Specialist travel company thrives with women on board

Female domination in the boardroom at WST Travel, a Blackpool based specialist school and college travel company, is bucking the UK trend for sexual inequality at board level whilst delivering phenomenal success for the firm.

[caption id="attachment_21802" align="f-align-medium-right f-align-center" width="300"]Sian Belfield Sian Belfield[/caption]

Overseeing soaring turnover growth running at 100% year on year, the board at WST has an uncommon 60% female majority. This stands in stark contrast to research by analysts, BoardEx, showing that of Britain’s top 100 private companies, only 64 publish the composition of their boards and of those, 73% have all-male teams of executive directors.

WST Travel was established in December 2010, and organises over 15,000 educational visits per year to London, Continental Europe and the US. Recently awarded the Investors in People standard, the firm has rapidly expanded its team by choosing employees with the highest levels of specialist travel experience. As a result, the 23 strong workforce has over 300 years’ combined industry experience.

The absence of a ‘glass ceiling’ at the firm has recently been demonstrated by the promotion of Sian Belfield to the board of WST Travel as customer relations director. Sian has been with the company since set-up and instrumental in helping to build the client-focussed approach that has fuelled growth. In the specialist travel industry for over 20 years, Sian has previously worked for Shearings and headed a team of over 100 employees at NST.

Managing director Deborah Beckett said: “The travel sector does attract a large proportion of women employees; however a female majority at executive level is rare, even in this industry.

“We’re extremely proud of our success and our commitment to offering customers the best talent and experience available. Sian’s contribution to building long term relationships with schools has played an essential part in WST’s success and her presence on the board will help to ensure that we continue to strengthen our foothold in the market.”

Fiona Hathorn, managing director of Women on Boards UK said: “It is great to observe the success of WST and to see a company that is truly gender diverse at the executive level. Currently too much of the UK’s female talent is wasted by companies who either do not promote women early enough or who will not allow them back after a career break.”