International Women's Day 2022
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, and to support the #BreakTheBias theme this year, we are proud to highlight our female colleagues from around the world.
Luxaviation recognises the role we have to play in building an inclusive, diverse, equitable and safe place for all. To raise awareness, we are sharing their achievements, passions, encounters and challenges they face as women and the opportunity to get to know the diverse group of women behind the success of our brand.
We thank all of our female colleagues, for their strength, compassion and vision towards building a better future for generations to come, collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
Business Intelligence Manager - Luxembourg
Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you in your career?
"At the beginning of my career, during my first projects in a consultancy company, I was part of a team which was being led by a women. I was particularly impressed by the way she handled the team and the customer, mainly because of her communication skills. She seemed to always be one step ahead of things, was able to get her point of view across and would manage to steer even the most tense situations to a good outcome."
My why is grounded on the fact that I love what I do and have a personal goal to make a positive impact (even if minimal) on those that I come in contact with.
I see myself as having mainly a democratic leadership style. I do enjoy getting the input of the team members, brainstorming ideas and avoiding as much as possible to impose individually decided, unrealistic objectives on my team.
I would have to go with feedback. This has been the main driver of the way I lead and interact with the team. Followed by articles and podcasts on the matter.
My leadership role has shifted with every new company or project I have had to be a part of. I feel that each experience has helped me better myself and the way I lead others, or at least I think so 😊.
I consider it to be old stereotypes. In my line of work men have been and are still considered to be more capable than women.
Equal opportunity, more inclusion and a constant work on the mindset of people.
I would strongly encourage them to trust themselves and not be afraid to speak up for their initiatives.
I am a strong supporter of diversity. I believe that with great diversity of gender, age , background also comes a great diversity of opinions and this usually forces one to think outside the box and thus grow.
See opportunity in every change.
I have mostly been faced with bias regarding my gender, age or nationality. In order to overcome them I had to prove myself and get past the negative remarks.
Queen Elisabeth II : because I find her life fascinating and I am an admirer of her nonverbal communication skills
Angela Merkel : because of her outstanding career and diplomatic skills
Amelia Earhart : because I admire her courage and determination
At the beginning of my career, during my first projects in a consultancy company, I was part of a team which was being led by a women. I was particularly impressed by the way she handled the team and the customer, mainly because of her communication skills. She seemed to always be one step ahead of things, was able to get her point of view across and would manage to steer even the most tense situations to a good outcome.
Charter Sales Executive - United Kingdom
What are some causes that you hold dear? And what do you do to incorporate them in your leadership style?
"Corporate and environmental sustainability is a topic dear to me. By deepening my awareness of my personal actions in relation to the world around me, I am susceptible to adopting new ways thinking, resulting in innovative and sustainable solutions in the corporate world, and the environment. Embedding sustainability into leadership integrates business practice with a subconscious of the world around us. For me, this is the future of sustainable leadership."
Initiating purpose is a core value of mine. My purpose is initiated by simply understanding that every new day presents opportunity, and that it arises when you present yourself.
I surround myself with individuals who are present, and who reflect contagious optimism and positivity. By actively involving myself in projects that drive change and have significant relatable purpose, I find my performance is automatically accelerated - inspiration naturally follows. Challenging myself regularly through personal goal setting encourages a journey of self-discovery.
My leadership style is constructive, confidence building and fosters an atmosphere of development and growth for my team members.
I have built my leadership style around my core values which are essential to my personal philosophy. Whilst believing apps and podcasts etc. can be highly beneficial, too much exposure can restrict the natural development of the leadership thought process. My leadership style has evolved and will continue to evolve through personal life experiences.
The most significant barrier to female leadership in my opinion is prejudice. As a result, deep-seated biases with many individuals believing male leaders tend to have more authority than female leaders. It is common knowledge that when asked directly, prejudice comments made by individuals are often denied, soon after they have been reported.
The trust in female leadership is regularly doubted with no supported reasoning, I have encountered this reoccurring barrier numerous times within my career. Sadly, many of us will experience a form of prejudice at some stage in our lifetime. - In our communities. In our workplaces. In our schools. In our colleges and in our universities. The stigma needs to change.
