Education Sessions

Follow Your Interests!

Follow your interests during WAI2021, and pick the education sessions that will help further your dreams and goals. Topics include: Career, Flying, History, Innovation, Maintenance/Tech Ops, Military, and Personal Development.

These sessions will be on-demand, pre-recorded and available in the virtual platform to watch at your own pace. On Thursday, March 11, 15 education session videos will be released, and on Friday, March 12, an additional 15 videos will be released. This content will be available after the conference ends–through Wednesday, March 31.

Career - Sponsored by UPS

Flying Forward Together: Aviation Couples Building Resiliency and Promoting Progress

Thursday, March 11

Moderator: Afton Brown

Panelists: Susie Valentin and Christopher Foote, Brandi and Daniel King, Jenny and Jesse Miller, Katherine Dixon and Mike Morse

The more open and vulnerable we are about our struggles as individuals and couples, the less of a stigma our failures and struggles have. Plus, the more we share our experiences through our networks the more empowered and stronger we become. When we gain strength as individuals, couples, and communities, our collective voice becomes louder. We then have more power to change and make progress in our industry, specifically with issues affecting dual-flying career couples. These four couples share their struggles, failures, and ultimate success stories to inspire and provide hope to other aviation couples.

Amending the Flight Plan: Navigating Mid-Career Course Changes

Thursday, March 11

Presented by Robin Kardon

What do you do when your career trajectory changes? How do you change that trajectory yourself? How can you take the training and experience you have in aviation and apply it in another career? This presentation will help attendees navigate the turbulent employment landscape in aviation today.

Resumes, Interviews, and Follow Up, Oh My!

Thursday, March 11

Moderator: Gabrielle Palmas

Panelists: Sheryl Barden, Destry Jacobs, Martin Rottler

This session, organized by WAI YoPro Connect, is aimed at young professionals and those who may need a refresher after time away from the industry. Students may find this session educational as well. Our speakers - both job seekers and professional resume reviewers - will review how to build a professional aviation resume and discuss interview do’s and don’ts from both sides. We will also share successful tools on how to follow up with mentors, job prospects, and post-interview.

Soaring to Your Potential

Thursday, March 11

Moderator: Sadie Perez

Panelists: Alyce Hood-Fleming, Deloris Martin, Ali McDermott, Raina Price

FAA female supervisors and executives will speak about her unique career path as well as the opportunities available in her specific line of business.

Airline Pilot Panel

Friday, March 12

Moderator: Becky Howell

Panelists: Nivedita Bhasin, Caitlin Bute, Evey Cormican, Michelle Hovey, Annie Mattos, Mary Poplawski

During the first half of the session, commercial airline pilots from various airlines talk about their experiences building time and sharing their stories for handling job-related challenges. The second half of the session is dedicated to answering questions from WAI2021 attendees. Topics include: the transition from military to civilian/airline flying, passenger versus cargo carrier flying, corporate flying experiences, and family issues related to an airline career.

Summiting: One Woman’s Journey to Becoming a Chief Engineer

Friday, March 12

Presented by Lynda Allen

Some 35 years of exciting aerospace work teaches the long view can stay fixed on the peak, but plans and actions to get there must be agile and adaptive. Lynda will share some formative twists and turns from her career. She will speak about lessons learned along the way––from her start as a woman engineer, facing deeply ingrained stereotypes, through diverse bravery-building mid-career experiences––and how mentors and assignments helped shape her path to expanding leadership roles and responsibilities. While Lynda’s journey to become a chief engineer was her chosen summit, her lessons and skills learned along the way are useful for many other aspirational peaks.

Leading an Engaged and Inspired Team

Friday, March 12

Presented by MaryAlice Gallagher and Modina Williams

For organizations to prosper and be competitive, they need to continually improve. One of the key requirements to promoting such a culture is putting people first through consistent and thoughtful employee engagement. This presentation will discuss research and provide examples of successful organizations who have inspired and fostered an environment that encourages ownership and innovation. The information will help your planning to reap the benefits of an engaged and inspired workforce.

Career Opportunities in the Business and Corporate Aviation Industry

Friday, March 12

Moderator: Ava Shubat

Panelists: Anna Chadwick, Amanda Ferraro, Rucsandra Mihai

Business and corporate aviation offers many exciting aviation career opportunities! Whatever your skills or dreams, this rewarding segment of the industry has a place for you. This interactive discussion will feature a briefing on business and corporation aviation, industry and networking resources, and each panelist’s path to her current career. These professionals will share their stories of quality of life and work/family balance, job satisfaction, why they chose business aviation, and their typical day on the job. Guided questions will be asked to the panelist by the moderator, and then questions will be taken from panel attendees.

