In many industries, the change in % of women in the industry, especially in senior positions, is still painfully slow. By sharing our experiences, mentoring provides an opportunity to accelerate the numbers breaking through the ceiling. In this episode we discuss the importance of mentoring, the benefits of both formal & ‘accidental mentoring, how to find a mentor, and the importance of looking outside of your existing circles.
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Mentoring Matters: Creating Change For Those In Our Footsteps, With Jill Meyers
Welcome back, Leading Ladies and Male Allies. It is another gloomy Saturday here in Seattle. But we have another bright and amazing guest with us here to lighten our days, Jill Meyers. Now, Jill has been passionate about aviation since age 17, when she got her private pilot’s license in Arizona, those of you listening who’ve got your wings. I know how special that moment is. She has over 30 years in the industry, including eight in the Air Force, and spent over 25 years working for major organizations supporting major commercial and defense programs. She also wants to help her own consulting business. And she even consulted on an award-winning documentary Fly Like a Girl in 2019. And that is actually streaming on Hulu and multiple video-on-demand channels. Jill has received many honors and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. And one of her recent honors was being elected to the Top Women in Aviation and Aerospace to follow on LinkedIn list. And of course, as per our last few sessions, we have the amazing Matt Higa with us here today to interview Jill. And we’re going to be talking about Mentoring Matters, Creating Big Change For Those In Our Footsteps. Welcome Jill.
Thank you. It’s great to be here with both of you.
Same here. Thank you.
Yeah, that’s quite an amazing bio that you have Jill.
Thank you. It’s pretty long, huh?
Been this long for some time?
Yeah, yeah. I’ve been doing this for a long, long time. And I love it. It’s a great industry.
Yeah, I was before and listened to Fiona do out your bio, and just thinking like, “Well, how’s she gonna stop that? How is she gonna stop that?” And you just kept on doing it?
Yeah, yeah. And I’ve been following you for a while now, Jill. And I know that you provide a source of inspiration for a lot of women and men on LinkedIn. So, we really appreciate you for that.
Thank you. It’s pretty sweet.
Yeah. So, Jill, you know that our first question on the podcast is always around the glass ceiling. So, tell me, what are your thoughts on the glass ceiling? How does it show up in today’s world?
Well, it shows up in a few ways, you know, especially in our industry with such incredibly low percentages of women in general, in every single aspect of aviation and aerospace. You know, for me, personally, I experienced it quite a few times. You know, first really, in the military. It’s a long story we don’t have time for but, you know, I joined the Air Force and already have my pilot’s license. Initially being told I couldn’t get a flying spot because I was female because it was a very long time ago. And I joined anyway, just because I wanted to be in the Air Force and be around airplanes and do cool stuff. And later in the military, I had joined as an enlisted person and transitioned into Officers Training School. And when I got to Officer Training School, seven years into my career, I was the only female in the entire training squadron of 40 people, civilian 39 Guys was a four-week program. And I was doing what I thought really well. And then two weeks before graduation, I had a serious injury when I was running. And they use that as an excuse to kind of not really legally, throw me out. So, I never got commissioned and never got to finish my Air Force career. And I know deep down, it was because I was the only girl and so that was like my first you know, being pushed aside for being you know.
It’s like being punched in the stomach just sitting here listening to it!