We can begin eliminating the stereotypes in our industry by firstly supporting one another. By taking responsibility for our own actions and thoughts we will lead by example, consciously breaking our biases and their bias.
If you are inspired, you will naturally inspire others. Your voice is one of the greatest gifts of all and is so frequently undervalued - use it wisely, it will protect you, and others. Stay true to your values, lead by example and always be kind.
Corporate and environmental sustainability is a topic dear to me. By deepening my awareness of my personal actions in relation to the world around me, I am susceptible to adopting new ways of thinking, resulting in innovative and sustainable solutions in the corporate world, and the environment. Embedding sustainability into leadership integrates business practice with a subconscious of the world around us. For me, this is the future of sustainable leadership.
As cliché as it sounds, life really is a long game. Learning to walk before you can run is a simple yet effective piece of advice I was once given. Life can get busy, super busy, and with this in mind, I am able to prioritise my schedule and clear my thoughts - encouraging a more productive and positive outlook for any task in hand.
During my career, barriers have occurred due to conflicting opinions, and contrasting visions. As a creative and meticulous individual, it’s important that differences are acknowledged sooner, rather than later. Overcoming one’s differences is part of our journey of growth. It allows us to gain a deeper understanding of our professional working relationships with the potential for them to continue evolving.
Michelle Obama: The first African American to serve as first lady of the United States of America. Firstly, a loving and caring mother and wife, renowned for her ‘down to earth approach.’ She is an inspiration to all women leaders, from her admirable charity work, she continues her involvement with the most heart-warming initiatives. I wonder what’s next on her agenda?
Ana Wintour: A female powerhouse whose leadership style is renowned for strength of conviction and communication. She delivers her point of view with extreme clarity and decisiveness to both her audience and team. Renowned for her transparency, boasting passion for her art and creativity, she would deliver an exciting and controversial conversation over dinner, whilst wearing garments I would be in awe of - I am sure.
Greta Thunberg: A climate activist challenging world leaders at the mere age of 15. She is unstoppable, fearless and fighting for our future. So young, where did she find her courage? – I would be keen to ask. A truly inspirational role model for future generations, we all need a friend like Greta.
I have been inspired by many different people at various stages of my career therefore am unable to select just one. However, I find that some of these people are still present in my life, whilst others departed a long time ago… I believe there is a reason for everyone you encounter meeting who has made significant impact in your life, for the good and the bad!
Regional FBO Manager Spain - Spain
What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership? And what has been the most significant barrier in your career?
"The main barrier is to find a balance between personal and working life. It is complicated for all women independently of their position and role and it has been a barrier in a moment of my life. There has been a huge evolution in one generation time, but some roles are still too defined, women keep on carrying with the big part of responsibilities related to children and home."
Why and how to connect with the clients I work with without having met them, or very few times would be my “why” question. Why will they contact me before anyone else when they have business or if they need help? Why will they trust me, so they come back to me, why will they be (and I will be) happy to see them at a fair without having seen them for a long time? My work is based on trying to create a long-term relationship with a client and it takes time to build a relationship based on trust.
I believe in receiving and sharing information. It is like a triangle where I am helped and my duty is to help a third person in return, so the information moves around. I also believe in trust and loyalty (I love the old fashion way when trust and business was established after shaking a partner´s hand!). Communicating, talking, sharing must never stop.
No specific tool, time, teamwork, and closeness to people.
Yes, my roles have grown since I began to work. My first job after finishing university was as a tour guide as I speak 4 languages, but I realized very quickly that it was not to be the work of my life. I wanted to be close to a tarmac and the smell of kerosene and did my best to achieve my goal🙂
The main barrier is to find a balance between personal and working life. It is complicated for all women independently of their position and role and it has been a barrier in a moment of my life. There has been a huge evolution in one generation time, but some roles are still too defined, women keep on carrying with the big part of responsibilities related to children and home.
I don´t believe the stereotypes are linked to our industry only, education, knowledge, curiosity can destroy stereotypes, so I would say education first. The more we know, the less we fear.
