Fundraising, Strategic Planning, & Workforce Development Are Priorities

February 10, 2020– The WAI Board of Directors is pleased to announce Allison McKay will join Women in Aviation International as CEO on February 18, 2020, and is responsible for the future strategic vision of the 14,500-member strong organization while overseeing the board of directors, professional staff, and daily operations. She previously served as vice president of the Helicopter Association International Foundation since 2015 commissioning the first academic study of staffing projections for the rotorcraft industry as well as creating a workforce development initiative. Allison will draw from more than 20 years of experience in the development and implementation of highly strategic initiatives with other aviation companies including Safran USA and B/E Aerospace.

“The WAI board of directors formed an executive search committee to conduct an extensive search for a new leader to continue our organization’s critical role in encouraging more women to pursue careers in aviation and aerospace,” Marci Veronie, board chair, said. “Allison’s substantial experience in corporate philanthropy, event management, and government relations, plus her strategic thinking and long-term relationships with key industry stakeholders established Allison as the best candidate to lead WAI into a strong future while inspiring the next generation as they enter our industry,” she added.

“I am thrilled to work for this great organization, to meet many members at our conference next month, and to move WAI in a direction that will construct programs and initiatives to propel women of all ages and backgrounds to follow their own personal aviation dreams,” Allison McKay said. “Thanks to Dr. Peggy Chabrian’s dedication to this industry and her vision to create the annual conference and the organization, I am honored to carry on this work and direct the future of this organization.”

Dr. Peggy Chabrian, WAI founder and former president/CEO, announced her retirement from the organization last fall and plans to attend the 31st Annual International Women in Aviation Conference. “It’s been my pleasure and honor to serve as WAI president for the last 25 years since the organization was founded. I wish Allison all the best for continued growth and new opportunities for WAI in the next 25 years,” Peggy said.

Donations will be used to fund members’ personal development in aviation

November 26, 2019–Patricia Luebke, WAI 1954 and a regular and longtime contributor to Aviation for Women and Aviation for Girls magazines, passed away on November 22, 2019, after a brief illness. Pat was a proud member of Women in Aviation International and was the creative force behind many of the organization’s key programs and events including Take Your Daughter to Conference, which became Girls in Aviation Day; the annual female group photo at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh; a WAI time capsule for our 25-year anniversary; the conference Daily newsletters, the Annual Fund Pioneer Hall of Fame tote bag; and the Honor The WASP event on Memorial Day weekend.

Girls in Aviation Day, sparked by Pat’s creativity, has resulted in approximately 56,150 kids being introduced to aviation (to date) with more to come in the years that follow. Girls in Aviation Day events have been held in Australia, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United States, and Zambia. The annual WomenVenture group photo, which is in it’s 11th year, started with 700 attendees, and has grown into an event that thousands of women look forward to annually, with over 2,000 in the 2019 photo. Her ideas and creativity have impacted thousands in aviation and her legacy will live on in those she continues to inspire.

Her eloquent and creative writing in the WAI publications including her Personal Development column were a reader favorite and addressed a wide range of topics including the effects of social media, losing a job, asking for a promotion, and how to save money.

Pat’s valuable insights were drawn from her decades of experience as a New York City-based freelance writer, editor, and marketing consultant. Starting her aviation career as Flying magazine’s advertising assistant, Pat rose through the ranks and became a vice president for the publishing company leading a team of magazine staff with her quick wit and creative inspiration. With a dedicated work ethic and attention to detail, Pat shared her expertise with a variety of clients including Avionics News, Sporty’s, AOPA, Lightspeed Aviation, and many others.  She was especially proud of her work with WAI dedicated to ensuring the development of future leaders in the field and for encouraging women of all ages and backgrounds to be strong and confident.

To continue Pat’s legacy of candid and thorough aviation journalism, Women in Aviation International announces a 2020 scholarship in her honor to encourage WAI members to pursue their own best aviation-related personal development goal. Applications must be received via email to Donna Wallace (dwallace@wai.org) no later than Friday, January 10, 2020, midnight EST. Requirements include: an active WAI membership through March 2020, a WAI official scholarship application form, your resume (no longer than 2 pages) and a 500-word essay explaining how you would use the scholarship to further your own aviation personal development goal. If any of Pat’s stories inspired you, please include in your essay. The Pat Luebke Memorial Scholarship will be awarded at the 31st Annual International Women in Aviation Conference, March 5-7, 2020 in Orlando, Florida.

