March 8 2023  |  Associations

WiTR webinar discusses women in power, featuring ETRC's Julie Lassaigne

By Laura Shirk

Women in Travel Retail’s “From Girl Power to a Woman in Power” webinar offered insight into the impact of consensus building and the acceptance of change

This week Global Travel Retail Magazine tuned into Women in Travel Retail’s (WiTR) second webinar of 2023, “From Girl Power to a Woman in Power.” Hosted by WiTR Vice Chair Gerry Munday and presented by Julie Lassaigne, Secretary General at European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC), the timely discussion took place the day before International Women’s Day (March 8) and offered insight into the impact of consensus building and the acceptance of change.

Lassaigne opened the webinar talking about her curiosity as a child and early desire to explore the world, meet new people and make a difference. After referencing the disruptive nature of the 90s pop girl group Spice Girls and the band’s personal impact – as both artists and activists – Lassaigne went on to discuss her time at Sciences Po Bordeaux, road to politics and move to the ETRC.

Defining the concept of power, Lassaigne cited Oxford Languages and stated it is “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.” Considering its influence on legislation during the pandemic, the power of the ETRC was boldly demonstrated in line with the closing of shops, the fighting of contamination and the implementation of health and safety practices.

Power, proactivity and public speaking

Even though most management and leadership positions in the workplace continue to be occupied by men and according to a study from Brigham Young University and Princeton, men dominate 75% of the conversation during conference meetings, the Secretary General points out the trade association is driving change. ETRC’s current Board consists of three women and one man.

Speaking about the topic of assertiveness, Lassaigne posed possible reasons why the previous figure (75%) is true. Although women are often underrepresented at the top level – especially in the political arena – it’s considered that females tend to be more self-conscious and/or less responsive. She says women need to be more proactive when it comes to acting as public speakers and event organizers.

Talking points from the WiTR presentation:

  • What’s your title?
    • Power is often linked to an individual’s job title and people have a tendency to treat others differently depending on their title
    • Don’t be afraid to fight for a promotion (if necessary and deserved)
  • Are you visible?
    • Promote your work and share your achievements (use social media to build and directly communicate with your audience)
    • Don’t be afraid to speak up and gain recognition
  • The importance of networking & personal branding
    • The scheduling of networking events during working hours to support work-life balance is becoming a trend – especially among women leaders
    • Whether online or offline, personal branding is within your control; share and communicate in a way that targets a large audience and helps to break barriers

Looking to bring her message to fruition, Lassaigne closed the webinar with an invitation to those in attendance to submit a proposal with the aim to increase women’s public speaking appearances and involvement in the industry.

REGION International
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