WIT and wisdom make their debut in Cannes – 23/10/06

CANNES. The inaugural WIT (Women In Travel) gathering – held this morning at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes – got off to a promising start, with an impressive female turn-out from all sectors of the industry.

William Grant & Sons Ltd Global Travel Retail Director Ylva Persson opened the informal proceedings by welcoming the 100 or so attendees: “This organisation came about after talking to many of you and realising that all of us understand the benefits of coming together as women in this industry.

“We’ve set out the basics of what we would like to do and how to go forward, but remember we are in the initial stages of WIT – this is after all the first gathering.”

Persson encouraged the attendees to briefly set out their thoughts, aims and objectives on post-it notes, and attach them to various themed white-boards around the room.

“We would like your participation to really make this our forum, where everybody has been taken into consideration. We will then collect all these thoughts and get back to you with feedback on what the next steps are,” she concluded.

And the founding members emphasised that WIT would very much be the responsibility of its members. “We are not going to organise things for you; that’s not the idea,” stated BAA Business Relationships Director Sarah Branquinho. “We all need to organise things for each other.”

Branquinho also acknowledged that different people would have different objectives, including networking and information sharing. “There is so much we have to learn from each other.”

Travel Retail Business Director/Deputy Editor Anouska Forte explained how the industry media could help women in travel retail be better informed and connected. “Let us know how we can be helpful to you, and beneficial to your business,” she urged.

Travel Retail Marketing Consultant Cathryn Davis encouraged everyone present to get out of their comfort zone and make new contacts. “A lot of us here know each other already,” she noted. “But we ask that you introduce yourself to new people, because that’s one of the reasons we’re all here. Take advantage of that.”

The next official WIT event is scheduled to be held during MEDFA, in November.

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