Air Canada and WestJet are marking International Women’s Day 2021 by honouring the contributions and achievements of their women employees.
Air Canada Video Showcases Achievements of its Women Employees
Air Canada has created a video in which women in non-traditional aviation careers share how they pivoted, then navigated with flexibility and resilience during the ever-changing events related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On International Women’s Day, we proudly acknowledge the achievements and contributions of all our women employees around the world. Our airline met COVID-19’s unprecedented challenges by collectively finding solutions and women across Air Canada held key, extraordinary roles as we navigated through the complexities,” said Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer and Public Affairs at Air Canada.
Women operated repatriation flights, handled the logistics of and operated cargo-only flights to transport medical supplies, qualified as loadmasters for cargo aircraft, liaised with government agencies to implement travel restrictions, developed and implemented medical protocols to support Air Canada’s front line employees and much more, said Meloul-Wechsler.
2021 Winners of the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship
As part of Air Canada’s efforts to promote non-traditional aviation careers to the next generation of women, it established the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship in honour of its trailblazing first female pilot. This is the scholarship’s second year.
This year’s winners are: Kahina Gagnon, Urooj Ali, Winnie Ho and Caitlyn Lam who will receive money to put towards their aviation education.
WestJet Spotlights the Achievements of its Women WestJetters
WestJet has shared the stories of several female WestJetters — from duty managers to pilots — as part of its “Women of Aviation” series for International Women’s Day 2021. Here’s a quick look at some of their stories.
Megan Goddard knew she wanted to be a pilot from very early on in her life, but since pilot jobs were highly coveted, she says she didn’t see it as an attainable career.
After 12 years of working in forestry, she took a leap of faith and pursued her pilot’s license. As a wife and mother of a six-year old at the time, Goddard says it took a certain “obsession with flying” and many sacrifices to stay the course and find her first job.
“Today, there are more paths available for those who want to pursue a career as a commercial pilot. With increased diversity and representation in our industry, the life of a pilot will always be a demanding one,” she said. “My advice to new pilots is to ask yourself from the beginning, ‘do I love this enough to make it work?’”
As a First Officer at WestJet, Goddard says her goal is to lead by example and be “a visible force, so that more women, mothers, and daughters feel they belong in aviation too.”
Sahar Ibrahim started her career in aviation as a flight attendant at Emirates in 1998, where she learned quickly that she was “operating in an environment rich in gender bias.” In 2015, she immigrated from Dubai to Toronto where she secured a position with WestJet.
“The contrast in workplace culture is something I remain grateful for to this day. Even during a pandemic that has had a devastating impact on our organization, I’ve continued to have a leader who trusts me with increased responsibility to lead our Toronto base through an extremely difficult time,” Ibrahim says.
When Rhonda Johnson first joined the industry as a line dispatcher, she says was well aware she was one of very few women in the field.
“It can be very isolating and daunting when you realize you are the only woman in the room, but instead of wallowing in that feeling, I used it as motivation to support the women who were passionate enough to enter the aviation space and pushed them to see their capabilities,” says the single, working mother. “Today, 19 years into my career, I am proud to say I am no longer the only woman in the room.”
Click here to read about more inspiring women at WestJet.