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December 2022 President's Message


My IAWA Holiday Card

We are nearing the close of 2022 and many of us prepare to celebrate various holiday traditions with our families. I am beginning to receive holiday cards from friends and family members depicting a collage of photographs of adventures and exciting events from 2022 that they want to share. These cards made me think about this challenge: What highlights would I choose from the Lisbon Conference if I were preparing to send an IAWA holiday card? It was a very difficult task. There were so many exciting moments at the Conference, focusing on building connections, industry updates, and encouraging growth and development of the next generation, that it was truly hard to choose. But as I am sure you will agree, to have an effective holiday card, you need to focus on a few things—if you try to cram in too many photographs, they simply get too small. With that added pressure of only choosing a few for my card, here are what the photographs would be on my card.

My first photograph would be of the New Member Chat with the President. The event was simple but powerful. It was a group of new members and scholarship recipients in a very large circle introducing themselves, and explaining how they became involved in IAWA, and more importantly, what they hoped to achieve through their IAWA membership. My role was as a facilitator and answering questions. In the space of one hour, this group expanded their connections, set up group meetings for people in their field or region, and came up with ideas for future events to consider in their regions. If there were specific attendees that they wanted to meet, those of us who knew the attendee offered to make the introduction. The increased traffic on social media since the conference has been wonderful to see and I hope it continues. This is our future.

My second photograph would be of lunch on either day of the conference. While choosing lunch as a favorite event seems similar to kids selecting recess as their favorite part of the school day – I think that the kids may have been right all along. All you need to do is look at the conference photographs and see the restaurant of various size tables filled with engaged attendees. During lunch each day, attendees met with current and prospective clients or business partners, they met with their committees or potential committees, and they connected with new members. The small table set up in the restaurant, albeit a little challenging for the planned committee events, nonetheless, were very conducive for
initiating, strengthening and expanding our connections. 

My final photograph would be of Divya Kamania, Alina Nassar and me at the Boeing dinner. Dyvia was a scholarship recipient when I served as VP of Scholarship and Alina was serving as President-Elect. I was amazed by Dyvia’ s accomplishments, her drive, and her gratitude. I told Dyvia in one of our first communications not only how proud I was of her but also, I encouraged her to take advantage of the opportunity that IAWA provided her. Dyvia has followed through. She has attended the Annual Conference and met as many people as she could, and she has tried to attend other IAWA events to foster these connections. Dyvia was also inspired by Alina who spoke about and exemplified the commitment of IAWA to the next generation of women leaders. When Dyvia asked Alina and I to take a picture with her, we were honored.

These three pictures are IAWA in a nutshell.

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2023 and see you in San Diego!

Kathleen M. Guilfoyle

President, International Aviation Womens Association