March 21, 2022

Helping women learn how to network and support each other in their aviation careers was the focus of a 400-person workshop led by Jo Damato, CAM, NBAA’s senior vice president of education, training and workforce development, last week at the 2022 International Women in Aviation Conference (WAI2022) in Nashville, TN.

Damato explained the workshop, “Creating a Circle for Success,” was inspired by a 2020 NBAA Virtual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition session, which identified a desire for women in the industry to seek support and address challenges with one another.

“We realized women in aviation are hungry to keep in frequent contact with other women in the industry,” said Damato. “The circle model provides women with a unique opportunity to be vulnerable in a confidential space to share their experiences.”

Julia Harrington, lead captain at Axis Jet, and a recent NBAA Business Aviation Top 40 Under 40 award recipient, co-presented with Damato.

The workshop followed the circle model established by “Lean In,” an initiative of Sheryl Sandberg and the Dave Goldberg Family Foundation. “Circles” are small groups of women who network, support each other and learn from each other. Damato and Harrington shared the benefits of networking through circles, and guided attendees through exercises to help them establish their own successful and supportive circles.

Damato and Harrington’s leadership at the workshop was just one way business aviation was highlighted at WAI2022.

Joan Sullivan Garrett, founder of MedAire, former member of NBAA’s Board of Directors and recipient of the association’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award, shared an inspiring message as Saturday’s general session keynote speaker. Women in Corporate Aviation, with which NBAA works closely and supports, managed an exhibit booth and presented on careers in aviation, and NBAA member company representatives also shared business aviation perspectives on several topics.

NBAA sponsored the WAI2022, which returned to a live format last week for the first time since the COVID pandemic, with its mission: Connect. Engage. Inspire.

WAI2023 is planned for Feb. 23-25, 2023, at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, CA.

A new NBAA Flight Plan podcast features additional women aviation leaders, who are innovating to connect and support their industry peers.