Airlines, tour ops, cruise lines and more mark International Women’s Day 2023

Airlines, tour ops, cruise lines and more mark International Women’s Day 2023

TORONTO — Travel companies across Canada – and worldwide – are marking International Women’s Day today with special honours, new content series, all-female flight crews and more.

Here’s a look …


Air Canada is marking International Women’s Day with an announcement about the recipients of the 2023 Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to Canadian women studying to become commercial pilots or aircraft maintenance engineers. Air Canada and CAE joined forces this year to double the number of recipients, awarding scholarships to eight young women from across Canada. In addition to the $5,000 scholarship, CAE’s four recipients will become CAE Women in Flight – Air Canada Ambassadors and help inspire more women to become commercial pilots.

The Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship was established in honour of Air Canada’s first female pilot to help foster the next generation of women following in her footsteps and is awarded annually in conjunction with the Northern Lights Aero Foundation, which Cameron, Boeing 777 Captain at Air Canada (retired), heads up as the Director.

The 2023 honourees are: Amanda Tosto, Surrey, B.C.; Hélène Trudeau, Beausejour, MB; Charlotte Thorley, Grimsby, ON; and Chanelle Wilson, Coldstream, B.C., plus CAE Women in Flight ambassadors Meera Bissonauth, Mississauga, ON; Mia Cochran, North Bay, ON; Jaime Hanson, Rocky Mountain House, AB; and Kyra Jarvis, Kingston, NS.

“Air Canada is extremely proud of the leadership position it has taken in cultivating diversity, equity and inclusion in the aviation industry, with women well represented at every level and across all branches of the airline,” said Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and Public Affairs at Air Canada. “We know how crucial this support is to young women seeking non-traditional aviation careers, and we have seen results first-hand from the success of past winners. Congratulations to this year’s winners.”

Airlines, tour ops, cruise lines and more mark International Women’s Day 2023

Judy Cameron award winners 2023


Celebrity Cruises has launched a new content series called ‘The Tangerine Table’, spotlighting a wide range of game-changing leaders and crew members across its fleet, diving into their real life stories and their extraordinary achievements. It’s all in honour of International Women’s Day.

The first episode, with an encouraging ‘SEA it to BE it’ message from the groundbreaking women and top leaders onboard Celebrity Beyond, is headlined by: Captain Kate McCue, the first and only American female captain of a cruise ship and the world’s most-followed mariner on social media; First Officer Elizabeth Marami, the first Kenyan woman to hold a master’s license; Executive Pastry Chef Atziri Chavez – a Mexican-born talented master of the culinary arts who proudly boasts her well-deserved black scarf; and Jelena Vukelic, a Serbian-born wine expert that serves as the ship’s Cellar Master.

The first episode will be followed by other episodes that will be released throughout the year, highlighting different crew members. The first episode can be viewed here, or scroll to the bottom of this article.


Intrepid Travel is introducing brand new women’s trips and experiences for 2023, including its first ever Women’s Expedition in Pakistan. Intrepid’s Women’s Expeditions, which first launched in 2018, are a collection of tours led entirely by female leaders that aim to break down barriers for female travelers, debunk misconceptions about gender norms and celebrate the similarities and differences of women around the globe.

Highlighting the new Women’s Expeditions for 2023 is the 12-day Pakistan Women’s Expedition (from Cdn$5,765), which will have its first-ever departure on Sept. 17, 2023, from Lahore, Pakistan. Other highlights in the Women’s Expeditions range include: the 13-day Nepal Women’s Expedition (from $2,505); the eight-day Morocco Women’s Expedition (from $1750); the 12-day India Women’s Expedition (from $2,158); the eight-day Jordan Women’s Expedition (from $2735); and the 12-day Iran Women’s Expedition (from $4195).

Airlines, tour ops, cruise lines and more mark International Women’s Day 2023

Nepal Women’s Expedition with Intrepid Travel


On this International Women’s Day, Marriott Hotels of Canada is celebrating the achievements of its female employees from coast to coast. The company asked a few of its associates to reflect on their careers, describe the challenges they needed to overcome to be successful, and what advice they would give to young women interested in pursuing a career in their given fields.