Yes, it was quite devastating, because I loved, loved, loved the Air Force and really wanted to stay, you know, 25 plus years. But everything happens for a reason, the one huge lesson I learned from my mother. And then you know, in the corporate world, of course, in a way it’s almost worse. You know, my career ended up being an aerospace engineer. My degree is in astronautical engineering. And in that world, there are about 13% women right now which has actually grown quite a bit, one of the few where the percentages have increased over the last 10-20 years. Most of them have not moved much at all. But still, I was very often the only female in my organization which I honestly never had a problem with. You know, it never bothered me, except when it became an issue for others. You know, when I guess my best example is my last time in corporate America. I worked for Northrop Grumman; I don’t mind naming them outright. I worked for Northrop Grumman on the F 35, Joint Strike Fighter program started there in 2015, you know, a very senior management role. And one of the top, you know, the most complicated aircraft ever built, an amazing, amazing program. And again, I was the first, no lie this is not a fake story. My first or second day of work, my boss had a staff meeting and it was literally me and 21 guys. And I was sort of horrified at first and then afterwards, I went over to the executive assistant, who I’m still friends with. And I said, “You know what, what was that like, seriously.” And she said, “Oh, you’re the first female he’s ever hired as a manager. He’s been here 35 years.” And what was bad about it was I quickly found out that I was paid roughly $40,000, less than all of my male counterparts. And I had equal if not greater experience than most of them, which is why they hired me. And when I went to the human resources director who happened to be a woman, and asked her if this was the case, she did some homework and said, “Yeah, you’re right. And we’re not going to do anything about it,” which is sort of horrifying. And, you know, at the time, the president of our part of North of Grumman was a woman, she’s actually, I believe, still CEO, she was promoted to CEO of the entire corporation a couple years later. And you know, Women in Aviation women are only 3% of CEOs right now. And so, it’s, you know, a lot of women that I became friends with and collaborated with, at companies like Boeing and Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman. It’s very challenging, I will say Raytheon does a better job than any of the DoD defense companies. They have a lot of women in leadership positions and have for a very long time. So, I give them a huge gold star Raytheon, by the way, for all the young ladies looking for career options. Um, but you know, the glass ceiling is still there. And what’s challenging is, you know, we seem to break it here and there, you know, one or two women will do amazing things, and then a lot of us expect a flood of women behind them to follow, and it just doesn’t always happen. So, I think there’s still a lot of stereotypical unfortunate perceptions of women in aviation and aerospace. And I think we’re making progress. But honestly, Fiona, I think it’s just not enough progress.
No, it’s not. And I’ve worked for and with women at multiple aerospace organizations, and it absolutely horrifies me when some of them tell me, “I do not want my daughter to come into this industry.” You know, those are real words from real women in major or aerospace organizations. And so if the women that are in the industry can’t convince people that, you know, they are related to or that they know, to follow in our footsteps, then, you know, what can we do? And that’s why with Leading Ladies were so, so passionate about what we do, because we’ve got to give women the tools to not just survive, but thrive in the industry while they’re in it. So that they can see past the challenges that everybody’s facing, and know that they’re doing this for something bigger than themselves. I think that’s really important, because it’s a hard battle. I started at Rolls Royce in 2007. And they were 13% women back then. And now they’re 18% and had some amazing experiences there. And my experience as a woman was actually far worse, actually, in the US, which surprised me. And it could just be the nature of the companies that I was working with. And I’m not sure. But it wasn’t until I was about 27. That I was like, “Oh, yeah, I’m a woman. And this is a challenge out there.” But that’s not kept me quiet.
No, and I’m not. I hate to say it, but I’m not surprised by your comment about the United States. I’ve worked internationally a lot. And I definitely think we are behind the power curve, for sure.
Yeah, yeah. And there’s various reasons, I believe, for that, that I won’t go into today. But I really think that there could be some good work done if we were to partner with some of their European counterparts.
Great! Agreed completely.
It’’s completely contrary to what you think when you’re growing up in England, and you think, “Oh, I’m gonna go to America for free, you know, it would be great there!” And you’re like, “What?” It’s very interesting. Anyway, anyway, I digress. So next question, I always think of it as a weird question. So, I like to ask people, when do you know that you’ve broken through the glass ceiling? And the reason why I think it’s a weird question is because I think that there’s multiple levels to the glass ceiling. I mean, I broke through the glass ceiling, but it didn’t mean that I didn’t carry on like hitting my head or having shards of glass thrown at me. But I would say that as a woman, I have at least broken through some glass ceilings. And so, for you, when did you first realize that the glass ceiling wasn’t going to stop you and you were going to crack through them no matter what it took?
Really great question. I guess it was, for me, the first time I got to a level of management that I was surprised to achieve. You know, I’ve never aspired to be CEO of anything. It’s just never been in my mind. But the first time I had a director in my title, at a DOD aerospace company, I thought, wow, you know, I really never thought I would hit this level. And there weren’t many female directors even let alone VPS or hires. So, you know, I think for each person, their glass ceiling, as you very well put it, is either at a different level of management in an organization or just means something completely different. So, I guess the first time is when I reached director level at a company, which was in 2013. And then to be honest with you, I sort of felt it again, when I started my own consulting firm, which was in 2018. Because there aren’t that many consulting companies in aviation led by women. And I had, I don’t know, six clients in the first year, so I did pretty well in the beginning. So, I think that for me was another, you know, just hitting it achievement, where you look around, and it’s all guys, and then there’s you, you know?
