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Spotlight on...Women in Aviation International-Interview

Sun, October 10, 2021 10:38 AM | Kerton (Administrator)

Women in Aviation International Q3 Newsletter 9/18/2021 Westchester Aircraft Maintenance Association’s, WAMA Vice President Dave Schiavone, met with Women in Aviation International, WAI, CEO Allison McKay and Director of Communications Kelly Murphy at this year’s EAA AirVenture 2021 in Oshkosh, WI.

It was a very impressive event where the attendance was approximately 608,000. More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at the Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, as well as other airports in East-Central Wisconsin. At Wittman Airport alone, there were 16,378 aircraft operations in the 10-day period from July 22-31, which is an average of approximately 116 takeoffs/landings per hour. Women in Aviation International, WAI, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation career fields and interests. Their diverse membership includes astronauts, corporate and airline pilots, maintenance technicians, engineers, air traffic controllers, business owners, educators, journalists, flight attendants, high school and university students, air show performers, airport managers and many others. They strive to encourage, empower and educate all those whose interests, lives, and work involve aviation and aerospace without regard to race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental abilities, or point of view. WAI knows with certainty that the shared passion for aviation transcends any differences. They provide year-round resources to assist women in aviation and to encourage young women to consider aviation as a career. WAI also offers educational outreach programs to educators, aviation industry members, and young people nationally and internationally. The most recent initiative is the Girls in Aviation Day program for girls ages 8 to 17. Here are some statistics:

Non-Pilots Source:

Dave interviewed Allison by asking a variety of questions:

  • Tell me about yourself?  I graduated from college with a marketing degree and got my first job working in the sales and marketing department of an airplane seat manufacturer. That job provided me the opportunity to travel and interact with customers from all over the world. I have now spent my entire career in this industry, and the passion of the aviation community is like nothing else. I am so excited that I now get to talk to the next generation about aviation and all the opportunities it can provide.
  • How strong is the organization and how can our aviation maintenance members contribute? Can men join?  Women in Aviation International, WAI, is proud to have nearly 14,000 members around the world pursuing various types of careers in aviation and aerospace as pilots, technicians, engineers, airport managers, astronauts, enthusiasts and much more. We welcome men to join WAI as they are active allies and supporters of our WAI mission. Currently, approximately 23% of our members are male.
  • Explain the scholarships? Are large companies supporting your organization?  Scholarship awards are a major benefit of membership in Women in Aviation International and help members reach their goals and advance into the aviation and aerospace careers they have always dreamed about. In 2021, WAI will award $731,800 in scholarships bringing the total awarded to members to more than $14.5 million since 1995. These various scholarships are offered for flight training, engineering, maintenance, dispatch, drones, and professional development for individuals in all stages of life. Sponsors of these scholarships range from airlines, industry associations and organizations, private foundations, as well as past scholarship recipients. All are dedicated to providing opportunities to women in aviation and to pay it forward. Our motto is that Scholarships Change Lives!
  • How can WAI help recruit?  What is the cost to join the organization? Are there any benefits to new members?  Annual membership rates are $40 with auto-renewal and $400 for corporate members. There are many benefits associated with being a member of WAI including public recognition of our mission to encourage more women and girls in this industry. Members can join one of the WAI chapters that provide local connections with other members, access jobs in Jobs Connect, find a mentor through Mentor Connect, and of course apply for scholarships and receive regular communications from WAI through Aviation for Women and Aviation for Girls magazines as well as monthly e-Newsletters. Corporate members also receive discounts for attending and exhibiting the annual international Women in Aviation Conference and have the opportunity to post open jobs and internships on Jobs Connect in our members only section of our website. Chapter members as well as corporate members have the ability to host Girls in Aviation Day events.
  • What do you like about our industry socially or professionally?  The aviation/aerospace industry is full of amazing technology and innovation and connects everyone in the world. I often tell girls that are thinking of aviation careers that they can do anything in this industry from designing, fixing, maintaining, and flying an aircraft to supporting in-air and on-ground operations.
  • Where do you see our industry going?  Our industry is vital to the global economy and has a unique role in connecting people with one another no matter where they live.
  • With social media now the primary way of networking, do you feel organizations such as WAI bring a benefit to the industry?  Yes, it’s important to WAI to promote our organization’s accomplishments as well as our member’s triumphs. They are our best brand ambassadors to a very wide audience both within and outside of the aviation industry through messaging shared on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. WAI launched a first ever Aviation for Girls App during the pandemic to provide a needed networking and educational tool with hours of educational content that was downloaded by participants in 59 countries.
  • What type of training is important for the maintenance organizations? Approved training with safety as a top priority is necessary to produce quality maintenance technicians.
  • What can we do to recruit or bring in young professionals in aviation? Since WAI was established in 1994 as a nonprofit organization, we have been dedicated to fostering and supporting the next generation of leaders in our industry. We know that connecting with girls as young as elementary and middle school is critically important to ignite the spark to think about aviation and aerospace careers in their future. That is the reason we have held annual Girls in Aviation Day events since 2015. Additional WAI resources such as Jobs Connect, Mentor Connect, the Aviation for Girls App, and scholarships are important to encouraging young professionals in aviation. Our annual three-day conference, next year March 17-19, 2022, in Nashville, Tennessee will be the 33rd Annual International Women in Aviation Conference featuring keynote speakers, education sessions, exhibit hall, as well as personal and professional development seminars and workshops. All these resources and the opportunity to meet in person for networking are great assets for our young professionals.
  • Do you feel the schools are turning out the volume or level of knowledge and skill needed today?  We are encouraged to see an increase in STEM and aviation focused programs and schools at all levels including elementary, middle, high school, college and university.
  • What do you think the industry needs to improve? We have the opportunity to continue to educate the general public, school teachers and guidance counselors about all the various opportunities available in aviation/aerospace.  As I noted earlier, any career you can think of can be pursued in aviation. There are also lots of educational paths to get there including vocational/tech schools, four-year collegiate programs as well as graduate studies. Our industry is innovative, creative, and tech-savvy. It is appealing to all kinds of future aviators and the demand for these types of well-paying jobs goes far into the future.

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