Donate online to the Pat Luebke Memorial Scholarship Fund at https://www.wai.org/memorial-pat_luebke

Questions? Email Donna Wallace, Scholarship Coordinator, at dwallace@wai.org

Massive recruitment effort to ensure aviation’s next generation workforce

October 7, 2019– With 118 individual events presented worldwide, Women in Aviation International’s October 5 Girls in Aviation Day 2019 reached approximately 20,000 attendees. Truly an international event, Girls in Aviation Day was celebrated not just in the United States but in 17 other countries in Canada and Australia as well as countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Girls were introduced to the career and lifestyle possibilities in aviation and aerospace through meeting role models, career panels, exploring airplanes and airports, and a host of hands-on, fun activities ranging from a sectional chart treasure hunt to making jewelry using A&P tools.

“Our primary goal is to introduce girls ages 8 to 17 to all the career opportunities aviation and aerospace offer,” says WAI Outreach Director Molly Martin. “We go beyond piloting careers to include air traffic controllers, mechanics, engineers, technicians and designers. In fact, one girl told me that she now wants to design aircraft interiors as her career. That’s a career she would never have even known of, much less considered, without Girls in Aviation Day.”

Interacting with young people typically nets blunt questions, and so it was with Girls in Aviation Day. One girl, hearing about a career in air traffic control, asked the controller, “If the airplane crashes, do you lose your job?” In calm, controller fashion, she replied, “We work very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.” Another girl asked the pilot/role model, “Why do pilots say ‘mayday?’ You should just say, ‘Hello, I’m crashing.’“  Standing in front of a corporate jet, the adult asked a group of girls, “Who knows what makes an airplane fly?” and a girl tentatively guessed, “Money?”…probably from a girl with aviation in her family.

Speaking about the WAI Cleveland Chapter event she attended, Martin added, “I’m in awe of this new generation of aviation hopefuls who were wide-eyed when the medevac helicopter landed and the female crew emerged from the aircraft; asked great questions of female professionals from NASA and FAA and others on the career panel; groaned in frustration as they crashed their flight simulator into the trees on the side of the runway and then whooped with joy when they greased their landing on their next try.” She concluded, “You only have to attend a Girls in Aviation Day event to know that this is making a difference.”

The next Girls in Aviation Day will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2020, in conjunction with the International Women in Aviation Conference at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The international Girls in Aviation Day 2020 is planned for Saturday, September 26, 2020.

There are more Girls in Aviation Day events that will be happening this month…the complete list of Girls in Aviation Day events can be found [https://www.wai.org/events/girls-aviation-day-2019]

 

November 30, 2018– Women in Aviation International (WAI) has selected the 2019 inductees for its International Pioneer Hall of Fame. These women will be honored at the 30th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference during an induction ceremony and celebration dinner at the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday, March 16, 2019, from 6-8 p.m. Please note this year’s evening events will be business casual dress.

The 2019 Pioneer Hall of Fame inductees are:

Leanne Caret is executive vice president of The Boeing Company and serves as president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security unit. She is a member of the Boeing Executive Council. Throughout her career, Leanne has engaged with industry, government and academic leaders on a wide range of topics and issues related to national defense. She has devoted considerable attention to STEM education and support for veterans and their families; and leadership excellence. She is executive champion for the Boeing Women in Leadership organization.

Mary Golda Ross was the first known Native American female engineer and the first female engineer in the history of Lockheed. She was one of the 40 founding engineers of the renowned and highly secretive Skunk Works project at Lockheed Corporation. She worked at Lockheed from 1942 until her retirement in 1973, where she was best remembered for her work on aerospace design – including the Agena Rocket program – as well as numerous design concepts for interplanetary space travel, manned and unmanned earth-orbiting flights, and the earliest studies of orbiting satellites for both defense and civilian purposes.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s First Women Aviators and Aviation-Related Enlisted Women is a group of three officers and six enlisted women who proved women had a place in military aviation and who opened the door for future generations of women to pursue their military aviation dreams. On January 1, 1976, the Coast Guard opened all aviation ratings to women, thus making aviation service possible for these nine women and others that would follow them. They include officers Colleen Cain, Vivien Crea, and Janna Lambine and enlisted personnel Erminia Chillon, Andrea Gardner, Dior Lowen Hubbel, Kelly Mogk Larson Robyn Rogers Norwell, and Elizabeth Uhrig. (This portrait of a Coast Guard heroine – the first female Coast Guard aviator killed in the line of duty. Lt. Colleen Cain’s helicopter crashed during a rescue mission off Hawaii, 1982. By Leonora Rae Smith)

“This year’s inductees reflect the diversity of careers enjoyed by our members,” says WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “Our International Pioneer Hall of Fame honors not merely women of great accomplishment, but women who have paved the way for generations to follow.”

The Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame was established in 1992 to honor women who have made significant contributions as record setters, pioneers, or innovators. Special consideration is given to individuals or groups who have helped other women be successful in aviation or opened doors of opportunity for other women. Each year, the organization solicits nominations from throughout the aviation industry for the WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame. For more information on the WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame, visit pioneers.