The proof: A woman’s place is in the cockpit - and the developer’s chair

23 July 2018
woman in front of a plane

Getting the right leaders in the right seats, with a diversity of perspectives, is critical to a healthy business. It drives customer success, spurs innovation, and creates new revenue streams.

Whether flying a plane, planning a global strategy, or just plotting the course of their own lives, women take the controls. Women like my adventurous and spirited grandmother, Marge, who smashed barriers in business and aviation. Women like today’s trailblazers who you can meet on 9 October at the Women’s Lunch at Elevate 2018.

From cockpit to reception desk to boardroom

It wasn’t until just before I started at ATPCO that I learned of a surprising connection between my new role and my own family. I remember my dad saying, “You know, your grandmother had the same title, in the same industry.”


Marjorie Taylor, born in 1920, was a female pioneer—earning her pilot’s wings by the age of 21 and serving as a World War II U.S. Coast Guard flight instructor. She then worked as a receptionist and contract administrator for aviation companies before rising to the highest female executive position at Learjet and traveling the world while raising a family. As Marketing Director at Learjet, she was responsible for delivering the customer experience with VIP clients like Buzz Aldrin and Frank Sinatra. Through the course of her career, she impacted boardrooms across Boeing, Cessna, Learjet, and Beech. Her achievements earned her executive honors in the aircraft industry and full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. 
Read more about Marjorie Taylor (PDF)

Breaking invisible barriers

Women in aeronautics have come a long way since my grandmother first climbed into the cockpit. Thankfully, we’re moving forward at an ever-increasing pace. IATA’s 74th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit devoted a session to “Driving Gender Equality in Aviation.” And at the 2018 IATA AIR Hackathon, sponsored by ATPCO, SITA, and Women in Technology, an unprecedented 35 percent of the participants were women, more than twice the number at the previous hackathon. I was honored to serve as one of the 2018 hackathon judges and was blown away by the caliber of the female developers and strategists.

My experience in the consulting and tech sector (let’s hear it for being cloud and big data obsessed!) attracted me to ATPCO. ATPCO seemed to be something of a hidden gem—a hidden leader—in airline pricing and content distribution, but I was also pleased to see it had more than 35 percent of managerial roles filled by women as well. That’s why I developed our first Women’s Networking Lunch for Elevate 2017 and we are excited to host it again at Elevate 2018.

Pushing the boundaries, Taking time to bring others up

We’ll be discussing fresh ideas for women in leadership and the progress we still need to make at the Women’s Lunch at Elevate 2018, which is open to both women and men.

Last year’s lunch featured speaker Sharon Mickelson, Delta’s Director of Global Pricing and Distribution, with 90 percent of the attendees giving it an “extremely satisfied” rating.

This year’s theme is Pushing the Boundaries with speaker Lucie Guillemette, Air Canada’s EVP and CCO, as well as a 2017 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award recipient.

Impressed and inspired

The WASPs and other female pilots in the 1940s created room for others’ success, writing their names in the sky. Their legacy inspires us to look inside ourselves and discover all we have to offer to a world that changes fast—and we are each uniquely equipped to add value.