Celebrating International Women’s Day in our Australian business

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Tuesday 8th March 2022 marked the annual celebration of International Women’s Day. I seized the day as an opportunity to reflect on all Flight Centre Travel Group is doing to #breakthebias in celebration of our global Womenwise community. 

In mid-2021, we launched a renewed global Diversity & Inclusion program. Our D&I program has 6 core pillars representing LGBTQI+, Mental Health, Gender Equality, Accessibility, Age, and Heritage/Race/Religion. As FCTG’s gender equality pillar, Womenwise exists to inspire all women to develop their leadership potential by providing role models, opportunity and structured support. We celebrate, connect, collaborate and create change for our women. 

We are big advocates for equal opportunity. Our global workforce is approximately 65% female, which means we have many inspirational women leading our brands and business units across corporate and leisure travel, and support disciplines. 
 
In Australia, we’ve had a tough few years battling the flow-on effects of the pandemic in the travel industry. We’ve faced, stand downs, lock downs and truthfully, we’ve probably all felt pretty down ourselves. 

As Head of People & Culture, something I’ve experienced a lot over the last few years is the frustration felt by our many working mothers and primary caregivers (to children as well as elderly family members)...."working" from home can sometimes be a laughable concept!  

One of my objectives over the past few years has been to help support and promote a truly flexible working environment. We don’t owe the pandemic much, but I think we can all be thankful for how flexible working has emerged as the new normal for the global workforce.  

Creating a flexible working environment has been one of the strongest employee incentives to emerge from the pandemic. Encouraging an environment of trust where people feel free to adapt their work environment to suit their needs, shifting between the office and home to do their work and fulfil all the important roles they hold; as a colleague, leader, parent, caregiver etc. 
 
It is my hope that creating this type of environment will allow women to build their professional confidence and better develop their leadership capabilities. As more women feel confident and in control of the many hats they wear and the balls they juggle, I anticipate we can create a stronger pipeline of future female leaders.  
 
If I could leave you with one piece of advice, it would be to make sure you always have someone in your corner. Finding a mentor and nurturing this relationship will prove invaluable to you as you seek to evolve and grow in your career goals and/or leadership potential. Similarly, we all have something to offer so while you seek guidance from a mentor, I encourage you to develop this same relationship with a mentee of your own. Don’t discount your ability to shape or offer invaluable wisdom to someone else. 

As long as we’re learning and evolving, we will always move forward. 

Maya Angelou said it best so here’s to strong women – may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them!

IMG_1091.PNGAllisa and her family

Posted by Allisa O’Connell, Head of People & Culture, Flight Centre Travel Group Australia on Mar 16, 2022

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