Flying - Sponsored by Walmart

Pilot Talent Diversity: Minority Barriers Hindering the Majority

Thursday, March 11

Presented by Jacqueline Davidson

Industry metrics show a large gender gap in today’s pilot population. We will explore the responsibility industry players have in creating a more diverse pilot ecosystem by examining the current barriers for minorities pursuing careers in aviation. During this presentation, we will focus on the challenges around inspiring the next generation of pilots while retaining existing talent. We will share real-life experiences that limited certain groups from remaining active in their careers as aviatrixes, in order to analyze how we have hindered the growth of pilots. As we examine these barriers, we will analyze the role diversity plays in business profitably and employee satisfaction to drive better outcomes. Learners will better understand––through emphasizing diversity––how to be agents of change.


Friday, March 12

Presented by Lynsey Howell

I set out on a mission to interview 50 female pilots to find out why some became successful while others quit. Is there one special thing we all have in common? What kept her from quitting after failing her ATP checkride? What does her support system look like? Am I the only one who struggles with Imposter Syndrome? Where does her confidence come from? I have interviewed pilots from all sectors, and it’s amazing what happens when we come together to share in the vulnerabilities of our struggles and our successes.

Hot Topics in Aviation Law

Friday, March 12

Presented by Alan Farkas

Aviation attorney Alan L. Farkas of SmithAmundsen Aerospace in Chicago, will discuss current legal issues of concern to our membership, including handling calls and letters from the FAA, ramp checks, Basic Med, aircraft registration and sales, drug testing, drug and alcohol reporting, accident reporting, formal certificate actions, remedial training, UAS issues, and the aviation safety reporting system (aka ASRS or NASA reports). Alan and his colleagues at SmithAmundsen Aerospace provide WAI’s legal benefit program to WAI members including free consultation and a discount on fees if you require their services.

History - Sponsored by Textron Aviation

Women’s Place in Space

Thursday, March 11

Presented by Loretta Hall

In 1962, John Glenn explained all of NASA first astronauts were men because of “our social order.” But there have always been exceptions—women who inserted themselves into space exploration by virtue of their curiosity and abilities. This presentation describes the work of a selection of such women and explores how their activities related their societies’ norms (American and Soviet/Russian) from the 1930s through the early 21st century. The presentation also summarizes how spaceflight affects men and women in both similar and dissimilar ways.

Suff Birds: The Aviation Arm of the Suffrage Army

Friday, March 12

Presented by Terri Wesemann

Aeroplanes moved the suffrage battle beyond the boundary of earth and into the limitless sky. From 1909 to 1919, the suffrage movement used unprecedented tactics by combining the first aviatrixes and society’s infatuation of flight with their own publicity stunts which elevated their message, reached a larger audience, and helped win the vote for women in 1919. Suff Birds, as the media nicknamed them, risked their lives for a cause they believed in and, at the same time, showed women not only deserved the right to vote, they also deserved the right to fly.

Innovation - Sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Why Stop at Earth When You Can Reach Space?

Thursday, March 11

Moderators: Kayleigh Bowers, Heidi Moore

Panelists: Lynda Allen, Dawn Beyer, Kristine Farley, Carolyn Overmeyer, Sallyann Sechrist, and Robin Yeman

You are invited to hear personal stories and lessons-learned from technical leaders, fellows, and chief engineers with unique and inspiring career paths that traverse engineering realms of aerospace, chemical, mechanical, software, systems, and everything in between. You will also learn about the importance of innovation and putting a defense mission first as we utilize software and transform a hardware company to think digitally and create value. What does it look like to leverage commonality to create spacecraft and missiles of the future?

The Future of Electric Flight

Thursday, March 11

Presented by Dr. Anita Sengupta

The aviation sector currently represents only a small percentage of total CO2 emissions worldwide. With ground-based transportation shifting to electric vehicles and government targets to reduce net emissions by 2050, aviation is also on a path toward decarbonization. Dr. Sengupta will review the aviation use case from general aviation, to urban air mobility, to regional transport, based on the latest data. She will present an overview of the electric aircraft that currently exist from drones, to single engine airplanes, and eVTOL. She will explore the different technologies on the horizon that will make emission free flight a reality.

