To begin our commemoration of International Women’s Day #inspireinclusion, we spoke to Focus Travel Partnership Board Director, Wendy Walker, about her trailblazing career and the importance of IWD.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have been in the travel industry for nearly 45yrs and I am became a Director of Wotton Travel Ltd in 2004. I had two son’s and worked full-time throughout their childhood. I now have 5 Grandchildren and love spending time with them.

Can you name someone who has inspired you and why?

I won’t name one person that has inspired me – I’m generally inspired by anyone who achieves a goal, or does something with their lives, or more importantly has overcome an adversity in some way.

Can you share an experience that has helped to highlight the importance of International Women’s Day for you?

An experience that has helped to highlight the importance of International Women’s day I guess would be me leaving school aged 16 and overcoming some rather hard years, eventually becoming the woman that I am today.

If you could swap lives with someone for a day (fictional or real life) who would that be?

If I could swap it would have to be the late Queen Elizabeth. I always felt that she was strong and held such respect from everyone.

What do you think are the most pressing issues facing women you know at present?

I think Women are now considered equal to men in the workplace, however, we aren’t quite there yet in many industries and this needs addressing further.

How important do you think mentorship is in empowering women and fostering leadership?

Mentorship is so important.  Learning from someone and having that advice to enhance your personal development and career is priceless.

The travel industry is known as a leading sector in equality, inclusion, and diversity, but how do you think workplaces can continue to achieve more inclusive environments and challenge biases?

I think this has to come from the top down in any business. You have to believe in equality, inclusion and diversity. It has to be seen and strived for rather than ticking a box.

Who stands out for you as a leading example in the battle for gender equality?

I believe there are many people (not just women) that battle for gender equality – If I had to name one it would be Malala Yousafzai as she spoke out publicly for girls’ rights to education against the Taliban, which then made her a target.

What changes would you like to see for women over the next decade?

I would like to see more women in higher positions – they’ve certainly got the ability!  (To be honest, in my opinion, if Women were in positions of power in some of the world countries right now there probably wouldn’t be many wars)!

What is your proudest achievement so far?

My proudest achievement was and still is being a Mum, Grandmother and running my business with my wonderful team – including all the work I do for Focus Travel Partnership.

What can we all do to commemorate International Women’s Day and help achieve equality and inspire inclusion?

We need to keep banging the drum so that women are heard (listened to) – I am coming toward the end of my career, and the changes I’ve seen over the years have been brilliant, but there is still a lot more work to be done.

International Women's Day - Wendy Walker