Women in Aviation, Aerospace & Defense

Women in Aviation, Aerospace & Defense

A new World Economic Forum report — The route to true gender equality? Fix the system, not the women — shows we need centuries to achieve gender equity. With interesting insights, it suggests a dramatic shift in strategy, focusing on income equality rather than wage equality. FA/AW News shares such articles in the belief we all need to have the same resources.

That is not to say progress is not being made. Female CEOs represent 19% of total Aerospace & Defense CEOs in the US, according to a study Soaring Through the Glass Ceiling: Taking the Global Aviation and Aerospace Industry to New Heights Through Diversity & Inclusion sponsored by the International Aviation Women’s Association and executed by Korn Ferry. This is well ahead of female CEOS across all industry at 5% but only 3% of airlines have women CEOs and, worse, the pipeline is thin, said the report.

FA/AW News has been looking for a comprehensive list of women aviation/aerospace executives. Failing that, it curated its own from research, including a recent Flightglobal report — Women have 14% of top airline jobs in slow trend towards parity and Women in Aviation & Aerospace Charter.

The list has four takeaways. While women are making progress we have a long way to go. Still, we must celebrate those who have shattered the glass ceiling by leading airlines, aerospace & defense companies, government, associations, airports, museums and business aviation.

It is also designed to illustrate if someone has a passion — interior design, finance, computer science, operations, personnel, catering, writing, sales, engineering, marketing, politics, government relations, data science, flying, maintenance, they can find a place in aviation & aerospace.

Third, it illustrates women’s entrepreneurial spirit. these are women who believed in themselves to carve out a unique space in aviation/aerospace.

Finally, the list illustrates women have always been in aviation/aerospace, they have just been overlooked.

FA/AW News hopes you will help update and correct this list by crowdsourcing your additions. We especially need help with the first women to fly commercial jets for airlines.

For additions or corrections Contact: kcreedy@futureaviationaerospaceworkforce.com

© January 3, 2021, Future Aviation/Aerospace Workforce News

Aerospace & Defense

Gwynne Shotwell, CEO, SpaceX

Tay Fitzgerald, SVP advanced concepts, Raytheon Intelligence and Space

Marie R. Sylla-Dixon as Chief Diversity Officer, Raytheon Intelligence

Mary Petrysqyn, president, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems

Kathy Warden, CEO, Northrop Grumman

Stephanie Hill, EVP Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems

Marillyn Hewson, Executive Chair, Lockheed Martin

Eileen Drake, CEO, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO

Phebe Novakovic, Chair/CEO, General Dynamics

Leanne Caret, President/CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security

Anna Keeling, Managing Director, Boeing Defense UK

Diana Barr, Head of Executive Staffing, Boeing

Barbara Barrett, Current Secretary US Air Force

Captain Amy Bauernschmidt, Commander, USS Abraham Lincoln, first woman to command a US nuclear carrier.

Kathryn Lueders, Associate Administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA

Huy T., Director of Aeronautics, NASA Ames Research Center

Adina Valean, European Commissioner for Transport

Hilary King, VP/GM Sensing and Power Systems, Crane Aerospace and Electronics

Sandi Lee, SVP-Global Communications, L3Harris

Aisha Bowe, CEO, Founder, STEMBoard

Erika Wagner, PhD, Payload Sales Director, Blue Origin

Johnene Vardiman-Ditmanson, Medical & Training Coordinator, Virgin Galactic

Civil Aviation/Aerospace

Jacqueline Sutton, CCO, Rolls Royce Commercial Aviation

Susan Schofield, VP Strategy – Civil Airframe, GKN Aerospace

Mary Claire Murphy, Executive Director, Government Affairs, Textron

Katherine Bennett OBE, Senior Vice President, Airbus

Grazia Vittadini, CTO, Airbus

Mary Ellen Jones, VP-Asia Pacific, Pratt & Whitney

Irene Makris, VP Sales and Marketing, Pratt & Whitney

Jennifer Caruso, VP Operations Transformation, Pratt & Whitney

Jennifer Reed, VP/GM Evacuation, Water and Lighting Solutions, Interiors Division, Collins Aerospace

