June 22, 2022

Behind the Scenes of Women in Travel Thrive, with Silvia Camarota and Rachel Humphrey

Behind the Scenes of Women in Travel Thrive, with Silvia Camarota and Rachel Humphrey

We are honored to be joined by two of the most inspirational female leaders in travel, Silvia Camarota and Rachel Humphrey, as they share a behind-the-scenes look at the networking & mentorship organization Women in Travel Thrive. Founded to propel women closer to equality in the travel industry, this organization provides connections, education, and tangible resources designed to support women in their travel careers. 

Silvia leads Expedia as the Senior Director for North America Market Management, and is a founding member of Women in Travel Thrive. Before retiring in August of 2021, Rachel served as the EVP & COO of AAHOA, the nation's largest and most influential hotel owners association and is a board member of Women in Travel Thrive.

CONTACT SILVIA & RACHEL
Silvia Camarota

Senior Director for North America Market Management, Lodging at Expedia Group
Founding Member Women in Travel Thrive
LinkedIn

Rachel Humphrey
Former  EVP & COO of AAHOA
Board Member, Speaker, Hospitality Industry Executive, and Counsel
LinkedIn

Transcript
Alex Husner:

Welcome to Alex and Annie, the real women of vacation rentals. I'm Alex. And I'm Annie. And we're here today for a special episode, we have two lovely ladies on the show with us. First we have Rachel Humphrey, who is served as the EVP and COO of AAHOA, Rachel, good to see you.

Rachel Humphrey:

Thank you so much, Alex and Annie for having me and delighted to be on with Sylvia, who I have gotten to know and respect a lot over the last couple of years.

Alex Husner:

Absolutely. And next up, we have some Silvia camarota, hopefully I'm saying that correctly. Senior Director of North American market management for Expedia. Welcome, both of you.

Silvia Camarota:

Thanks for having me.

Alex Husner:

So we're going to talk today about an organization called lemon and travel Thrive that you have founded. And Annie had a role in that. And I had a small role in entering COVID. But we are really excited to hear more about what this organization does, how it was started, what the vision is behind it, and kind of where it's going. So we'll let YouTube kick it off from there.

Silvia Camarota:

Yeah, let's do it. So super thrilled to be here and share with you a little bit about Thrive, I guess, calling it short, short for that. So Thrive was born out of necessity, that the pain I think that all of us felt during the initial kind of COVID pandemic a year, particularly in 2020 20. So August 2020, I think we were really in the brunt of it. And the one statistic that stands out in my mind still, as at that time, women were leaving the workforce at the rate of four times than men. And why that is, is you know, some of the things you can probably think through and are fairly obvious, right? Women hold generally jobs that are inferior to men, you know, just by the nature of it. And you know, in the times when a lot of companies were forced to get laid offs, many families have to choose right, and you know, what it was due to childcare or other needs, you know, maybe that one breadwinner kind of stayed and worked and somebody had to kind of go back because the schools were closing and everything was closing around us. So, you know, rather than relive this, this this kind of terrible moments that, you know, I think all of us experience in one way or the other. We wanted to see like, we need to do something about it. We were I was talking to my colleagues at that time and Expedia group. And we just like many companies had to make some really tough decisions. And my heart was breaking right for all those that were losing their jobs and roles. And I was thinking, how do we connect with one another? How do we support one another during these times, and and really not lose the connection to the travel industry that we really loved the most. And we didn't want to make a just about Expedia group. And we wanted to really find ways to network with one another. Again, conferences weren't an option back then. Right. So so we did decide to form this organization, we decided to form it as a nonprofit, and started talking and Annie, I know you were on part of the some of those initial conversation and we were like, Let's do this, let's connect, let's find a way to make impact. And that's sort of stood out, because that became sort of the rallying cry around that. And we knew that, you know, some of us that have the responsibility as being a bit more senior in the industry, we could help those that were perhaps the most impacted. Right. So thinking about creating mentor and mentee type of conversation across the industry, you know, not just in our silos, you know, in our small groups, that would be one way that we can sort of extend the help to the community and what was born out of that. So when this this sort of started in August, with maybe handful of us, I think it was about 10 women. And Annie again, thank you because you were rallying, you know, your industry network, including Alex and Alex, you were one of our panelists, if you remember, just as we were pushing this out, and that was I believe that was about January 2021, when we went with the first day of impact, and we did decide to do it as a as sort of a webinar we made sure, you know, and this is an area I'll I'll share a couple of kind of thoughts around the community and the purpose, but we wanted to make sure was barrier free, right? No memberships? No, no need for you to pay something upfront. Because, again, who could, right? I mean, we're still without jobs. And, you know, just broadcast it out there to the world. And we said, you know, let's talk about let's talk about what's painting us talk about how we can offer support to one another. And that same day during the same day of impact. We also paired up mentors and mentees across these different companies. So that was our first attempt. And yeah, we've been kind of on a roll since so. So great.

