PNAA Women in Aerospace Luncheon

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By April O'Donahue | Aug 27, 2014
Women in Aerospace 2014

On Friday, July 25th, GMN New Product Manager, Gail Amole and I attended the first “Women in Aerospace” luncheon hosted by the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA). The expected attendance was around 25, however there more than 60 total in attendance – a wonderful turnout for a first time event.

Among the speakers was Anneliese Vance-Sherman, Ph.D., who discussed growth over the last 20 years within the aerospace and non-aerospace industries, and the growth of female employees in these industries. The growth of women employees in the last 20 years in aerospace has grown 35% at about the same 40% rate that the aerospace business has grown. On the other hand, in non-aerospace industries, there has been a 25% growth of women employees.

Vice President – Business Development at Silicon Forest Electronics, Jay Schmidt, spoke about multi-generational differences. The different generations discussed included:  the traditional generation (ages 69+), baby boomers (ages 50-68), generation X (ages 38-49), and generation Y (ages 19-37). Schmidt shared how these generations view life and work differently. He also spoke about how they communicate differently with their peers and coworkers, and how to learn the generational differences in communication to help your teams work together.

Julie Walters-Burns, director of business operations for Boeing Commercial Aircraft in Supplier Management shared her story of how she came to The Boeing Company. She reminded us that we all have a unique story about how we joined the Aerospace industry – mostly a nontraditional fashion. She also touched on how there is a place in aerospace for all skill sets and education levels. She left us with inspiring words on growing in aerospace, “Show your energy and passion. This is not a journey of one step. Grab, take, use.”

I left feeling empowered by these speakers and the women in aerospace around me, and asking the question – “What’s my next step in the journey of aerospace?” We are making the journey and we are leading the way for future women in the field of aerospace.