Empowering Women in Leadership, with Hannah DeMaio

Episode 282

podcast photo thumbnail



Hannah DeMaio is the Vice President of Brand Strategy of Women Leading Travel & Hospitality, the sister community to Women in Retail Leadership Circle. Women Leading Travel & Hospitality is a unique, members-only networking group that offers executive women in the travel and hospitality industry a place to learn, connect, and grow through an unparalleled mix of events, content, and elite connections. The community is comprised of successful and motivated women across the entire travel and hospitality ecosystem who have a strong belief that investing in themselves and other women is good business. She is passionate about the travel and hospitality industry and uniting, inspiring, motivating, and empowering women to succeed personally and professionally.

In her free time, Hannah loves traveling, playing tennis, hiking, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her family and dog, Lulu!

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I talk with Hannah DeMaio all about the personal and professional development of women leaders in the travel, hospitality, and retail industries. She shared her findings that although women hold around 80% of the managerial roles in travel and hospitality businesses, they only make up 20% of the workforce at the director level, and that number drops even further when you get up to the C Suite. Hannah discusses why she is so inspired to champion all the incredible women in the travel and tourism space and empower them to get them to go as far as they want to in their careers.

What You Will Learn in this Episode:

  • The details of the new organization Women Leading Travel and Hospitality
  • The synergies between the Women in Retail and the Women in Travel and Hospitality brands
  • How Hannah is hoping to lift women up and the early work she is doing to get more women into the C Suite in the travel and tourism business
  • The role that DEI has played in the programing of Women Leading Travel and Hospitality
  • What the organization has planned for this year, and how women in the industry can join the organization or attend events
  • Examples of collaboration that have been successful for Hannah including Women Leading Travel and Hospitality’s partnership with Southwest and the Ritz
  • How they are helping women attain personal growth as well as professional growth

Women’s Leadership and Growth

Hannah describes the organization’s initial pivot in the face of COVID-19 and why they decided to focus their efforts on supporting women to lead effectively through the crisis. Their programming included keeping your teams motivated, how to get through the furlough period, and crucially how to stay connected with your teams when working virtually.

Women Leading Travel and Hospitality initially launched virtual events and instigated weekly peer group calls to build a strong community. When the organization officially launched in January 2021, they continued with virtual and in-person events discussing some of the problems women in the travel and tourism industry are having, how to fix them, and how to grow.

DEI in the Travel and Tourism Industry

Women Leading Travel and Hospitality want to emphasize that they are a group for everyone. The travel and hospitality space often feels like a male-dominated space, and as part of their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, they work towards making both their speakers and their audience diverse.

There is a lot of work to be done in the travel and hospitality space in regard to DEI and Women Leading Travel and Hospitality have recently appointed a Head of Diversity onto their advisory board to ensure they continue moving in the right direction.

Personal and Professional Development

On a professional level having those hard conversations about how women can move from the managerial level to director level by having the help and support of mentors is incredibly useful. But Hannah and her organization are also bringing in the personal growth aspect too.

You have to be on top of both the personal and the professional to be a well-balanced leader. Hannah describes why their programming includes wellness advice in addition to career coaching and how bringing the two together impacts women’s work-life harmony.


We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more o​f. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!

Related Podcasts