Annie Holcombe:

I am I remember having being part of it in the beginning and all the meetings and just the thoughts that were coming out like the things that we could address and where it all ended up. It was just so amazing to see the amount of people that just jumped in and wanted to be part of it, I actually still talk to my mentee not as a mentee. But we are friends. And I actually was able to meet her in person last summer. She's actually a market manager or associate market manager in Charleston, up in the Charleston Hilton Head area, I just absolutely adore her and made a great friend out of it. So it was like, again, you we met people that we needed at the right time, and they stayed in our lives. I was recently you were talking about the stats. And recently there was a podcast that I was listening to, actually a previous guest of ours Amber hurdle. And she does a lot of branding with women in the industry. And she had an expert on who does a lot of mentoring for women in senior leadership roles, but really specifically with women in countries where women don't take leadership roles, a lot of African nations, that type of thing. But she talked about a COVID statistic that stood out to me, and I'll get it wrong by a couple of percentage points. But it was about talking about the equality that women had had been gaining over the years. And that COVID impacted it to the point that we lost about 36 years of equality, which if you look at the categories, the longevity of a woman in business, 36 years is basically a generation of of, you know, of, I don't know of progress, I guess would be the best way to say it. And to think that that you know, generation that's that's that's a huge amount. Like that just means that my what my mom worked for me to get when I started out in the early 90s. And for what we're doing for people that are coming up now. It's just we've gone backwards. And so it's just I think what what thrive is doing is trying to level that playing field and give women the tools, if I'm not mistaken, to try to overcome those inequities and make it better. Yeah, absolutely.

Rachel Humphrey:

Sorry, Sophia, I'm probably going to be off by a year or two. But I think that women represent the lowest percentage of the labor force since 1988. So I think you're right, I think it's right in that time period. And every time you look at incremental progress, it takes so long to build up any of those percentages. And yet, in a very short period of time, all of that work and all of that progress came tumbling down through no fault of anybody's which problem. Right, right is, you know, just incidental to the pandemic itself.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah. So why don't we go ahead, Alex? Why don't we talk about so you did that you did the original on day of impact, and you match the mentors and mentees. And then like the work that is stop, you guys kept going. And I saw it a lot. And I was obviously kind of had a little bit of a front row seat in the beginning and had to step away but watched everything that all the volunteers were doing. And just it became a passion project, I think for everybody involved. So could you take us from like the first event to to now like, you know, you just another day of impact. And now you're actually global you have, I think Mia thrive and or hive and then one in Asia. Is it if I'm not mistaken?

Silvia Camarota:

