An inspiring and impactful breakfast seminar hosted by SSP and featuring some of the industry’s leading women executives kicked off the second day of the conference.
FAB Women, the brainchild of The Moodie Davitt Report Vice President Sales & Events Sarah Genest, is an initiative to recognise, encourage and develop the participation of women in the airport food & beverage sector.
Power panel: Topics such as support, mentorship and overcoming obstacles were discussed during the breakfast seminar
Linda Valdez Thompson: “This is a partnership between men and women”
The session was titled ‘Women in Leadership – Personal and Professional Experiences and Challenges of FAB Women’, and was moderated by SSP America Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Communications Lana Cramer.
The panel comprised Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Vice President Concessions Zenola Campbell and Executive Vice President Linda Valdez Thompson, Toronto Pearson International Airport Associate Director, Commercial Development Giovanna Verrilli and Tampa International Vice President of Airport Concessions and Commercial Parking Laurie Noyes.
Valdez Thompson discussed her company’s journey to creating a culture of inclusion, which began with regulatory compliance and has evolved through training and mentorship programmes. “Now it’s about belonging and feeling like you are an important part of the organisation, bringing value and all of who you are to work every day.”
“This is a partnership between men and women. It is about women working hard to be included, and men being open minded to that inclusion.”
“It is about women working hard to be included, and men being open minded to that inclusion” – Linda Valdez Thompson
Zenola Campbell: Gain respect through hard work
Giovanna Verrilli: Surround yourself with a supportive circle
Campbell told an inspirational story of her greatest accomplishment – graduating from college despite a myriad of challenges and obstacles. “I gained respect through hard work – this is important as a female in any industry.”
On what senior management can do to ensure equality, Noyes noted that it wasn’t enough to settle for just having one woman in the room. “This does not make an impact on the boy’s room,” she said. Instead there should be rigorous initiatives in place, and above all, a genuine desire for progress.
Verrilli was on hand to offer some excellent advice to delegates. “Surround yourself with a supportive circle, find a mentor and give back by becoming a mentor,” she said. “Also, make time for yourself – and don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Cramer asked how the role of women in senior management and the need for clear equality initiatives had evolved over time, eliciting some intriguing and often inspiring insights. She also asked the audience about the direction FAB Women should take. Whatever form that may be, it seems sure to grow in the future.
Laurie Noyes: There must be genuine desire for progress
Lana Cramer: Looking forward to a bright future for FAB Women
FAB is published monthly by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd).
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