Here’s what they had to say:

Rita Yao, Director of Finance, W Toronto: “Throughout my career, I have been rejected for certain roles and although I was disappointed at first, I did not give up. I knew what I needed to work on to continue my journey and kept on trying. I believe in hard work, and I took every opportunity that was presented to me. I was not afraid of trying new things, taking on new projects and even relocating to a different city to get the job I wanted. If you focus on improving yourself, the opportunity will come at the right time. I believe there should never be gender to any role.  I am also a minority but working for Marriott never made me feel that I would be at a disadvantage.”

Lori Johnson, Chief Engineer (Hotels), JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and The Douglas, Autograph Collection: “I will admit, there have been a few times during my career in Engineering where I have felt that I don’t belong.  Sometimes it has been due to my own self-criticism and other times it came from outside sources. To overcome these stereotypes, I learned (and am still learning) to speak up louder, trust myself and my instincts and try not to take things personally.  I have also tried to look at the people or situations that are creating these barriers as teachers, rather than roadblocks. Instead of allowing them to make me feel less worthy, I focus on what I can learn from them and how I can grow.”

Barbara Barham Warman, Director of Finance & Accounting, Marriott Downtown at CF Toronto Eaton Centre: “The pandemic really put things into perspective. I had to leave my job and home in the U.S. to make the right choice for my family and I was lucky to rejoin the Marriott team in Canada. Finding the balance between work and life is hard, but prioritizing myself makes me a much better mom, wife and professional. To give a simple example, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to catch an earlier train and spend more time at home every night… it might not seem like a lot, but that extra hour for my daughter makes a huge difference, makes me happier and translates into a much healthier work-life balance.”

Jennifer Worden, General Manager, Toronto Marriott Markham: “When I was starting out, the biggest challenges I had to overcome were the stereotypes I had created for myself. I used to think that I couldn’t do the job because I am female and all General Managers at the time were men.  Or I can’t be a General Manager because I’m not good at finance or have a family at home. My advice to young women is take lots of calculated risks, find mentors and advocates, be a community builder, don’t be shy about admitting you don’t know something and be willing to tell people your goals.  Just because you can’t check every box on the job description, doesn’t mean you aren’t ready.  And, have fun … it’s a fun career!”

Dianne Kostopoulos, Director of Security, The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto: “Arianna Huffington has an incredible quote that reads ‘we need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.’ I think back to that often. We all have good days and bad, but it’s important we turn our bad days into learning opportunities that will lead to future success. That’s what makes a strong leader. Someone who is not afraid to make mistakes, be vulnerable enough to make those mistakes in front of their team and demonstrate how they learn and grow from them.”

Airlines, tour ops, cruise lines and more mark International Women’s Day 2023

Rita Yao


In honour of the #EmbraceEquity theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, Bannikin says it is celebrating five incredible women among its travel industry clientele. Says Bannikin: “These women are working hard to ensure travel and tourism have a positive and long-lasting impact on the destinations they love to showcase and explore.” They include Seema Shah, Founder, Tanzania Journeys; Patricia Doe, Managing Director, Wilderness Ireland; Yae Maeda, Community Liason and entrepreneur; Oku Japan; Judy Wilson, three-season Churchill Expedition Leader for Natural Habitat Adventures; and Katy Rockett, Director of Growth, North America for Exodus Travels. Says Rockett: “I feel women are more empowered to travel now than they ever have been before. Travelling as a woman, especially solo, often comes with a great deal of risk, however group travel has made available the opportunity for safety and camaraderie while exploring the world and its cultures. What started as a trend has now become a mainstay in the industry as 68% of our female clients are choosing to travel solo.”

Airlines, tour ops, cruise lines and more mark International Women’s Day 2023

Katy Rockett, Director of Growth, North America for Exodus Travels


A Brussels Airlines A319 flew from Brussels Airport to Marseille this morning with two women in the cockpit. Before departure, the passengers’ baggage was also handled by an all-female team from Alyzia and the flight was boarded by an all-female passenger services team from Brussels Airlines. With this symbolic flight on International Women’s Day, the Belgian airline says it is highlighting the importance of gender equality and inclusion.

Airlines, tour ops, cruise lines and more mark International Women’s Day 2023

Brussels Airlines’ all-female team for International Women’s Day 2023

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