My best advice would be to go forward, whatever the experience will be or whoever they are to cross during their work life. Trust themselves but also trust others as we are no one alone, we belong to a community.
Inclusion would be one of the most important to me. No matter where a person comes from, I strongly believe everyone has their place if the will of participation and integration exists from both parts.
Listen, analyze, integrate the information, and move forward.
(See question 5)
Simone Veil would be without any doubt the first one. She survived concentration camps during World War 2 and studied politics and magistracy after moving to France when the war ended. She fought all her life for women´s rights and pushed forward important laws that would lead to the independence of women in France. She studied Law and politics and became Minister of Health. She was politically and personally attacked for her convictions but always went forward, never stopped and was recognized for her courage and determination. She also thought that the creation of Europe was the best way to guarantee peace and fought so Europe would be a reality.
Alice Milliat: was a pioneer in women´s sports. She created her own Women´s world games in 1921 as an answer to Pierre de Coubertin’s refusal to include the participation of women in the Olympic games. De Coubertin was the biggest opponent to women´s participation as he considered that sports were dangerous for ladies because they were fragile, that sport "masculinized" women and that they were not interested... She forced the Olympics to include women. She then fought for women’s right to vote in France.
I would invite Maria, my mother to dinner 🙂 She is the person who inspired me most, she always believed in me. She is determined, and I have never seen anything stopping her. She went through many difficulties but always found a way to raise her children and satisfy their needs. I am not sure how she passed her driving license exam without barely understanding a word of French, but she did!
I was lucky to begin in aviation with a manager (woman) who pushed me to go forward, and gave me opportunities. Her passion for aviation and commitment inspired me and still does. The day she hired me, she said to me: "I am not sure what your role will be in the company but I want you here with me".
Aircraft Management and Charter Sales Manager - Asia Pacific
How have you experienced female leadership roles since joining the professional world? Have these roles expanded and grown?
"I seldom experience female leadership roles since joining the professional world. However, I always learn from others. I review why the leader failed to manage the team and why people did not want to follow a particular leader. By learning from others, it helps me to build on myself to be the best leader, and to create a team bond."
I bring value to the team.
I have the ability to motivate others: lead by example and take responsibility.
Observation, by learning from the mistakes of others it helps me to understand how to be the best leader and to help bond the team.
I have seldomly experienced female leadership since joining the professional world. However, I always learn from others’ mistakes. I will review why the leader failed to manage the team and why the people do not want to follow this leader.
The most significant barrier is the female stereotype. Especially in the Aviation world, most of the leaders in our industry are male.
Not to limit ourselves. On some occasions, women are more meticulous than men.
The ability to motivate others, incorporating a diversity mindset and the most important is strong communication skills.
Always communicate in a positive way, so it should start with a good listener and learner.
Always being judged by others in my decision-making and advice. However, time will tell that my view is often right. It is hard, but it’s important to always keep a positive attitude and follow the values in which you believe.
Queen Elizabeth II: Even though she does not typically interfere with political matters in the United Kingdom, her symbolic leadership role spreads to all the commonwealth countries. I am very inspired by her ability and contribution since 1953.
Angela Merkel: she is the iconic symbol of leadership and women’s representation. She steered Germany and Europe out of several consecutive crises throughout her 16-year rule.
Empress Wu Zetian: she demonstrated brilliant talent for leadership by recruiting intellectuals and boosting the economy. She had the ability to maintain domestic stability while greatly expanding the Chinese empire and international trade during the Tang Dynasty.
European Safety Manager/Pilot C560XL/XLS - United Kingdom
What tools helped you build your leadership style? Podcasts, books, apps
"I do enjoy reading, but I think that life experience has taught me the most about leadership. Even the challenging experiences where I have come across managers (I wouldn’t call them leaders) who perhaps have not treated others very well and the resultant reduced motivation and subsequent reduced productivity. If you treat people with respect, value them and what they have to offer, then everyone wins."
