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Looking up to incredible female role models in travel and tourism

Posted on 27/04/2022 by

ITC and Study From Home’s CEO Claire Huxley is an amazing role model for students.

ITC is very much a reflection of the travel and tourism industry. While it’s true that we have male and female students, it’s also true that women in the industry can struggle to juggle a career and a family.

But times have changed, and it’s no longer accepted (or acceptable!) that a woman’s job is to stay home and be a mum when she wants a career. Our graduates are heading out into the world with industry-recognised qualifications and are well prepared for stellar careers in travel and tourism, and the team loves nothing more to watch as they go from success to success.

As well as watching our own graduates succeed, we love keeping an eye on incredible female role models in the industry.

Meet LeeAnn Yare

LeeAnn Yare is truly an inspiration. This Kiwi pilot flies 777s with Air New Zealand, but she’s also a mum, an interior and food stylist, and an author.

This is a woman who shows the rest of us that it’s possible to do all the things you want to do and be all the things you want to be.

In an article for Stuff discussing how the aviation industry needs more pilots, LeeAnn spoke about how she loves seeing more women take to the skies, but that progress is slow.

“When I started out in the industry, around 30 years ago, around 3 per cent of the world’s airline pilots were women. That number is now roughly 5 per cent.”

She also spoke about how when she started flying, she would often hear an outdated trope that ‘if girls were meant to fly, the sky would be pink’. But these days, she’s seeing much more encouragement from colleagues and the industry for women getting started in the profession.

“As I get to see more than my fair share of beautiful sunrises and sunsets from the best office window in the world, I can honestly tell you the sky is often pink, and I will take every opportunity to snap and share that, because if I can inspire just one young woman to become a pilot then I am succeeding.”

The women of ITC

And let’s not forget some of the amazing women within ITC.

ITC CEO Claire Huxley

Claire has faced plenty of challenges in her career and has risen to the occasion every time. She has lived, worked, and travelled all over the world, and ITC is lucky to have her skills and experience at the helm.

Last year, Claire offered 12 essential pieces of advice for graduates.

These included gems such as never hiding from your mistakes, always moving forward, and making connections everywhere you go.

She’s a woman who has made her way through an inspired career in travel and tourism, and offers much more than 12 pieces of advice for others to learn from.

Claire is backed by a team of amazing women. Here are just a few and their proudest achievements!

Karen Houston – Founder and Consultant of ITC

Karen has an extensive background in international tourism, starting out as a tour guide and overseas agent in Spain and North Africa, before taking up a UK based position as Regional Trainer for Thomson Holidays, Europe’s largest tour operator. Over the following 15 years Karen progressed to Reservations Manager and Regional Manager before taking up the post of General Manager based in London.

A career move back into training and education for the travel and tourism industries led to the set up of her own training consultancy business. Operating in the UK and Europe Karen gained extensive experience and qualifications as a professional adult educator.

After moving to New Zealand Karen set up the College in 1996 with other business professionals. Founded on principles of business excellence the College continues to attract quality staff and students seeking the best that New Zealand industry training can offer. Karen is a leading spokesperson for the industry.

Mel Jenkins, Marketing Manager

After leaving school early, gaining her tourism qualifications she reached her dream career at Air New Zealand. Now she is ITC’s Marketing Manager and manages the schools team. Mel wanted to achieve something big so she could share her story with others and be a role model for her own 4 children, so she chose to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, a 42.2km run on Mount Everest. After training and dedication, she landed in Nepal to begin the acclimatisation process and a trek to Base Camp (where the marathon begins).

With limited oxygen and icy tracks, it was a huge physical and mental challenge. Of course, it didn’t come easy as she was meant to complete this a year prior after the event was cancelled due to a devastating earthquake. She re-focused her energy on training another year and raising over $5,000 for those in need. She’s now sharing her story and message to not sell yourself short. You can achieve anything you want to. You cannot possibly just sit and wait for the impossible to happen without a little hard work.

She says ‘you cannot make diamonds without a little pressure’. You need to prepare, work hard or train and participate.

Irena Wysoczanski – Academic & Quality Manager 

As a 10 year old, working in her immigrant father’s fish and chip shop after school, Irena learned the art of customer service… little did she know that it would take her on a lifetime journey of learning. Some achievements include – Flight Attendant to Cabin Crew Training Manager for Air New Zealand, delivering Cabin Crew Management Papers at Massey University, helping her manager start a new PTE at Air New Zealand, and more recently, instead of retiring, two years ago at the age of 66 took on the challenge of Academic & Quality Manager for ITC to learn more about the continuous improvement and compliance required of a PTE. Her biggest achievement? To never stop wanting to learn…

Become your own inspiration

Study From Home allows you to balance study with work and home life, ensuring you earn a valuable qualification even with everything else going on. With distance learning, you can take the first step into a new career and become your own inspiration in life.

Take a look at our learning from home options and get in touch today to find out more.

Study From Home – 0800 TOURISM (0800 868747) or

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