With 2020 finally over it feels like a collective exhale, can be released. Even though the following year will inevitably have its challenges, it is the ideal time to pause, reassess and find reassurance in yourself. Seeking a supportive group of like-minded people is one way to start the year off on a positive note.
New Friendships in Unexpected Circumstances
Alessandra, the founder of Women In Travel CIC, is an experienced mentor and coach. Through WIT she has spearheaded mentorship programmes to support marginalised women and women struggling with unemployment in the wake of the pandemic. WIT created, tried and tested virtual mentorship circles throughout 2020. The meetings brought together women from all backgrounds and disciplines, from within the travel sector. It provided a unique opportunity to connect women in a time when human connection became nearly impossible.
“Sharing stories, supporting and being supported by fellow female professionals from around the world has given me a first-hand view of the individual challenges that we are dealing with, as well as those we share. As we continue to navigate the COVID pandemic and our future, the group provides a sense of global comradery and determination to not only survive but create opportunity and a shared vision for ourselves and our industry.”
After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback, WIT continued to support women throughout the pandemic by running multiple mentorship circles throughout 2020, pro-bono. The groups opened up space for honest dialogue around topics such as redundancy, stress and the future of the travel industry. It became evident that constructive conversations were the way forward.
Support While Seeking Employment
Women across the workforce have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. From small business owners to employees of large corporations, the strain has rippled across the travel and hospitality sectors. The urgent need for a response to the situation was the driving force behind creating a mentorship group. It became a community for women to network and support each other while searching for employment.
“The Women in Travel mentoring circle was a valuable resource for help and advice. It was great to network with other women in the travel industry who could share their experiences, and it became a source of support that I really appreciated having during my job hunt.”
Mentorship Can Change How You Look at a Situation
It is easy to feel isolated while in lockdown, especially since many travel industry employees have been furloughed, or made redundant. The mentorship groups have provided a small piece of refuge for the members to bounce ideas off and verbalise their problems.
“I was really happy to be involved in this kind of thing for the first time and enjoyed the support and solidarity I felt from the group. You’re not in it alone and I loved making new friends and getting new ideas!”
The recovery of the travel industry will take time, which is why women from the sector must be supported throughout. The new mentorship groups utilise virtual peer-to-peer mentorship. Instead of a casual conversation, the groups are structured to provide growth and clarity, which is achieved through outcome-based solutions.
The Launch of New Mentorship Memberships
There is not a one-size-fits-all solution, which is why WIT has created different memberships for the mentorship circles in 2021. There are four memberships, each of which are constructed around a different set of needs. The sessions which last an hour, are moderated by a professional from WIT. Each one is available at an affordable cost so that it is possible to provide mentorship groups on a stable, ongoing basis.
- The Skinny – this membership includes four sessions and is best for those that need complete flexibility.
- The Mid-Rise – the second membership contains six moderated sessions which are perfect for those seeking consistent feedback.
- The High-Rise – this programme is ideal for women that want to enhance their performance and take their ideas to the next level. It includes eight sessions and a one-to-one coaching session with a WIT expert.
The memberships range from four to eight sessions, each operating monthly. Depending on the need for flexibility and your goals, there is something to suit everyone, whether you are looking to meet likeminded people or to discuss how to achieve your career aspirations. Each membership includes the opportunity to share your ideas, voice your worries and receive practical guidance in a non-judgmental setting.
Mentorship Can Bring You Closer to Your Goals
Having goals and aims is productive, but it can feel stifling to create a plan to achieve them. That is why it can be relieving to find others that make it feel ok to ask questions and seek advice. Having a soundboard to discuss your plans provides an opportunity to test your ideas before implementing them.
The memberships have been crafted around research and feedback so they can facilitate dialogue that is thought-provoking, uplifting and useful. The intention is that each member can walk away feeling confident, empowered and having made industry connections.
Whether your goals revolve around securing employment, setting up a business or improving your existing business, the mentorship groups are useful for every woman. The group provides a place to find reassurance, support and to receive valuable insight. It is a virtual haven for women to come together and utilise their skills, to help each other to succeed.