Yes, yes, yes. So thanks, Annie. And, you know, just just to kind of close the points around how we've evolved, you know, clearly, we're in a much better place, thankfully, out there and the world is reopening now. But I think what worries me and where my chatters again, about how permanent was this loss, right of women and our other women. And there was a statistics that was released last year that about 2 million women are just not returning back to the workforce. Right. And that's, that's a big that's impactful. And I know travel industry lost a lot of them where they just chose not to come back, right, they are maybe just caretakers at this point and are doing other things for themselves. So you know, evolving the organization, I think was there was a need, we sort of kept thinking like, Okay, we have something here, and we want to keep it going. And we were grateful with some sponsorships. So some awesome organizations, again, across sort of the travel vertical, we were able to sustain ourselves without, again, impose any kind of membership fees, et cetera. And where we started to think about evolving this, the narrative and the community, we're calling ourselves more of a community of different women and allies, by the way, is that we had, you know, worked ourselves towards the next day of impact. So that was 2022 or 2021. And then obviously, the one that just passed, right, so starting to kind of create the conversation that's relevant for today. So that's the way we were thinking about impacting many. But we also still want to retain sort of the value proposition of impacting women one to one. And that particular piece we thought we could accomplish through a couple of ways. One is the mentor mentee program. While I think in the beginning, it was a great idea to just pair those individuals. We wanted to automate that and we wanted to find a way to make it a little bit easier because clearly, we were all volunteers and it was a lot of work to make the right connections happen. So we've evolved it into a program we're calling now Thrive match and if you go on our way sight of women and travel thrive.com It's super easy to sign up. And essentially, the program matches you every month with a new person for purposes of more intentional networking. So, you know, rather than putting labels on it, because like you said, Any ultimately, you know, you just gain a new friend, making sure that hate the money to spend X amount of time with each other. And, you know, sort of putting a lot of pressure on the connection, it's now just meant to be like, hey, you know, you'll get an email in your inbox, like, here's your new friend, would you like to connect, and I actually made three or four different connections like that, you know, there's some ghosting here and there, go that. It's just been fun just to really connect with different people across the industry that are part of it. So that's one piece. And then the second piece that we do, and, you know, we want to certainly accelerate this effort is we decided to give back, right? So you know, there's no point of you know, obviously, even with sponsorship funds, we want to get all of it back, this is a 501 C three, and outside of like sustaining us with some of the minimum costs for these organizations, really the rest of it, it's meant to go back to the individual women. And there's two things that we're trying to do there is how do we bring them in and empower them to find their way in, in a travel industry? Or if they're already in the industry and enroll where they want to, you know, better themselves and grow? Can we provide them with tangible resources to do so. So we're calling these two things, empowerment bundles, and, you know, they're there, the value of each of these packages is around maybe $300 or so. But that's still quite a bit. And they're the tangible things, you know, depending on the package is things like, you know, interview coaching, StrengthsFinder assessment to really understand, you know, which way do I need to pivot it's, you know, headshots if needed. So there's different things that we're putting a value on, and helping them in a tangible way to either get back into our industry, and connect. And, you know, so we have aspirations to do many more of these, we have given away about three of these and have such as such incredible stories from these women's to share as well.

Alex Husner:

That's great. And I'm sure a lot of these women that participate have never worked in a company that's done anything like that for them. Because in general, I mean, that's just not something that companies really, you know, make available to you as an as an employee. So, I'm sure that the impact that's had on everybody who's participated has been significant. But on the mentorship part, too, you touched on a good point that I like, where it's going now and how you're choosing the mentors, because I think it can be an awkward thing, when you're just paired with somebody that you don't know, and that there's not kind of like a mutual, like, I want to work with you, you wanna work with me, because, you know, in real life, if you're gonna choose a mentor, it's probably somebody that you already are familiar with, or know and you you want to see value that you're gonna be able to give to that person to that it's not just a one way street. And I think, Andy, you said that your that's not your mentee anymore. Well, she's always gonna be, you're always gonna be our mentor, she'll always be your mentee, even she's, but you become friends in the process, right. And I think a good mentor mentee relationship, it goes both ways that you both are learning from each other. You both do find a bond of your friends. I mean, like you should, like whoever you're mentoring or mentoring. There should be some sort of affection, there's friends, but it's great. I'm just, I'm excited to hear more about it. And it's been a while since I've heard about it since I was involved during COVID. So just congratulations on the effort that you guys have put into this.

Rachel Humphrey:

One of the exciting things about the Thrive match to is if you think about the hospitality industry, it's a relationship, business. Absolutely. Industry. And whether it's through networking at events, or big belonging to organizations that you find like minded people in the match is a great opportunity just to build your network. And from that person meeting their network and continuing to build relation, not everybody builds relationships in the same way. Not everybody likes to network in the same way depending on what your skills are. And so every time you expand your network, even by one, you're opening so many opportunities, or you're looking to somebody else, to see how they do things, or you have a new resource if you need resources. And so the Thrive match really gives you an opportunity to continue to I mean, as Thrive does as a whole, but to really expand that network, which just pays dividends throughout your whole career, whichever decisions you decide to make.

