Jennifer Gasser

Senior Vice President of Partner Brands for World Travel Holdings

“Success will follow if you are doing what you love and it plays to your strengths. Also, don’t be afraid to take a step backward to move forward. Sometimes the steps to the top are not a straight climb.”

In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman”?

A Power Woman is someone who can lead with her authentic self, provide a disciplined
vision, and create a respectful environment of collaboration.

What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take toward
empowering women and gender equality? (e.g. affirmative action)?

Society should provide a supportive environment for women to manage all aspects of
their life (work and family); encouraging men to take co-responsibility for family
obligations whether it be children or aging parents.

Do you think that asking previous salary requirements in job interviews contributes to
the pay gap between women and men? NY State outlawed this practice, should it be

I don’t believe that employers should ask about previous salary requirements.

What was the defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you
are today?

I have had the privilege of having two great mentors in my life. They were very different
people who supported me and taught me unique ways to lead and negotiate. Without
their mentorship I would not be where I am today. Mentors can be life changing, and
one should never turn down an opportunity to learn from someone you admire.

“Legislators, priests, philosophers, writers, and scientists have striven to show that the subordinate position of woman is willed in heaven and advantageous on earth.” Simone de Beauvoir. Is this still a major stumbling block on the 21st century
road to equality?

I think this is outdated thinking. I do believe prevalent institutional prejudice exists, but
I believe in many places (not all) this thinking has been revised.

What is your mantra? What phrase or parable best describes your approach right

My mantra right now is “your time is your most valuable asset.” You need to spend
your time professionally where it will provide the greatest gains for your organization;
and you need to spend it personally where you will thrive.

How would you describe the changes in the political landscape for women over the
past five years?

This is a challenging question. As always in history, there are people who are
threatened by change and want to go back to what is perceived as a “simpler time”.
These factions are playing out right now and unfortunately there are some women who
are embracing those that want to go backwards to maintain power and publicity. These
factors are hindering the progression of empowering women.

Women are often placed in binaries. Strong and emotionless or weak and sensitive.
How do you subvert these limitations and connect to all sides of womanhood?

Women, like all people, have all these qualities. I happen to be a woman who is
emotional, so it is something I deal with quite often. But I believe empathy is a strength,
and the ability to connect with people on an authentic level is something that is valuable
in a leader. We should celebrate this strength and not deem it as a weakness.

If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?

I am lucky enough to be in the wonderful industry of cruise travel. Within this industry, we have many wonderful leaders who are women. I would love to be one of the female
presidents of a cruise line for a day. I am sure there are many competing pressures, but
being part of an organization that provides such joy to so many people would be
gratifying. I think travel is something that renews and invigorates people, and I am
grateful to be part of this industry.

What advice would you give to any aspiring Power Women?

Success will follow if you are doing what you love and it plays to your strengths. Also
don’t be afraid to take a step backward to move forward. Sometimes the steps to the
top are not a straight climb.

What steps do you take to obtain a healthy work/life balance?

I walk my dogs first thing in the morning and the last thing at night — Rain, shine, snow
or blizzard. I love being out in nature with them and it really helps me start the day and
power down after a long day.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

There is not one person that I identify with, but there are many women I admire today,
particularly those that are not afraid to take a stand for what they believe in. We are
living in a divided world right now and I believe it is important to speak up. It is through
one conversation at a time that we can truly understand each other.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

“Do the right thing”: This was my dad’s favorite expression, and he was a big influence
in my life. He was committed to serving others in any way he could, whether it was
helping those whose life was altered by addiction or those with Parkinson’s Disease. He
was committed to making a difference in other people’s lives, and I try to lead by his

What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty; it is not always easy to hear, but I treasure those friends who can tell me the

Which trait do you most deplore in yourself? In others?

What I do not like about myself is the value I put on what others think. I wish I had more
confidence to believe in myself and my ideas.
In others, I detest selfishness, and people who are unkind.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Humility. While it is hard for me to practice, I think women should celebrate their
accomplishments. There is a tendency in society for women to be humble – while men
can easily be boastful. Women need to rise above societal restraints and sing their own

“My mantra right now is “your time is your most valuable asset”..”

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