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Piedmont Celebrates International Black Aviation Professionals Day at Johnson C. Smith University

On February 15, Piedmont Airlines and the Black Professionals Network Employee Resource Group (ERG) joined forces to commemorate International Black Aviation Professionals Day at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte, North Carolina. The day is dedicated to honoring the contributions and achievements of Black professionals in the aviation industry, celebrated annually on February 16th. This collaboration between Piedmont Airlines and the Black Professionals Network ERG underscores the significance of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the aviation sector and highlights the importance of partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like JCSU.

Marrantz Aubain, a Piedmont Flight Attendant (PHL) speaking with a JCSU student.

International Black Aviation Professionals Day holds profound significance in acknowledging the invaluable contributions of Black individuals to the aviation industry throughout history. From pioneers like Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s license, to the Tuskegee Airmen, whose bravery and skill challenged racial segregation in the military, Black aviation professionals have played pivotal roles in shaping the landscape of aviation. This day serves as a reminder of their legacy and an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of present-day Black aviation professionals who continue to inspire future generations. Marrantz Aubain a Flight Attendant with Piedmont based in PHL said, “It is important for Piedmont to hold events at JCSU to inform and inspire students that there are other career choices out there. Not to be limited or be put in a box to the career choices that you’re used to, but to expand, gain knowledge and interest in pursuit of a career in aviation.”

Piedmont team members with students and community members at JCSU. Team members present include Perry Constant, VP Finance // BPN Exec Sponsor (MDT); Sheena McFadden, Payroll Supervisor // JCSU Alum and BPN Member (CLT); Erin Grayson, Airline Dispatcher // BPN Member (SBY); Matora Robinson, Flight Attendant // BPN Member (CLT); Crystal Byrd, Director of Corp Comm // BPN Member (CLT); Marrantz Aubain, Flight Attendant // BPN Member (PHL)

Connecting with institutions like Johnson C. Smith University amplifies the impact of initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion within the aviation industry. HBCUs have long served as pillars of educational excellence and hubs for nurturing talent within minority communities. By engaging with students and faculty at JCSU, Piedmont Airlines and the Black Professionals Network ERG not only demonstrate their commitment to fostering a diverse workforce but also provide opportunities for aspiring aviation professionals to learn, connect, and thrive in the industry. Fellow JCSU alumnus, Sheena Mcfadden, a Payroll Supervisor now at Piedmont and JCSU alumnus, said “It is important for aviation to hold events like the one as it allows students from all ethnic backgrounds to gain exposure to other career paths. It gives students the opportunity to explore Aviation as a career choice.”

Crystal Byrd, Director of Corporate Communications (CLT), speaking with a pilot and his family about Piedmont’s Cadet Program.

As an organization, supporting our diverse workforce and their lived experiences is embedded in our core values of caring, compliance, communication, and community. Having senior leaders engaged with our ERGs reflects a broader commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives within the aviation sector. By collaborating with ERGs and supporting events like the one held at JCSU, Piedmont Airlines is able to create and foster an inclusive workplace where current and future employees from all backgrounds feel valued, respected, and empowered to succeed. Moreover, such partnerships serve as catalysts for meaningful dialogue, networking opportunities, and professional development for Piedmont team members.

By engaging with students and showcasing diverse career pathways within the industry, Piedmont Airlines and the Black Professionals Network ERG is committed to help break down barriers and expand opportunities for underrepresented communities in aviation.

Perry Constant, Vice President of Finance and the Black Professionals Network Executive Sponsor with Piedmont Flight Attendants sharing their insight on aviation careers.

If you are interested in joining an organization that welcomes all lived experiences into the world of aviation, then we look forward to having you join our team. You can learn more about our careers or pilot programs here.