew she wanted to be in the industry from a very young age. “My late grandfather owned a men’s tailoring shop in the old Hilton Hotel in Hong Kong, and every weekend he would treat my brothers and I to our favorite breakfast of pancakes in the coffee shop, which is where we were introduced to the culture of service. My grandfather was the kindest person who took a genuine interest in people and took great care of his own people. He continues to be my inspiration daily in the way I lead our teams, and he is why I fell in love with our industry from childhood.”

After graduating from the prestigious Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, Snaith-Lense worked at Mandarin Oriental, Ritz-Carlton and Grand Hyatt, before joining Swire in 2012. After almost a decade, she eventually rose to the position of general manager in 2021. A true global citizen—she’s lived in several countries and is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian—she is the perfect leader to look after the discerning clientele of the Upper House, a hotel she stewarded to rank in Hong Kong’s top 10 of Travel+Leisure Southeast Asia’s Luxury Awards and No. 4 on World’s 50 Best Hotels. 

Sky Lounge, The Upper House
Sky Lounge. Courtesy of The Upper House

Her deep love of travel is something she imparts to her three children, as she sees it providing life’s most important lessons. “There are so many fascinating destinations within mere hours of Hong Kong, so my boys have had the opportunity to connect with different ways of life from a young age. I show them that it’s really the people that make a place, and encourage them to find what resonates with them. Experiencing travel through their big eyes makes every moment more special—the simple act of going to a local bakery and having an egg tart becomes an adventure!” 

The trip that changed her

A road trip in desert, Los Angeles, California, USA
Roadtripping in California. Photo by GetttyImages/Adam C Bartlett

One of the most transformative trips was her honeymoon in 2016, planned by her husband Andre, which was a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway. “We stayed in a different city each night and got to experience quaint bed and breakfasts and little lodges along the way. One of the highlights was one of the most amazing meals I’ve ever had in my life at the Stonehouse Restaurant, set inside a 19th-century citrus packing house on the grounds of the San Ysidro Ranch.”


Hero image courtesy of The Standard.






Written By

Kissa Castañeda

Kissa Castañeda

Kissa Castañeda is an editor and lifestyle journalist based between Europe and Asia. Her love for travel was sparked by her father, a pilot, and to date she has called more than five cities home and travelled to 60 countries and counting. Formerly Editorial Director – Homes and Travel of Tatler Asia, she’s always on the lookout for beautifully designed ..Read More

ONE OF THE BEST THINGS about travel is that, at its most inspiring, it allows us to celebrate diversity, to embrace our differences (and similarities) as we see the world. In the wise words of Mark Twain, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” When it comes to the travel industry, however, there is…

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