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Success The Story Behind

In this interview Carla da Silva, Regional Director: Southern Africa & Latin America, Air Mauritius shares her perspectives on the challenges women face in the corporate world and reminds us that behind every person we meet, lies a personal story which is important to understand from both an individual and professional viewpoint. Despite the large number of women who make up the travel and tourism workforce, unfortunately there are still very few women at the top. Why do you think this is the case and what can be done to level the playing field?

The Travel and Tourism Industry in South Africa is run by women but led by men. I have witnessed how men and male colleagues are promoted based on potential, their gender and relationships with other gentlemen whereas women are promoted based on past accomplishments and a proven track record. Today there are 195 independent countries, how come only 17 are led by women? Of the Fortune 500 CEOs, why are only a meagre 4% women? How come globally women only hold 20% of the seats in parliament? From my perspective, more women need to put up their hands for growth and development opportunities and women who are already in senior and key roles need to ensure that they take other women along with them. We have grown up in a society where men are the providers and the women are to be homemakers. It is unfortunately still very alive today and my proof is that if our society was truly an equal one, we would find half our countries and companies run by women and half our households run by men. Women too are their own obstacle in achieving gender equality. We too are responsible for a revolution in standardised thinking within our society. After all, it isn’t enough to talk about individuality, one must believe in it and work at it.



You are a formidable force in the travel and tourism sector. How did you get to the top and what has your path been like?

I can certainly attribute my leadership roles in this arena to my accomplishments, proven track record and established relationships. It has been a very challenging journey. I have had to work extremely hard at establishing relationships, putting my hand up and taking on responsibilities pro bono, to learn and develop. From a young age in my career I established relationships with the giants in my industry, learning from great mentors and coaches who are both men and women. I volunteered to do many different tasks and projects to get the exposure and truly understand the leadership drivers required to effectively run with a P & L. The journey has not been easy, but it has indeed been inspirational and rewarding when I look back on my journey in the travel and aviation arena. Hard work, perseverance, grit and focus is really what it is all about.

The travel industry is constantly changing. What are some of the most significant changes you have witnessed and how have you faced these changes and challenges? The world is a global village, adapting and constantly embracing change is how business is run today. Just about every factor affects and impacts travel and aviation today. Remaining relevant and constantly adapting is key. Technology is one of the most significant changes I have witnessed and the way one books travel today is completely different to how it was booked 5 years ago, mobile technology, e-commerce and social media have impacted travel and technology significantly. Innovation is critical to survival.

Fifty years on for Air Mauritius, what have been the significant milestones for the airline? Air Mauritius celebrated 50 years of flying on the 14th of June 2017. The company has played a major role in the

Profile for CEO Global

MIW Regional Digital Magazine 2017  

Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government – this annual publication showcases Africa’s most influential women across the co...

MIW Regional Digital Magazine 2017  

Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government – this annual publication showcases Africa’s most influential women across the co...

Profile for ceoglobal