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SKYTRAC’s #WomenInAviation Series: Laura Perfetti, Program Manager at NAL Research

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Women of Aviation Worldwide Week (WOAW) is a global aviation awareness week for females across the globe. Originally marking the anniversary of the world’s first female pilot license on March 8, 1910, the week is a call to address the gender imbalance in the air and space industries.

This week we will be featuring remarkable aviation professionals from across the ACR Group of companies that make us succeed daily. We would like to thank every woman in the ACR Group for their ongoing support, and #ChooseToChallenge the status quo.

Here is a highlight on one of our talented team members from NAL Research.

What is your current role at NAL Research?

I am a Program Manager at NAL Research. 

What brought you to work in aviation?

Engineering has been my passion since I was a little girl. After my undergrad, I have had the opportunity to work for research and development companies in the IT community, this career path brought me to work in the aviation industry a couple of years ago.

How long have you been part of the NAL Research team?

I have been part of the ACR team since 2018. 

What do you find rewarding about your work?

I find it rewarding to overcome daily challenges in an industry that has so much to offer to this country and the rest of the world.

What do you enjoy and find challenging about working in aviation?

I enjoy the steep learning curve and the knowledge I have gained by working with such amazing people. I find it challenging trying to keep up with all the new engineering concepts of an industry that evolves every single day.

What has been the most challenging obstacle in your career journey? How did you overcome this obstacle?

When working in Germany as a Deputy Chief of Engineer Customer Solutions for USA Public Health Command my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. I was on a path to be the department chief in years to come and I had mastered every single aspect of my job. I had to make the tough decision of leaving everything behind to be there for my little girl, who endured two and a half years of harsh treatment. I was back in the States, unemployed, sitting in a hospital watching my daughter fight every day for her life; so I decided to fight back with her. I enrolled back in college to do my MBA. For two years I studied and wrote papers while my daughter was getting endless drug infusions. I talked to her about what I was learning and to not dwell in the midst of very difficult times but rather look always at the opportunities in front of us and pursue them with perseverance. Today she is a healthy, bright, and thriving young lady and my MBA helped me open many doors, one of them, here in the aviation community.

What advice would you give to your 15-year old self?

I will tell her to keep dreaming, to never doubt if she picked the right career. That as a woman, she will be the perfect fit in any technical, male-dominated field. I will tell her to work hard every day, to study and feed her curiosity, and to look for opportunities that foster her interests.

Why is gender diversity within the industry important to you?

Having worked over 20 years in different technical fields, I have seen that women bring a diversity of thoughts that well complement their male counterparts. In my experience, this women-male synergy allows solving problems more efficiently. Women bring very different backgrounds and life experiences that help tackle specific issues in a different thinking pattern. The more we allow diversity into our teams, the more we are breaking prejudice stigmas for the next generations.

What would you tell young females interested in joining the industry?

If you are interested in this filed, you have to persevere in your dreams and leverage them to cultivate that interest. I will advise you go to seminars, look for career paths that foster aviation fields. Acquire specific knowledge to bring something new to the table. As you progress in your career, I will advice to seek for mentors to help you along the way. You should ask them to help you identify your strengths and weakness. You should also seek for people to help and share your experience with. I will advise you to read about concepts that seem complex to gain confidence while looking for the next step of your career path.

Do you have a mentor or idol in aviation?

I have had a couple of mentors during my carrier. I definitely regret not reaching out for help and advise more often in the past, but it was a lesson learnt that over time allowed me to identify key people to help build my carrier. I am very fortunately to have a great mentor today, which is an amazing woman and boss. She has taught me how to balance family while being a key executive in the company. I learned to leverage the knowledge and experience she has shared with me by growing within the organization. My mentor today has helped me tremendously in my everyday life as a wife, as a mother but most importantly, to be key personnel for this company.

What are some valuable life lessons you have learned while working in aviation?

The most important lesson that I have learned is that every day there is something new to discover, to learn, and to investigate. Working in aviation is challenging but fascinating at the same time. It requires cleverly balancing your life and priorities while working in a very demanding and competitive field.

To learn more about Women of Aviation Week, please visit

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