Isolde Karro, VP/Chief Communications Officer, Collins Aerospace

Jennifer Schopfer, VP/Chief Information Officer, Digital Technology, Collins Aerospace

Tatum Buse, Chief Financial Officer, Collins Aerospace

Tanya Hooper, VP/Chief Human Resources Officer, Collins Aerospace

Nancy Welsh, Director of Marketing, Collins Aerospace

Victoria Foy, CEO, Safran Seats GB

Beth de Young, VP Business Development Aircraft Interiors-Lease Customers, Safran

Martine Gagné, Chief Technology Officer, Meggitt

Sonya Branco, EVP, President, CFO, CAE, Inc.

Helene Gagnon, SVP Public Affairs, Global Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility, CAE Inc.

Abby Bried, VP and General Counsel, Panasonic Avionics

Dorothea von Boxberg, CEO, Lufthansa Cargo, EVP Lufthansa Group

Linda Markham, President, Cape Air

Jeanne Cook, Principal & VP Operations, Bankair

Tracie Walter, Vice President, Bemidji Aviation Services

Donna Nixon, General Manager, Wiggins Airways

Dana Donati as General Manager, Director of Academic Programs, LIFT Academy, Republic Airways

Ashley Gomez, Chief Pilot, Republic Airways

Joanna Geraghty, President/COO, JetBlue

Dr. Nancy Shane Hocking, Manager, Pilot Gateway Programs, JetBlue Airways, Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force

Michelle Horn, SVP & Chief Strategy Officer, Delta Airlines

Kristen Shovlin, VP Sales & Development, Delta Airlines

 Sue Kolloru, EVP-Corporate Strategy, Delta Airlines

Crystal L. Barrois, Manager Pilot Development, Delta Airlines

Evita Garces, MD, Aircraft Maintenance Control, American Airlines

Jessica Tylor, VP Cargo, American Airlines

Stacy Morrissey, VP Engineering and Quality, American Airlines

Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer, American Airlines

Elise Eberwein, Executive Vice President of People & Communications, American Airlines

Bobbi Wells, Vice President for Safety and Airworthiness, FedEx Express

Olfa Hamdi, CEO, Tunisair

Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO, Managing Director, Virgin Australia

Jean Lydon-Rodgers, President & CEO, GE Aviation Services

Mirta De Benedictis, Head of Communications and Corporate Branding, ATR

Maria Della Posta – President, P&WC

Sumati Sharma, Vice President Special Projects, Virgin Atlantic

Jóhanna á Bergi, CEO, Atlantic Airways

Yvonne Makolo, CEO, RwandAir

Aireen Omar, President, AirAsia Digital

Anne Rigail, CEO, Air France

Maria Jose Hidalgo, CEO, Air Europa

Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, CEO, VietJet Air

Sasha Johnson, VP Corporate Safety, United Airlines

Bonnie Turner, Managing Director, Airframe Repair and Overhaul, United Airlines

Kate Gebo, Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Labor Relations, United Airlines

Carolina Cortizo, Managing Director, Wingo

Oana Petrescu, CEO, Blue Air

Nathalie Stubler, CEO, Transavia France

Veranita Yosephine Sinaga, CEO, Indonesia AirAsia

Vanessa Hudson, CFO, Qantas Group

Shilpa Bhatia, CCO, SpiceJet

Charlotte Svensson, CIO, SAS

Maria Jesus Lopez Solas, Director Commercial, Network Development and Alliances, Iberia

Leanne Geraghty, Chief Customer and Sales Officer, Air New Zealand

Constance von Muehlen, SVP maintenance & engineering, Alaska Airlines

Lillian Dukes SVP, Technical Operations at Atlas Air Worldwide

Tammy Romo, EVP and CFO, Southwest Airlines

Whitney Dix, Manager, Dispatch Training at Southwest Airlines, Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force

