Leading the way on sustainability: International Women’s Day 2024 hero image

Leading the way on sustainability: International Women’s Day 2024

This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the incredible progress and innovation made by the women of The Travel Corporation and TreadRight, who are leading the way on sustainability.  Learn about some of the strides made, and what’s next up, through the lens of the women who are bringing these visions and real-life impacts to life. And, hear about the women who’ve inspired them along the way.


Shannon Guihan, Chief Sustainability Officer & Head of TreadRight, The Travel Corporation

I’m extremely proud of our Carbon Fund, but more than that of our team. We have a clever team of individuals who are genuinely committed to moving the needle in their respective areas and brands when it comes to our sustainability commitments. We are a huge company – 40 brands and a complicated operating environment, so everyone brings their own area of expertise to make sure we get the job done. I love it.

My focus at the moment is to leverage our Carbon Fund for our long-term decarbonization of the business, with a particular focus on our tours and operations. That means working with partners and destinations to identify opportunities to better support communities and to overall reduce our carbon footprint or other potential negative impacts.


Nadine Pinto, Global Sustainability Manager, The Travel Corporation

I’m proud of the work we’ve done recently to switch over to a new ESG reporting system that will help us report on sustainability holistically as well as prepare us for ESG regulations that are coming.  

I’m looking forward to working closer with Operations teams and our new Sustainability Analyst to drive changes to our trips that will reduce their carbon footprint.

I’ve been fortunate to have had several women leaders and mentors that inspire me and guide me along my career. They’ve ranged from providing feedback on my resume to advising me through precarious work situations. It’s great to hear advice from a woman’s perspective that takes into account learned experiences navigating leadership tables that are often filled with men. 


Gemma Myhill, Head of Partnerships and Special Projects & Sustainability Officer, TTC Tour Brands 

To be part of an organization that is continuously striving for a better and more sustainable future is a true privilege. I am in constant awe of what we achieve at TTC and am so proud that just last December, TTC’s Tour Brands took an industry first step to “say no to more stuff”. In a bold move, we have stopped purchasing any branded merchandise for the purposes of giving it away which prevents an annual 6.5 million car-driven miles in carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. Instead, we’ll be donating to nature-based solutions projects on behalf our guests, trade and internal team members, which will remove an additional 1.5 million car driven miles in carbon emissions by the end of the year. 

In addition to working on the continued roll out and optimization of this Donations project, I am also extremely excited about the 3-year partnership we have just entered with VisitScotland (VS). As another industry-first initiative, we’re partnering with VS to decarbonize our Scotland tours and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. However, our goal for the first year of the partnership is to establish our roadmap and further develop the current synergies between TTC and VisitScotland’s sustainability efforts. 

I am fortunate enough to learn from and be mentored by incredibly passionate, visionary women working at an Executive level every day. To have so many driven, inspiring females across the C-suite provides me with a blueprint to success and I certainly hope in the not-too-distant future I can be the one to inspire and mentor others. 


Tasha Hayes, European Operations Director & Sustainability Officer, Contiki 

I’m most proud of our commitment to using HVO fuel in Europe. Knowing that transport was a large part of our Scope 1 emissions, we really wanted to find an interim solution to reduce this. Working together with Gerco at Atlas Reizen we were able to show the benefits and increased availability making this a feasible option for our operations in Europe.

Right now we are looking at implementing low-carbon changes in our best selling trips for maximum benefit. With the guidance of our sustainability team we can find solutions that are both good for the planet and have no impact to the enjoyment of our travelers on trip. Think veg-focused meals, less buffets, more people powered experiences, and more HVO fuel.

In my role I’m lucky to work with such a wide array of different people, particularly amazing women that have built careers and businesses whilst sometimes also raising a family. In most cases these women grew up in a different generation from myself where I expect the challenges and expectations were harder than they are today. I applaud these women for persevering against the odds and for being role models for the next generation of women.


Julie Higgins, Director of Hotel Operations & Sustainability Officer, Uniworld 

There is so much to be proud of, but if I have to put it all together, it would be the engagement and active involvement from our teams across the ships. They have been (and continue to be) just incredible! A perfect example of this is what they have achieved onboard the ships during 2023 alone with our food waste reduction strategy, in co-operation with Leanpath, our food waste management systems partner. During this single year, across the 11 ships they have managed a huge 38% reduction in food waste onboard, which is just under 35 tonnes of food waste prevention across the fleet. This is the equivalent of 63,947 meals saved, which I find extraordinary. 

We are very much focused on our Goal 1, which is working towards net zero. Our industry is in the midst of figuring out how this may be achieved collectively, however until this becomes clear, we are actively searching for technology for our ships that will reduce our carbon footprint in the meantime. Firstly, we are the only river cruise company that is participating in Path2Zero, a collaborative 5-year research project which is headed up by TU Delft, aimed at forming a viable pathway for the inland shipping industry to reach Net zero. We are also about to conduct an audit onboard of one of our ships over the next few months from an external organization that specializes in green technology for the shipping industry, that we may gain a deeper understanding of our current carbon footprint and then receive insight and recommendations  into technology which either already  exists or is under development, but has until now not been used for river cruise ships, and that may be implemented onboard of our ships moving forward. Very exciting times for us! 

