BLLA to empower women at Executive Women’s Conference


BEVERLY HILLS, CA—Given the current climate of female empowerment, the fifth edition of the Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network (TIEWN) Executive Women’s Conference is happening at the right time.

Aptly taking place on International Women’s Day, March 8th, at the SLS Hotel here, the conference will bring members of the Boutique & Lodging Lifestyle Association’s TIEWN together to “focus on elevating the voice of women in an industry that benefits so much from their impassioned efforts,” according to the association’s founder/CEO Frances Kiradjian.

Kiradjian founded the conference because at other events, there would be no women on stage. “My goal was to change that,” she said. “We are committed to creating a forum to encourage discussion of issues pertaining to women in tourism and hospitality. Our Executive Women’s Conference continues to highlight and project the success of leading industry females of today and tomorrow.”

Speakers include Kiradjian; Edie Rodriguez, Americas Brand chairman at Ponant Luxury Cruises; Caroline MacDonald, VP of sales at Rosewood Hotels; Wendy Burk, founder of Cadence Travel (a Virtuoso agency); and Hotel Business Editor Christina Trauthwein. “These industry veterans, along with many others, will lead a series of thought-provoking panels, keynotes and interviews, sure to inspire forward motion in both the travel and hospitality sectors,” Kiradjian said.

The conference’s agenda will explore a variety of topics, including technology and travel agents of tomorrow. “Our agenda for the day will cover a range of topics pertinent to those who have experience navigating the travel and hospitality industries,” said Kiradjian.

One topic on the agenda is “Act II—Life After Corporate Life.” Kiradjian explained, “What replaces your motivators when you’ve reached the top rung of the corporate ladder? Our presenters have more than half-a-dozen decades of leadership experience behind them and will be sharing how they navigated this less talked about, but trying transition.”

In addition to the educational opportunities of the conference, attendees will be able to network in sessions specifically designed for that, in addition to working breaks and lunches, and a cocktail hour at the end of the day. “I hope that attendees walk away with new network contacts, feel like they are backed up in their careers by other women in the industry and they have a lot of takeaways to help them in their careers,” said Kiradjian.

“It’s amazing to see how the next generation of women in travel and hospitality are realizing that they can be leaders too,” added Ariela Kiradjian, COO, BLLA and co-founder of Stay Boutique. “It’s important though that we support each other or else we give in to the female stereotype.”

It was not a coincidence that the conference was scheduled for International Women’s Day. “International Women’s Day was founded to commemorate the fight for women’s rights,” said Frances Kiradjian. “As of 2018, we’ve come so far in our quest for gender parity, and it raises the question: What’s next? The Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network, at its core, is a support system for women who find themselves navigating the professional landscape at the leadership levels of travel, tourism and hospitality-facing roles. We have already broken through the glass ceiling. Now, we’re here to facilitate the highest level of achievement for our members and to continually raise the bar.” HB