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April 2018 President's Message

The 122nd edition of the Boston Marathon took place last April 16th. Those passionate about long distance running know that making it into the Boston Marathon is a privilege. To be able to participate in the world's most famous and reputable marathon, a runner has to meet the qualifying time standards imposed by the organizers.

Days before the Marathon runners were advised of extreme weather conditions on race day. The threat became a reality. Heavy rain, ice, strong winds and very cold temperatures were the day's special for participating athletes. Could it have been worse, weather-wise? Probably not. But it was the Boston Marathon, and any runner would go the distance no matter the circumstances.

Along those 26.2 miles the weather did not improve. But step by step, the cold turned into heat, and the muscle pains turned into fuel: the goal was on mile 26, and there were thousands of people along the race cheering up, and pushing us, runners, to the finish line. There were hundreds of volunteers making sure athletes had the hydration, energy and medical assistance required. No matter the weather, volunteers and crowds were there to make sure all the participants got to the end. According to Bostonians, this marathon's edition had probably the worst climate in years of this competition. It made me then think how much it resembles life.

Life is a race. To get to the finish line you've got to work hard, be disciplined, do your homework, show up at every training session, be mindful of the details that count to achieve a particular goal, and have the courage to overcome adversity. Sometimes you even have to fight for the opportunity to compete in the race (it was not until 1972 that women were allowed to run the Boston Marathon!); sometimes it takes many attempts; sometimes the situation and the obstacles in the way force changes in the strategy. But certainly, it always takes perseverance and determination to get there.

Then, I thought how this 26.2-mile journey is not an individual's single, isolated effort. Nobody is successful without someone elses help. No runner crossing the finish line in Boston on April 16th would have done it without the support and sometimes sacrifice- of the families; without the encouragement of the crowds throughout the course; without the empathy of hundreds of volunteers who were there to help those seemingly insane strangers run their race in terrible weather; without the guidance of those coaches who prepared the athletes for the race. Success lies in our own skills and drive, in part, because behind any individual's success there's a team making it possible.

What connection whatsoever does this have with IAWA? IAWA is that team of supporters advancing women in the industry so they can achieve their professional objectives. IAWA is that group of women who run the race of the profession, aiming for the finish line. IAWA is that troop of generous volunteers encouraging women to pursue their career goals, from early in their profession until the end of the voyage. IAWA is the crowd of supporters celebrating other womens journey and success. IAWA is the network of leaders giving advice on how to prepare for, and successfully go the distance.

IAWA's mission is that no runner is left behind, or has to abandon the race of professional development. IAWA's mission is that all those women in aerospace and aviation get to the finish line, and that their successes inspire those other runners on the starting line.

But, how does IAWA do it? How do we Connect and provide networking and development opportunities to our members? How have we been able to organize events in Boca Raton, Mexico, Montreal, Singapore, Memphis, Hamburg, Dublin, and many other places so far in this 2018, that have served as platforms for profound discussions on industry matters, leadership and professional development? How can IAWA host an annual conference that is widely recognized as a premium event in the industry (https://iawa.org/30th-annual-conference/) that nobody wants to miss? How can we Inspire the next generations to join the race, and provide them with opportunities to compete through our scholarship and mentoring programs? How do IAWA members Lead the conversations about the most relevant industry issues, and influence the direction in which the industry is going? Simple. We are not alone.

IAWA has the unconditional and continuous support of many companies and organizations that live and share our mission. Our sponsors understand that women's involvement in aviation and aerospace is vital to the industry's progress, innovation and continuity. Our sponsors embrace our values, and recognize that everyone deserves an opportunity to participate in the race. How fast and how well they get to the finish line will ultimately depend on each one's capabilities, but everyone shall be given the same opportunity to succeed.

Our sponsors strongly believe in our female talent, and instead of trying to stop women from taking the chance (in 1967 Katherine Switzer successfully entered into the Boston Marathon by using initials and not her full name in the application form, but officials tried to physically remove her from the race when they realized a woman was running!), they help us promote their careers within their organizations, and beyond.

Our sponsors understand that women's involvement and progress in aviation and aerospace is vital to address the industry's current threats, such as shortages of skilled aviation professionals, and they provide an environment for female talent attraction and retention, as well as opportunities for professional advancement.

IAWA's members are influential leaders who are running the race and are happy to move others forward with them, to open pathways to new talent coming into the industry. Women's leadership is fundamental to this enterprise, and our IAWA sponsors are there to make this happen.

We need you in the race with us. Be a coach, be a fan, be a supporter, be a volunteer in the journey. Help IAWA move our female talent forward in the industry, and benefit from the impact that this will make in your own organization. Become an IAWA sponsor and gain recognition for your business commitment with the development of the industrys future leaders.

Visit https://iawa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/IAWAGivingBrochure_Web.pdf, or contact us at info@iawa.org for available sponsorship opportunities. Those in the race will never forget that your generosity helped them cross the finish line.

Alina Nassar