In honor of March being International Women’s Month, we celebrate the significance of working at Gifted Travel Network (GTN), a women-owned and women-led company.

At the heart of GTN lies a commitment to empowering women and fostering an environment where their voices are not only heard but also celebrated. As we reflect on what it means to be part of such an amazing company, we turn to the voices of our employees who share what working for a women owned and led company means to them:

I find that it allows me the freedom to use empathy more in my decision-making process and interactions with team members as well as our advisor and preferred partner members. There is an overall sense of camaraderie and shared experiences that help us all relate to each other better. For team members with school age children, there is an overall understanding of the flexibility needed to be the best mother AND co-worker and less fear of having to adapt to changing schedules.

For me, one of the biggest differences in how GTN is operates is that there is a real emphasis on balance. I'm not just talking about emergencies or family obligations, though I do appreciate that if my car won't start or when my cat needed an emergency vet visit, I was able to take care of those things with no pushback or guilt. The women who started this company all came from high-powered, burnout-inducing backgrounds, and instead of taking that same attitude about work, they looked more at how it affects people and have gone with a different approach. They encourage us to value our personal time, they trust us to work from home when we want or need to, and there is always an ongoing dialogue about each employee's bandwidth and how they can provide support when it's needed.

At GTN, our mission is empowering success through travel entrepreneurship and at our core, we are business coaches and community builders. This mission itself isn’t necessarily informed by a female lens, but the way we go about it certainly is. The community that we have fostered among our members is highly collaborative. Even though all of our members are independent travel business owners, they don’t see each other as competition. I think the value we place on the power of community and the way we nurture the relationships within the community is influenced by the fact that we are women. The culture in our workplace is also affected by our female perspective; our core values talk about embracing the power of intuition, creating a collaborative, fun, supportive environment that encourages personal balance, and coming from a giving and inspired place to empower others, for example. I would wager that sort of language isn’t typically found in the corporate core values in male-dominated companies.  That’s not to say that we aren’t just as driven as any male-dominated company would be; we have experienced exceptional growth. We have just done it in a way that is more nurturing of our members’ success, and our employees’ success, because that is our tendency as women.

During my time as an advisor with GTN, I vividly recall attending an event led by Meredith and Vanessa (Jen and Sandy hadn't joined the team yet). At that moment I had a powerful realization: I knew deep down that I wanted to work for this remarkable company one day. Witnessing their impact, I was inspired to be a part of their mission to make a difference in the travel industry.

Meredith and Vanessa weren't just mentors and leaders; they were my guides and friends. Their unwavering support and guidance not only helped me launch my travel business successfully but also provided a beacon of light during a dark period in my personal life. Struggling with self-doubt, feelings of failure stemming from past relationships, financial hardships, and ingrained beliefs, I found myself questioning my worth and abilities. Yet, through their mentorship and coaching, they helped me see things from a new perspective and encouraged me to redefine myself.

Working for a female-led company has been incredibly empowering, as they possess a level of understanding and empathy that sets them apart. They listen, they evaluate, and most importantly, they understand.

For me personally, working for a female-led company and embracing this "new" culture was something I had never experienced before. My entire life, I have played sports, and throughout my elementary and high school lacrosse career, all of my coaches were men. I didn't have a female coach until college, but it was then when I realized the transformative power of female leadership. Under their mentorship, I blossomed not only as a lacrosse player but also as a person, unlocking a version of myself I hadn't known existed.

Since sports were truly what I knew, I entered my first job post college in the sports industry working for the Charlotte Hornets. After two years of working long hours, weekend games and events I decided it was time for a change. In researching GTN, I was immediately drawn to its commitment to empowering women in the workplace. Now, after nearly three years with GTN, I've come to appreciate the profound difference in culture. Gone are the days of feeling the need to constantly prove myself or adopt a tough exterior. Here, my efforts are recognized and supported from the outset, fostering an environment where vulnerability is embraced and my contributions are valued.

One of the many things I love about working for GTN is the flexibility. I am able to work earlier in the morning once I drop my daughter off at school and leave in time to get her to the cheer gym. There are many evenings I’m able to work directly from the gym so I can finish my day and be available for my daughter. It's within this supportive work environment that I have been able to be both a successful professional and a dedicated mom, knowing that my company values and accommodates the multifaceted dimensions of my life.