2016 was an extraordinary year for IAWA!  Thanks to the work of our dedicated IAWA Board, Advisory Board and Honorary Board, the active participation of our members across the globe and the unprecedented support of our sponsors, IAWA has been able to Connect, Inspire and Lead in new and improved ways.  Together, we are transforming IAWA to meet the future challenges in our global industry and further enhance how we promote the advancement of women in aviation and aerospace.

A group of women came together in 1988 to establish a worldwide organization for women who hold industry leadership positions.  Today, we build on the vision of these trailblazers to provide forums in every corner of the world and virtually to exchange ideas, discuss matters of importance to aviation and aerospace, conduct business and build strong personal networks.

Over the course of the past year, 22 IAWA regional receptions were held around the world.  From Shanghai to Paris to Quito to Cincinnati, IAWA members and friends gathered to connect with colleagues from every sector.  And, of course, our largest event of the year is the Annual Conference.  Last year, Montreal hosted the 28th IAWA Annual Conference.

It was wonderful to see so many of you in Montreal. In fact, the Montreal conference set all time attendance records for an IAWA Annual Conference!  Many thanks to the dedicated group of volunteers, led by IAWA Conference VP Mairead Lavery, who worked tirelessly to make this conference a huge success.

IAWA received many comments following the conference complimenting the content of the sessions – and we thank each one of the panelists for their valuable insights and observations.  We were also fortunate to have had some of the most inspirational women in the industry address conference delegates, including:  Marion Blakey, Chairman, President and CEO of Rolls Royce North America; Brigadier-General Lise Bourgon; Lisa Lisson, President FedEx Express Canada; and Dr. Valerie Manning, Senior Vice President Customer Support, Airbus.

Montreal conference attendees also participated in the first IAWA/ICAO Forum on Gender Equality in Aviation.  International Civil Aviation Organization Secretary General, and IAWA Honorary Board member, Dr. Fang Liu partnered with IAWA to create this opportunity to raise awareness and discuss gender equality in the industry.  To view the joint IAWA/ICAO Statement on Gender Equality in Aviation, click here.  Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Liu and everyone at ICAO for making this remarkable event possible.

As so many of you know, Dr. Fang Liu has been a key leader across a wide range of aviation issues and has impacted every corner of the globe.  And in August of 2015, Dr. Liu became the First-Ever Woman Appointed Secretary General of ICAO.  She is an inspiration to all women in aviation and aerospace.   We are so proud that Dr. Liu is a member of the IAWA Honorary Board. She truly personifies IAWA’s mission to Connect, Inspire and Lead.

We are also working with Dr. Liu and ICAO to attract and retain the next generation of women leaders in aviation and aerospace.  ICAO is a vital partner in this effort through our joint ICAO-IAWA Aviation Scholarship. Candidates who are selected for the ICAO-IAWA Aviation Scholarship augment their professional experience by working at ICAO for a nine-month period.  Last year’s scholarship recipient is Annie Wen.

Developing the next generation of leaders has been a key component of IAWA’s mission from its founding.  In 2016, IAWA scholarships were also awarded to four outstanding young women:  Aissatou Nafi Maiga, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Katherine Lowe, SMU – Dedman School of Law, Dhananga Pathirana, McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law, and Grace Tatom, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology.

None of this would be possible without the strong support of IAWA’s sponsors throughout the year.  As a result of our sponsors’ commitment to IAWA, we are able to provide benefits to our members and to women interested in careers in aviation and aerospace through a wide range of services, including scholarships, mentoring programs, receptions, online resources and, of course, our Annual Conference.  We are grateful to all of our sponsors, and especially grateful to our highest level sponsors – Diamond level;  The Boeing Company and FedEx; Platinum level:  Airbus, Bombardier and Textron; Gold level:  CAE, GE Aviation, GECAS, Jackson Walker and Southwest Airlines, and Pratt & Whitney and Pratt & Whitney Canada. Click here to see a list of all of IAWA’s 2016 sponsors.

I would also like to highlight two other exciting developments last year.  You might have noticed that IAWA has updated its logo and completely redesigned the website.  Our logo has been updated and better reflects our global network and efforts to galvanize women leaders in aviation and aerospace.

The new IAWA website is designed to make information, resources and connections available to our members through the latest technology.  The website was just launched in Montreal in October, and you will see more content and features added in the months ahead.

Finally, you won’t want to miss the 2017 IAWA Annual Conference. Mark your calendars for 8-10 November 2017 in Berlin, Germany. Additional information is included later in the newsletter.

On behalf of the IAWA Board, Advisory Board and Honorary Board, we wish you a joyous new year.  We look forward to connecting with you in 2017!