Aviation leaders, pioneers to address virtual WAI conference

The organization announced in November that it would hold a completely virtual conference for the safety and well-being of participants after studying trends from the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

“Although we are disappointed that we can’t meet in person, this virtual conference has allowed us to assemble a dynamic group of keynotes from all over the world,” said Women in Aviation International CEO Allison McKay in a February 19 news release. “We are excited that our virtual two-day gathering will enable more of our members to take advantage of the inspiring content, educational opportunities, and networking events.”

According to the event schedule, the opening speaker for the general session that begins at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, on March 11 will be Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Autonomous Systems, a division of Boeing Defense, Space and Security (BDS) focused on “autonomous technologies, intelligence capabilities, and networking solutions from seabed to space.” Robertson joined the company in 1994 and has held leadership positions including vice president of tiltrotor programs, Bell Boeing V–22 program director, and most recently, vice president of engineering and chief engineer for BDS Strike, Surveillance and Mobility. Previously she was employed by the U.S. Navy as a civilian electronics engineer at the Naval Aviation Depot in San Diego.

Capt. Aysha Alhameli, the first female pilot in the United Arab Emirates and the first UAE representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council since 2009, will also address the session. Her pioneering accomplishments include being the first UAE permanent representative appointed to the ICAO council, and becoming, at age 28, the youngest permanent representative to the ICAO Council. In 2015, she was the first Arab female candidate to run for the post of secretary general, and in 2019 became the first woman to run for president of the ICAO Council. Alhameli started her career as a commercial pilot, and then joined the UAE Civil Aviation Authority as a senior officer for regulations and accident investigation. She established the Air Transport Department, and was the chief negotiator of the UAE, leading more than 80 bilateral air services negotiations. She has long been an advocate for gender equity who believes in empowering the next generation of aviation professionals. She is a founder and key supporter of ICAO’s flagship No Country Left Behind initiative.

In the afternoon session of the conference be sure to get acquainted with the U.S. Coast

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