WiTR raises money for needy children


Lois Pasternak, left, Travel Markets Insider editor/publisher and Sarah Branquinho, external affairs director for Dufry, checked out the silent auction items at the Women in Travel Retail breakfast.

It was standing-room only at yesterday’s Women in Travel Retail (WiTR) breakfast. The popular annual networking event raised $5,400 for needy children in Haiti and Guatemala via a raffle and silent auction.

Travel Markets Insider co-sponsored the breakfast with Furla, which also donated an exclusive handbag for the silent auction. Among the items up for auction was a Levian rose gold necklace with chocolate and white diamonds, valued at $2,000. Raffle winners were able to select a prize from a table filled with goodies donated by show exhibitors — everything from Revlon gift bags to giant Hershey bars.

The money will be donated to two organizations: Hand in Hand for Haiti and Escuela de la Calle.

The IAADFS chapter of WiTR has supported Hand in Hand for Haiti’s Lycée Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sale School, which provides children with education, meals, and medical care, since the organization was founded by a group of travel retail industry executives following the Haiti earthquake of 2010.

“This school was built by the travel retail industry,” said Lois Pasternak, Travel Markets Insider editor/publisher. “They hope to be able to add a new class of 50 students each year.”

A portion of the proceeds also will be donated to Escuela de la Calle (EDELAC) in Guatemala.

“I love this group because it supports women in the industry,” said Joanne Willey, travel retail manager, Churchill’s Confectionery, who has attended WiTR meetings in Cannes, but was a first-timer at the Orlando meeting. “We come together for networking; it’s so relaxed, and I love that we raise money for charity.”