Home / Celebrating International Women’s Day 2023

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2023

DE&I, Global, Global Gender Equality

This year’s IWD theme is #EmbraceEquity. This topic aims to drive a worldwide understanding as to why equal opportunities are not always enough, and that we should also acknowledge that each person has different circumstances. “Equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful. If we give everyone the exact same thing, expecting that will make people equal, it assumes that everyone started out in the same place – and this can be vastly inaccurate because everyone isn't the same.” (IWD, 2023)

March is also Women’s History Month, and March 6-8 is the annual Women of Aviation Worldwide Week. With all of these dates upon us, we thought it only fitting to celebrate some of the incredible and hard-working women in our own global community.

"It is great to see Jet Aviation recognize and celebrate women within the organization this International Women’s Day," says Nathan Ross, Chairperson, US DE&I Committee. "As peers, mentors and leaders, women at Jet Aviation play a key role in our success, this is why gender equality is not just about awareness or removing indifferences but also means providing equal opportunities and benefits to all genders."

We spoke to women from across the Jet Aviation network to highlight their personal experiences as women in the industry and gather their advice for anybody wanting to kick-off a career in aviation. Scroll through their stories below.

Veronika Artusse

Specialist Facility Administration, Basel

I have always loved to travel, especially with airplanes. One of my first jobs was for Lufthansa, then for Emirates, and once I moved to Switzerland, Jet Aviation seemed to be a kind of natural choice.

I particularly enjoy the diversity of my tasks at work. In our department, every day is different and things move really fast. We deal with the requests from our internal customers (heating, water leaks, waste…), organize suppliers for the interventions, plan and closely follow our budget, and are involved in diverse projects and real estate matters not only in Basel but in the whole EMEA region.

I haven't really had any challenges as a women working in this industry, in fact I have been surprised by how well accepted I have been. More challenging for me is probably using German and French with our suppliers on a daily basis while explaining very specific and sometimes quite technical topics.

To younger women I would say – be bold and seize opportunities to contribute to your team. Try to be part of special projects if possible – it can expand your knowledge and open new doors. And most importantly – do not be afraid to put yourself out there; ask questions and use collaboration to learn.

Pam Day

Director & GM FBO, Bedford

I have a great passion for my job and love working with people. However, what I enjoy most at this stage of my career is mentoring my team and watching their growth & development. Celebrating their successes gives me a great sense of pride and accomplishment. It’s all about the team!

Actually, I did not choose aviation as a career path, I’d rather like to think it choose me. My father worked for Eastern Airlines. I always loved going to the airport with him and dreamed of traveling all over the world as a child. That being said I was on a different career path when I became a young single mother. A friend recommended that I apply for a job at the commercial airline as their schedules were flexible and would accommodate the needs of my family. I took her advice with the intention of this being short-term thing as I figured out my next move. At that time, I did not anticipate that the aviation industry would open up a whole new world for me and 35 years later, I am still here enjoying every minute.

I have been fortunate to meet and work with many great people and have had some amazing opportunities. Being the first women in many of the roles I have held throughout my career was something I never thought about at the time. But now as I reflect back, I see how much the industry has changed and how many more opportunities there are for women in our industry. I am so thankful and grateful for the support I received from mentors, friends and team members.

To younger women I would say, we still have some progress to make in the industry in accomplishing needed diversity. Take advantage of every opportunity, seek growth and development and don’t underestimate your ability to make a difference.

Katherine Cox

Design Engineer, Bankstown

I enjoy seeing our designs develop into final products – from initial idea, to detailed drawing, to being manufactured, to being installed on the aircraft. Our design office is attached to our Hangar, so we are able to see firsthand what goes into bringing a design to life.

My fascination with aviation and space started at a young age. Both my parents were engineers in the aviation industry, so I grew up around it and have remained fascinated with flight. To this day I still stare at planes as they fly above, I don’t think that will ever change.

I have always been treated as an equal in this industry and never had any issues being a female in a male-dominated field. I’m also very lucky that the team I work with are great people who are always willing to help.