Yeah. Yeah, I know that feeling. You wish there was another woman in the room? But you’re like, “Yes! At least I’m here.”
Yeah, mixed feelings? For sure. Yeah.
A question I have about that. Because something that I’ve learned about you from your bio. And just like studying your LinkedIn all the time is like you’re really big on mentoring. So, and especially like, kind of like brief moments or like, not the kind of informal stuff that’s not like, “Oh, can you be my mentor? Can you please guide me through this?” But like, what were some of the people along the way, or experiences that kind of mentored you to break through that glass ceiling and get to that level, finally?
Well, I’ll be brutally honest with you both that I really never had mentors when I was younger, which is part of why my career. Zigzag is a term I like to use, quoted from someone famous I heard speak once. You know, one of the reasons I do so much mentoring is because I really didn’t have many. I would say, Matt, that there’s really one woman who kind of mentored me, and it was more that I just really looked up to her. And used her as more of a role model. I mean, if I had an issue, I would go to her and I guess that’s mentoring. But she was the first person to hire me into Raytheon. Back to Raytheon. She was director already at the time, we’re about the same age, we have a lot in common. We’re still very good friends. And throughout my career, I would kind of when I was working with her, I would definitely use her in my mind as a mentor. We didn’t have any kind of a formal relationship. And then the only other person that I’ll highlight because she’s been such an enormous, enormous mentor for me later in my career, is I met a woman named Krista probably 12 years ago now in the workforce. And we ended up both leaving a particular company at almost the same time. But Krista has multiple roles and multiple jobs, but she owns her own consulting firm as part of it. But Krista and I have not only been very good friends, but she is the most brilliant business wise woman and incredibly intuitive and insightful. And she has been what I call my career coach for 10 years, and obviously my mentor so literally in the last 10 years, I have not made a single career decision without running it by her getting her insight and getting her help. And she also coaches me on how to handle difficult issues. I had a consulting client for a while who was extremely challenging for me to deal with. And just the way he approached the company and approached me. And I would constantly be setting up calls with Krista going, “How do I do this without quitting?” So, I guess she’s really been my strongest mentor but really, at the tail end of my career, honestly, I really wish I had had mentors when I was young. Because figuring out your own path is really challenging, especially for women in male dominated fields.
Yeah, my path, completely zigzag. I started off in planning and control when I was forecasting, for fleet operations. Then I went into project management, then I went into sales and marketing, and I moved around a lot. And I actually made my choices based on which team I thought would be more supportive towards me progressing. And so I actually actively looked for those managers. And I did have some mentors along the way, probably much more informal than formal mentors. And in some ways, I find those even more rewarding, but I do agree with you that mentorship is so important to helping young women and young men today, but I do think young women need it more for the reasons we’ve spoken about. Why don’t you think that mentoring will help to break the glass ceiling?
I think it will, just because learning from people who’ve been there before in the path you may be headed on is so huge. And you know, one of the things if I can sort of get on my mentoring soapbox for a minute. One of the things I love about talking about mentoring and being a mentor is that there are so many different ways to do it and ways to help people. You know, there’s, as you mentioned Fiona, there’s a formal mentorship program, you know, that some companies have, you know, like, if Boeing, for example, there was a formal program, and you had to identify a mentor and record your relationship and meet once a month and take notes and have objectives, you know, it was very structured, which is great in the workplace. If that’s the kind of thing you want to do. But a friend of mine, I actually put together a mentoring panel for the international aviation Women’s Association last year. And one of the amazing women on my panel brought up the topic of accidental mentoring, where you either have someone come up and thank you for being their mentor, and you didn’t realize you were or are these brief moments where you just give someone inspiration and strength and just had no idea that that was coming, you know. So, I think it’s so important for people to find mentors, not just to achieve the glass ceiling, but you know, the entire duration of your path, in whatever career that you’re going after, or even if you aren’t sure which career to go after.
