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President's Message

June 2024

Life has a way of creating opportunities and challenges that you were not expecting.  You can plan, organize and take flight but you cannot always see the turbulence.  Sometimes that turbulence can jettison you into the air and you are left hanging for a bit.  As women, we typically pull ourselves up and find strong inherent determination to solve the problem and work through the crisis.  I, for one, like to fix problems, but when you are powerless because the issue is beyond your reach it can be frustrating.  In today’s world it can be difficult sometimes to find a region in which turbulence is not a factor.  We must reach out and find where we can make a difference, for me IAWA is an organization of like-minded women where each of us in our own way can make a difference for the betterment of women in our industry. IAWA provides us a network of women and experiences that allow a safe-haven to push beyond our capabilities and grow. We have women in leadership who dedicate themselves to giving back to younger women in the aviation and aerospace industry.  We have opportunities to collaborate with other women organizations to strengthen our goal to increase women in positions of leadership.  IAWA membership is an investment in ourselves.

In April the board met in Washington, DC to discuss IAWA long term strategy - those discussions revolved around what can we do as a board to invest and serve our members.  This was the first in person board meeting of the new board.  The energy, strength and compassion of the board for me is so uplifting.  We are making significant progress in our 501c3, long term planning for future conferences and discussing leadership programs.  Several of the advisory board members attended the meeting as well.  One advisory board member and previous board members was missing because of illness, Andrea Brantner.  We took a few funny pictures of the board and sent them to her.  She texted back with her usual wit and humor.  Andrea was so dedicated to IAWA, our mentor program, networking new members with others and the strength behind our pursuit of our 501c3.  It is with much sadness that I share with you of Andrea’s passing.  IAWA will be dedicating a memorial to her and honoring her at our conference.  

We all struggle with life - but those struggles help better ourselves. A reminder that we humans can’t really control what happens before or what happens next.  Joy, like grief, comes at you in such unexpected ways. A reminder to pay attention to the little things in life.  

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" is understood to have been coined by the American writer Elbert Hubbard in 1915. I prefer my mother’s version  -  when life gives you lemons, make lemonade and add a bit of sugar to sweeten it up a bit. 

With gratitude,

Deb Santos
IAWA President

Debra Santos
2024 President

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