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22 Nov 2018


FESTIVE ROAD, the world’s leading travel and meetings engagement consultancy, has announced today the first activity in a planned programme of direct action designed to increase the number of women on the business travel industry’s conference stages.

The company states that its overarching aim is “…in an industry which clearly celebrates female employment, our ultimate aim is to replicate that balance onstage at industry conferences.”

The first of this action sees Festive Road teaming up with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) to fund and develop a “Speaking Masterclass” for the sector to “…help women in travel management with confidence and tips on how to own the stage.”

The classes are open to any woman in business travel in the UK who feels they need support to speak effectively on stage, with a preference for those who haven’t spoken already at an industry event.  The first is being held at the RADA Studios in London on the afternoon of the Business Travel Awards on 21st January 2019. A RADA instructor with a focus on supporting women in business will lead the Masterclasses supported by Caroline Strachan and Louise Kilgannon of Festive Road.

The introduction of the masterclass is being supported by Business Travel Show and ITM, both of whom have committed to sourcing speakers from the class cohort in order to widen stage gender diversity at their upcoming events.

Speaking about the programme, Festive Road managing partner Paul Tilstone said, “We know there are large numbers of talented, vocal women in this industry.  Just look at who we have attracted to Festive Road as evidence of this.  And yet we so often see stages with male dominated panels (or manels as we call them).  We believe that by supporting the female community in our sector we can help to introduce a rich vein of new female speakers from whom we can learn.”

David Chapple, group portfolio director, Business Travel Show, added, “We are delighted to be supporting Festive Road with this initiative. We have some amazing women on our advisory board and our hosted buyer programme, and we would love to feature more women on the Business Travel Show conference programme as speakers, panelists and masterclass moderators.”

Karen Hutchings, Chair of ITM, stated, “Getting up on stage can be a daunting prospect, after all these years I still get nervous! Having a perspective and being prepared to speak is only part of the equation.  It takes confidence in your ability to impart the message well and there’s no doubt that the women who embark on this masterclass and the industry itself will benefit from this great initiative.”

Full details of the course and the application criteria and application form can be found at

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