Annie Holcombe:

So Rachel, how did you get were you involved in the beginning and I apologize, I don't recall your name being on it. But there were so many, like amazing leaders from the very beginning. It was hard. It was kind of like Alex said it was it's kind of overwhelming to be in the presence of just such great women leaders. When did you kind of get involved and what are you doing with the organization now because you retired from your Hawa, role

Rachel Humphrey:

so I've actually had to it's a great question actually, I was not so your memory does not fail to different At during the pandemic, I was serving as the EVP and chief operating officer for hella, we're the largest hotel owners association in the world. And I saw a post on LinkedIn by a group of women and travel Thrive that I had not heard of before. And certainly, his belief was always but every company's belief during the pandemic was stronger together. And so I reached out to Sylvia, and I said, Hey, is there any way we could collaborate some sort of barter or trade out, and I believe that, uh, how it was, thrives first partner Association partner, we were able to provide marketing support Jagruti Panwala, who was the first chairwoman of AAHOA and its 30 year history was a guest and really able to find ways to help amplify thrives message. Now, at the end of the day, we are all in this together. And anything we can do to help amplify one another's message and collaborate. So I had kind of that hat on. And then as you mentioned, I retired in August, and trying to figure out how to do something that I felt passionately about that suited my skills, and that I would provide value back and I spent a couple of months, disconnecting intentionally, so that I would go into it with a clear head. And at the end of 2021, I started hearing as many people did a lot of announcements coming out about some very prestigious CEO roles. And they were not going to candidates who looked in any way unlike the series of candidates that have been placed there before. And so I reached out to Sylvia and I said, you know, I think this is it, I think that I have a lot of relationships. I am I'm learned out in my retirement. I'm a people connector. I've never heard that term before. But I do know a lot of people have a broad network with good relationships. And I just said, What can I do to help amplify thrives message and they invited me to join their advisory board, and I wanted to touch on something, I think you've all said it once or twice. But the community of volunteers, I've been around this industry, almost 30 years at this point, I've never seen anything like this. I mean, from the idea on a phone call to execution, it's mind blowing, like I cannot get over these people who all have day jobs who all have, you know, so many commitments outside really invest so much in building this global community and feel so passionately about putting the resources out there and making sure that we're making an impact and pivoting thrive, you know, what, what started as a very pandemic centric cause is now much bigger and is is growing globally and is growing and what we can do. And so it's been really exciting to watch that aspect. And at that same time, as I was talking with the board, at Thrive, I realized that there were a tremendous number of organizations doing great work in hospitality elevating women, but there wasn't a lot of collaboration among them. And it wasn't intentional. I think everybody just gets so busy on that hamster wheel that you're doing your own thing. And so I found that this women in hospitality Leadership Alliance to bring together the leaders of these great organizations to help each other, you're never gonna be on opposite sides of anything. But you really help each other amplify messaging to look at what each was doing to make sure you know, at this day and age, there's so much limitation on human resources on capital resources that if you can be more efficient, and maybe look and see what lanes are well suited and where there's opportunity, or, you know, we heard on one of the Alliance calls recently, someone was going to create something someone's like, oh, I have that we'll just share that with your group. There's no need to reinvent something we have. And so really being able to bring Thrive into a broader community of people doing great work in this area and continuing to get that messaging out there and continuing to make introductions, I know thrive as a great partner of many of the industry conferences now, many new relationships, many new speakers and so in any way, you know that, that I can be helpful with what I have available, then it's it certainly is a fantastic way to spend my time.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah, what a great way to kind of pay it forward for all the experience that you've had. And I wanted to touch on something you said Alex and I was in vacation rentals. There is a woman who's a very strong leader within our vertical. Her name is Amy Hinote note and she has kind of a she does a magazine. She has an online site does a lot of small conferences, and she did her second women's conference last year in New Orleans and she's going to do it every other year. And we went and it was really just such a great a great event. There was a few men there and I think you know, a couple of times they were a little uncomfortable, but they were there to be supportive. But one of the things that I that I learned from that was in vacation rentals, specifically somewhere 65 to 68% of the employees in the space are women, but they occupy less than 5% of kind of like the VP C suite positions. And so that was a lot of the conversations going on there. And it was very, it was very relevant to what thrive is doing. It's just about like, how do we make women feel comfortable in a room? How do we make them feel that it's okay to speak up. And so Alex and I have been through the podcast afforded opportunity to talk to CEOs and and women who have gone after VC funding and, you know, we tried to go through the the norms that the men go through, and just talking with them and and the questions that they're asked versus what their male counterparts are asked when they're trying to get funding, and kind of the process that they have to go through to get it there. It just was mind boggling to me, because it just seems like every business is a good business, you want to invest in it, regardless of who the leadership is. But there's still that stigma about having a woman run an organization and especially a woman that may have children and could potentially have to leave because they go to a you know, a child's baseball game or their target sick. And our episode out today is with Margot shmore. And she's the CEO of host family. And she just really drove home the point that you just have to be your true self, regardless of the process. And you the people that are meant to work with you will come along. And I think that that's something that through, you know, all the conversations that we've had has been the common thread is that women just finding their footing to be comfortable as themselves to represent themselves. But I think all of us can do a better job to help those women. And what you're doing is, is the perfect vehicle to do that.