Yeah, I would argue that even if you want to stay at the level that you’re at. Just having that mentor to run stuff by is hugely important. I would never guess that you’d have some of those experiences that you had. And you know, myself, I’ve had some similar experiences. And I think, wow, I wish I’d had a Jill in my life to talk to about this you know, sharing our stories of the challenging things that have happened to us is just as important as the major accomplishments that we’ve had.
Yeah. 100% agree. Leadership’s a big background for me. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’m an Eagle Scout. So, growing up, I got a ton of mentoring from an early age through the scouting program, which was, you know, I know, it’s got some PR issues right now. But like the program and troop that I had was very solid, like your classic like, we were just out camping and just doing you know, your normal scouting knots and things activities. And the guy even might have an aviation merit badge. I can’t remember now, but that might be why I haven’t thought about it for so long. But it’s so important. I mean, just like getting mentorship from peers. And that’s what I love about your mentorship styles. Like it’s not just informal. It’s also the brief interactions like from the peers, and they don’t necessarily have to be older and completely in a higher position. I was kind of mentoring last night with one of my co-workers at the corporate place where I work. And we were working on some different assessment questions to integrate them through that and sharing that experience. So, mentorship comes in all forms, and it doesn’t have to be formal.
That is one of my favorites. If I could just share a quick mentoring story that I like, just because, if I can do it without crying. I was asked to go back to my university, which is University of Texas at Austin two November’s ago, to be a keynote speaker for a couple of events. And after one of them, this young woman asked me if she could walk me to my car, my rental car. I said, “Sure.” So, we walked out to the parking lot. And she stopped, you know, we’re just chatting along the way. And she stopped, literally stopped in her tracks. At one point, she looked up at me, and she said, she looked down at me, she was really tall. And she said to me, “You know, I’m in my freshman year, and I have so much to learn.” And she looked at me, and she said “I’ve lived my whole life so far in fear. And after meeting you, and hearing you speak tonight, I’m not going to do that anymore.” And I was just, you know, completely blown away. And that was like a mentoring moment. And I had no idea what I said during my presentation. They kept me for like, an hour asking questions after. I have no idea what I said to inspire her, like zero. But the fact that I had that kind of impact on this young woman, you know, it was a miraculous moment. And these moments where you just inspire people, in any way, and again, maybe sometimes don’t even realize it, I think those are sometimes the most special ones.
Absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s an amazing story. And I love it. Is there any particular experience where you’ve just seen a woman that you’ve mentored, just like, rocket ahead? Like what’s been your most rewarding experience? And I don’t necessarily mean rocket ahead in her career, but just rocket ahead in some light. It could be confidence. I don’t know.
Yeah, I do. Actually. I do have one. I think that is super special. I have mentored quite a few women to help them get into military flight programs, both Air Force and Navy. But my favorite story as of today is, there’s a young woman who was already in the Navy. Her name is Shay. She was already in the Navy when I met her as an enlisted woman actually working on helicopter engines. And she already had her degree but was somehow still enlisted in the Navy. But anyhow, I met her when I was president of the Women in Aviation international chapter in San Diego. She joined our chapter and got to know her quite well and found out that she really wanted to become a pilot and potentially someday maybe an astronaut. So, I helped her get into the Navy’s Officer Candidate School, their Officer Training Program. And she, at the time, like every other 20 something who joined the Navy, wants to fly F-18’s. They all want to be fighter jocks. So, she went down that path for a year and a half, almost two years, and ended up along the way deciding that it really wasn’t for her. And she switched to the rotorcraft program. And it was one of the bravest things I’ve seen anyone do and I mentored her and coached her not just as a mentor, but as a friend through this transition, because to be honest, you know, as any young person would, she didn’t want to be viewed as a failure of switching platforms. Which it turns out people do more often than you think. So, what I’m so proud of Shay for is not only making that transition, but incredibly successfully to where she did get her Navy Wings of Gold. A couple months ago, she called me and asked me to fly to Florida to be the one to pin them on her at the Navy ceremony which was, you know, incredibly emotional. It is like the moment in a Naval Aviator’s career that they never ever forget. And now she has been reassigned to her operational squadron. She’s learning to fly the MH-60 which is the Seahawk that is a massive gray Navy helicopter. And she’s happier than I think anyone on the planet is right now. And again, the path zigzagged, right? But, being a support to her during all of that, I mean, it’s been, you know, a four year journey so far, almost. I’m just so proud of how she got through that, and came out, you know, happier at the other end and had such a challenging rightful transition in the middle of all that. That’s, I think, my story of the day.
