Women in Aviation International (WAI) hosted nearly 4,500 attendees and 180 exhibitors at its 31st annual conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, last week. Representatives were present from 31 countries including Nigeria, Canada, Ghana, Australia and Iceland. In addition to speakers and professional development and education seminars, the conference featured Girls in Aviation Day Orlando, where 250 8- to 17-year-olds participated aviation-themed activities, meetings with female aviators and an aviation careers panel discussion.
“I was inspired to meet so many engaging members and corporations that believe in our WAI mission to continue creating and growing programs to assist with our members’ personal and professional development,” said WAI CEO Allison McKay. “Together we can ensure that the aviation industry has the talent needed for a vibrant and sustainable future.”
The conference included the induction of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, pilot and airshow performer Patricia “Patty” Jean Wagner and the U.S. Army’s First Women Rotary Wing Aviators into WAI’s International Pioneer Hall of Fame. WAI also distributed 151 scholarships at the event for “academic use, lifestyle enhancement, and flight training.” The scholarships, which are valued at $831,365, bring the total awarded by the organization since 1995 to more than $13 million. Next year’s International Women in Aviation Conference will be held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, from March 11-13, 2021.