Rachel Humphrey:

But and you raise a couple of great points. I mean, first the hospitality industry, actually, you know, we hear this triangle analysis all the time were at the entry level hospitality is among the most diverse of any industry out there. So as you go through that triangle at the top, you're absolutely right. I think the recent Castel project report said of the 31 major brands that were involved in their most recent study, only one had a female CEO, less than 20% of the C suite is female. And so really, why is that and part of it you touched on in your second, it can't just be a women's issue, you should have allies, you should have men at women's conferences and women's events. Because right now, like it or not, men are making the decisions in the hiring of the CEO right? On the boards. And if you don't, when you don't you and Alex and Hannah, you're doing, you're continuing a conversation that's so important for anyone to be listening to, to say, you know, we all need to be looking at it. When you think of that traditional trajectory. If you say, well, there's not a woman who's qualified for this, we need to change the definition of what qualified means, right? isn't always going to be this very linear path to the C suite or to a board seat, you have to look at that individual. And those are the conversations if you can change the conversation about what are you looking for what makes someone qualified? I call a CEO for role and he's not interested. He doesn't give five of his male friends who might be like that. Right? Right. Yeah. But on the venture capital. That's so interesting, too. I remember a couple years ago, I heard Kevin O'Leary speak from Shark Tank. Without a doubt his most successful investments are all women on

Alex Husner:

Yeah, I've heard that I've heard him say that's

Rachel Humphrey:

the case. And we can see that happening. If you're looking at people like Tracy Pridemore was she has a deal who's doing great work, if you're looking at some of these others, the problem is lenders and others only want to invest with less risky investments. And so they look at someone's portfolio, they look at someone's experience, then they're only again, looking at qualifications, very narrow way. And so it's this catch 22 of you can't get the portfolio or the experience until you get the investors but you can't get the investors until you get the experience in the portfolio. And again, that's part of that narrative that has to change. It's just going to continue being in that same cycle if people aren't willing to go in with fresh eyes and looking at who we're promoting how we're investing, you know, and other things. And I

Alex Husner:

think that other point is empowering people to apply for jobs that they might not meet all the criteria. That's one thing that we've definitely heard on our show, we've talked to some of these women tech CEOs and founders that they've said, that's like most important thing that they try and stress is that you might not check all those boxes but that's okay. That doesn't mean you shouldn't apply for it and maybe think about is like if it makes sense I understand why people don't because it's like you could look at a job description and think I can do some of that but part of it which is probably could be critical. I'm not familiar and they might just completely dismiss me but that I think that has to just be more embrace that go ahead and try what's the worst they can say no. But put yourself out there and you'd be surprised because you might not need to check all the boxes and you could still be a huge asset to the company that you're going to bring something different than they didn't even know they didn't even have those boxes. And then I

Rachel Humphrey:

shared with Sylvia, after Alistair had an opportunity to talk to several recruiters that placed high level C suite positions in hospitality. And I said, Tell me, what am I missing? Like what you're looking at what happened last year if it wasn't going to be 2021, when is. And one of the things that they commented, which I found shocking was how many women's self select out of opportunities. And so they said, I call a female for role and she says, Oh, I'm not qualified. And her response to me was very interesting. She said, Rachel, I'm really good at my job. I'm not calling her if she's not qualified, she checked every box. But now I know, she probably isn't qualified, because she doesn't know that I know what I'm doing in this placement. And so not just not applying, but not opting out of things out of fear, or I don't check all the boxes, you know, advocating for ourselves is such a huge ly important factor. If you want to speak at conferences, you have to say it out loud, if you want an opportunity for a role, you have to you can't assume that somebody knows that you want that. And I think that's one of the great things about Thrive is giving this these resources not just in the form of the empowerment bundles, and other things which are going to help them grow. But in putting people out in front of them dev impact people, Alex, when when you spoke when others did this year, to hear other women tell them it's okay to advocate for yourself. It may be uncomfortable, I'm terrible at it. Yeah. But in order to you know, we all need to take a role in empowering ourselves to continue to elevate I think, Alex, you're absolutely right. You know, we we have to have some responsibility in that growth as well.

