ACV, AC & Sandals team up to host Women in Business event

It’s a rare occasion when 50 women leaders from the travel industry can unite under one roof simultaneously.

On April 5, Air Canada Vacations, in collaboration with Air Canada and Sandals Resorts, hosted its Women in Business event, inviting women in the travel industry to network over an intimate luncheon held at The Vue in Toronto.

Keynote speaker, Maureen Barnes Smith, vice-president, sales and marketing, Unique Vacations Inc., delivered a succinct and inspiring address, touching on the ongoing battle for equity and the empowerment of future generations. Barnes Smith drew upon the journey of Hillary Clinton in her quest for the presidency. Though she didn’t claim victory in the election, her triumph resonated in the path she forged for subsequent leaders, Barnes Smith noted.

In the face of the pressures on women to balance their personal lives while maintaining the elusive work/life balance, expectations that have unfairly weighed on women for generations, Barnes Smith, as a senior figure in the industry, emphasized our responsibility to champion equality in leadership, to serve as mentors, and to share our journeys with young women navigating the industry. We all have a story to tell.

Reflecting on her personal experiences with her father, she highlighted how he instilled in her the ethos “to set the bar high, to elevate those around me to my level, to never compromise integrity, and to always strive for excellence.”

Indeed, excellence is not merely a goal to achieve, but a continuous action that we must embody in every aspect of our lives. “Excellence is a verb; it’s an action that you embody,” she continued.

Barnes Smith’s call to action is clear. To be inspired to continue to present the spirit of unity, empowerment, and excellence and continue to defy expectations, shatter barriers, and uplift one another on our journeys toward equality and success. Let’s keep moving.


Thanks to hosts Air Canada Vacations and Air Canada and sponsor Sandals Resorts. 

Photo: Lisa Pierce, vice-president of global sales, Air Canada Vacations; Maureen Barnes Smith, vice-president, sales and marketing, Unique Vacations Inc.; Dina Bertolo, vice-president, product development, Air Canada Vacations; Wendy McClung, owner, Baxter Media; Ana Paula De Souza, director of sales, Air Canada Vacations.