International Women’s Day 2018: The Women behind the Magic at Metropolitan Touring

Each individual has the ability to bring forth a positive aspect to a job and a workplace. Aside from being specialized in one area or another, people who share their expertise, knowledge and experience are the ones that grow and work better as a team. In Metropolitan Touring, we have found a balance between individualism and camaraderie that has allowed us to become one of the top tourism companies in Ecuador and South America.

International Women’s Day 2018 at Metropolitan Touring

Delivering the best products and services is not an easy job, but it’s one that we gladly do because putting a smile on our guests’ faces as they experience the best that Ecuador and the Galapagos have to offer is what we work for. Metropolitan Touring’s fantastic team of men and women give their best every day, but on this special occasion, we will focus on some of the amazing women behind the curtains of our operations. This International Women’s Day 2018, we invite you to get to know about some of the girls responsible for the magical experiences you’ll get to experience when you travel with us!

Sonia López

Sales Manager (Australia and New Zealand)

What are some of the women that have influenced you in your life?
My mother has been quite the source of inspiration for me. As a result, I’ve taken after her in many ways. She’s really practical and always opens up the conversation in such a way that makes it really easy to talk. She never criticizes, judges or holds back – she’s just so open.
She’s also my best friend. She never yelled at us when we were little, instead she always encouraged us to reflect and have a civil discussion over the things that bothered us.
While my mom has a calm and mellow demeanour, my father, on the other hand, is super energetic. Consequently, my three brothers and I are a testament to this pairing of opposite attitudes – dealing with our problems in a way that seems like a hybrid of the two, but I have my mom to thank for the more serene and calm approaches I take with things in life.
She’s a biologist and she’s been teaching for years now. By now, I think she’s already taught practically every branch of biology there is to know. Whenever she’d prepare our lunches, she’d give us a description of the properties of each ingredient. She’s really into plants and I definitely inherited that fascination from her side of the family, because it turns out my grandfather was really into gardening as well!
What do women bring to the workspace?
As women, we’re pretty meticulous, detail-oriented and committed. You can see it in the girls here – their passion and eagerness is seen at every step of their job. Sure enough, there’s disagreements here and there, but such small and ephemeral drawbacks are nothing when compared to the pleasant atmosphere that’s found here – it’s a space filled with an atmosphere of both joy and accessibility. Something else? Both genders have each other’s backs. We help each other with the knowledge we have in our respective area and jobs, which means there’s a nice bit of equilibrium here at Metropolitan Touring. We foster unity and integration. And let’s not forget about the human aspect: as women, we have that maternal desire to tend and befriend, to be concerned about the things that matter and express it every day. We cheer ourselves up and hold each other close when we’re down – women are the engines of camaraderie in our area.
How have women shaped Metropolitan Touring?
Metropolitan Touring has always been a hub of power for women. Just look around and you’ll see that the majority of people in high-level and important positions are women. You’ll find that the women at Metropolitan Touring are strong, dedicated and confident, and they know how to present themselves to the world. In many ways, they’ve established a foundation for what we, as women, hope to replicate.

Carolina Witt

Destination Expert

What are some of the women that have influenced you in your life?
A woman that has certainly influenced my life is my mother, who was present all of the time during my childhood. She wouldn’t miss a match, a play or a presentation. She helped us out with our homework every day. I saw how she divided her time between her job and I know the sacrifices she made and all the effort she put into our upbringing. Of my two parents, she was the one that pushed me to dream higher, to shoot for the moon and the stars. She’s the one that took away the fear from the unknown and taught me about the importance of being independent. My father has always been more protective in that way.
What do women bring to the workspace?
It’s true that women are more sentimental, but that also means that we put our heart into everything we do. I believe it’s us that bring that human touch to the workspace, that would otherwise be very rigid and cold. I believe we contribute with our sweetness, tenderness and our peaceful way of finding a dialogue. We aimto calm things down, not escalate them, in situations where men would perhaps be more impulsive. That is how we complement each other in the workspace.
How have women shaped Metropolitan Touring?
Our Executive President and CEO, Paulina Burbano de Lara, is a woman and that says a lot about our company. She empowers every other woman that works here and leads by example. At our company, women are the (slight) majority, but I feel that is a tendency in the tourism industry in general. This might have to do with the fact that the industry focuses so much on the details and that women are so detail-oriented. Another tendency with our company in particular is that most of the Vice-president and higher-level positions are held by women, which in Ecuador – a historically machista country – is pretty uncommon. Metropolitan Touring is definitely an exception when it comes to these social constructs. To me, that tells you just how much Metropolitan Touring values people for their abilities and experience. Opportunities are given equally, regardless of age or gender. Take maternity for example: in most countries and companies, it’s seen as an obstacle and a nuisance. At Metropolitan Touring, it’s considered a priority and mothers are allowed to manage their schedules more flexibly in order to take care of their newborns.
To me, as a woman, it’s important that we continue to open roads for one another. It’s important that we not compete against each other.

Amparo Villalba

Procurement & Contract Service Manager

What are some of the women that have influenced you in your life?
My mother. She was a tough cookie, a real fighter when she needed to be but, at the same time, she was incredibly sweet. She is my best friend. She has led me by example with her honesty, entrepreneurship and fearlessness that she has always shown in the face of challenges.
Ever since I was little, my life has been filled with many changes, and she was the one to teach us that changes are a good thing, and that there will always be a better day ahead of us in spite of tough times.
Paulina (Metropolitan Touring’s CEO) has also had a tremendous influence on my life. Even though we’re the same age, I deeply admire her strength, poise and vision for future. Paulina actually breaks many of the local paradigms regarding gender and I’ve learned a lot from her.
What do women bring to the workspace?
Women in general, but specifically women at Metropolitan Touring, have a notably comprehensive view of things. They manage to see things from different angles, too. We pay close attention to both the micro- and macro-details and we look at the company’s dreams and projects in a grounded way. We are innovative while still remaining professionally structured and organized.
How have women shaped Metropolitan Touring?
When I first started at Metropolitan Touring, there were only women. In the tourism industry, the percentage of women is actually greater, and I think that has a lot to do with how detail-oriented we are when it comes to the matter.
At Metropolitan Touring, there is a considerable balance in terms of what’s expected of everyone. Here, we are all capable of doing everything. Here, there’s a chain of command and we all work together so that the machine keeps on moving.

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