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ASTRA champions women’s leadership

ASTRA, representing the short-term rental accom market across Australia and NZ, emphasises the pivotal role women play within its industry

In commemoration of the 2024 International Women’s Day (IWD), the Australian & New Zealand Short Term Rental Association (ASTRA) aligned with this year’s theme aimed at addressing economic disempowerment.

ASTRA, which represents Mum and Dad owner/investors in the short-term rental accommodation market across Australia and New Zealand, emphasises the pivotal role women play within its industry.

For many of ASTRA’s members, their properties serve as their primary source of income, often supporting entire families and serving as a cornerstone for future retirement plans.

Yoav Tourel, ASTRA Board Chairman, highlighted the significant contribution of women within the industry, noting that many lead and drive the operations of short-term rental properties.

“A large part of our industry is led by women and a significant portion of the full and part-time employees keeping thousands of our properties running are leading, entrepreneur women who have returned to the workforce or who invested in properties in their own right,” he said.

“We have found that for women who want flexibility – perhaps because they are studying or running a household – working in the short-term rental accommodation market offers them a range of options from front-of-house to property styling and a wide range of trades roles.

“IWD offers me an opportunity to recognise the many remarkable women who enrich our industry.  Their efforts not only shape the Short-Term Rental sector but also have a profound impact on our local communities, inspiring and empowering those around them. 

“I would also like to acknowledge the leadership and expertise our Board of Directors bring to ASTRA and more broadly to the industry.  I am delighted to announce the appointment of Catherine Shields, Karen Howard and Tegan Wilde as Directors of the ASTRA Board.”

Karen Howard

Karen Howard, FAICD, boasts a distinguished 23-year career as an entrepreneur and Independent Non-executive Director, Board and Committee Chair. To date, she has served on 14 boards and her extensive experience encompasses diverse sectors such as tourism, health, education, fintech, and property development. Specific to ASTRA, Karen has served as a Director and/or Board Chair for member-based advocacy organisations for over 17 collective years. Notably, Karen was honored with the respected title of Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2009. Karen brings to ASTRA significant corporate governance acumen and presently holds the position of Non-executive Director at Alloggio Group Limited, Independent Board Chair at Nuvola Group, President of the Hunter TAFE Foundation, and Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Trust.

Catherine Shields

Catherine Shields has built decades of experience in media, advertising and property, along with deep expertise in tourism strategy and the visitor economy given her service on local and state tourism boards. As Chair and Director of Destination Sydney Surrounds South, a Destination Network for Destination NSW, Catherine led planning reforms in NSW agritourism, opening up new visitor markets and transforming the sector. As Chair of South Coast Tourism, she played a leading role in establishing award-winning co-operative marketing initiatives between local governments. Her passion for regional tourism and industry collaboration saw her establish Host Nation, an industry movement that connects short-stay hosts, experts, and businesses across Australia. Following a senior career in creative roles for Vogue Australia and other lifestyle publications, Catherine is now a full-time owner and operator, using her creative expertise to transform properties into unique destination accommodation experiences

Tegan Wilde is the founding director of Geographe Holiday Homes, a locally owned and operated holiday home management company in the Geographe Bay region in Western Australia. With a background in Medical Imaging Technology from Curtin University and a Real Estate Diploma, Tegan honed her business acumen as a CT Services Manager for Global Diagnostics Australia. Since joining in 2014, Tegan has grown Geographe Holiday Homes to manage more than 95 properties, with her leadership earning numerous awards, including the Busselton Chamber of Commerce and Industry Regional Women in Business 2023 Award and South West Business Excellence Award in Tourism and Hospitality.

These appointments not only reflect ASTRA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion but also herald a new chapter of leadership and innovation within the organization.

As ASTRA continues its mission to support and elevate the short-term rental sector, the inclusion of these dynamic women on its board underscores the crucial role of female leadership in driving industry growth and sustainability.

With last week’s International Women’s Day serving as a poignant reminder of the progress made and the challenges that lie ahead, ASTRA reaffirms its dedication to advancing gender equality and empowering women within the accommodation industry. Through collaboration, advocacy, and mentorship, ASTRA endeavors to create a more inclusive and equitable future for all stakeholders in the short-term rental market.

Save the date for ASTRA’s Here to Stay Conference 2024

Where: Sofitel Brisbane Central

When: October 28 to 29

Tickets will go on sale in the coming weeks

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