Women in Aviation International (WAI) just wrapped up its 32nd annual conference, though it was the very first one conducted entirely in cyberspace, due, of course, to the coronavirus pandemic. The gathering took place on March 11th and 12th.
WAI CEO Allison McKay said that its goal, after it made the call to do the 2021 version remotely, was to deliver, “…the same content to include a wide variety of keynote speakers and exhibitors, seven education session tracks, professional development seminars and workshops, scholarship awards…,” along with WAI’s Pioneer Hall of Fame induction ceremony. And it apparently did all of that and more.
McKay said that the strength of the organization lies, “…in the celebration of so many like-minded women who come together to share their passion for aviation and aerospace.” WAI 2021 featured an appearance by a NASA astronaut, along with those by several high-level women executives in aviation, the participation of many pilots, engineers, and even young students with various interests and arcs. The common thread, McKay emphasized, is that all the participants, “…are united in a desire to help one another and further our careers and personal lives.”
One of WAI’s most successful programs is its “Girls In Aviation” celebration, in which thousands of girls gather to learn more about aviation and get inspired by the amazing women who are already living the dream. This year’s is planned for September 25, 2021.
A total of 2,300 attended the WAI virtual event, and the exhibit “hall” was hosted by 105 different companies. WAI handed more than 100 scholarships worth $475,805. The organization also announced that it has grown to 147 chapters around the world in 22 different countries.
Next year’s WAI Conference will be held at the Gaylord Resort in Nashville, Tennessee, from March 17-19. For more information, visit www.wai.org.