Women in Aviation International held another successful annual gathering during the 31st Annual International Women in Aviation Conference at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, March 5-7, 2020. With its blend of top-notch speakers, busy exhibit hall, an array of education sessions, and more than 100 scholarship awards, the WAI 2020 conference delivered numerous opportunities to connect and network with female peers in the aviation and aerospace industry.

WAI 2020
Professional Development Seminar on Leadership, led by Dr. Janette McMurtrie. Photo by Chris Miller. Image credit: WAI

 “I was inspired to meet so many engaging members and corporations that believe in our WAI mission to continue creating and growing programs to assist with our members’ personal and professional development,” says newly appointed CEO Allison McKay. “Together we can ensure that the aviation industry has the talent needed for a vibrant and sustainable future. I’m excited to work with the WAI Board of Directors to advance our mission through initiatives designed to engage, inspire, and educate our current and future workforce,” adds Allison.

A highlight of every conference is the induction of women into WAI’s International Pioneer Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees include: Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, commander, U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service, and the first U.S. Air Force female fighter pilot; Patty Wagner, an airshow legend, multi-rated pilot, and a devoted WAI volunteer; and The U.S. Army’s First Women Rotary Wing Aviators, a group of nine female helicopter pilots who represent the first women in rotary-wing aviation to serve in the U.S. Army. These four lieutenants and five warrant officers proved women had a place in military aviation and blazed the trail forward for future generations of Army women.

Visits to the sold-out exhibit hall were interspersed with general sessions on Friday and Saturday mornings, with education sessions held Thursday through Saturday where attendees chose which sessions were best for their career goals and personal interests.

During the WAI membership meeting, Andrea Berry was approved as a new board member, Deborah Baugh and Brittney Tough were re-elected. Marci Veronie’s term as board chair ended and Linda Markham, Cape Air president, became the new WAI Board chair.