ETM Marks International Women’s Day 2019

As a part of CTM’s global network, ETM is committed to providing a collaborative and supportive workplace culture that provides opportunities for every individual to achieve their best. We are incredibly proud of our large female workforce and high proportion of female leadership roles.

At a recent CTM global gathering in Asia, we took the opportunity to mark International Women’s Day 2019 by interviewing a range of our senior female leaders about what inspires them in their careers, and what advice they would give to the next generation of female business leaders. Here’s what they had to say…

International Women's Day

Laura Ruffles, Global COO

“I am inspired by people that can take a challenge and turn it into an opportunity. To be a future leader, I believe it’s really important to get to know yourself, be comfortable with who you are and what you stand for, then back yourself. Create a strong network of family, friends and peers. Use your network to test ideas and proactively seek opportunities to continuously learn.’’


Andrea Joseph, Chief People Works Officer 

“I’m continually inspired when I see team members learning and growing, and when they use those learnings to generate new ideas that make a valuable difference to their teams and clients. My top tip for aspiring female business leaders is to always be observant, continue to learn from those around you, and work on your instincts.”


Annabel Ausmus, Global CMO

“My advice to aspiring female leaders is: be excited about the journey, not just the destination. Experience cannot be bought or Googled or fast-tracked, and it’s the foundation for becoming a resilient, robust and respected leader. So be patient, embrace the experiences and learnings along the way – both good and bad! Because it’s usually the stops along the way that make for the most memorable journeys.”


Annabel Ausmus IWD

Tracey Edwards, Global Strategic Lead, Event Travel Management

“My Aunt was one of the first female microbiologists. After being told that women couldn’t be Pharmacists, she thought “Right, I’ll do this!”. She travelled extensively for work, presenting at conferences around the world and sending us postcards which opened my eyes to different cultures, possibilities and a curiousity about how that conference came together.

“Today my inspiration comes from the leadership team at CTM, who provide their ongoing support and guidance, and a belief in myself and my business. My advice to future female leaders is always believe in yourself and be confident. It can be hard at times but I often find my first decision was the right one. So build a solid plan, and keep going back to it to ensure you remain on track.  And don’t be afraid to ask for help/guidance.”


Teri Awwad, GM Event Travel Management North America

“I’m inspired by all the women who paved the way in leadership before me. I watched my mentor navigate through business, relationships, and mentoring/coaching with a healthy combination of determination and compassion while driving results. She showed me these characteristics are the keys to gaining respect.

“My advice to aspiring female leaders is to do your job and do it well. It’s that simple. Let your work speak for itself. Be cognisant of being a role model and a team member.”


Teri Awwad IWD


Shelley Mathews, VP Sales & Client Services Europe

“Don’t give up, no matter how many times people question you. As a mother of three and a grandmother, I’m even more determined to be heard.”


Debbie Langen, SVP Sales, North America

“I am inspired by the great females in my family. My grandmother could accomplish the seemingly impossible through a blend of tenacity, compromise and strong relationships. My mother got things done quietly, without demanding attention but with 100% certainty. As I look to the future, I am inspired by my 17-year-old daughter. Her excitement about positively impacting the world with heart and compassion gives me confidence in what the world will become.

“My advice to aspiring female leader is: be realistic. While you can be an amazing leader, an inspiring mother, and a supportive partner – you cannot do all three at exactly the same moment! Allocate sufficient time to all of the vital areas of your life, and be present in the moment. Do not forget to “secure your own oxygen mask before helping others” – you are at your best when you are mentally and physically strong. Leadership is not about demanding fellowship or a title – but rather about inspiring growth and teaching your team what they are truly capable of. True leaders are in fact leaders because smart and talented people choose to follow.”




Penny Munn, Head of Supplier Relations, UK/Europe

“Any woman that gets to a senior management position and maintains their own values and beliefs, while being respectful and supportive of other women, inspires me.

“My advice to future female leaders is to find courage and speak out if they ever feel intimidated or bullied. Be kind and respectful of other women, and treat others as you would like to be treated.”


Claire Bolte, Marketing Manager Australia / New Zealand

“If you don’t ask, the answer is always ‘no’. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what you want/need/deserve in your career. If you don’t ask, you will lose nothing but also gain nothing. If the answer is ‘no’, you will lose nothing but learn a valuable lesson. If the answer is ‘yes’, you have gained something you otherwise may never have.”


Claire Bolte IWD


Natasha Baynes, Marketing Manager UK/Europe

“My advice to future female leaders is take every opportunity to continuously learn and expand your skills and expertise. Have a strong sense of self, determine what your motivators are, and what you want achieve within your career.”


Monica Hui, Marketing Manager (Corporate) Asia

“Since studying Psychology at university, I have been inspired by the role of communications in influencing decision making – both in driving business growth and in career development. I believe great communication is key to both. My advice to future female leaders is to stay positive, keep learning, be open minded to ever-changing market situations and tools, and use the power of communication to demonstrate your worth.”