If you are interested and enthusiastic, then there really is nothing stopping you. Seek out opportunities, show your enthusiasm and doors will open.

Monika Majda

Client Aviation Specialist, Manager, Teterboro

There are many aspects of my job that I enjoy, but if I had to choose my most favorite, it would have to be the people and the challenges. In the Client Services department, we face new challenges each day and being able to overcome these challenges within specific deadlines as a team is definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of the job, especially when a client recognizes the efforts.

At first, I actually wasn’t looking for a career in aviation specifically; I have a background in accounting & finance which opened my first door into this industry. I received the opportunity to work in our accounting department processing fuel invoices. I quickly realized how much the aviation industry had to offer outside of accounting services, and I’ve found myself interested in learning about the operations side of the business. I’m grateful that JAFS has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge about aviation as a whole because it’s been nothing but an amazing adventure so far!

Being a woman in this industry is both exciting & empowering. I get to witness more and more females join our teams and become role models for women pursuing careers in aviation.

Don’t be afraid to take the path less traveled as a woman wanting to explore a career in aviation. If you have the determination, just believe in yourself and you will reach your goal. Your future self will be proud of you for facing your fears.

Syazwani Zaini

Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Technician, Singapore

It is never boring at Jet Aviation! With the range of aircraft that we are certified to work on, I get to experience new things as every day brings new challenges.

Growing up, I’ve always been fond of the sky. I found myself gazing at the sky too often and every time an aircraft flew by, I got curious about how they operate. The interest turned into passion, and it got me to pursue aerospace engineering.

Honestly, it is tough being a woman in this industry but with the support and guidance from my fellow colleagues, I find myself being able to overcome any obstacles. This has greatly improved my self-confidence and my hands on skills.

My advice for younger women would be: do not be afraid, every mountain climbed began with the first step. If you don’t challenge yourself, you will not know your potential. Women and men have their own strength, there will always be a place for us women in the aviation industry! 

Arleen Jerao

Sales Specialist, Dubai

I chose a career in aviation when the opportunity was presented to me when I first moved to Dubai, so I grabbed it without any background in Aviation (as I’m a computer engineer).

What I enjoy the most is the team spirit and being part of a global team, including the interaction within the team to support others globally.

In my experience, my colleagues and teammates have always considered me an equal. My advice for younger women wanting to go into my field is to be curious about everything and don’t fear failure.

Nikki Higgins

Sales Director of Aircraft Management Sales, Burbank

I would have to say all of the amazing people I get to work with daily is my favorite part of my job at Jet Aviation. I have been very lucky to have made some of my best lifelong friends through this industry. I think this job can be extremely stressful and challenging at times and sharing these experiences with my intelligent, hardworking coworkers just strengthens that bond. Whether it is industry colleagues or internal colleagues, they really make the job rewarding.

I am not really sure why I chose aviation; it feels as though aviation chose me…or something! I fell into graduating in 2008 when the market collapsed. Despite my mother being a flight attendant and my grandfather being an air force pilot, I hadn’t planned on ever entering into aviation, but now I can't imagine my career being anything else. I started off as an aircraft scheduler and while being completely overwhelmed and working crazy hours when I first started, I remember there was nothing like the rush of accomplishing a huge trip or charter, typically on minimal sleep. I still get that same rush doing this job and love that this many years in, I still learn something new every week. I recently moved over into aircraft management, and it is a whole new side of the business with plenty to learn, which I love. When I first started someone told me you either have the aviation bug or you don’t…and I most certainly have it.  

If I were to be honest, I would have to say that challenges of being a woman in this industry isn’t something that I had really thought about too much when I first started in the industry over 12 years ago. I worked alongside plenty of women, so I didn’t really notice that wasn’t the norm.  That being said, the first tradeshow I went to I remember looking around the room and realizing I was definitely the outlier in the industry being a woman. I think this has changed leaps and bounds in the last few years as there has been more light shed on diversity in the workplace.

