Last week, a group of Gifted Travel Network (GTN) advisors, partners, and staff set off down the Danube on our fully chartered AmaWaterways ship for Symposium 2024: The Business of Selling Luxury Travel. The day we boarded AmaMora coincided with International Women’s Day, and as a 100% female-owned and female-led company, we wanted to celebrate the occasion with our advisors and partners as we kicked off our journey.

As everyone was arriving and getting settled on the ship, we passed out cards for our advisors and partners to fill out and tell us about their GTN “Shero,” AKA a woman in our network who inspires them and makes a difference in their world. That evening, we had the pleasure of recognizing some of these “sheroes” while the group was all together, and we received a lot of amazing responses from our members!

So lets take a glimpse into these tributes and discover the inspiring stories behind the women who uplift and inspire their peers within GTN:

Vanessa McGovern – your consistent and motivating activities inspired me to stay in the industry. I am so grateful for the change you gave me to grow within GTN. The confidence and influence you hold in the industry is at an amazing level that I strive to be at. Looking forward to whats next! - GTN Sales Support & Strategy Coordinator, Emily Bireley.

While there are several GTN people both travel advisors and staff who inspire me, I think the most has been another travel agent I've seen conquer her own inner brick walls. Her struggle and success have inspired me to stop holding back, keep my head up, and moving forward. Ive seen her use mindset to overcome some kinks and grow. This inspires me to throw off my own shackles and go where I was always told to let others go – into the spotlight and to dance like no one is looking –Thank you Diane Avalon! – GTN Advisor, Jo Gordo of Inspired Compass Journeys

For someone who has had to keep the ceiling for success low in order to survive childhood and marriage of almost 30 years, Meredith's mindset nuggets have been magical and life-changing. To think that modifying my thoughts and reframing my life experiences as the universe working for ME instead of TO me has allowed my eyes to turn into thriving instead of just surviving. Her words of wisdom speak to me at a very deep level. I have begun to stretch out of my comfort zone and have the confidence that I will be successful hosting a “come with me” cruise on Windstar in Fall of 2024 and “woo" a pied piper for a potentially large group in 2025. Thank you Meredith for helping me start to oracle that ceiling. - GTN Advisor, Diane Avalon of Piece of Cake Travels

Merry Jennifer Markham is a wonderful leader and has curated a great team that she has mentored. It is amazing! – Mina Agnos, Founder & Group President, Travelive

Lise Marie Wertanzl is so professional, so polite and she has great clients (so well qualified) she makes working with her so enjoyable, and I cant wait to meet her in person! – Faye Mantzari, Director of Sales, Travelive

Lisa Rubin Reich is a full time mom of 3, We share stories of holidays. Share advice for family trips. Share challenges of raising a family while balancing high powered careers. She is a BA! – Jeanne Amrein, Director of Business Development, Travelive

Heather Parker is a true ROCKSTAR. She is so efficient, easy to work with and just GET THINGS DONE. A great closer while also delivering super experiences for her clients. – Kostas Sourvanos, Country Manager of Greece, Travelive 

Carol McKee is a wonderful asset to GTN. With her tech skills and monthly webinars she has helped me to create systems that have made me much more efficient, allowing me to grow my business. – GTN Advisor, Erin Cohen of Personal Touch Travel Design

I met Ajanaclair Wise on the Symposium last year. We hit it off right away and promised to meet each other at this years symposium. She was not able to make it, but she was instrumental in getting me here. She is also always so willing to help me brainstorm responses to complicated clients and she is above all a bright light in my life. I am so thankful for Ajanaclair and to GTN for introducing me to such an amazing and dynamic woman. – GTN Advisor Jessica Brown of SmithBrown Travel

My "shero" is Liz Nechio. She is so patient. So organized. So lovely. So professional. So much fun to work with. So trustworthy. So cool. SO GTN! – Kees Hogetoorn, Director of Sales and Marketing for Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam

I have two sheroes to recognize. Shannon Cunningham, who gave me a much-needed pep talk exactly two years ago, and Celeste Auger-Munshi – who was greatly missed at the Symposium and is always quick to help. Also, our tech mentor Carol McKee for going over and above to make things easier. GTN Advisor, Joan Qualls of Tasteful Voyages

Sandy Lipkowitz - my GTN fairy who introduced me to the family. I will be forever grateful to my "shero." – Philippe Hertzberg, Founder of Secret Journeys

My "shero" today and everyday is Tammy Murphy. She teaches me daily how to be the best version of myself. While showing all the females in our family what a strong, loving woman can accomplish. – GTN Advisor, Justin Murphy of VIP Travel Experience

I cant possibly pick one, so I am choosing my “travel tribe” Erica Carr, Tammy Murphy, Jessica Younginger, Julie Cooke & Nikki Edwards! These women inspire me and lift me up daily! Angela Isherwood is another "shero" I would be amiss not to recognize – her positive energy and attitude always brings a smile to those around her and her work ethic is unmatched. – GTN Advisor, Julie Ann Hargett of H Luxury Travel

Sarah Key – one of the first GTN advisors I met at the Group Travel Symposium last year. She took it further and we met weekly discussing group ideas and made weekly goals. After that, Sarah had a small group of us diving deeper into utilizing Linkedin and we made goals to achieve with that. And since then she had a baby- Jack Key and here she is, in Amsterdam again! – GTN Advisor, Debbie Ellis of Good Life Travel

For the GTN community, International Women's Day isn't just a designated time frame; it's a continuous celebration of the incredible women who shape our journeys and inspire our successes. As we reflect on the heartfelt responses shared aboard the AmaMora during Symposium 2024, it's abundantly clear that our advisors and partners value community over competition every day.

The exercise of recognizing our "Sheroes" wasn't just an activity; it was a testament to the unwavering spirit of unity within GTN. Each response echoed the sentiment of empowerment and gratitude, showcasing the profound impact these women have on their peers. From mentors who guide with wisdom to friends who uplift with kindness, our community is rich with individuals who embody the ethos of lifting one another up.