12 March 2021

Female Leaders@TUI – Barbara Casdorff

TUI has many successful female leaders in a wide range of areas. In our series "Female Leaders@TUI" we feature these colleagues and their inspiring thoughts on the subject of equality in interview form. This time we talked to Barbara Casdorff, Chief Offer Officer TUI Musement.

Barbara, what is your current role at TUI?

I’m accountable for getting relevant and competitive tours & activities offer onto our platform by defining our portfolio strategy, developing and contracting the best offer at the best rates, making it available in all our distribution channels as efficient and effective as possible as well as focusing on scalable, high-margin own and differentiated offer. I’m leading an international team of 250 colleagues across various locations around the globe.

Who is your role model as a female leader?

There are many charismatic and successful leaders, both female and male, which inspire me a lot – starting from my esteemed colleagues that help me to develop and grow every day. And recently I was very impressed by the autobiography of Madeleine Albright who served as the first female Secretary of State in the US and now – in her eighties – is a successful entrepreneur. She has an enormous energy, a high level of self-reflection and the ability to laugh at herself, is extremely brave, straight and diplomatic at the same time, making clear statements even with her pins – and said: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women.”

Each year we ask ourselves the same, important question: Where does our society stand in terms of female leadership? And what about TUI?

Clearly, in most countries of the world – including my home country Germany – we are nowhere near a representation of women in leadership that matches their qualification. The development we have seen over the last decades was positive but much too slow. There is still a long way to go and we all have to do much more to support and empower women to take leadership responsibility - to the benefit of our societies, our companies and all the women out there. And women need to contribute their part as well – too many women are still settling for too less or don’t have enough confidence in themselves.

Tourism in general and TUI in particular are much more diverse than other industries and companies which is making our Group an exciting and fantastic place to be. We have many amazing female leaders in TUI – and it would be great to see even more going forward. I can wholeheartedly say that in my area of the business gender makes absolutely no difference whatsoever (and the same goes for color, nationality, religion, sexual orientation etc.), we just go for mindset and skills when it comes to filling our roles on all levels with the right people. Working even more virtually than we did already before the pandemic will further increase flexibility and allow mothers (and fathers) to combine work and family better – which hopefully also has a positive effect on female leadership going forward.

There is a lot of talk about the specifics and qualities of female leadership. How are you leading?

Giving guidance, empowering and developing my team members I see as my main tasks as a leader. And the key pillars of my leadership style are respect, trust, transparency, very regular communication and clarity about strategy and targets. All of these I consider critical to address the additional challenges that come with leadership in an international and virtual team. And first and foremost, I believe you have to lead by example to be able to get true buy-in, treat people how you want to be treated and contribute yourself what you expect from others.

What is your advice for young female professionals regarding growth in their careers?

Do what you love and love what you do, know what you want and go for it, be brave and ready to jump out of your comfort zone to grasp opportunities when they come your way, actively ask for feedback, support and advice, reflect yourself and don’t underrate but have confidence in yourself!