???????For younger women, I would suggest find a mentor, or join a local NBAA chapter. This industry is truly all about networking and the best way to get your foot in the door is typically through a warm introduction. I started going to AZBAA board meetings when I first moved out to Arizona from California, and it was nice to have social interaction with people who understood the demands of my job. Also, now that so much work is being done remotely, being a member of an organization is even more important to get some of the idea sharing that used to happen in office spaces. I would also recommend just getting involved in any additional side projects within the organization or industry that interest you as there are just so many facets to this industry. And lastly, I would say once you get to the point of being successful enough, mentor another young woman…remember those that helped you get to where you are and pay it forward. Honestly, this is the same advice I would give to any young person entering into the industry.

I am proud to conclude that the teams within our company are diverse, efficient and neutral when it comes to gender preferences. Of course, the company itself stands for diversity and equal opportunity. At last, I would like to conclude with some personal advice for women who aspire to a similar career to mine: Be loyal, show integrity and ensure that the client's needs are met whenever required. It's all of these details that count!

Sandra de Kloe

Customer Service Representative, Rotterdam

My name is Sandra de Kloe and I reside in The Netherlands. As my occupation I am currently working as a Customer Service Representative at the FBO of Jet Aviation Rotterdam. As of now I have been employed as a CSR for the last quarter of a century and I still find great enjoyment in my occupation on a daily basis.

Back when I started at Jet Aviation Rotterdam, I was enrolled as an Agent at the Main Terminal. From the very first moment that I learned about the Private Handling FBO, my attention was immediately grabbed. Soon after I became a Customer Service Representative.

As a woman who has her career in professional client services and aviation, I have not been posed with any challenging situations due to being female. Additionally, I find great pride in my position as a Customer Service Representative.

Naila Bischoff

Director SCM, Basel??????

Across my career, from SCM Project Manager to today leading the Strategic Procurement team in Basel, I have had to face incredibly intense work days and challenging situations, that in the end makes me excited and proud about my career at Jet Aviation. Managing business requirement versus market offering is a daily challenge that requires strong negotiations skills, an analytic mindset and technical understanding. It’s a complex set of skills and a complex cross functional environment with many people to interface and interact with. My team and I are solicitated every day by all other departments across various levels of technical topics and we collectively care intensely about our internal customer satisfaction.

This demanding work environment is what I love, and my team and the product is what makes me passionate about my job. I love bringing improvements and gathering people around common objectives. After 12 years in various procurement roles, I feel that as a woman you have first, and then again, prove yourself, and earn the buy-in and respect that might be given naturally to a male colleague. Today I am lucky that I am surrounded by people and leaders who value my work, my contribution, and trust I am doing my best every day.

I am proud to speak about International Women’s Day. I believe gender equity and representation is key and despite voices expressing that this day is no longer relevant or needed, I stand strong for it. Unfortunately, women still face gender discrimination across different scenarios, and from leadership to parenting, we are  judged due to our gender. That's not ok, we should not be considered first as women but as equal contributors, professionals and humans. With determination and a slice of humor I always ensure people in my environment are mindful of how they speak, judge and value contribution and inputs.

 

Most of the time this is recognized, acknowledged, and respected, but I still at times see or hear gender-oriented judgments. Having IWD on the calendar is a gentle reminder that not long ago, this was the norm, and that women in the recent past fought for their rights and their voice to be heard. Not paying tribute to this would be really sad.

To all the women out there, embrace your gender but don’t let it limit you. Only your aptitude and determination define who you are. I would consider myself successful not only for what it would bring to me personally, but also if I manage to inspire younger women to take up challenges, have ambition, and trust you can achieve success independent of being a man or a woman, but because you trust yourself to perform and excel, every day.

We have recently re-launched the DE&I committee in EMEA, and I am excited to see the energy and interest from women and men across sites and functions, joining forces to support, sustain and enable diversity, equity and inclusion at work. I am extremely grateful that Jet Aviation as a company is deploying a team and resources to have this as a key element of our employee engagement initiatives.

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