First announced at the 2021 Bessie Awards, the JourneyWoman Award recognizes women of impact in the travel industry in honor of the lifetime achievements of Evelyn Hannon, creator of JourneyWoman.
Wanderful is proud to announce the renaming of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2021 Bessie Awards to the Journeywoman Award. Named in honor of Evelyn Hannon, the JourneyWoman Award recognizes the lifetime achievements of women of impact in the travel industry.
Beth Santos, Founder and CEO of Wanderful, and Carolyn Ray, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of JourneyWoman, shared their memories of Evelyn and her incredible impact on the industry.
Back in 2014, Evelyn was one of the first keynote speakers for the WITS Travel Creator + Brand Summit.
“I still remember the moment when I asked her to be our keynote,” says Beth. “I had admired her work for years, building a thriving community of tens of thousands of women traveling the world. In the small travel blogging community, she was an absolute celebrity. I would go to events and people would whisper over their shoulders, “That’s Evelyn!” You could always pick her out from a crowd with her big smile and characteristic red glasses.
“She was someone who created a ripple in every room she walked in,” Beth continues. “Yet when we first spoke, I was struck by her warmth. She was thrilled to support my work, and for years afterward continued to share our developments with her community, and serve as a cheerleader from the sidelines.”
This picture was taken just after Evelyn delivered her keynote at WITS 2014. She talked about her first trip to Belgium after her divorce and how she sat on a bench and cried the whole trip. She wasn’t afraid to show that travel isn’t always perfect, and that sometimes the reason for our travel isn’t always a positive one, but that a trip can be immensely personal and healing.
During that keynote, Evelyn opened herself up on stage and revealed everything, demonstrating an incredible moment of strength.
Honoring a Woman Who Supported Other Women
“Evelyn dedicated her life not only to helping others find themselves through their travels, but to uplifting and supporting other women,” says Beth. “To me, this is what an award celebrating a lifetime of achievement is all about. It’s a lifelong dedication to travel, but also a higher purpose that is manifested through the travel industry. It’s why I’m so pleased to name our award the JourneyWoman Award, to honor the astounding women who have placed stepping stones on the path to a better travel industry.”
“The JourneyWoman Award celebrates Evelyn’s legacy and dedication to empowering other women through travel,” says Carolyn Ray. “Through it, we can acknowledge women who have broken barriers, challenged the status quo, and followed their hearts. Women who have told us – you can do it – and show it through their own actions. I’m thrilled that Beth and I could join together to recognize Evelyn’s accomplishments and lasting impact on women travel.”
Carolyn continued: “On behalf of Evelyn’s family and women around the world, I want to thank Beth and the Wanderful team for recognizing Evelyn’s contributions to women’s travel by naming this award after her. I can’t imagine anything more appropriate or meaningful, particularly to the generations of women she inspired to take the first step and travel solo.”
Continuing the Legacy of an Industry Icon
Evelyn started JourneyWoman in 1994 and is regarded by women in the travel industry as one of the first solo female travel writers in the world. Recognized for her dedication and her role in empowering women to travel safely, she was particularly beloved by older women who saw her as a source of inspiration at a time when women didn’t travel alone and lacked female travel mentors.
Through Journeywoman.com, Evelyn revolutionized travel for women around the world. She became a catalyst for women to become the most important decision-makers in travel.
She also inspired countless women to find the courage to take that first step as a solo traveler, saying “you can do it!”
When Evelyn passed away in April 2019 after a heroic three-year battle with cancer, her family turned JourneyWoman over to Carolyn Ray, who sees it as a platform to empower women, build community, and support other female entrepreneurs.
Announcing the First JourneyWoman Award Winner
Since Evelyn passed away, Wanderful has been working with the JourneyWoman team to identify the right way to honor her. The very first JourneyWoman Award was proudly presented by Carolyn Ray at the 2021 Bessie Awards during the WITS Travel Creator + Brand Summit Online.
The winner was Alessandra Alonso. Alessandra is the founder of Women in Travel CIC, a social enterprise dedicated to empowering women through employability and entrepreneurship in travel, tourism, and hospitality. In January 2020, she also launched the first International Women in Travel and Tourism Forum that took place in Iceland and at which the First Lady gave her keynote.
Alessandra has dedicated over 15 years to supporting women in the sector, first within gender consulting boutique Shine and more recently launching social enterprise Women in Travel.
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You can nominate women of impact in travel for the next Bessie Awards. Visit BessieAwards.org to submit your nomination. WITS attendees, past and present, can cast their votes for the winners once finalists have been announced.
Stay connected with the Wanderful community to meet more women of impact in the travel industry!
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