power of women in leadership panel discussion tourism

The Power of Female Leaders - Women In Leadership

FREE Live Panel Discussion: The Power of Women In Leadership

Women-owned and women-led businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors in the enterprise world. Help us celebrate Women’s History Month and learn how to build a more profitable, resilient and diverse organization.

LIVE Panel Discussion March 24 at 1PM Eastern.

Topics include:

  • how to diversity your business

  • where opportunities for women leaders are available

  • how the mentors and business advisors can help

As always, this free discussion is open for everyone to attend.

Join The Conversation


Rebecca Mark

Director, Institute for Women’s Leadership

Professor, Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Rebecca Mark, is the Director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership and a Professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality at Rutgers University. Formerly, she was the Chair of the English Department and Associate Dean and Director of the Center for Academic Equity at Tulane University.

Professor Mark is a scholar and professor whose research addresses southern writing and cultural representations of trauma. Her books include: The Dragon's Blood: Feminist Intertextuality in Eudora Welty's Fiction (University Press of Mississippi 1994), and Ersatz America: Hidden Traces, Graphic Texts, and Mending of Democracy (University of Virginia Press, 2014). Professor Mark is presently completing The Radical Welty: A Private Address and Owl Eyes, a book of original graphic inscriptions.

Professor Mark was a Posse Mentor (2010-2014), the founding Executive Director of the Newcomb College Institute (2006-2008), and a founding member of the Deep South Regional Humanities Center (2001-2003).  Professor Mark received the Public Humanities Achievement Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council for directing the civil rights conference Unsettling Memories (2004), the Weiss Presidential Fellow for teaching in 2014, and the Greenberg Family Professor in Social Entrepreneurship 2014-present.


Colie Edison

Chief Growth Officer


Colie Edison joined the WNBA as the league’s first-ever Chief Growth Officer earlier this year.  Edison will lead the development and execution of strategic growth initiatives as the league enters its 26th season.   

Edison comes to the WNBA from the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), where she served as the first female Chief Executive Officer in the organization’s 64-year history.  Her responsibilities included overseeing all business aspects of planning and executing key initiatives, including the PBA’s groundbreaking partnership with FOX Sports.

In addition, Edison was also the Chief Customer Officer of Bowlero Corporation, leading all consumer-facing strategic growth initiatives and overseeing global marketing efforts for the world’s largest owner and operator of bowling centers, with 300+ locations in North America.  She joined Bowlero as Vice President of Marketing in 2013 before being promoted to Chief Customer Officer in 2017.

A native of New Jersey, Edison graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Communications from Tulane University.


Sophia Hyder Hock

Chief Diversity Officer

Destinations International

Hock has spent 20 years developing strategy, training, facilitation, and coaching services on topics pertaining to diversity and social inclusion, gender empowerment, community engagement and outreach, emotional intelligence, and cultural awareness for clients in the international development and travel industries. Prior to joining Destinations International, Hock was the founder and CEO of Papilia, an organization dedicated to developing tailored equity, diversity and inclusion strategies for the travel industry to attract new audiences while respecting cultural heritage and diverse perspectives.

She has proven experience and success working with international and domestic teams and managing multi-million-dollar bids for participatory governance, economic growth, agriculture, health, and conflict mitigation efforts in Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and Africa for bilateral and multilateral donors. Hock holds a master's degree in International Development Policy from Duke University and a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. 

Destinations International is committed to transforming destination communities through thought leadership, best practices and tool-based initiatives on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles so their destinations are true reflections of their communities.


Melissa Cherry

Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Miles Partnership

In this new executive role at Miles, Cherry leads the development of the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consulting practice to serve current and future clients, in addition to guiding the company’s internal DEI processes and best practices. Prior to joining Miles, Melissa was the Chief Operating Officer at Destinations International and was responsible for the development and execution of the overall marketing and communications, information technology, meetings and education strategies to promote and elevate the association's mission and brand to drive awareness of its impact to advance the success of the destination marketing industry. She also led and developed the association’s first equity, diversity and inclusion strategic roadmap released in 2020.



Sheena Works, MEd

Chief Learning Officer

The Tourism Academy

Chief Learning Officer and member of the Association for Talent Development, Sheena has a deep desire to create a network of schools that would provide training to underprivileged women — something that would inspire, educate and equip them to create the career (and life) of their dreams. 

Deeply committed to this long-term vision, Sheena quit her high profile corporate job to expand her impact beyond one company. As Sheena puts it, “I’ve always been an educator and my passion is helping others monetize their own expertise and give back in a bigger way. In so doing, I believe I am creating a ripple effect, one that will empower and enable.”

Effective leadership has never been more important, especially now - given the rapid changes and unprecedented challenges as industry works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The global crisis has shed light on the extraordinary impact of business empathy, inclusion, compassion and female leadership have become advantages in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

The multi-sectoral impact of the pandemic has nonetheless resulted in widening the gender equality gap. Throughout all industries, including tourism, women have become increasingly recognised for their roles as leaders and agents of change. Governments, businesses, political bodies, and corporations have responded to the trend by improving gender parity, though with slow progress. To achieve true equity, diversity and inclusion, the tourism industry must couple moral and ethical imperatives with growing female leadership to boost productivity, innovation, and to create a more sustainable socioeconomic ecosystem.

The Tourism Academy is holding an online event on March 24, 2022 "The Power of Women in Leadership" to support women’s empowerment and the UN Sustainable Goal Five, gender equality. We're bringing together female leaders with diverse backgrounds to share their expertise on leadership, entrepreneurship, youth, and technology for good. These powerful female speakers have attained several accolades including from the UN and have been recognised as young leaders on global platforms.

Register today!

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women in leadership panel discussion


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