Carol Tomé, CEO, UPS

Iris Rich, VP, International Air Operations, UPS

Karen Gutman, SVP & Chief Sales and Solutions Officer, UPS Global Healthcare

Laura Lane, Chief Corporate Affairs, Communications and Sustainability Officer, UPS

Charlene Thomas, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

Nicole “Nikki” Clifton, President, The UPS Foundation

Louise Martin, VP Membership, Flight Safety Foundation

Dr. Susan Northrup, US Federal Air Surgeon, Federal Aviation Administration

Mindy Drummond, Chief Administrative Officers, Flight Safety Foundation

Monica Newhouse-Rodriguez, Managing Principal, Newhouse & Associates, LLC

Bianca Rhodes, President & CEO, Knight Aerospace

Sheryl Barden, President & CEO, Aviation Personnel International

Gina Radke, Owner/CEO, Galley Support Innovations, Vice Chair, Career Education Development Board, Washington State

Jessica Webster, Founder & President, The Hera Aviation Group

Colleen Back, Director Strategic Accounts, StandardAero

Heather Halvorson, SMS Program Manager, Frontier Airlines

Rebecca Henry, SVP and Chief Human Resources Officer, Allegiant Air


Sharon Pinkerton, SVP Legislative & Regulatory Policy, A4A

Montserrat Barriga, Managing Director, European Regions Airline Association

Nancy Zimini, Chief Administration and Operations Officer, Airports Council International

Annie Russo, Senior Vice President of Government and Political Affairs, Airports Council International

Deirdre L. Clemmons, Senior Vice President, Events and Strategic Partnerships, Airports Council International

Liying Gu, Vice President, Economic Affairs and Research, Airports Council International

Pamela Williams, Board Vice Chair, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

Angela Carter, Chief Strategist, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

Vanessa Blacknall-Jamison, Board of Advisors, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

Carole Hopson, Board of Advisors, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

Valerie Manning, Board of Advisors, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

Anya Kearns, Program Director, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

A. Tomica Adams, Director Relationship Development, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

Elizabeth Tennyson, Board of Advisors, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

Bethoyia (Beth) Powell, Board of Advisors, Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals

Samantha Magill, Vice Chair, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Dr. Mary Johnson, President, University Aviation Association

Dawn Vinson, Executive Director, University Aviation Association

Crystal Maguire, Executie Director, Aviation Technical Education Council

Jo Damato, Vice President, Educational Strategy & Workforce Development, NBAA

Faye Black, President, Regional Airline Association

Adefunke Adeyemi, Regional Director of Advocacy and Strategic Relations for Africa, IATA

Nikki Malcolm, Chair, Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance

Allison McKay, CEO, Women in Aviation International

Jacqueline Sutton & Sumati Sharma, Co-Chairs, Women in Aviation & Aerospace Charter

Lauren Lacey Haertlein, General Counsel & Director, Safety & Regulatory Affairs, General Aviation Manufacturers Association

Angel Green, President. Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance

Lynette Ashland, VP, Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance

Stacey Rudser, Board Member, Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance, Women in Aviation Advisory Board

Yvette Rose, SVP &Board Member, Cargo Airline Association

Business/General Aviation, Advanced Air Mobiility

Stephanie Chung, Chief Growth Executive, Wheels Up

Rene Bangledorf, CEO, Charlie Bravo Aviation

Denise Waye, Fournder & President, AirCARE1

Paula Kraft Founding Partner, DaVinci Inflight Training Institute

Mary Miller, Corporate Vice President, Industry and Government Affairs BBA Aviation/Signature Flight Support

