2021 JetNetiQ Annual Summit – Panel Moderation on the topic of diversity in the aviation workforce

Infinite Branches CEO + Founder moderates the panel focused on importance of diversity in the aviation workforce at JetNetiQ’s 2021 annual summit.

The Importance of Workplace Diversity

Moderator

Shelley Svoren, CEO and Founder, Infinite Branches and IAWA Board Member & Vice President – Leader Development (Next Gen)

Panelists/Speakers

Sheryl Barden, President & CEO, Aviation Personnel International

Jordan Scales, Corporate Account Manager, Jetex

Dr. Sharon DeVivo, President, Vaughn College and Chair of FAA’s Youth Access to American Jobs in Aviation Task Force (YIATF)

Much is made of the term “Diversity” and the importance of Equity and Inclusion. But let’s be pragmatic and take a step back before we proceed. I am asking everyone here to contemplate a few simple questions that some of you may have previously heard me ask:  As a business, what is your most important asset?  It is your brand, which holds an intangible value but it leads to its revenues, growth, and future successes.  Now let me ask another question:  Who builds your brand?  It is your people.  The strength of your brand is built upon your people. And the ability to invest in your people will enable you to realize the potential of your brand. 

It is with that focus – on linking the value of your people to your profitability and the sustainability of your business – that we are here today to discuss the importance of Diversity in the workplace.  The Harvard Business Review published a report earlier this year that highlighted how women on boards and in higher management ranks enable businesses to be “de-risked” and grow not only profitability, but organically through reinvestment, rather than through M&A.  Further, women think sustainably, and one sees that people move up the ranks, rather than depart organizations to seek career growth.  The article indicated that while the study was solely focused on female leadership, it was expected that similar studies regarding successful organizations with those from underrepresented communities would likely share similar findings.

It is because of this that investors are watching and boards are reacting.  While it is not a requirement in the US YET, every major corporation globally is evaluating Environmental, Social, and Governance issues.  And as one of our colleagues pointed out, it is now is a requirement in the UK.  This examination not only extends to major corporations’ staff, leadership, and board composition; examination and disclosure extends to their partnerships, consultants, and supply chain’s diversity.  Adding to the focus is the establishment of accounting standards to quantify a company’s sustainability and ESG progress.  We all need to develop our strategies for this issue as many Fortune 1000 companies are investing in their partners to meeting the growing ESG mandates.

It has never been a better time to speak about diversity given the growing focus of public companies addressing supply chain ESG issues and the tightening pipeline in the aviation industry where we are competing against other industries for talent.  Hiring a diverse team is only the beginning of the journey.  When you understand what your people need to thrive, that will fuel them. This spark will, in turn, cause your business to excel.  Our panel of experts will discuss the shape of the current pipeline in aviation; share what businesses are looking for in terms of skills; and help place your fingers on the pulse of what next generation of leaders need to thrive in our industry so that it grows and innovates.  We will also discuss what businesses are doing to address diversity and the tangible actions that each of us can take.  We look forward to sharing this discussion with you.

Like any investment, you need to review its performance on an ongoing basis.  You also need to get your hands dirty and creatively invest your time and energy to ensure needs are met in order to retain top talent.  As our discussion showed, we are all connected and each of us can play a role in attracting, developing, and retaining talent.  Each one of us can be impactful and inspire others to do the same to make an investment in the sustainability of our brands as well as our industry. We all look forward to hearing about your successes so that they can be shared.  Because as this slide aptly shows, everyone and their actions matter.

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