Drones: Gateway into Aviation

Friday, March 12

Presented by Aimee Mestre

Less than 10% of women are involved in flying. Studies are conducted, factors analyzed, yet even with targeted campaigns to increase the presence of women in aviation, the numbers are slow to increase. Why is this? What underlying factors are being missed that might alter this trend? Is there a better conduit to reach into the general populace and expand aviation awareness? Drones present a solution to these questions, a platform enabling the ability of the aviation community to overcome the intimidation factor of flight training. These unmanned aerial systems are an untapped resource in creating a gateway into aviation.

Maintenance/Tech Ops - Sponsored by ConocoPhillips Aviation

Airworthiness Defined

Thursday, March 11

Presented by Bill Russo

Many can define the term airworthiness correctly, but few can tell you where this definition can be found, and fewer still can explain exactly what the definition means. Considering that this term lies at the core of all regulations governing aviation maintenance and operations, it is vital that we work together to spread awareness so that the number of inadvertent regulatory infractions occurring on a daily basis across the country can be reduced.

Preventive Maintenance: What Can an Owner Do?

Thursday, March 11

Moderator: Bill Russo

Panelists: Lynette Ashland, Tamara Griffith

Many aircraft owners take pride in performing as much work on their own aircraft as possible, but all too often these repairs and modifications do not fall into the category of preventative maintenance. This panel discussion will define preventative maintenance and will rely on our industry expertise to provide anecdotal examples of the types of work that aircraft owners can and can’t do to their aircraft.

Being One of the Few – Only female On the Maintenance Crew

Friday, March 12

Moderator: Cindy Rodina

Panelists: Lynette Ashland, Shannon Kniceley, Hayley Myroup

A&P school is challenging for women pursuing this career. With school completed, the next chapter of life is at hand. All excited for a new career, the challenges begin. If someone says something, or does something that makes you feel uncomfortable; how do you handle it? Who do you talk to? What happens if you speak up? Attend our panel discussion with seasoned female technicians from different facets of aviation. Many have been in similar situations; how did they handle it? Share your experiences, and learn from each other. We are in this together!

Military - Sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Non-Pilot Flying Careers in the Military

Thursday, March 11

Moderator: Stephanie Lucas

Panelists: Tracie Garcia, Karen Moore, Emily O’Neil, Brenda Rodriguez, Randi Vannyhuis, Alyssa Wilson

This session will explore the many non-pilot aircrew positions in the military for both officers and enlisted. Panel members will represent many of these career specialties and share their experiences and insight. Emphasis will be placed on how to enter and qualify for these positions, what the missions entail, and how that career will progress.

Women in Combat Operations

Friday, March 12

Moderator: Samantha Weeks

Panelists: Christine Durham, Kimberly Hoffman, Natasha Ryan, Courtney Vidt

Join us for this very popular education session. Meet women from all military services representing fighters, bombers, and attack, rotary-wig, and drone aircraft. They will share their real-world combat experiences during this panel discussion. Learn about the issues they face, including training, aircraft capabilities, mission planning, command and control, mission execution, as well as family and social issues.

Military Women in Space - Then & Now

Friday, March 12

Moderator: Peggy Carnahan

Panelists: Anna Gunn-Golkin, Susan Helms, Laura Radley

In 1993, then-US Air Force Major Susan Helms became the first military woman in space. After five space missions, including a tour on the International Space Station and a record-setting space walk, she left NASA and returned to the "blue suit" Air Force to assist in incorporating space into support for the warfighter. Since then, the US Air Force Space Command has now evolved into the US Space Force, a separate branch of the military that was established in December 2019. With the stand-up of the US Space Force and the inclusion of several military women in the initial Artemis cadre as NASA prepare to return to the moon, the career opportunities for women in the field of Space is unlimited. This panel explores now-retired Lieutenant General Helms's experiences to illustrate the roots of military women in space and connects the experience of current members of the US Space force to examine the many opportunities for women to serve in the US Space Force.

Personal Development - Sponsored by NATCA

Show Up for Yourself

Thursday, March 11

Presented by Ashley Alexandra Recchione

The session is geared toward learning how to leverage your authentic self to achieve success–– not just in your profession but also in your personal life. Understanding how to use the three traits of patience, discipline, and tenacity, we will review examples of leaders who have been able to turn challenges into opportunities, allowing the audience to re-frame their perception. Learn how to set the bar higher by removing barriers, turning what if into why not.

