Leading Women in Aviation Share Secrets to Success
Oct. 24, 2019
Five women industry professionals shared actionable career advice for younger women during a spirited and affirming education session held during NBAA-BACE. Each of the panelists shared pivotal moments from their careers in an effort to illustrate how younger women determined to succeed can move forward.
Sheryl Barden, president and CEO of Aviation Personnel International, urged all career-minded professionals to advocate for themselves, but also to find a mentor to help them, suggesting that individuals need to discover ways to grow by identifying possible gaps in their skillsets.
“I think the most important thing that anyone needs to do is to allow themselves to become vulnerable,” said Barden. “If we’re going to grow, we have to get a little out of our comfort zone.”
JetSuite President Stephanie Chung, the first African American woman leader of a private aviation company, urged aspiring women to be true to themselves. “Be you. Figure out what it is you are really good at, figure out who you are, and focus there.”
Candace Covington, Adobe’s senior director of aviation, spoke of the benefits of volunteering, saying that volunteer groups can be incubators for leadership skills. “Volunteering will amplify your career, contribute to your professional development and help you grow your network.”
Kriya Shortt, senior vice president of global customer support for Textron Aviation, underscored the importance for future leaders to find their passion and be authentic. “If you are passionate [about what you are doing], then you are able to be successful much faster. Leadership requires authenticity. If you are not authentic as a leader, your people will know.”
Session moderator Jo Damato, CAM, NBAA’s vice president of educational strategy and workforce development, recommended that aspiring women should not only ask for career advice from mentors, but also should seek input from their peers. In addition, she emphasized the importance of professional development. “Always learn something new.”
In closing, the panelists provided their best single bit of advice. Chung said, “Make sure your brand is exactly where it needs to be.” In related advice, Barden warned young professionals to be careful about what they post on social media since that information will remain available indefinitely for employers to review. Covington concluded, “Have a plan, but revisit it often.”
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