Alex Husner:

Yeah. And the growth mindset, right? I mean, just knowing that you might not know all the things, but you can also learn them and you can train for skill, but not for will we always say that on the show. And that that theme comes up a lot. I think that's really important. But you know, it's funny, too, when I did the the event back in January of 2020, that was the first time I ever did anything even remotely close to that, like live webinar. I mean, zooms weren't even really a thing back the head, you know, like, I really had never done anything to that extent, I remember being so nervous about it, but it's like you do the first one, and then you do a couple more. And then it's like, now we're live on stage hosting conferences, it's great. So lot to thank you guys for pushing me to try. First,

Silvia Camarota:

I am so incredibly impressed, by the way what you both have created as well, I think this is again, you know, we want to make sure we amplify your message as well, and what you're doing in that vertical of this travel industry of vacation rentals that's just incredibly impactful and growing and booming. So, you know, definitely count on us for kind of this continued collaboration, but just maybe just adding two more cents to some of the themes that were mentioned. Ally ship was the immediately the next theme of our deal. And the year after. And we actually had a panel only of men talking about this topic. And we had some pretty impressive men out there, you know, we had Aqua random with the high gate, we had a, Aleksandra with Oracle, Richard, Walt with us, you know, some technology companies, leaders, and they were just, you know, it was nice to really see them being vulnerable, and just, you know, a bit uncomfortable, but at the same time really encouraging. And, you know, having I think the audience kind of hear them, like to all of your points, it's like, we have to have this conversation together to make the change and make an impact. And then kind of continuing this conversation this year with just some incredible vulnerability of women that are in really high positions that are saying things like, look, you know, I had to, I had to go through some struggles. And so because everyone sort of kind of identify with that, you know, at one point in their life,

Annie Holcombe:

yeah, I saw a post the other day, someone shared on LinkedIn, and it said, you know, be the person that you needed when you were now for you know, when what you needed when you were starting out. And, and that was one thing that Alex and I, when we first started this, we both were very fortunate in that we had some really strong male mentors. But we had not we had People/ women in our lives, but they were had come out were born out of the era of they had to struggle so hard that some of them were in the mindset of like, well, you need to struggle as hard as I did, I'm not going to give you a hand to help you up. And so just again, talking with the guests that we have, and that women's conference, and then everything that Thrive is doing I think the one thing for myself and Alex that we personally talk about all the time is that it's stepping outside that where your comfort zone is and getting really really uncomfortable is where all your growth happens. And it's that lean into that and the moment you feel uncomfortable that's when you know you're doing the right thing. And it could be you know, it might not it might not pan out to be something big but it for us it's opened up all these doors to meet people to be part of things. And so for us again being part of you know the message As your thrive is just so important, because we are all one large community and travel is such a passionate, industry dependent no matter which part of the, of the equation that you're in. I mean, I meet people in airlines, and they're just as passionate as the people that are in vacation rentals and hotels and, and we all just are one giant family. And if we can just kind of open more doors for each other to have more deeper conversations. There's no telling where we could take the industry as a whole.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, totally agree. And I think once you push yourself past those boundaries, that's when you also shift. And now you want to feel meaning from being able to help other people. And I know that's that's kind of how I felt in the last couple of years of pushing myself. And you know, this thrive is a perfect example of that. And I think our podcast is too. So it's evolution for all of us in our journeys.

Rachel Humphrey:

You know, Alex, that's interesting that because it's evolution for us personally, too, I spent the first 20 years of my career as a trial attorney, and I never wanted to lose a female trial attorney, I wanted to be the best trial attorney, I could be. When I got into hospitality, I really wasn't thinking about it as a female in hospitality, or even when I was a CFO or CEO as a female in the C suite. But hospitality is very different. And it is this idea of women empowering women, and realizing how impactful it is for others to see those roles. And you know, whether we're trying to have two daughters, whether I'm trying to inspire my daughters, or whether I want the next generation to feel that those are their opportunities. I think each of us, you know, when you talk about women who said, Well, I want you to experience the struggles. I'm not I don't I definitely didn't have that mindset. But I it took me a while to realize how important this role could be, you know, it's hard for each of us, you know, out to new talk about not checking every box, we also don't say, Oh, I'm an inspiration, or others look up to me or I can lead by example, because we don't necessary this imposter syndrome, or whatever it is, don't see ourselves that way. So evolution that you talk about has a lot to do with our own personal evolution to seeing how we are women empowering women, and it doesn't mean we don't need male allies. Some of my, my greatest supporters of my career have been men, but they're Yeah, different dynamic now of bringing together all of these women to share and to elevate and to build relationships and networks and connect an opportunity. Yeah.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah. And so evolution, that's a good way to segue, like, where is it? Where is thrive? Going from here? What do you see the organization's next steps? Again, you've you've expanded your reach to other continents. And that's spectacular, and no doubt that there's people in every corner of the earth that need this kind of support. But what what is the next steps for thrive? And what are you going to be doing? Obviously, Rachel, you have some time to be able to devote to help think things out. So what are you looking to do for the organization?

