Women from all over the world gathered in Long Beach, California recently to share their collective passion for the aviation industry at Women in Aviation International’s 34th annual conference. Female pilots, aviation maintenance technicians, flight attendants, customer service agents, and women with an interest in the industry spent three days connecting, networking and celebrating their accomplishments in the industry. Piedmont has been a proud sponsor of Women in Aviation International since 2016.
“It’s the only event that is geared toward women and supporting women in all things related to aviation,” said Teri Klaverweiden, Manager, Talent Acquisition. “It’s really a one-of-a-kind opportunity for women in this industry.”
The three-day conference hosts thousands of female aviators from the around the world each year. Airline recruiters fill the exhibit hall, offering insight and advice to women who are interested in joining the aviation industry, or are looking for the perfect place to work. Attendees have the opportunity to chat with recruiters, enjoy sessions with keynote speakers, and participate in professional development seminars and education sessions.
“I think it’s important to be surrounded by so many female pilots because it definitely shows that you can do it,” said Alice Novatnak, a Piedmont Captain who accompanied the Recruiting team to the conference.
“If they can’t see it, they can’t be it,” Teri added. “It’s critically important that we expose young women to careers in aviation.”
Women in Aviation International also invites young women, ages 8-18, to participate in the conference so they can learn about what their future might look like if they have an interest in aviation.
“It gives an opportunity for women to know that Piedmont exists and that there’s options out there,” Alice said. “For those interested in becoming pilots, we’re able to show the track you can take, with our Cadet Ambassador Program and Cadet Program, which is especially helpful if you’re coming into this industry with no background.”
For a growing airline, events like these are a tremendous help in exposing people to opportunities in the industry and providing a space to connect and meet with airline team members. “Being able to tell attendees about Piedmont, give advice on ways to get into the regionals, or ways to get to a mainline carrier through strategic programs, and make those connections and network with people was my favorite part of the conference,” Alice said.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are at the forefront of Piedmont’s principles and goals. Piedmont is committed to creating a culture where team members can be their authentic selves while growing in their career and pursuing their professional aspirations.
“Piedmont works really hard to support DEI initiatives. Statistically, in the aviation industry, we just don’t see as many women in this field. We want to change that, fully recognizing that each person who comes to work for us has something different to offer,” Teri said.
“Piedmont’s culture is one of the best out there, because we are like a family,” Alice added. “We work with some pretty incredible people.”
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