Sept. 27, 2020

If you’re ready for your next career move in business aviation, women leaders from various business aviation backgrounds have one key piece of advice: be courageous and daring.

During an inspiring NBAA News Hour: “Women in Bizav – Being Bold,” Kali Hague, partner at JetLaw, moderated panelists with leadership positions in maintenance, airports, flight operations and business management, including:

  • Lee Brewster, director of communications, PR and industry engagement, ATP
  • Erin Croop, marketing coordinator, Lee County Port Authority – Page Field (FMY)
  • Julia Harrington, lead captain and Chicago base manager, Axis Jet
  • Jessie Naor, chief operating officer, GrandView Aviation

Presenters shared how bold moves helped them on their career paths and gave advice to attendees on how to advance their own careers, often by simply putting yourself out there. One key tip, according to presenters, is to be your own advocate – don’t wait for others to give you an opportunity. Also, they advised, be your own person.

“It’s okay to be feminine and a mechanic,” Brewster said. “Be comfortable with who you are and don’t change that [for a job or a company].”

Panelists encouraged business aviation professionals to reach for new positions, even if you don’t meet all of the job qualifications on paper. Previous experience is where you’ve been, not where you’re going, so don’t be afraid to stretch.

It’s also important to continue earning, no matter what role you play in your company.

“Be willing to educate yourself and build your network,” said Croop.

Use skills and experiences creatively, panelists advised. For example, apply leadership skills from other areas of your life, like volunteer work or community service, to achieve your first leadership position in business aviation. Once you’re in a position of leadership and management, use that role to encourage diversity in your organization and establish policies that drive inclusivity, such as paid family leave.

Finally, look for mentors in the industry and seek opportunities to reach back to new business aviation professionals.