Diversity and Inclusion: A Necessary Business Strategy

By Mary Kennedy, Advocacy Editor–Writer
From left, ALPA members F/O Mark Bomber (United), F/O Drew Everett (Hawaiian), F/O Kaori Paris (United), Capt. Dru Dunwoody (Delta), F/O Laura Woods (Delta), and Capt. Max Woods (Mesa) volunteer at the National Gay Pilots Association expo.

In continuing efforts to support ALPA members and promote diversity in the profession, representatives from ALPA’s Membership Committee attended the recent National Gay Pilots Association’s (NGPA) Diversity and Inclusion Summit in Palm Springs, Calif. The seminar kicked off a week of NGPA activities, which also included the annual Industry Expo and Job Fair and the Winter Warm-Up, a social event for NGPA members.

The two-day summit was an industry event that brought together airline flight operations leaders, human resources personnel, airline/union professional standards representatives, and other aviation stakeholders. Presentations highlighted the need for inclusion and sensitivity from the start of a pilot’s career at universities and flight schools to improving operations through managing negative reactions to diversity in the workplace and the critical role that allies from majority groups play in making an organization fully inclusive.

While the role of allies was a constant theme, so was the concept that diversity and inclusion should be part of every organization’s business strategy. An inclusive environment promotes productivity and should be a priority, especially in the cockpit where safety is at stake.

Following the summit, ALPA Membership Committee volunteers, led by F/O Kaori Paris (United), staffed ALPA’s booth at the NGPA Industry Expo, which brought hundreds of current and future airline pilots together to network and speak with recruiters and other professionals.

“It’s important for ALPA to be present at events like this, to show that we support not just diversity, but also the progression of our members’ careers,” said Paris.

ALPA members, as well as flight students and other hopeful future members, stopped by the Association’s booth at the expo. ALPA’s volunteers discussed the Association’s vast resources and the advantages of being a member of an international union 60,000 members strong.

Bolstering ALPA’s strategic plan

ALPA’s presence at the NGPA Diversity and Inclusion Summit and the Industry Expo furthers ALPA’s overall strategic plan in several ways:

  • Pilot representation—ALPA does not discriminate. The Association supports the advancement of all members’ careers.
  • Connecting with current and potential future members is essential to securing the future of the profession. This opportunity allowed ALPA to build unity and motivate members, which strengthens, advances, and revitalizes the profession. A group of uniformed pilots sharing information about ALPA also inspires the next generation of pilots.
  • It provides unique opportunities for engagement with members, nonmembers, stakeholders, and students alike—sharing the expertise of pilot volunteers and staff, growing ALPA’s membership by educating students as well as airline pilots from other carriers, and strengthening the connection with current members through direct member service.

The role of Professional Standards

ALPA’s Professional Standards (ProStans) Committee promotes and maintains the highest degree of professional conduct among ALPA pilots. If you have an issue of a professional or ethical nature involving another pilot that you can’t resolve on your own, the ProStans Committee can step in as a neutral arbitrator to help you come to a resolution. Confidentiality will be maintained, as ProStans never keeps any written records.

You Might Be an Ally

Are you a member of a majority group who is willing to stand up for a minority? The National Gay Pilots Association has a word for this: ally.

An ally supports diversity and inclusion in the workplace by promoting a friendly work environment for minority groups. It’s a simple thing that can go a long way, and many of you are probably already doing it. You can do even more by making a conscious effort to learn about the people you work with and educate yourself on diversity issues. Listen, be open to suggestions, and follow through. Be an active advocate.

Want to help ALPA promote diversity in the profession? ALPA volunteers support several similar industry events throughout the year and are always happy to have more team members.

  1. Women in Aviation International Conference
  2. Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals Annual Convention and Career Expo
  3. National Gay Pilots Association Industry Expo
  4. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in convention
  5. Another organization’s event?

Contact MembershipCommittee@alpa.org  to get involved.

This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of Air Line Pilot.

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