Rachel Humphrey:

Well, I think that Sylvia certainly will be the the best speaker to that. But I think you know, continuing to find the right partners continuing to reach the end Audience expanding our reach, because really, you put the resources out there, but you want people to know that they're out there, you put the empowerment bundles, you have them available, but you want people to know that you have them available. I think the global community is amazing. And watching that continue to grow. Um, you know, when you think about it, thrive is very, very young. It's, I think, if I'm right, Sophia will correct me less than two years old at this point. So you've got going from like, infant to toddler, but really pivoting to for what the need is, you know, thrive was so fast to pivot to say, Okay, this isn't just a pandemic problem. And if the pandemic ever ends, so will thrive, how do we serve the future? And how do you meet those needs? I mean, I as far as when you ask, what what am I here to do, to continue to elevate, thrive in any way that I can using whatever relationships I have, whatever voice I have, whatever connections I have, to the extent that I can provide resources and time, I do have more time, but I find time slipping through because when everybody thinks you have more time you end up giving it away, but I certainly can talk much more specifically.

Silvia Camarota:

And I'll just just to build on and maybe, you know, we, we were right where you're on but we can also be agile and we can absolutely pivot. The wonderful thing about being involved in organization where again, titles don't matter a whole lot. We're all equals. We're all professionals. A lot of these women that are just giving their time, whether it's little or a lot, they are all there to just sort of amplify and make it bigger. We do what we can with the resources and I think you know, this is what you see you know, the output of it is what you see right now on the website is great. We've opened up a merchandising store. We had a little fun little contest, we had couple of 5k runs where we were sort of raising the money for this charity. So there's been a lot of things, we do have a Slack community too. So for those of the those folks that really enjoy that, we have couple of channels where we're just women are posting job job openings from their companies, you know, and so it's become, it's organic. And that piece, I think, needs to remain. I mean, it's certainly in my, my view, I think, sky's the limit. But at the same time, you know, where we need to go and how agile we need to be, we're certainly open. We've had a lot of people extending their hands to us saying, come to our conference, come to our conference, be a partner with us. So, you know, I think to the extent that we can grow and sustain ourselves with some support, I think that's where that's where that's what we're looking to, to figure out down the line.

Alex Husner:

Yeah, I think there's definitely opportunity for our podcast and thrive to continue to work together and amplify the message. So we're excited to continue that conversation with both of you in the organization. But and yeah, we would absolutely love to have you have a presence at the Vacation rental Managers Association conferences. I mean, there's so many different ones that are out there. And I think it's, it's, it's needed. And it's funny when you, we didn't really think we were doing much when we started the podcast, but just the fact of two women getting together and doing something we so many people came up to us just said, We just think it's great that you were doing this labor, like, what are we doing? We're like, we really had an impact. When you got a whole group of us together, it's definitely a very impactful thing. So we thank you guys so much for being on the show. And what you do is just incredible, and very inspiring.

Annie Holcombe:

Yeah. Do you have another event coming up soon? Are we where are we at with event

Silvia Camarota:

planning? Yeah, and you know, I mean, we like I said, we just wrapped up the day of impact, we actually did do have couple of recordings as well, just because we've had some some conflicts. So we're excited to release some couple of already pre recorded conversations, you know, we're excited to have the Chief People Officer of Hyatt speak to a wonderful lady, as well, and then having them to have a conversation and, and then I think we just want to really start giving back some of these little wonderful empowerment bundles. So that's our goal right now over the course the summer, and perhaps, you know, into the next quarter, and then we will pivot and we will want to be where we are needed the most. And I invite you all to take part I invite the community of this listeners of Alex and Annie to if they're interested, you know, we're always looking for volunteers. And you know, there's no contract, there's no specific time, you know, you can do as little as you can, or as you're able to or as much as you want to and you know, be part of it. That's all, we'd certainly be happy to be the official