I have two main why’s in my life. Firstly I have always been in awe of our ability to fly. As a child I had family living abroad and I thought it was amazing that within a matter of hours, I could travel across Europe to visit them! It just seemed like such a sense of freedom to take to the air and go to a new place with seemingly such little effort (although I realise now that there is quite a lot of effort involved!) Secondly, I have always been fascinated with why people behave the way they do, the way people think, what motivates people. When I started my career in forensic psychiatry as an occupational therapist, I thought these two areas of my life were totally separate. Then I discovered Aviation human factors and I realised that aviation, and in particular aviation safety, is all about people, what they do and why they do it!
I would say I feel more comfortable with a participative leadership style. I believe that each member of the team has their own sets of skills and perspectives and working together, we can achieve anything.
I do enjoy reading, but I think that life experience has taught me the most about leadership. Even the challenging experiences where I have come across managers (I wouldn’t call them leaders) who perhaps have not treated others very well and the resultant reduced motivation and subsequent reduced productivity. If you treat people with respect, value them and what they have to offer, then everyone wins.
Unfortunately there are not enough female leaders in this industry, but I hope that things will continue to improve as there is an increased understanding of the value that women can provide in leadership roles.
My own view is that it is the false perception that women, especially women with children, are less flexible or committed, than male colleagues. I attended a job interview for a company transporting organs for transplant and they were more interested about who would look after my children if an organ needed transporting at 2am, than my ability to do the job. Not once was my husband asked about his child care arrangements when applying for a job.
Unfortunately perceptions do not change over night and there needs to be more exposure to women in leadership roles so that it becomes part of the norm. Along with an understanding that a good work life balance does not just benefit women, but that men would also benefit from a healthy work/life balance and it makes great business sense with reduced occurrences of work related stress and increased productivity.
Believe in yourself and do not take rejection personally. Keep trying until you find an organisation that does appreciate your value.
Diversity and inclusion definitely principles that I hold dear. People are all different, but because of that, we all have something unique, yet valuable to add. We don’t discover new things by thinking the same way we have always done. Looking after the planet is also important to me and I recently bought an electric car, which I adore. I look forward to the day that aviation becomes more sustainable.
My dad always said to me growing up, good better best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is the best.
Unfortunately I have faced many barriers over the years. The main barrier in my career is others making judgements about me and what they think I am capable of or what I ‘should’ be doing and therefore I have missed out on opportunities because others have felt it in my ‘best interest’. Another barrier is funding. Education and training is really important to me, but it is really expensive! I have completed a BSc, MSC and I am currently funding my PhD. I have also invested in my various pilot’s licences and various ratings. It’s taken me a while to get here, but I am now where I want to be (although I will never stop learning!)
Firstly I would invite Katherine Johnson, American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of the first crewed spaceflights.
Secondly I would invite Marie Curie who is the first person to be awarded two Nobel prizes for all of her achievements.
Thirdly, I would invite J. K. Rowling for her inspirational novels that captured the imagination of millions of people, whilst struggling financially as a single mother.
I would like to choose two role models if I may. Firstly I have an amazing friend, Emma, who is an actual rocket scientist. She has three daughters and has managed to balance her career with her family life. She is truly an inspiration to me. Secondly, there was an amazing professor at Cranfield university, Helen Muir, who did some ground breaking research into passenger evacuation behaviour. I had the privilege of being taught by her when I studied at Cranfield in 2005 and I remember thinking that I was in the presence of a real life legend.
Nneoma Linda Kuku
HR Manager - Nigeria
What steps do you think could help to eliminate bias and stereotypes in our industry?
"Eradicating gender specific roles. If a vacancy is posted and the description given, any one who qualifies should be successful regardless of gender. It is also important to be supportive by encouraging women to take up roles they themselves don’t see themselves in."
With the cultural bias affecting female leadership both negatively and positively worldwide. I have a lot of reasons why I do what I do and why I am a female leader, but my major reason is to create a balance and evident fairness in the workplace.
My leadership style is diverse; it all depends on the situation which determines the approach I take. I mostly implore Delegative and Participative leadership. (Most call this inclusive leadership style).
