The Australian chapter held its first official AGM last week in down town Sydney at the offices of Boeing Australia.  The chapter was thrilled to have guest speaker Maureen Dougherty,(Boeing Australian Country President) in attendance. Maureen shared with the team her amazing career with Boeing, as well as where she first had the inclination IMG_3128that she wanted to be involved in aviation.  As a young girl, Maureen wanted to be an astronaut, so to get there, apparently she had to become an engineer, that was according to the brochure! So she set about achieving her goal and more! She is the senior company leader in the Oceania region and coordinates all Boeing activities.
A 35-year veteran of Boeing, Maureen previously served as vice president and program manager for the KC-46 Tanker, the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) surveillance aircraft and the F-22 fighter programs. In her spare time, Maureen is chairperson of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, a board director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and a member of the Business Council of Australia. She is also a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. She earned her master’s degree in engineering from the University of Washington, where she studied as a Boeing Company Systems Engineering fellow. She received her undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from Pennsylvania State University.  We were so privileged to have Maureen involved and absolutely thrilled she was able to take some time to chat to us during the AGM.

Maureen and her team have been an incredible support to WAI Australia and it goes without saying, that without corporations such as Boeing Australia,  supporting women IMG_3035in aviation, it would be extremely difficult for us to achieve our goals.

Our little chapter was established in January 2016 and from the early stages it was evident that this division of WAI would flourish. We immediately had the support of the industry, with Airservices Australia and Boeing Australia taking corporate memberships within months of the chapter establishment.  Other organisations such as the Royal Aeronautical  Society, Panorama Airways, AFAP, RMIT, AGILE Aviation, TAFENSW and Scy-Fly have come onboard to help support and drive the goals of the chapter.
The dream to establish a successful WAI chapter in Australia was initially born from the collaboration of four women, Soph Lazarou, Samantha Freebairn, Tammy Augostin & Heather Ford.  From these early ideas and conversations grew the interest in establishing the chapter from other individuals and the idea soon found itself with enough prospective members to form the Provisional Chapter.  Since that time membership to the chapter has more than tripled.
Over the last 18months the chapter has extended its outreach across the various states of Australia through participation in aviation events far and wide.  The attendance of the chapter at the Avalon Airshow was a huge success, where with the collaboration of ASDU, the chapter also held a very successful Gender Diversity cocktail evening.
Amongst other noteworthy events, the chapter also held its first bi annual conference in Brisbane, which was hugely successful.  The team are now working to finalise details for a conference to be held next September in the stunning Hunter Valley NSW.Along side our corporate supporters, we have been incredibly privileged to have individual members who have worked tirelessly to establish a number of chapter initiatives, along with the support of chapter members and corporate partnerships, the chapter is achieving incredible things.

This is a very active chapter, with many members stepping up to participate and ‘Pay it Forward’ by volunteering to present at various schools and events around the country.  These members give their time freely to help promote the chapter and its goals.  The support network that this provides for those looking to join the industry is incredible.  Mentoring is a huge part of what we do as a chapter, offering support, advice and sometimes just someone to talk to who has been through the same thing, is an incredible  vice.

Without the contributions of our wonderful volunteers within the organisation, it would be impossible to establish  the successful chapter programs that have been implemented.  All of these people give their time freely, often taking time off work and absorbing other expenses to attend events and promote the organisation.  Without them we would be totally lost and we are incredibly thankful for their support.

So moving forward from here, the Australian chapter is absolutely devoted to our outreach programs.  GIAD 17 will be a huge success, with two events planned in two states, our conference planning is well underway for 2018, along with the launch of our own Regional Scholarships this year, the Mentoring and Education Outreach initiatives are already established and still growing!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our members & supporters for your involvement and contributions to the chapter, and we are excited for what the future will bring……………

‘There are far better things ahead, than any we have left behind” C.S Lewis