Financial Stability in Unexpected Turbulence

Thursday, March 11

Moderator: Kat Schraeder

Panelists: Taylor Brown, Kristi Cherry, Michelle Yates

The world has seen many challenges and changes as a result of COVID-19 that are likely to affect us for years to come. This is especially true for many of us financially, due to turbulence in the aviation industry and economy at large. Join our panel of aviation and finance experts to find out how you can protect yourself during uncertain times, how to set yourself up for success in the future, and what they’ve learned from past events to weather the storm in any financial environment. While we can’t predict the future, this session can help you feel more informed and prepared for whatever comes next.

Finding the Right Balance for You and Your Family

Thursday, March 11

Moderator: Kandy Bernskoetter

Panelists: Sara Baer, Mollie Osborn, Kaori Paris, Catherine Rainey

With an increasing female interest in STEM-based education, more women are entering a male-dominated industry where they face unique personal challenges. Women, generally the primary family caretakers, must find ways to juggle parental duties and manage a household while simultaneously dealing with opinions that make them feel like they are choosing a career over family. This often leads to choices that stall or end career advancement. Hear how three women in different phases of their careers have adapted the traditional family roles of mother, wife, and caregiver to strike a healthy work-home balance that is right for them and their families.

Checkride-it is: How to Overcome Fear & Anxiety

Thursday, March 11

Presented by Dr. Janette McMurtrie

Acquire tools to strengthen confidence and lower anxiety when it comes to checkrides. Gain insight to the stressors of aviation, pilot personality, and how it affects our mental status preparing for a checkride. With increased knowledge, pilots can potentially control the stress and manage the negative effects leading to checkride-it is. This session is expected to be an educational aid for pilots and future aviators by providing an insight into preparing for a checkride, aviation stressors, negative talk versus positive talk, and how to have a successful checkride.

Brain Power: Improve Your Performance as a Student, Decision Maker, and Leader

Friday, March 12

Presented by Stacey Jackson

The human brain is powerful, yet fallible. It is subject to many perception errors and processing barriers that can result in subpar, and even dangerous, human decisions or actions. Improving these aspects of human performance begins with an understanding of how the brain perceives, processes, and evaluates information, and the associated situations where errors are common. Learning preventative and mitigation strategies allows aviation and aerospace students as well as professionals to improve their ability to accurately process information, evaluate their situations, make timely and accurate decisions, effectively communicate, and become better students and leaders.

Elevating Your Authentic Presence, Communication, and Influence

Friday, March 12

Presented by Stephanie Goetz

The way you communicate and how you are perceived have a much bigger impact than you think. These are valuable skills that anyone can refine and master with proper training. You will learn the best techniques of excellent communication and influential presence from award-winning communication and presence expert - and pilot - Stephen Goetz of Goetz Communications. Stephanie coaches C-suite leaders, pilots, executives at Fortune 500 companies on how to be more dynamic, influential, and impactful in their interactions. You will learn the skills of embracing authenticity, finding the confidence to communicate with gravitas, and learn the keys to having lasting influence.

Everyone Communicates, Few Connect

Friday, March 12

Presented by Sondra Radcliffe

According to Harvard Business Review, the number one criteria for advancement and promotion is the ability to communicate effectively. If you want to succeed, you must learn how to connect with people. And while it may seem like some people are just born with it, the fact is anyone can learn how to make every communication an opportunity for a powerful connection. You can learn how to identify with people and relate to others in a way that increases your influence with them. To be a successful leader, you need to learn to communicate in a way that connects with others.

How To Navigate a Successful Military Transition

Friday, March 12

Panelists: Stacy Sheard, Heidi McBride, Camille Griffin, Lorriane Diaz Maldonado

In an effort to assist military pilots and maintenance technicians transition into a civil aviation career, this passionate and experienced panel will offer career guidance, advice, and mentorship to transitioning military members that may eventually be headed to the helicopter industry. The session includes advice on resumes, interviews, and education on topics such as obtaining civil licenses, ratings, medicals, logging flight time, and how to speak “civilian.” It’s imperative service members understand the important ways in which civil aviation regulations and culture differ from the military. Most importantly, you'll need a strong, connected network along the way to guide and advise you on your journey.