Annie Holcombe:

podcast of the women and travel drive on the video side. But we have crossed over into into multiple verticals in in hospitality in general, with restaurants and people in marketing and that type of thing. So we are all behind you and appreciative of everything that you're doing. So if anybody would like to get in touch with you, I guess I'll start with you, Rachel, you're the one with the most free time seemingly? How can people get in touch with you? Well,

Rachel Humphrey:

before how to get in touch with me, I would definitely encourage everyone to follow women and travel thrive on LinkedIn. And also to sign up for our newsletter on the website, there's so much information out there and make it readily accessible to everybody. And the easiest way, honestly, to get in touch with me is through LinkedIn now. And so I haven't searched how many Rachel Humphreys there are, but here I am. And we'll include a

Alex Husner:

link to that our show notes.

Rachel Humphrey:

And, you know, just encouraging everybody to get involved in in whatever capacity that they can if it's reading the newsletter and seeing what's going on. If it's following on LinkedIn posting, sharing their own stories, you know, we like to communicate other people's stories. If people have an interest in speaking if we can help other women like Alex, get a start. up that's amazing, right success story. Something like that, then I mean to hear you tell that, that inspires me right away. I just hear that through an opportunity with thrive to speak on a panel and look at what you're doing now. And what you and Andy are doing is so important for the industry. And I would just add not to embarrass you, but watching how you to support each other on social media. I'm only on LinkedIn because I'm 1000 years old, so I can't speak. But I'm just even seeing women supporting other women and seeing a support system of people who are building you up and who, you know, have your back and who want to grow with you. That is a remarkable thing. And I'm grateful that this broader industry has you two in it to be able to just to lead by example. In that way. That's a really special thing to see.

Alex Husner:

Thank you very much means very much to us. And we're amazed sometimes to just the responses and the support that people have given us. This just made me cry. But thank you. Appreciate that. Yeah, appreciate it. Well, I guess we're at time now I know we could talk forever as we always say, but we appreciate both of you coming on the show so much and we'll include links to all your contact info in our show notes. And until next time, if you want to get in touch with Andy Now you can go to Alex and Annie podcast.com. We'd love to hear from you. Leave a review or reach out and until next time, we will see you soon. Bye, everybody.

Rachel Humphrey Profile Photo

Rachel Humphrey

Board Member, Speaker, Hospitality Industry Executive, and Counsel

Rachel Humphrey
Board Member, Speaker, Hospitality Industry Executive, and Counsel

Before retiring in August 2021, Rachel served as the EVP & COO of AAHOA, the nation's largest and most influential hotel owners association and served as a member of its Executive Leadership Team and in 2019 its Interim President & CEO. Rachel joined AAHOA in 2015 after more than 20 years as a trial lawyer.

Rachel has been recognized as one of the most “Influential Women in Hospitality,” and has received numerous awards and recognitions for her leadership and service to the hospitality industry. She is dedicated to advancing women in leadership in the hospitality industry. Rachel is the Founder of Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance and is a Board Member, Principal, and Interview Host for DEI Advisors. Rachel also serves on the boards of Women in Travel Thrive and the Kennesaw State University Coles College of Business and is also a frequent speaker at industry conferences.

Silvia Camarota Profile Photo

Silvia Camarota

Senior Director for North America Market Management, Lodging at Expedia Group

Silvia Camarota is a Senior Director for North America Market Management, Lodging at Expedia Group. In her role, Silvia oversees a team of account management professionals responsible for lodging partnerships across many North America markets.

Passionate about travel industry, inclusion and philanthropic impact, Silvia has also served in volunteer leadership roles on various industry organizations including HSMAI, SKAL and currently serves on USTA IPW Advisory Board. Silvia is a Founding Chair of nonprofit organization; community Women in Travel THRIVE founded in 2020 aimed to reduce impact that COVID-19 has on women’s career progression and open doors for women across the travel industry by facilitating unique networking opportunities.

Prior to her role with Expedia Group, Silvia worked as the Director of Operations and Marketing for Liberty Investment Properties developing and opening new extended stay hotels nationally. Prior to that, Silvia spent 11 years with Sunburst Hospitality Corporation as Area General Manager and several other strategic leadership roles.

Silvia is certified as CHA by AH&LA, holds a bachelor degree in Business Administration from Florida International University and holds MBA from University of Miami.