I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by several great women that have made a huge imprint on me right from the beginning of my life, (my Mom of course,) and then over my last two decades here at Uniworld and working together with our all female team at TreadRight. They are strong minded individuals that work with heart and empathy, passion and fire, and always there for me when I need guidance, or just a listening ear to bounce some ideas around with. They inspire me to always be better and I am truly blessed to be able to learn from these great women. I hope to be able to do the same for the next generations of women already in our company or who join in future. 


Jody Grossfeldt, General Manager, Operations & Experiences, AAT Kings 

In my role of Sustainability Officer I have really enjoyed working with our various teams across our wide geographical footprint as well as our suppliers to drive positive change. Seeing our teams embrace our changes, seeing them come up with their own ideas and seeing them all work together to also drive change is something I am really proud of. Their engagement and commitment is absolutely key to us delivering and achieving our goals. A quote I share regularly with our teams is “Every person is the right person to act. Every moment is the right moment to begin.” 

It is a really exciting time within the AAT Kings Group. We have just undertaken an operational review to see where we can further eliminate single-use plastics but also look at ways to increase our local and organic food products. We are continuing to work through this and implement changes over the coming months with our Onroad teams. We are also currently in our contracting period and working very closely with our suppliers on the development of at least 3 new MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences which we are excited about. Monthly Make Travel Mondays are being launched to create team engagement and ensure we keep on track to achieve our goals.      

My biggest female mentor has been my Mum.   My mum is truly an inspirational lady and throughout my childhood and my career has provided unconditional love, invaluable guidance and many life lessons.  There is no one else in my life that has truly shaped the person I am today and she showed me the type of mum and person I wanted to be.  One of my favourite pieces of wisdom that she passed on to me is “people will always forgot what you did, they will forget what you said but people will never forget the way you made them feel.” 


Tracy Schaffler, General Manager Cullinan Central Loading & Sustainability Officer, Cullinan 

I have been in my role as Sustainability Officer for Cullinan for 3 years. I am so grateful and so honoured to be part of this organization and this team. I have learnt so much from the TreadRight team and my fellow Sustainability Officer colleagues.

The recent progress I am most proud of is the Climate Innovation Corner internal event held in December, at which I had 186 attendees from Cullinan over 2 days! During this event, we educated our employees on the purpose and power of our Carbon Fund, encouraging them to come up with their own ideas on how we can achieve emissions reductions at our offices.

Building off of this, my current focus for 2024 is to get our Cullinan staff more involved in putting forward ideas for our Carbon Fund, as well as increasing volunteer hours.

With regards to female mentors, these would have to be my mother and my sister! They are strong, hard-working woman and mothers! I hope that I am a mentor to all the young woman in my team – that you can achieve great things if you work hard and treat people and the planet with respect! 


Parisa Pouramn, Sustainability Marketing & Communications Manager, The Travel Corporation

Some of the recent work that’s been super exciting is supporting nature-based solutions to the climate crisis through TreadRight funding. The fact that we are tasked with finding organizations to support that are doing incredibly important and impressive work restoring the planet is so rewarding and hopeful. Then what starts to happen is true relationship building with people who, many times, are halfway around the world, but are able to give you an inside look into what it really takes to implement these solutions.

I’m really looking forward to telling the stories of our project partners and increasing education on some of these tools for mitigating the climate crisis. So often we’re bombarded with bad news stories, so to be able to spread some hope and inspiration by raising awareness about their amazing work is exciting.

Working within the TreadRight and sustainability team at TTC is the first time I can say I’ve been surrounded professionally almost exclusively by women, and it’s been a huge factor in my personal and professional growth. I’m inspired, motivated and educated by these women everyday and feel so lucky to be working alongside them.


Fruzsina Ford, Sustainability Coordinator, The Travel Corporation

We have a volunteer network of MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® (Green) Teams throughout our global operations. Last November we brought their offices together and one really cool outcome was the ideation towards using our Carbon Fund. Just off the back of that engagement initiative, four team members’ ideas to decarbonize their facilities received funding.

This quarter, I am involved with migrating all our data and users to our new sustainability reporting tool, Brightest. The tool has a lot of holistic capabilities to aid us with future mandatory reporting requirements so it’s a very worthwhile change for us.

My sister has always been a generous & insightful career guide. She recommended I take maths for as long as possible at school and that I pursue an MBA when I moved to Canada. I was a creative soul so thanks to her I am more well-rounded which has allowed me to make the career shift into sustainability, and a role where I ultimately need to call upon both sides of my brain!

Diana Davila, Sustainability Analyst, The Travel Corporation

In my role of Sustainable Analyst, I am very proud of the reception at TTC of the data insights of our carbon footprint. This shows that our teams are forward-thinking and very curious about how each activity and decision contributes either positively or negatively to the carbon footprint of the business. I am very happy to see the TTC community asking why and how we can do better.  

Currently, I am working on data exploration and modelling. The idea is to understand the underlying patterns of our trips’ carbon footprint, allowing us to build a model to predict what our carbon footprint will look like as we implement our Net Zero Road Map. It puts us in a proactive mindset with data-forward decision-making processes, to give us the best chance to achieve our goals. This data-driven perspective pushes us to data integration across TTC, which is something that the sustainability efforts of big brands lack. It is a big challenge, but I believe that it’s necessary because it gives us the ability to make holistic decisions.