Best wishes for a happy, healthy and flourishing 2018!

As we begin a new year, it is with great satisfaction that we look into IAWA’s accomplishments of the past year. There were more than 30 connects and receptions across the world providing a platform for women’s professional development, seven scholarships granted to the next generation of industry leaders, mentoring circles established and ongoing, a record-breaking conference in Berlin, Germany, among many other successes. We’re proud of all that IAWA has accomplished in recent years, with the tenacious work of many talented women who voluntarily devote their time and efforts to contribute to our mission.

Lisa Piccione, our President for the past two years, has been behind those many recent accomplishments. Lisa took the reins of IAWA with tremendous drive and energy to take this organization to the skies. Lisa is an inspiring leader, and I’m fortunate to have worked with Lisa on the Board of IAWA. As a new Board takes over, I’d like to thank her and the 2016-2017 IAWA Board of Directors, Advisory Board and Honorary Board for all their work and dedication to advance women in the industry.

As of this January and for the next two years, I will have the honor to serve as IAWA’s President; an organization for which I feel deep gratitude and pride. It was fourteen years ago when I attended my first IAWA conference in San Francisco, California, and since then IAWA has shaped my career with opportunities and given unmeasurable support. IAWA’s friendships and experiences have impacted many aspects of my personal and professional growth.

I take over the Presidency with passion and commitment to continue building opportunities for women in the industry; guided by the same principles that have directed the profound footprint of IAWA in women’s empowerment. Our actions will be inspired by the deep esteem and recognition deserved by those women in our organization and our industry who work tirelessly to break glass ceilings, and who live to leave a legacy.

During these two exciting years, I will be joined by the Board of Directors, the Advisory Board and the Honorary Board of IAWA, an  accomplished group of leaders, who are as enthusiastic as I am about extending IAWA’s global impact and influence. Please take a minute to meet IAWA’s new Board of Directors, Advisory Board and Honorary Board. Together, with our extraordinary Executive Director Jennifer Miller, we’re committed to carry out our mission and to continue IAWA’s global influence and outreach.

2018 will be a special year for IAWA. We’re celebrating our 30th anniversary, and as motivating as this is, we’re beginning the year with plenty of energy and an agenda full of activities to Connect, Inspire and Lead.

Our first two connects of the year were held in Orlando, Florida, at the Annual Aviation Law and Insurance Symposium (ALIS), on January 19; and in Dublin, Ireland, on January 23, at the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers.

IAWA is also constantly looking into new ways to advance women in our industry, and we’re developing new activities and opportunities to expand IAWA’s influence, engage the talented leaders in aviation and aerospace, and provide further opportunities to participate. One-day sectorial and regional forums are examples of these initiatives, created to bring the benefits of IAWA to specific sectors and regions. Early in the year, we will host two of these events.

The IAWA Inaugural General Aviation Women’s Leadership Forum was held in Boca Raton, Florida, on January 25 and was a great success! Join us for the III Annual Latin America and Caribbean Forum on Women Aviation Leaders (EMLA), in Mexico City, on February 28. These events are designed to engage you in discussions on the most relevant issues in general aviation, and aviation and aerospace in Latin America, respectively. Learn about opportunities for growth and women’s professional development, and connect with leaders in your sector, or region. Please check our website for a full list of our upcoming events, and register for our connects, receptions and forums.

I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank the two teams that for months have been working on the organization of these events. René Banglesdorf – IAWA’s VP Inspire and Lead, Jacquelyn Gluck, Diana Levine-Wilson, Joanne Barbera and Shelley Svoren, for IAWA’s Inaugural General Aviation Women’s Leadership Forum; and our Forum’s sponsors Avinode, Dassault Falcon, Insured Aircraft Title Service, the National Business Aviation Association, Solairus Aviation, Privaira Aviation, the South Florida Business Aviation Association, Harper & Meyer, USAIG, First Republic Bank, FlexJet, Silver Lining InFlight Catering, Wheels Up, Aero & Marine Tax Professionals, Aircraft Post, and Charlie Bravo Aviation. Ana Persiani – IAWA’s VP Sponsorship, Carolina Ortiz, Teresa Galindo and Cristina Vazquez, for the III Annual Latin America and Caribbean Forum on Women Aviation Leaders, and our Forum’s sponsors Aeromexico, Tru Simulation, ATR, Aireon, Pratt & Whitney, Valencia & Sanchez, Olivares Dufóo, SITA. Your contributions allow IAWA to provide benefits to our members, to continue advancing women in aviation and aerospace, and to fund the initiatives –scholarships, mentoring and internship programs- that develop our industry’s future leaders. Thank you!

Another innovative initiative was announced at the Annual Conference in Berlin last November, as IAWA launched the Committees Program. This Program is aimed to expand IAWA’s influence and outreach through a formal network of volunteers, who will work with the Board of Directors and Advisory Board in implementing certain activities for the continuity of our mission.

If you’re interested in participating, the following industry and regional committees are available: Finance & Insurance; Manufacturers & MROs; Aerospace; Airlines; Airports; Business, General Aviation & Helicopters; Cargo; Government & Law; Americas; Middle East; and Africa. Please visit our website to sign up. Our regional and industry Vice Presidents will be contacting the volunteers in the following weeks, and set each Committee’s action plan for 2018. Your involvement is fundamental!

Also at the Annual Conference in Berlin, we launched our Sponsorship Program for 2018. IAWA’s mission and its ability to open pathways and build opportunities for our talent in the industry depend on the visionary contributions of our sponsors. IAWA’s scholarship programs and activities to develop the industry’s leaders could not be accomplished without our sponsors’ generosity. Indeed, because of our sponsors, 2018 will have a major impact on women’s empowerment as we are able to expand our scholarship program with the addition of two permanent scholarships to our list: one for Latin America, and one STEM- focused scholarship for Europe through TU Delft, in The Netherlands. During the ALIS  Connect on January 19th IAWA Members Joanne Young and Mia Wouters presented the first of this year’s scholarships to Embry-Riddle student Mengyuan Lu.

Please take a minute to review our Sponsorship Program, and help us continue our mission. Sponsor IAWA for a global impact as together we are building the future of our industry!

Finally, stay tuned for IAWA’s year-round activities across the globe, and mark your calendars for our 30th Annual Conference in Memphis, Tennessee, on October 24-26. The Conference Committee has been working for months already in lining-up outstanding speakers, and putting together an agenda of the most relevant issues facing the aviation and aerospace industries. Elvis’ land will welcome us for a celebration of IAWA’s 30th Anniversary you don’t want to miss.

Let’s continue working together and building opportunities for women’s personal and professional growth. I look forward to your ideas and contributions for expanding IAWA’s impact worldwide. Let’s make 2018 another great year to Connect, Inspire and Lead!