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32nd Annual Conference

Recordings Available

Featured Keynote Speakers:

  • Kawal Preet, President of the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA) region, FedEx Express
  • Julie Kitcher, EVP Communications and Corporate Affairs, Airbus
  • Kimberly Reed, President and Chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank
  • Ellen Stofan, Director, National Air and Space Museum

About the Conference

With a reputation for insight, relevance and value among women in aviation, IAWA‘s Annual Conference is the world‘s leading conference for women in the aviation and aerospace industry. IAWA‘s Annual Conference is a must attend conference for women in leadership and management roles in the industry. It‘s renowned for its interactive and lively panels, varied program and excellent networking opportunities.

Note: All sessions are in English.

Event Features and Opportunities:


If you have registered and created your login, please click here to login and access the conference site. The recordings are available through November 20, 2020 to all registrants. If you purchased the extended access to the post-conference content, your access will be through till February 20, 2021.


Registration options for accessing the recorded conference content:

  • $25 for access until Nov. 20, 2020 but you must register by November 17, 2020
  • $100 for access until Feb. 20, 2021 but you must register by February 17, 2021

Registration for recorded content has closed.

Once registered, you'll receive an email confirmation following your registration. Further information to accessing the meeting platform will be emailed to you.

Registration for the live program closed on October 13, 2020. 



Special Thanks To Our Corporate Sponsors

Diamond Sponsor

Ruby Sponsor

Ruby Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Ruby Sponsor




Kathleen Guilfoyle, IAWA VP of Annual Conference 

Connie Avery, CDR (ret) USN, IAWA Conference Chair

Thomas Braden
Rachel Constantino-Wallace
Laura Hill
Mary Rose Hughes
Laura Jennings
Kelly Lucas
Jennifer Ocana
Charlottee Vaksmann
Sele J. Williamson

Conference Program

Keynote Speakers

Kawal Preet, President of the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA) region, FedEx Express
Kawal will discuss her view of resilience in the modern world, specifically managing through a global pandemic.

Julie Kitcher, EVP Communications and Corporate Affairs, Airbus

Kimberly Reed, the first woman President and Chairman of the U.S. Export-Import Bank
She will share her insight on the priorities and accomplishments at EXIM and meeting the challenges of COVID-19. In this wide-ranging interview with Joanne Young, IAWA past president and member of EXIM‘s Advisory Committee, Kimberly will discuss EXIM initiatives under her leadership and how she creates consensus amongst diverse constituencies to get things done.

Ellen Stofan, Director, National Air and Space Museum
Hearing someone else‘s story can be that spark that inspires us by example to persevere through setbacks, embrace challenges, and be resilient in pursuit of our dreams. Hear Ellen Stofan, the first woman director of the National Air and Space Museum, former NASA chief scientist, and accomplished researcher, writer, and speaker discuss the importance of sharing our diverse stories and her work at the Museum. During this lively discussion, Ellen shares her experience working as a young scientist in a field dominated by men as well as her many insights on resiliency through more than 25 years of experience in space and aviation-related organizations. You will find Ellen‘s own story memorable and inspiring but also love her stories of other women who have inspired her.



Agility in Crisis
Presenters: Heike Birlenbach (Lufthansa), (Honeywell), (Strata), Chua Kim-Chua (Embry-Riddle University)

Innovation for a Sustainable Future
Presenters: Jacqui Sutton (Rolls-Royce), Emmaly Sibbes (GKN Aerospace), Adefunke Adeyemi (IATA Africa)

Ready, Set Fly: Restarting the Global Connection
Presenters: Susan Kurland (Chicago Midway International Airport), Sam Johnson (Spirit Airlines), Sheila Remes (The Boeing Company), Javaria Neagle (United Airlines)

Commercial Human Space Flight
Once limited to the realm of science fiction, commercial human space flight is fast becoming a reality. But as companies and governments work to increase access to space, new legal and regulatory issues are emerging. This panel will discuss those challenges and how industry and government are addressing them. The panel will cover timely, important topics like FAA regulations, rulemaking, and risk-sharing between government and the private sector.

Presenters: Michelle Kley (Virgin Galactic), Lirio Liu (FAA), Audrey Powers (Blue Origin), Joanne Gabrynowicz (University of Mississippi)

Using Technology to Address Airport Challenges
Join Jenny Urban from CLEAR as she examines how aviation has leveraged technology solutions to solve new challenges that the airport industry faces, from air travel around large events like the Kentucky Derby and Superbowl to handling the pandemic. Panelists will review the challenges airports faced and where they turned for resilience.