Charlotte Pederson, CEO, Luxaviation

Deborah Aharon, CEO, Provo Air Center

Kate Fraser, Head of Safety, Joby Aviation

Denise Wilson, Founder & Past President/CEO, Desert Jet

Robin Eissler, Owner, jetAVIVA

Emily Deaton, COO, jetAVIVA

Kathy Oberbroeckling, VP Financial/Human Relations, JetAVIVA

Kandi Spangler, Director, JetAVIVA

Danielle McLean, CEO, Happy Take Off

Caycee Bradley, Managing Director, Van Allen

Jenna Mattison, Program Manager, Van Allen

Lisa Swartzwelder, Director Shuttle Operations & Flight Administration, L Brands

Nel Stubbs, Vice President, Conklin & deDecker

Beatrice Enckell Ashe, Director of Aircraft Management & MRO, Jet Aviation

Susan Friedenberg, CEO, Corporate Flight Attendant/Tech Training

Wendy Gavigan, VP Manager of Flight Operations, Citicorp

Candace Covington, Senior Director-Aviation, Adobe

Melanie Carney, Director of Aviation, Visa

Erin Reed, Chief Pilot, Visa

Catrina Capistrant, Assistant Chief Pilot, Visa

Kellie Rittenhouse, Director of Aviation, Hangar Aviation Management/Pilot Career Center

Leigh Ann Beckett, Assistant Manager of Aviation, Xcoal Energy & Resources

Elaine Karabatsos, Director of Maintenance, Encompass Health Corp

Katie Johnson, VP Human Resources, West Star Aviation

Jennifer Alessio, Director of Aviation, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Jennie Ator, Director Aviation Services, Xcel Energy

Traci Beck, Chief Pilot, Verizon

Rachel McKay, VP of Programs, Overwatch Imaging

Kelly Jost, Managing Engineer, C&S Companies

Kriya Shortt, SVP Parts & Programs, Textron Aviation

Victoria Tuffy, VP, Human Resources, Piper

Jacqueline Carlon, Senior Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Piper

Bethany Davis, Director Flight Innovation/Advanced Flight Deck, Gulfstream Aerospace

Kimberly Perkins, Founder and President of Aviation for Humanity 

Lynn Gordon, Vice President of Business Development, Arconas Corporation

Tracy Miller, President, Mid-Atlantic Aerospace Complex

Jodie Brown, Founder Summit Solutions


Joan Hertz, Board Chair, Edmonton International Airport

Kim Becker, President & CEO, San Diego International Airport

Jeanne Olivier, Assistant Director-Security Operations and Programs Department, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Karen Taylor, Managing Director, Gloucestershire Airport

Judy Ross,  Assistant Director-Aviation, Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport

Janet Bressler, Director of Risk Management, Denver International Airport

 Jamie L. Rhee, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation,

Maria Sheridan, Airport Manager, Teterboro Airport

Chellie Cameron, CEO, Philadelphia International Airport

Candace McGraw, CEO, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

Stéphane Poirier, president & CEO, Quebec City Jean-Lesage International Airport

Kelly Campbell, Executive Director-Aviation, Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport

Christina Cassotis, CEO, Pittsburg International Airport

Emma Gilthorpe, Executive Director of Expansion, Heathrow

Yasmina Platt, Senior Airport Planner, AECOM

Aviation/Aerospace Educators

Sharon DeVivo, President/CEO, Vaughn College, Chair Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force

Dr. Karrie Dixon, Chancellor; The University of North Carolina System, Women in Aviation Advisory Board

Lindsey Dreiling, Executive Director of Aviation Strategy; Kansas State University, Women in Aviation Advisory Board

Dr. Rebecca Lutte, Associate Professor; the University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute, Women in Aviation Advisory Board

Suzanne Markle, President & CEO, Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics, Women in Aviation Advisory Board

Colonel Martha Morris, Civil Air Patrol, Women in Aviation Advisory Board

Kasey Herzberg, Executive Director, Challenger Learning Center of Minnesota, Director of Engineering, Aircraft Data Fusion, Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force

Tammera Holmes, President and Chief Executive Officer; Aerostar Avion Institute, Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force

Laura Jones, Executive Director and Founder, Flight Club 502, Women in Aviation Advisory Board

Shannon Morrison, Assistant Director, Academics and Program Assessment, The Ohio State University Center for Aviation Studies

Lee Brewster, Director Communications & Industry Engagement, ATP

Aviation Museums

Ellen Stofan, Director, National Air & Space Museum.