I love books and yes with the invention of podcast and reading apps like Audible. Reading and listening has become a lot more easy. Authors like Robert Greene, Les Brown, Zig Ziglar, Edward Russel-Walling etc.
My experience has been positive thanks to the kind of organization I’m in. The fact that I have worked and am still working with people who are well educated, well-traveled with a great approach to female leadership has made it easy.
Oh Yes, I have grown from being a PA, to a HR Assistant, HR Practitioner and now HR Manager. The support and mentoring I got from Lettie Hartman(HR Manager for ExecuJet SA) cannot go unmentioned. Further HR trainings and certification were also completed to further my career. I have been the HR Manager for 6 years and a Manco member for 3 years. I am the only female in our Nigerian Manco.
In Nigeria, women are still being told you are just a woman so gender bias and stereotyping still tops the list.
Answer to second question: Not being heard as much as I would like in the direction of company culture.
Eradicating gender specific roles. If a vacancy is posted and the description given, any one who qualifies should be successful regardless of gender.
It is also important to be supportive by encouraging women to take up roles they themselves don’t see themselves in.
Be confident, and never doubt yourself. Expect a lot of challenges and questions but do not let that be a reason for you to stop, instead let that be the drive and motivation you need to keep pushing yourself to become a better and evolved version of yourself.
Inclusion will be what I hold most there, running a diverse organization with colleagues and staff from different countries. Its important to make everyone feel at home and safe in the work place. Inclusion supports communication and dialogue.
To never think its unachievable. If one way doesn’t work, another way will.
Not getting the support I need to create better decisions and outcomes.
Lettie inspired and supported me in my position as HR leader.
Charter Manager - South Africa
Can you tell us about a role model who has inspired you in your career?
"Inspiration comes in many forms, I can’t say there is a particular role model. I find inspiration daily from people around me who simply own who they are and value their role within society. People who encourage others, who strive to be better, who teach and part with knowledge to empower others inspire me."
To elevate people to be the best version of themselves, look beyond the problem and deliver solutions. Energy flows where the mind goes. Energy cannot be destroyed only transferred.
I believe in Bottom-up leadership, empowering people to find their worth and not rely on others to make them feel valued. I set a framework to operate in whereby everyone understand the end goal but have the freedom to choose their path. I managed from a distance whilst fully available for coaching, advise and support.
I enjoy listening to Podcasts, TED talk is definitely my go to.
Aviation is still a male dominant world, whilst more female pilots are coming through the ranks, most top positions and senior administrative roles are still held by men.
Have these roles expanded and grown? No
Men have been leaders for so long, the traits associated with leadership are often thought of as masculine and not viewed as favorably when exhibited by women. And what has been the most significant barrier in your career? Time, having the networks to learn about opportunities and find mentors
Balancing work and family can be a challenge that limits women from seeking leadership roles. Workplaces are still designed around decades-old notion of male and female domestic roles so formal training during working hours to allow women to fulfil their duties as mothers and wives without having to neglect either.
Take a seat at the table, speak when not spoken to. You belong in all places where decisions are made.
Have truth in your word, and stay true to yourself. Integrity is worth more than climbing a corporate ladder.
Limited options, not having a degree means you have to work twice as hard and put double the time in.
Glennon Doyle – writer, motivator and activist. She challenges the societal expectation of women.
Joan of Arc – she accomplished a lot on her short life, she was labelled crazy by many. How did she single handedly led men into battle to win a war?
Ruth Handler – she was the creator of “Barbie” my interest is not purely inspirational, I have some controversy around the doll.
Inspiration comes in many forms, I can’t say there is a particular role model. I find inspiration daily from people around me who simply own who they are and value their role within society. People who encourage others, who strive to be better, who teach and part with knowledge to empower others inspire me.
"As a father to three daughters myself, I am committed to empowering women across our business and creating an inclusive work environment.
On International Women's Day, I am proud to highlight the many female leaders we have in key roles and the female workforce who consistently demonstrate their resilience and fantastic work ethic which contributes to our success.
Women are integral to the success of our companies, and I look forward to building a more equitable world for our brands, people, stakeholders and the environment."
Patrick Hansen, Group Chief Executive Officer