Presenters: Jerome Woodward - Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), Jodie Brinkerhoff - Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Megan Thoben - Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF)

Inclusion in Aviation
The situation surrounding the death of George Floyd and other African Americans in the U.S. has escalated the conversation about systemic racism in record numbers. But the conversation often ends there. Vanessa Blacknall-Jamison, the first female nonpilot to lead the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, will lead a diverse group of women in discussing concrete actions that attendees and the companies they work for can take to begin eliminating racial injustice from our industry and the communities in which they live.

Presenters: Vanessa Blacknall-Jamison (OBAP), Nicole Huque (Krauthamer & Associates), Sharon DeVivo (Vaughn College)

Leadership Session

Achieving Your Own Professional Excellence by Russ Rausch, Founder of Vision Pursue (VP)
Want to train your mind to reduce stress and increase focus, resilience, and confidence? Russ will share methods that impact automatic thoughts and emotions from the limbic brain. These methods include properly aligning expectations, embracing emotions, and controlling the controllable. You‘ll be able to start impacting your mental processing immediately after the session.

The VP program shifts the way the mind experiences life and what a typical day feels like for VP customers before and after the program.

Bonus Panels

Intentional Networking Across Sectors of the Industry
IMAGINE if we intentionally expanded our networks beyond siloed disciplines? Perhaps we could identify and articulate specific gender barriers through the lens of those in adjacent cultures and make a change together. The aviation industry is struggling with gender parity compared to other industries. The military, specifically Navy, offers a multi-disciplined system achieving Naval power- yet still has challenges in the female experience as a Naval Officer. By networking across professions, we may be able to paint a panoramic perspective of an undesirable culture that may be being unintentionally promoted.

Presenters: Connie Avery FedEx Safety and Airworthiness- CDR (ret) USN; Dawn Cutler, COO Navy Marine Corps Relief Society , RDML (ret); Kelly Harrison, CDR USN Program Management Office; LT USNR Stacey Hendricks, Nurse Corps


Aviation in Distress: COVID-19 and the Prognosis for Airlines, Lessors, Airports and Aviation Services
With airlines not expected to recover to 2019 levels until 2024, what will happen to the aviation sector and related businesses? Are more consolidations and further restructurings on the horizon? Hosted by Freshfields‘ Aviation Specialists Amna Arshad (Transportation Regulatory), Mary Lehner (Antitrust), Linda Martin (Litigation), and Madlyn Primoff (Restructuring). Discussion of distress across the aviation sector – for airlines, lessors, airports and aviation services businesses – and emerging trends to address such distress.

Presenters: Linda H. Martin, Partner, Disputes, litigation and arbitration (moderator); Amna Arshad, Special Counsel Freshfields; Mary Lehner, Partner, Antitrust, competition and trade; Madlyn Gleich Primoff Partner, Restructuring and insolvency


Corporate Sustainability
In this panel, you‘ll hear from Boeing and other industry leaders about sustainability efforts to positively impact their organizations and the industry at large and how this has taken on a new meaning given the current environment. Specifically, we‘ll address the impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry and work being done across the industry to enhance health safeguards and develop new solutions as well as the impact on our own organizations. We‘ll also discuss racial and gender equity in the US and globally and actions we are taking to address it.

Presenters: Elia Morales (moderator), Director of Corporate Sustainability, The Boeing Company; Amy Bann, Sustainability Strategy, The Boeing Company; Adefunke Adeyemi, Regional Director of Advocacy and Strategic Relations, International Air Transport Association


Finding Work in Today's Aviation Market
Senior executives from the aviation industry‘s manufacturing, government, education and business sectors will address the challenges facing the future workforce. The discussion will touch on what skill sets are needed to be successful in the changing environment as well as how diversity and inclusion play a role in propelling the industry forward.

Presenters: Kris Fellrath and Ellyn Slow (moderators); Dr. Sharon DeVivo, President & CEO of Vaughn College, Flushing NY; Di Remold, Director of Strategic Operations at Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, DC; Mary Ellen Jones, VP Sales Asia Pacific and China, Pratt & Whitney/ United Technologies Corp

Exploring Mars/Mars Rover
On August 6, 2012 at 1:32 a.m. EDT, the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity touched down in Gale Crater, Mars, making history as the largest and most capable rover to ever land on Mars. For over eight Earth years (or four Mars years), Curiosity has used its versatile payload consisting of 10 instruments to explore and assess Gale Crater as a potential habitat for life, past and present. The science performed by the Curiosity rover has resulted in several firsts that have contributed to our ability to answer these questions as well as help us prepare for human exploration of Mars.

