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Supporting gender equality: Safran plays a key role at the latest IAWA Annual Conference

Corporate social responsibility

Safran underscored its commitment to the advancement of women in aviation and aerospace with its sponsorship and participation in the International Aviation Womens Association’s (IAWA) 33rd Annual Conference. The three-day event brought together industry leaders, company executives, educators and students in Charleston, South Carolina earlier this month.

Safran at IAWA Conference 2021

The IAWA annual conference is the world's leading gathering for women in the aviation and aerospace industry, and a must-attend event for women in leadership and management roles, as well as male advocates.

Giving voice to seasoned professionals and up-and-coming leaders alike, the annual conference included professional development workshops, keynote addresses, and panel discussions around a central theme: "Industry Interrupted: Emerging into the Next Normal."


Starting the conversation

 Norma Lantz, Executive Vice President – Airframer Sales & Marketing at Safran Helicopter Engines USA, led a panel discussion titled “Supply Chain Pivots, Disruptions and Woes” – with participation from top managers at Spirit AeroSystems and Pratt & Whitney.

The lively and engaging discussion covered numerous topics, including major challenges and effects on the aerospace industry caused by the pandemic; industry disruptors; steps taken to adapt to the supply base; trends in merger & acquisition activity and supplier consolidation; R&D trends; new industry requirements and their impacts; cybersecurity requirements in the industry; supply chain workforce impacts; and ways to encourage Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) within organizations.


First-hand experiences

Another key highlight was the speech by Tammie Jo Shults, former Southwest Airlines pilot, one of the first females qualified to fly the F/A 18 Hornet, and author of the book “Nerves of Steel.” In addition, attendees learned about the United States Space Force from Lt. General Nina Armagno, the Director of Staff for this service branch in the Pentagon, who recounted highlights from her impressive military career.

Marie Sylla-Dixon, Chief Diversity Officer, Raytheon Technologies provided insights into the company’s Diversity Equity & Inclusion initiatives; while attendees also heard from Amanda Simpson, Vice President for Research and Technology, Airbus Americas – who participated in a fireside chat and gave an engaging lunch and learn presentation on Airbus’ sustainability efforts. 


Encouraging male advocates

In 2021, the IAWA board voted to include men among its membership as male advocates in order to invite and encourage men to own DE&I objectives, tie them to business outcomes, and hold others accountable for keeping them.

In keeping with this decision, the conference included a panel discussion led by Mary Ellen Jones, Vice President, Asia-Pacific Sales at Pratt & Whitney. Titled “Male Advocacy Making a Difference in Core Leadership,” the full line-up included representatives from Airbus Americas, American Airlines, Chromalloy and HPM.


Building networks

Events such as the IAWA Conference provide a platform to share experiences and best practices. Through inspirational and educational content, participants leave feeling empowered to further advance DE&I across the industry – both individually and collectively. Additionally, through unique networking opportunities, individuals are able to establish key connections that drive business success.