Sara Nelson, President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA

Maryanne DeMarco, Executive Director, Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations

Patricia Gilbert, Executive Vice President, NATCA

Kassandra Bernskoetter, Chair, National Membership Committee, ALPA

On Their Shoulders….

Michele Evans, EVP, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics

Fiona McKay, Former Deputy Executive Director, Director-Business Development, Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance,

Heather Wilson, former Secretary of the Air Force

Deborah Lee James, former Secretary Air Force

Linda Hudson, President of BAe Systems in 2009

Colleen Barrett, President of Southwest Airlines in 2001

Camille Keith, VP Special Marketing, Southwest, First Woman Officer of major US airline

Christa McAuliffe, First Teacher in Space

Sally K Ride PhD, First American Woman in Space

Kathryn Sullivan, Member of the first space shuttle astronaut class, first American woman to walk in space

Mae Jemison, First African American Woman Astronaut, NASA

Judith Resnick, First Jewish Astronaut, NASA

Linda Godwin, Retired Astronaut, NASA

Sandra Magus, PhD, Retired Astronaut, Former Executive Director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Eileen Collins, First Woman Shuttle Pilot and Commander

Lucy Stone, First Woman Mechanical Engineer, NASA Simulation Laboratories

Kitty O’Brien Joyner,  electrical engineer, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and its successor, NASA  

Dorothy Johnson Vaughan, mathematician and human computer, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and NASA Langley Research Center

Mary Jackson, mathematician and aerospace engineer National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and NASA

Katherine Johson, Mathemetician Critical to Space Flight, Introduced Geometry to Figure Orbital and Lunar Flight Paths, NASA

Nancy Grace Roman, NASA’s First Female Executive, Founder, Space Astronomy Program as First Chief of Astronomy, NASA

Ellen Ochoa, director of the Johnson Space Center, Engineer, First Hispanic Female Astronaut, NASA

Marcia Buckingham, First Female Ground Spacecraft Operator, NASA

Wally Funk, First Woman to Complete Mercury Test Program, NASA, First Woman to Complete FAA GA Operations Inspectors Course and Safet Inspector, FAA

Sunni Williams, US Astronaut, First to Run the Boston Marathon in Space, NASA

Laura Hoppe, First Female Instrument & Communications Officer Flight Controller, NASA

Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Astronaut, First Teacher in Space, NASA

Sarah Helms, First Woman Crewmember Aboard International Space Station, NASA

Peggy Whitson, First Woman to Command the International Space Station, NASA

Maria Jeanmaire, Retired Chief Pilot, Harley Davidson Company

Peggy Chabrian, Founder and Past President, Women in Aviation International

Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, First Female Pilot for a Major Airline, American Airlines, 1973

Emily Howell Warner, first woman captain of a scheduled US airline, Frontier Airlines, 1976

Elsie MacGill, First Female Aircraft Designer, First Female to Earn an Advanced Degree in Aeronautics, ‘Queen of the Hurricanes’

Marion Alice Powell, pioneering Canadian aviator who was the first woman to run a flying school, Served in the Air Transport Auxiliary, completed 21,000 pilot hours most as a training instructor when it was unheard of for women to be instructors.

Patty Wagstaff, First Woman to Earn Tile US National Aerobotic Champion

Valentina Tereshkova, Cosmonaut, First Woman in Space

Harriet Quimby, First Woman Licensed Pilot in US

Bessie Coleman, First African American to Earn Pilots License

Amelia Earhart, Founder 99s, First Woman to Fly West-East Across Atlantic

Beryl Markham, First Woman to Fly East-West Across Atlantic, African Aviator, Author

Jacqueline Cochran, Founder, Women Airforce Service Pilots, First Woman to Break the Sound Barrier

Anne Morrow Lindberg, First Woman to Earn a Glider License

Grace Hopper, First Woman Ph.D. in Mathematics from Yale, Worked as rear admiral and computer scientist and her programming lead to the development of COBOL

Anne Baumgartner Carl, First Woman to Fly a Jet, Bell YP-59A

For additions or corrections contact: kcreedy@futureavaitionaerospaceworkforce.com

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