Chief Executive Officer


Women in Aviation International


Dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation and aerospace career fields, WAI is a membership association providing robust educational outreach and career development opportunities for aviation educators, industry members and young people nationally and internationally. With marked growth in recent years, the organization currently serves 14,000 individual members, including 800 international members; more than 200 corporate members; and 130 chapters in 17 countries.

Among its featured offerings, WAI hosts a dynamic annual conference with more than 4500 attendees from 33 countries; nearly 150 scholarships supported by the WAI Endowment, individuals and corporate donors; career and mentoring connections; a bimonthly magazine; and other career-related services. To promote aviation to the next generation of young women, WAI hosts a unique, highly successful one-day event, Girls in Aviation Day, which reaches ~20,000 girls ages 8 to 17 through chapters and corporate members globally.

WAI has a $3M operating budget generated from dues and non-dues revenue sources. The WAI Endowment has raised ~$1M through donations from corporate funders and individuals. The organization has a highly active 11-member board of directors, 11 staff (onsite and remote) and several contractors.


This is a unique opportunity to build on WAI’s recent growth through continued member engagement, educational outreach, fundraising and operational infrastructure enhancement.

Following are key areas of focus that will require the strategic vision and operational oversight of the next CEO in conjunction with staff.

Board Engagement

Support the board’s ongoing desire to recruit directors with diverse competencies and industry backgrounds and ensure appropriate allocation of volunteer leader and committee resources.

Corporate Engagement

Strengthen and nurture relationships with existing and future corporate partners to encourage membership, scholarship donations, career opportunities, sponsorships, advertising, affinity partnerships and overall advancement of women in the aviation and aerospace sectors.

Diversity and Inclusion

Expand WAI’s relationship with allied minority associations and identify additional partnerships and programs to promote a more diverse and inclusive aviation and aerospace workforce.

Partnership Development

Strengthen and grow partnerships with allied aviation and aerospace associations and corporations, especially WAI’s successful relationship with EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Explore new domestic and international alliance and affinity partnerships with non-traditional partners in STEM sectors such as medical and technology companies.

Strategic Visioning

Partnering with the board of directors, roadmap a long-range, metrics-based vision to promote and scale WAI as the premier cross-sectoral resource for women in aviation and aerospace, and a leader in STEM workforce development.

Operational Effectiveness

Direct the execution of measurable goals in alignment with the strategic plan, and augment WAI’s operational infrastructure through technology and database advancements, financial stewardship, data collection and analysis, workflow prioritizations, and alignment of staff competencies with strategic goals.

Member Engagement

Spearhead segmented member value creation and delivery for all careers and age cohorts across the aviation and aerospace fields, balancing the needs of national and international members.

Chapter Development

Support the expansion and growth of WAI’s domestic and international chapters, ensuring effective new member recruitment and onboarding practices, distribution of resources and best practices, and strengthened communications.

Career Development | Educational Outreach

Continue to increase the availability and relevance of trainings and industry outreach programs that boost career advancement for women in aviation and aerospace, and educate companies on the value of including women in their workforce. Build on current successes with scholarships, online job board, and mentoring programs.

Conference Development

Build on the rapid growth and popularity of the annual conference while examining its frequency, pricing, location, onsite career support and next generation engagement.

Fundraising | Non-Dues Revenue Generation

Advance WAI’s fundraising efforts by increasing individual, corporate and federal giving to the WAI Endowment and ensure appropriate allocation of restricted and non-restricted funds. Build upon and develop new non-dues revenue generation activities including conference, sponsorships, advertising, merchandise, affinity programs and other revenue sources.

Next Generation Recruitment

Foster the recruitment of young women into aviation and aerospace careers through continued outreach and partnerships with local / global communities, K-16 schools, girls’ organizations, and expansion of WAI’s signature programs: Girls in Aviation Day and College Connect.

Communications | Public Relations

Amplify WAI as the go-to resource for media outlets and expand social media presence. Build on successes with Aviation for Women and Aviation for Girls magazines. Heighten WAI’s brand identity with members and external constituents.


Determine the viability of pursuing a stronger federal advocacy presence to promote the advancement of women in aviation and aerospace and to mitigate potentially discriminatory legislation.

Staff Leadership

Lead, develop and oversee all staff employees and contract labor including organization of jobs and job descriptions, human relations and employee benefits, payroll, and payable approvals.

Financial Oversight

Prepare Annual Financial Budget and present to Board for approval, and prepare all Financials Reports Quarterly.  Responsible for all legal and tax payments and reports paid and filed in a timely manner.


Required Skills and Background:

  • Association Change Leadership. Senior association executive with demonstrated cross-functional success leading and transforming an individual membership organization through a time of significant growth and operational change.
  • Operational Enhancement. Demonstrated achievements bolstering and scaling association operations including process improvement, technology enhancements and staff development.
  • Financial Acumen. Proficiency analyzing financial statements, allocating resources in alignment with strategic objectives and presenting informative and timely reports to board of directors.
  • Revenue Generation. Success developing and diversifying dues and non-dues revenue streams through value-driven programs and services.
  • Public Speaking. Experience in a front-facing role as an industry champion engaging both membership and external stakeholder communities.
  • Partnership Building. Success cultivating alliance partnerships with diverse stakeholders and creating mutually beneficial programs and services.
  • Member Value Creation. Programmatic success developing segmented, value-rich products and services to member cohorts.
  • Board Engagement. Demonstrated skills at onboarding, cultivating and guiding boards to further the mission of an organization through strategic oversight.

Ideal Qualifications: 

  • Background in aviation, aerospace, other STEM industries and/or diversity-related associations
  • Nonprofit fundraising success including cultivation of high net worth donors and corporate funders
  • Experience growing and engaging association components (chapters / affiliates)
  • Background developing international partnerships and programs

Personal Qualities: 

  • Entrepreneurial visionary and business strategist
  • Project leader and strategic executer
  • Calculated risk taker with fail-forward mindset
  • Energetic personality and strong relationship builder
  • Poised, commanding presence
  • Inclusive, collaborative and excellent listener
  • Servant leader and community-focused
  • Trusted partner and advisor to staff and board
  • Empowering, team-focused leadership style

Office Location:

WAI’s headquarters are currently located near Dayton, Ohio. The new CEO may consider physical or virtual relocation.

To Apply:

This is a retained search. All candidates must apply through Purposeful Hire. Please submit the following documents to Shira Lotzar, Chief Engagement Officer at Application deadline is October 10, 2019; however, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply before September 30, 2019.

  1. A thoughtfully written cover letter describing your commitment to the mission of WAI, your fit with the role and your compensation expectations.
  2. A customized resume aligned with the competencies in the Candidate Profile section.
  3. Responses to the following Questionnaire elaborating on your skills and experiences.