Celebrating Women of Aviation Week with Kathleen Jones

Celebrating Women of Aviation Week with Kathleen Jones

Women of Aviation Week is about celebrating women’s accomplishments in aviation and inspiring others to construct the industry’s future. As we highlight the women that are our aerospace leaders, SKYTRAC is proud to encourage more women to join the industry.

Women deliver energy to the industry that facilitates equality and innovation, and SKYTRAC is honored to provide an environment that encourages women to become industry leaders. Because of this, we would like to highlight the talented faces behind our team.

When did you start your aviation career?

I started by career in 2001, and have been working with the NAL Research Corp., since June.

What brought you to work in aviation? 

During undergrad, I was an intern at a Department of Defense Laboratory. I loved the hands-on work I was able to do as a Physics major, so when I graduated, converting to a full-time employee was an easy decision.

Which department to do you work in? 

I am currently working in the Assured Position Navigation and Timing (PNT) department. 

What positive trait(s) do you feel women bring to the industry? 

Having worked for 20 years for the Department of Defense in a technical, male-dominated field and having progressed to executive leadership before joining NAL, I have had the opportunity to mentor countless women and men in the industry at all career levels. Through this experience, I believe that personality traits do not inherently originate from women or men based on gender alone. What women bring to the aviation industry is diversity of thought in a male-dominated field. Women contribute to problem-solving in a profound way, due in part to their varied backgrounds and personal experiences compared to their male counterparts. Women bring complementary skills and perspectives necessary to shape high-performing teams that solve hard problems.

What would tell young females interested in joining the industry? 

If you are interested in joining the aviation industry, you should do everything in your power to feed and care for that interest. I recommend you seek out mentors, female and male, and learn as much as possible about your potential path forward. It is never too early to seek out mentors. As you progress along your path, lean on them. As much as possible, seek to be self-aware. Identify your strengths, and ensure you are leveraging those strengths. Understand your weaknesses, and work to improve upon those weaknesses. 

Do you have a female mentor or idol in the aviation industry? 

I have had many mentors throughout my career. Early on in my career, admittedly, I under-valued the role of mentors. Only after I progressed throughout my career did I realize the tremendous impact they have had upon me personally and professionally. My female mentors have inspired me and have demonstrated to me that balancing home life and a rewarding career is not only possible, but that you, your family, and your career can ALL thrive. As an Executive with NAL Research, a mother of four young children, and a student who finished a Master’s Degree in Engineering while working full time (with four children), this is critical to me.

Do you have any inspiring lessons that you have learned about life while working in the aviation industry? 

The most important lesson that I have learned is to find balance. Finding and maintaining balance requires constant vigilance. Know what your priorities are, and ensure your actions reflect your priorities. Do not spend your time on things that are not priorities for you. Take time to re-assess your priorities; they will change over time. The key is to revisit them and make adjustments to where you spend your energy. This applies to work, home, family, and self.

What’s your favorite thing about the industry? 

My favorite thing about the industry is the opportunity to learn new things and be challenged daily. 

To learn more about Women of Aviation Week, visit womenofaviationweek.iwoaw.org