Women in Aviation conference sets attendance record

Women in Aviation, International set an attendance record at its 24th annual convention, held March 14-16 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville.

Attendance totaled 3,375 individuals representing all segments of the aviation community. Attendees came from14 countries, in addition to the United States. The largest number of international attendees were from Nigeria, Canada and Ghana, in that order.

“That’s a new record for us — up 25 registered attendees from last year’s new record. Of course, we missed many of our military and FAA colleagues, so, yes, sequestration affected our conference,” said President Peggy Chabrian. “But, as always there’s no more upbeat and enthusiastic group than our attendees.”

If there is a pilot shortage, it was not apparent in the Exhibit Hall as long lines of well-dressed and eager pilot candidates assembled in hope of landing an airline job with an exhibiting airline, organizers noted. Plans are already underway to enhance the interview process for exhibitors and applicants alike for next year’s conference.

Other conference highlights:

  • The Exhibit Hall displayed 114 companies and organizations, representing all aspects of the aviation community.
  • 80 scholarships were distributed to WAI members at every stage of life from university students to mature members seeking a mid-life career change to aviation. A total of $497,575 in scholarships were awarded.
  • The WAI Silent Auction raised $12,000 for WAI’s Endowment Fund, used for scholarships and educational programs.

Inducted into the Women in Aviation, International Hall of Fame were Mary Silitch as the first woman editor of a national aviation magazine and Karen Brannen, the first woman Marine jet pilot. Also inducted were the founding Women in Aviation, International Board Members. This group includes Sandy Anderson, Dr. Peggy Baty (Chabrian), Trish Beckman, Cassandra Bosco, Amy Carmien, Gary Eiff, Mary Ann Eiff, Janice Elrod, Dick Koenig, Amy Laboda, Nelda Lee, Karen McArdle, Bill Monroe, Bobbi Roe, Nancy Rosen, Shelly Snyder (Simi), and Carolyn Williamson.

This year’s conference featured WAI’s youth outreach “Bring Your Daughter to the Conference Day,” on Saturday with participants from members’ families as well as local Nashville Girl Scouts. Daughter Day is a one-day program designed to sparks girls’ interest in an aviation career. Funding for Daughter Day was supplied by the UPS Foundation. Training materials, including sectional charts, log books and cockpit posters, were donated by The Sporty’s Foundation. Activities included learning to read a sectional chart, flying a flight simulator, arts and crafts projects, a luncheon and a tour of the Exhibit Hall.

The 25th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference will be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida, from March 6-8, 2014. “Since this is our 25th anniversary conference, we have big plans already for next year,” added Chabrian.

For more information: WAI.org

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