Premier praises WITH Tas at 10th anniversary celebrations

WITH Tas President Jill Bannon, Premier Will Hodgman & WITH Founder Sally Deane

Media release

Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Helen Burnet, recently hosted a Civic Reception at Hobart Town Hall to mark the 10th anniversary of Women in Tourism & Hospitality Tasmania Inc. (WITH Tas).

Speaking at the reception, founder Sally Deane spoke about forming WITH Tas in 2009 when she saw that whilst women made up over 60% of the industry, they were well under-represented at networking events.  The organisation aims to connect women new to, and already working in, the tourism and associated industries in a welcoming, supportive environment where they can share experiences, contacts and expertise with those who understand the industry.

Its longevity and 10th anniversary mark a significant milestone for a small, volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation and show there is still a need for an association aimed at supporting women.

Premier Will Hodgman was amongst the 60 guests and said “It was fantastic to attend Women In Tourism and Hospitality’s 10th anniversary and to celebrate its important role in supporting women who are part of Tasmania’s great tourism success story.” He went on, “Tasmania’s tourism and hospitality industry is made up of passionate, innovative and collaborative professionals, and WITH is an important industry network. I have no doubt the organisation will continue to contribute to the development of Tasmanian tourism for many years ahead, and I thank all those passionate industry leaders in WITH.”

Founding Committee Member and current President, Jill Bannon, said “Our members have told us that by providing a welcoming and non-judgemental atmosphere to connect, they gain confidence through our events and the women they meet. Problems can be solved, mentors found and experiences shared. Sometimes it’s just being with like-minded women who understand the industry and have that empathy.”

Ten years has seen many successful events including a reception at Government House, tour and Jazz Soiree at Shene Estate, Lark Distillery information and tastings, trade expo at Brookfield and a memorable Nature. Be In It. experience at Waterworks Reserve. The most recent was a Midtown Meet Up which brought two senior guest speakers from the University of Tasmania for an enlightening discussion on the University’s vision for the CBD, of particular interest to the tourism sector.

The Industry Leaders Breakfast on 17 October is the third in the annual series and this year features Kim Seagram, Tracey Leitch and Fiona Weaver. Jill Bannon commented “The feedback on these events has been fantastic and we’re finding there is no shortage of amazing women to inspire and make an early rise worthwhile! All have such different backgrounds offering stories and experiences to share, everyone takes home some wisdom and encouragement.”

WITH Tas also looks to the future by providing an annual scholarship to assist a young woman undertaking tourism and/or hospitality studies at post-secondary level. Throughout the year mentoring and a ready-made network of industry contacts are also offered. This year’s winner is hospitality student, Joy Varahakaporn who is studying for a Certificate IV in Cookery and plans to complete the Advanced Diploma in Hospitality.

Jill Bannon concluded, “We’re also developing stronger relationships with other industry organisations, in particular Destination Southern Tasmania, and look forward to working with them into the future. We aim to be around for another 10 years or as long as there is the need.”

Key points

  • It connects women working in the tourism and associated industries in a welcoming, supportive environment where they can share experiences, contacts and expertise with those who understand the industry.
  • In 2010, a northern group was established which is still successfully connecting women from the North and East Coasts.
  • Hosts events for information, education, social interaction and sharing inspiration (non members welcome).
  • Tourism Research Australia figures show 8.7% of Tasmania’s workforce is directly employed in tourism (highest in the country). With indirect employment, it accounts for 17.2% of total state employment. Women are a significant part of the tourism and hospitality sectors occupying a multitude of roles in management, as employees and as owner-operators.
  • Industry Leaders Breakfast::