Women in Aviation International Announces the Appointment of Stephanie Kenyon as Interim CEO

Posted By: Kelly Murphy 2023 Press Releases,

July 6, 2023 - The Board of Directors of Women in Aviation International (WAI), the largest organization in the world dedicated to advancing the interests of women in all areas of aviation and aerospace, is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephanie Kenyon as interim Chief Executive Officer. 

Stephanie has served as WAI's Chief Growth Officer since 2021, where she led the strategic direction and financial growth of the organization. She most recently assumed management of the organization's successful scholarship program, including its new international university scholarships, and she launched Harvard University/WAI Emerging Leaders professional education program designed to give women the leadership skills needed to assume executive positions within their organizations and the aviation/aerospace industry.

Captain Deborah Hecker, chair of the WAI Board of Directors, expressed confidence in Stephanie’s ability to lead the organization. “Stephanie’s proven leadership coupled with her understanding of the industry and nonprofit management make her an excellent choice as interim CEO. We are confident in her ability to drive WAI’s mission forward as well as create new opportunities for women in aviation and aerospace.  We know that under Stephanie’s leadership, WAI will continue to thrive and fulfill its mission to foster and promote more women to seek out and to be successful in the aviation and aerospace community.”

Stephanie comes to the position with more than two decades of leadership experience in nonprofits and the aviation industry. As vice president of the AOPA Foundation, she designed and launched the popular AOPA High School Aviation Initiative, now a nationwide program that introduces teachers and students to aviation. Stephanie also served as executive director in the philanthropy and alumni engagement division at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where she was a member of the university’s women’s initiative committee. Earlier in her career, Stephanie held leadership positions at the American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at the humanitarian aviation organization, AirServ International. Stephanie is a private pilot and holds professional certifications in nonprofit management, fundraising, and public relations. She and her family live in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

The appointment of Stephanie follows the departure of former CEO Allison McKay, who is pursuing new opportunities aligned with her personal and professional goals. Allison was hired in 2020 upon the retirement of long-time CEO and founder Dr. Peggy Chabrian. Most notably, Allison was instrumental in guiding the organization through the pandemic’s upheaval of the aviation and aerospace industry.  The board and staff of WAI expressed appreciation for Allison’s significant contributions during her tenure and for her dedication and commitment to WAI’s mission.