There is no question that Dr. Peggy Baty Chabrian and her husband, Bruce Baty (now deceased), were inspired to create Women in Aviation International after realizing how few of the general public knew that women participated in every aspect of aviation. That was back in 1990. There was a conference in Prescott, Arizona, and 150 people attended. A good start. But the Batys needed help to make their concept fly for a mentoring and networking organization for women involved in aviation.
Peggy and Bruce put their heads together and recruited a few of their friends, and a few personalities from the aviation industry, and asked them if they would be willing to come onboard to help with the conference. Sandy Anderson, Trish Beckman, Cassandra Bosco, Amy Carmien, Gary Eiff, Mary Ann Eiff, Janice Elrod, Dick Koenig, Amy Laboda, Nelda Lee, Karen McArdle, Bill Monroe, Bobbi Roe, Nancy Rosen, Shelly Simi, and Carolyn Williamson said yes, and a board of directors was formed—the core of the organization you know today as Women in Aviation International.
If it had not been for the dedication of that first board, we would not have been incorporated as a nonprofit organization, we would not have chapters, an endowment, nor a robust scholarship program that continues to expand. We would not have the vibrant exhibit hall and virtual and real-time job fairs that take months of careful preparation to bring to fruition. Without the grounding efforts of this founding board, we would not be able to consistently provide you with more than 50 different and topical educational sessions at each conference, nor reach out to inform you all year long with our colorful and entertaining Aviation for Women magazine, our dynamic website, apps, and more. We owe them a debt of gratitude.