There’s something powerful about a woman who is comfortable with who she is. That appeal is especially noticeable in the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada.

I had the privilege of emceeing an event several weeks ago at which Her Excellency presented the keynote speech. Her disarming manner completely charmed an audience of mostly women from a slew of “alphabet” organizations—ICAO, IATA, ACI, IAWA and the FAA.

As the Vice President of the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA), I was honored to cooperate with organizers from the International Civil Aviation Organization, International Air Transportation Association, Airports Council International and US Federal Aviation Administration to put together this IAWA Connect with women from around the globe.
With a career as an astronaut, engineer, scientific broadcaster and corporate director, Her Excellency Ms. Payette’s keynote presentation focused on the importance of continuous education as an enabler for women’s access to leadership positions and technical careers in aviation and aerospace. Her story and her message were an inspiration to attendees—especially me.
I believe women in leadership positions need to be more visible, take on more speaking roles, and encourage other women to do the same. We must build each other up to increase the number of women in the industry.