During the “Even More Girls – In Tech” event, which took place at the Impact Hub in Oakland, Calif., nearly 50 girls, ages 12-15 learned leadership skills directly from JetBlue senior leaders and Girls in Tech CEO and Founder Adriana Gascoigne and received an introduction to technical skills such as coding that are critical to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The day kicked off with a Power Breakfast panel featuring Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay, director of Disney’s upcoming epic adventure, “A Wrinkle in Time;” Bonny Simi, president, JetBlue Technology Ventures; and Ursula Hurley, vice president structural programs, JetBlue and board member for The JetBlue Foundation.
This event launches JetBlue’s “Even More Girls” career awareness programming which brings girls and women together to showcase the range of careers available within the airline. Programming will raise awareness encourage girls and women to pursue a variety of career options including finance, IT and marketing, among others.
“Empowering women to become entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley or to pursue tech careers within JetBlue starts by encouraging an interest in STEM as early as possible,” said Bonny Simi, president, JetBlue Technology Ventures. “Fueling the pipeline today through educational initiatives and grants to STEM programs will help to ensure even more women are present in the hangars and board rooms of the future and at the helm of the next wave of tech start-ups.”
The number of women involved in the aviation industry are still very minimal compared to men. Women pilots represent less than seven percent of the commercial pilot population and three percent of aircraft mechanics, according to Women in Aviation. Increasing these numbers requires focused educational outreach and career pipeline programs like “Even More Girls - In Tech” to ensure the future of the aviation industry.
“It takes a village to support more girls and women entering the STEM field,” said Adriana Gascoigne, CEO and founder, Girls In Tech. “JetBlue has shown their commitment to leveling the playing field not only for girls and women, but also, people from marginalized regions for a long time and we’re thrilled to be partners in that mission.”
JetBlue Equals, the airline’s diversity and inclusion platform, JetBlue Technology Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of JetBlue, and The JetBlue Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit focused on STEM education, have a joint vision to provide access to girls and encourage careers in aviation.
JetBlue supports STEM spanning the full spectrum of the talent pipeline from early education to careers in technology fields and entrepreneurship. The JetBlue Foundation was founded in 2013 and focuses on providing access to STEM programs to communities traditionally under-represented in STEM fields including women and minority groups. Beyond grants, the JetBlue Foundation also provides mentoring, internships and more to make a difference for the next generation of aviators.
Overall, the airline is focused on ensuring diverse, fresh perspectives to influence all aspects of the company, particularly the technology fields that fuel the airline. This collaborative effort, JetBlue Equals, is the umbrella platform for JetBlue’s initiatives related to diversity and inclusion. In Silicon Valley, JetBlue's commitment to diversity is engrained in their approach encouraging entrepreneurship. JetBlue Technology Ventures incubates, invests in and partners with early stage startups at the intersection of travel and technology.
Ahead of the theatrical release of “A Wrinkle in Time” on March 9, 2018, Ava DuVernay helped JetBlue and Girls in Tech kick-off this tech empowerment initiative. A behind-the-scenes interview with the Oscar® nominated director and a trailer from the film will be available on all JetBlue seatback TVs throughout March 2018, Women’s History Month.
"Trailblazing isn't necessarily about achieving something that hasn't been done before. It's about focusing on your own path. If I can stay focused on what's important to me and to create my life as my own experience, then that's enough to blaze," said Ava DuVernay, director of “A Wrinkle in Time.”
From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.