As a company run by a powerful woman itself, we believe in strong female empowerment. Travel is one of the most important experiences we can have. It can spread awareness about world events and highlight the beauty of the planet we call home. It is a way to connect and learn from different cultures and to open our eyes to new ideas.
In today’s travel industry, finding empowering female role models is extremely important. We believe that traveling women aspiring to change the world deserve to be highlighted. So, we have compiled a list of some of the most powerful women who travel.
Conservationist and Former CEO of Patagonia
Tompkins started her Patagonia career with founder Yvon Chouinard. She helped turn his small piton business into the giant outdoor name it is today. She then went on to become his CEO, pushing the company towards a sustainable goal in the ’90s when female CEOs were rare. Tompkins helped Patagonia grow, took a stand against sustainability, and lead the company to be a well known brand. As if being the CEO of a forward thinking company wasn’t enough to make her one of the most powerful women in travel, she retired from Patagonia and founded Espirit with her late husband Douglas Tompkins.
Espirit is the rival outdoor gear brand to North Face. Together they bought over 2 million acres in various parts of Chile and Argentina to protect it from developers. They purchased, restored, and kept these lands open as national parks. In 2015, before Douglas’ passing, they had protected more land than any other private individuals. Their goal was to get people traveling in the wild so that they could fall in love with nature. She empowers women to to take a stand and protect the earth, making her one of the most powerful women in the travel industry. She continues her mission today, and describes her mission as an essential duty: “paying rent” for living on Earth.
Photographer and Conservationist
Former Marine biologist turned National Geographic photographer, Cristina Mittermeir stuns her 1 million Instagram followers everyday. She is recognized by her portraits of indigenous communities in the Amazon Rainforest and close-ups of harp seal pups on thinning ice in the Arctic. One of her most widely known pieces of work is of a starving polar bear searching for food. All of her photographs have one common factor—nature. As one of the most powerful women in travel, she strives to use her platform for change. She hopes to highlight the natural beauty of the world around us and inspire people to protect nature and the communities threatened by extinction.
“My work is about building a greater awareness of the responsibility of what it means to be a human,” says Mittermeier. “Even though most of us may never feel the chill of Arctic air through the frozen flap of an icy tent, images can help us understand the urgency many photographers feel to protect wild places”. Cristina Mittermeier is also the president of SeaLegacy, which is a nonprofit she co-founded with Paul Nicklen. SeaLegacy funds ocean conservation projects and uses visual media to create awareness of climate change.
Ex-pharmaceutical representative, ex-pat English teacher, business owner, and competitive world traveler achieved in a little over a decade. Jessica Nabongo—founder of boutique travel agency Jet Black and the brains behind @thecatchmeifyoucan—is set to be the first black woman to visit every U.N recognized country. Not to mention, she’s only 34! She has been on 150 flights and spread her wealth of knowledge through to her 118K followers on Instagram in just 2019 alone. As a powerful young woman, she paves the way for young travelers interested in fearless living and connection-making with tips on where to eat, party, shop, and sleep. Her aim is to show the public how she travels through the world as a black woman and wants to eradicate fears for those afraid to travel. “I want to show the visibility of black travel, […] and African travelers,” says Nabongo. Furthermore, as a solo traveler, she says, “hopefully also for women.”
Co-founders of Away
Former Warby Parker execs, Jen Rubio and Steph Korey, have turned a good idea into a multi-million dollar company. If you’re into traveling you’ve definitely heard of the new luggage company—Away. The luggage brand has become a statement piece for millennials. Their recent success has also contributed to the launch of a new travel magazine called “HERE”. The luggage company has even received a stamp of approval from Meghan Markle herself. As a result, it transformed the company into a lifestyle brand. They pave the way for young female CEOs as they inspire girls to follow their dreams. “Never let the idea of failure deter you from bringing your vision to life, or limit how big your vision can be,” says Rubio.
Founder of Nomadness Travel Tribe and Audacity Fest
Veteran and three-time expat solo backpacker Evita Robinson has been racking up passport stamps from all over the world. In 2011, she founded the Nomadness Travel Tribe, an online community for adventurous travelers of all colors. Today, it is a network of 22,000 members whose journeys annually contribute $50 million to the travel industry. Robinson has set an example by creating a community where travelers of color can support each other. The success of the company has made tourism boards and tour companies reach out to Robinson to learn more about how to connect with travelers of color in significant ways. Furthermore, the company launched the Audacity Fest last year. Which is a travel festival catering to millennial travelers of color, featuring panels and discussions from people like Kellee Edwards. “[Nomadness] was about galvanizing community. It was about breaking not only racial, but also socioeconomic bounds—letting people know that they didn’t need to be rich, white, and affluent to see the world,” Robinson says.