We Travel For Women+: Vanessa Karel, Greether
Live from: San Francisco, U.S.
Vanessa Karel is a second-time Founder, serial entrepreneur, storyteller, writer and world traveler. She has been named as one of the 100 rising Latinx start-up founders to watch through her work founding Greether, an award-winning travel company helping women travel safely. The company’s mission targets some of the most important SDGs and sustainable UN development goals, which are to reduce safety risks for women and to increase income opportunities for them through sustainable tourism.
Vanessa is also currently leading Girls in Tech, San Francisco as their Volunteer Manager Director.
I’ve had a passion for travel since I was little. I studied tourism and business administration and even though my career began in a different industry with another major, eventually life led me back to it. I started working in travel because I came up with a sustainable solution to help women travel safer around the world and my not so secret weapon is how incredibly passionate I am to solve it.
I have had a great experience with women+ representation in travel so far, most people in the travel industry have really understood why I created Greether, what a potential it has and some of the biggest travel leaders are our biggest supporters.
The female travel sector has been an interesting journey to tap into. Since there isn’t a leader in the sector yet, there have been surprises as to how gatekeeping some of the communities are. It has been an interesting challenge, but our mission is to empower all women, in fact we have partnered with other female led travel companies so far and we want to do it with many more this year.
As a woman founder, I now feel supported in the industry, but not when I began my business; the network I have now took a lot of effort to get. However, as a Latina leader in travel, the feeling of representation hasn’t fully kicked in. The organizations leading “women in the travel industry in LATAM” aren’t the most welcoming of innovation, they want to keep things the way they have been operating them, so it takes a lot more effort to get them to see how the way things worked 30 years ago no longer do.
Greether has been selected by the UNWTO as one of the 15th most innovative companies in sustainable tourism and selected as a finalist in the top 4 for the companies creating female traveler solutions. Additionally, we have recently received Expedia’s support through their Open World initiative through our efforts making the world more accessible to travel for women and overlooked travelers.
These are just some of the ways in which I have been empowered in the travel industry. I’ve also had the opportunity to be invited to speak at events such as Nomadness fest by Evita Robinson in which women empowerment ruled.
I dedicate my whole energy, resources and time all year long to empower women, and March is just one of the months. However, Women’s History Month is a time in which our voices get noticed a little more, and women+ should prepare for taking advantage of having eyes on us during this period. WHM is such a busy time emotionally and physically, so many of us are asking for better pay, funds, equal rights and a better future. This is a good time to ask for all of it, but actually… anytime should be a good time to ask for a better society in which women are equally represented and protected, because frankly we all had enough.