Dr. Jennifer Stern, Planetary Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


Aviation and Human Rights - Spotlight on Forced and Child Labour
Incidents of forced and child labour in global supply chains regularly make headline news with subsequent increasing legislation. What does this mean to the aviation industry? What do we need to be aware of? What can we do to ensure forced and child labour does not occur within our supply chains? Is COVID increasing this risk? And what can the industry do to help eliminate the human trafficking that is so often the beginning of a life of slavery? This panel of expert speakers will provide participants with an overview of this important topic and in-depth insight into how legislation is developing, the complexity of the issue and help you better understand what you can do within your own organization to support the elimination of this severe violation of human rights.

Presenters: Catherine Rushforth (moderator), Head of UK Sustainability Policy & Global Human Rights Lead, Airbus; Catie Shavin Director, Global Business Initiative on Human Rights; Dr Aidan McQuade Human Rights Consultant; Linda Ristagno Assistant Director External Affairs, IATA


Follow the Numbers: What Studies Tell Us About Aviation Women
Studies have shown the percentage of women in most aviation functional specialties has either remained stagnant or declined since the 1980s. Despite the dedicated work of many organizations solely focused on shifting this trend over the last 4 decades, girls, young women and mid-career transitioning women are not finding their way to aviation. While data on this phenomenon has been sorely lacking, several recent studies give us a deeper insight and better understanding of the dynamics and effects contributing to this challenge. This panel will explain studies aimed at providing more context about the issues which will arm organizations focused on deploying programs to deliberately attract women. Further, the panel will discuss what individual women can do to position themselves and coach women around them to success.

Presenters: Dr. Rebecca (Becky) Lutte (moderator), Associate Professor, University of Nebraska at Omaha Aviation Institute; Heather Penney, Senior Resident Fellow, Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies; Bobbi Wells, Vice President, Safety & Airworthiness, FedEx, and President, International Aviation Womens Association


True Grit
This panel will spotlight 5 of the women featured in the new book True Grit – Stories from FedEx Female Leaders. This book is a collection of stories of women who have risen to senior leadership positions in one of the world‘s most admired and trusted companies.

The book starts with the premise that a pearl is born of an oyster. The oyster must coat a piece of grit continuously until it becomes strong and beautiful. The women in the book tell their personal stories of using grit and determination to succeed in the field of aviation. These women took what were often tough times and turned them into motivation for excellence.

Join them in this discussion on how to navigate these turbulent times in the aviation industry. You will be inspired by their insights on resilience, and acceptance of obstacles. They will tell you how they responded to challenges to overcome hardships.

Presenters: Jane Amaba (moderator), Vice President Finance, FedEx Services; Marilyn Blanco-Reyes, Vice President Legal and Regulatory Affairs, FedEx Express; Cheryl Pitzer, MD-11 Fleet Captain, FedEx Express; Cathy Ross, Executive Vice President and CFO, FedEx Express (retired); Tracci Schultz, Senior Vice President Strategic Planning, Engineering and Operational Solutions, FedEx Freight


Public Management: Female Leadership and Strategic Planning Changes Industries
Female leadership in XXI Century requires a focalized and strategic coordination in team management, together with an organized culture, creating ideas, values and a satisfactory working environment with gender equality and opportunities. Organizations must tear down all obstacles that do not permit active female participation. Industries, including all its sectors, would maximize achievement if they support gender equality and encourage partnerships between men and women.

Pamela Suarez, Former President of JIAAC in Argentina


Litigation Strategies for Combatting the Reptile
Reptile lawyers and tactics are becoming more prevalent in aviation claims. They prey on fear and call on jurors to take off their fact finder hats and to become the conscience of the community to put themselves in the shoes of the plaintiff, and to render a verdict that sends a message to the defendant. These tactics may very well increase post-COVID, so lawyers and clients need to be prepared. Experienced litigators Kathy Guilfoyle and Ann Thornton Field will discuss strategies for combatting the reptile from pretrial discovery through trial as well as what the court have had to say about these tactics.

Presenters: Kathleen Guilfoyle, Partner, Campbell Conroy & O‘Neil and Ann Thorton Field, Partnerr, General Litigation Department - Gordon & Rees LLP

IAWA Represents

  • 378 management and executive level women members from 38 countries and a global outreach to more than 3,300 women and a large number of men supporters
  • More than 246 major companies and organizations in the aerospace and aviation industries
  • Prominent past sponsors including Boeing, FedEx, Airbus, Textron, GE, GECAS, United Airlines, & more
  • Affiliated with ACI World, ALTA, Aviation Week, Global Aerospace Summit, IATA, ICAO, ISTAT, RAeS, and The Wings Club