Being a company run by a powerful CEO itself we believe in strong female empowerment. In today’s travel industry finding empowering female role models is extremely important. Travel is one of the most important experiences we can have as 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 open our eyes to new ideas. The women who set an example using travel to make the world a better place deserve to be highlighted, so we have compiled a list of some of the most powerful women who travel.
Tompkins started her Patagonia career by helping founder Yvon Chouinard turn his small piton business into the giant outdoor name it is today. She went on to become his CEO and pushed the company towards a sustainable goal in the 90’s when female CEO’s itself were rare. She paved the way as a female CEO, helping the company grow, taking a stand against sustainability and leading 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’s passing, they had protected more land than any other private individuals. Their goal was to get people traveling in the wild so 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.
Former Marine biologist turned National Geographic photographer Cristina Mittermeir stuns her 1 million Instagram followers everyday. Her work is known for the portraits of indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest, and close-ups of harp seal pups on thinning ice in the Artic. One of the most widely known pieces of work is the viral video if 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 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.” 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. Mittermeier is an example of someone who is able to use her platform for a change.
Ex-pharmaceutical representative to ex-pat English teacher, business owner, and competitive world traveler achieved in a little over a decade. Founder of boutique travel agency–Jet black and the brains behind @thecatchmeifyoucan Jessica Nabongo is set to be the first black woman to visit every U.N recognized country at the young age of 34. In 2019 alone she was on 150 flights, and had spread her wealth of knowledge through her 88K followers on Instagram. As a powerful young woman she paves the way for young travelers interested in fearless living, 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. And, as a solo traveler, “hopefully also for women.”
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. Founded by former Warby Parker exces, Jen Rubio and Steph Korey have turned a good idea into a multi-million dollar company. Their recent success has 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, transforming the company into a lifestyle brand. They pave the way for young female CEO’s 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.
Veteran and three-time expat solo backpacker 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 to $50 million for the travel industry. Robinson has set an example as an empowering female founder by creating this 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. Last year the company launched the Audacity Fest, 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.