Excellence. It comes from the Latin, excellere, meaning “to rise, surpass, be eminent.” Women in travel and tourism industry are the embodiment of excellence. We surpass expectations to create, create trends and engage new clients because, as a network, we are the eminent sources of information in our respective fields.
We have the power to rise above the status quo of our business and sculpt a landscape of travel and tourism that is assertive, harmonious, and profitable.
WITTI is here to support and celebrate all you have achieved through YOUR excellence in the travel and tourism industry. At the WITTI National Conference we invite you, the leaders, the creators, the innovators of our field, to come together to cooperate, collaborate, and complement the excellence in each other. In just one weekend of networking and skills training, you will gain an increased knowledge and new enthusiasm to build success in the trade we love.
Laura Mandala has been helping her clients harness the power of consumer trends for nearly two decades. As the head of Mandala Research, one of the leading travel and tourism research firms in the world, she spends considerable time evaluating emerging industry developments and providing calculated insight that help organizations make essential business decisions.
Mandala’s firm has pioneered the “firsts” of many niche studies in the industry and offers extensive knowledge of several growing demographics and trends, including wine and culinary tourism, cultural, heritage, and arts travelers, international shopping travelers,and the African American Traveler.
Appointed by the U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary to serve on the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board Laura has provided input on the country’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy. Mandala has also provided guidance to Marriott International, Macy's, Las Vegas, Oregon, California, Virginia, Chicago, among others.
Recently named one of “the most influential women in group tourism,” by Group Tours Magazine, her career includes tenure at the U.S. Travel Association where she served as Vice President of Research. Mandala also spent time as a consultant with Marriott International, where she gained extensive expertise in brand tracking, brand equity, and brand identity research,
Mandala speaks regularly at tourism industry conferences and is a trusted resource for journalists. She’s held a number of teaching appointments including an adjunct professorship at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, the George Washington School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, as well as a stint at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.
Laura is also Founder of Women in Travel and Tourism International, an organization devoted to promoting, supporting, and advocating for women in the travel industry. (www.womenintravelandtourism.com)
Julie Jakopic has been helping leaders succeed since she tutored her friends in math in third grade. Today, Julie is one of the nation’s top organizational and leadership development consultants and coaches.
A Social Alchemist who’s shared the stage with luminaries like President Obama and change agent Neale Donald Walsch, Julie’s on a mission to help build the new paradigm of business leaders excel at work and have lives they love. Julie created her signature Don’t Await It, Create It framework to help visionaries transform possibilities into realities.
A retail manager for Bloomingdales and Estee Lauder while still in college, she branched out into the non-profit sector, advocating for and working with at-risk families, and to corporate executive roles developing organizations from the inside out. Julie has masterfully maneuvered between the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, her signature style a blend of big picture thinking, hands on strategy, and mission driven leadership and organizational development.
Anne Madison is chief strategy and communications officer for Brand USA, the nation's public-private partnership dedicated to increasing international visitation to the United States through marketing and promotional efforts. In this role, Anne is responsible for leading the global communications strategies that advance Brand USA’s mission and funding, raise its visibility worldwide, and build engagement with industry and other business leaders. Her leadership includes oversight for external and internal communications, media relations, business-to-business (B2B) marketing, and public policy educational outreach and relations. In addition, Anne leads the strategic planning process for Brand USA.
Over the past 25 years, Anne has led and supported a number of areas from strategic planning to business development, B2B marketing and multicultural marketing to media relations, digital marketing and public relations, to media and crisis communications to investor relations, events, and corporate social responsibility. Prior to joining Brand USA, she was senior vice president for Choice Hotels International (one of the world’s largest hotel companies) and previously led the communications strategies as vice president, marketing and communications for Enterprise Community Investment (a leading provider of community development capital for affordable housing) and as vice president, communications of The Ryland Group (one of the nation’s largest homebuilders).
She has served on the boards of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), as well as a variety of community nonprofit organizations, including the National Family Resiliency Center, the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, and The Norbel School. In addition, she is a member of the Harvard Kennedy School Women’s Leadership Board and the Leadership Council of the IMPACT Center in Washington, D.C.
Through the course of her career, she has won numerous awards, including those from the Public Relations Society of America, Financial World magazine, and the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International. In addition, she has been recognized as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women. She was just recently named to PR News Top Women in PR.
An inspirational, collaborative and innovative leader, Anne has mentored others along their career paths, and is a passionate advocate for building diverse teams as an essential element for creating strategies that drive results.
Anne is a graduate of Wittenberg University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a concentration in English and journalism and is currently pursuing her master’s degree at The George Washington University. She and her husband, Dave, have four children.
Rosemary Rice McCormick is the President of SHOP AMERICA ALLIANCE, the travel trade association she co-founded in 1998, representing hundreds of North America’s premier shopping tourism destinations. She is the publisher and editor of SHOP AMERICA magazine, oversees development and international marketing of Shop America Tours and produces the annual ONE Travel Conference for Shopping, Dining and Cultural Tourism. She is the co-founder of the US Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council LLC and publisher of The Cultural Traveler guide. McCormick is the author of the award-winning book Marketing Cultural & Heritage Tourism. She is also a partner in OutletBound.com, the leading web site for US Outlet Shopping.
McCormick’s background includes opening Mall of America in 1992 and serving as the shopping center industry’s official delegate at the landmark White House Conference on Travel & Tourism in 1995. She has consulted with many leading shopping centers, outlets and retailers including Tiffany & Company, Taubman and GGP.
McCormick has served on the US Travel Association Board of Directors and its Executive Committee and as a Destination & Travel Foundation Board trustee. She authored a series of tourism white papers on cultural tourism and The International Traveler 2016 white paper. She is a frequent speaker and media spokesperson on trends in marketing, tourism and entrepreneurial business. A passionate traveler, McCormick has visited and shopped in all 50 US states and more than 40 countries.