People are our strength

Katrina Hall, Deputy Chief Operating Officer NAS Programs and Support, FAA ATO, is a key panellist at our Inclusive Skies: Strategies for Diversity in Aviation session in the Boeing Theatre on Wednesday 20 March, at 15:30. Here she talks about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the ATM industry.

Is aviation an attractive industry to Gen Z?

Aviation is undergoing momentous change. Drones and commercial space vehicles are revolutionizing the industry, we’re introducing digital technologies and looking at how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to increase safety. There are future technologies that I can only dream about and have yet to be invented. We need to recruit a passionate and curious workforce as we integrate all these new technologies into the system.

I think aviation, with its strong history of innovation and focus on connecting people, is attractive to Gen Z. Our challenge is ensuring that through outreach, we meet them on their terms, in their spaces. For example, we have a strong digital footprint on social media and collaborate with influencers from our target audiences to engage with and provide information to Gen Zers on aviation opportunities.

What more can we do to close the gender gap?

Women play critical roles throughout the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Organizations like Professional Women Controllers, Inc., Technical Women’s Organization and the Federal Women’s Program are breaking down barriers to the hiring and advancement of women as well as enhancing employment opportunities for women in every area of federal service.

We know we have more work to do, and through our diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) outreach programs continue to engage with women and female students to show them the career opportunities that exist in aviation.

How important are role models?

I believe that role models are hugely important. It’s so much easier to see yourself in a career if you have a person who can support or inspire you on your journey.

We know that there are many talented people who would excel in aviation, however if you are in a community where no one talks about aviation it’s hard to imagine oneself making it a career. That’s why I am so passionate about mentorship – I’m able to provide information and see opportunities that the person may never have considered.

In addition to our established recruitment efforts, those of us who work in aviation are the best advocates for our industry. I believe we should all aspire to be the role model that we wanted/needed when we started our professional journeys.

What constitutes success in diversity?

At the FAA people are our strength. We are stronger, more innovative, and more successful when diverse talents and experiences are present at the table. The mission of the FAA is to ensure the safety of a diverse nation. It only makes sense that the workforce responsible for that mission reflects the nation that it serves.

For the FAA, diversity is a wide range of life experiences and backgrounds. We believe diversity is needed to ensure multiple perspectives are at the table, guarantee safety as a priority, and promote a healthy work environment. We believe that when we work together, we will advance our objectives more efficiently and effectively than if we do not. 

Hear from Katrina at the Inclusive Skies: Strategies for Diversity in Aviation session, Wednesday 20 March, 15:30, Boeing Theatre