And I really love that you share that because I think one of the things that women often do in aerospace, or at least something that I’ve done, is, in some way the ego takes over. And what I mean, that is like, we’re like, “I want to be this because there’s never been a woman before.” And that’s good. But are you doing it from your heart? Are you doing it because the chip on your shoulder is so big? And I was in that position a few years ago, I was working for an aerospace nonprofit. And my goal was to become the CEO. And actually, you know, six months in, I was asked, you know, will you apply to be the CEO. And I’ve been working with coaches. And I realized that that role wasn’t for me, I didn’t need a CEO title, because to be that CEO, I would have had to have given up a lot of the other work that I was doing that was impacting people. And that meant something to my heart. It was all about my head, it was not about my heart. And, you know, sometimes I look back, and I’m like, “Wow, it would have been good to have CEO on the resume,” but I don’t think I would have been happy. But it is really hard when you’ve been scrappy, and fighting for those, you know, first woman positions, to actually say, “You know what? Actually, I might be happier doing this instead, and I might have a greater impact.” So, I think that’s a really, really important part of mentoring. It is not just telling people to keep shooting for the stars, but to do what’s gonna make them really happy.
Yeah, that’s definitely true. And I think that so many, again, especially women fall into this trap, where they feel more obligated to do what’s expected of them. Whether that’s from family or peers, or leadership, or what have you. And you know, one of the things I really tried to do with people is to try to help them figure out really where their heart is, you know? And you know, when, for me is just another example, had I not failed Officer Training School in the Air Force, when I was whatever age I would not have done the rest of the things I’ve done in my life, probably. And, you know, right now, looking back, I wouldn’t change anything, you know? I don’t know if I would have gotten into the amount of outreach and mentorship, which to me is the most important thing I do, even though it’s the only thing that doesn’t pay. I would have been so, you know, head down as an Air Force officer. I don’t know, I probably would have done outreach at some level. But I probably wouldn’t have met the people that I’ve been able to mentor and help and everyone else in my career. So, you know, back to my mother’s mantra of “Everything happens for a reason.” I think that as a mentor, you have to be cognizant of that when you’re mentoring folks again, at any level that the path that they’re on may actually not be the right thing for them. And to help them through that if they figure that part out.
Yeah, absolutely. So, what would your advice be to women out there that are thinking “Okay, it’s time for me to step forward and be a mentor?”
Well, my number one advice is just do it. Just do it, because so many people don’t do it. And I guess my number one message is what I said earlier, there’s so many different ways to be a mentor. So, it doesn’t have to be a massive, ongoing, regularly scheduled time commitment. You know, I’ve very often mentored people by having coffee with them once or twice, helping them answer some questions and move on. I also think that an easy way to be a quote mentor is to try. I know it’s challenging with COVID right now, but, you know, try to be a guest speaker at a school at Career Day, I’ve done that many times. You know, be a guest speaker at, you know, any place where there’s people that are trying to figure out what to do with their lives and you know? If you are in a position to find someone to mentor who wants a regularly scheduled long term commitment, and you have the ability in the interest in that, of course, that’s fine as well. But my biggest message is there’s so many different ways to inspire people and help them and coach them. You know, mentoring can be helping someone look for a scholarship. There’s so many ways to be a mentor, and I would encourage, really anyone at any level of their career too, there’s always somebody that you can help, always. Either if it’s someone younger, you know, behind you in the career field or as we’ve talked about doesn’t have to be someone younger. Everyone can benefit from someone giving them guidance, that’s really the message. So, you know, get out there and be that person to give them guidance, because I’ve just seen it change lives, just over and over and over again. Not just from me, but from friends of mine who do a lot of outreach and mentoring as well. It’s just so important.
Yeah. So, with mentoring being so incredibly important. And, you know, this is the Leading Ladies of and also Male Allies, how do men factor into like the mentoring and the how can they help?
They can just help by being there, as well as the women, you know? I have some friends who are women who are extremely successful, and all of their mentors have been men. You know, I’ve had amazing role models in my career that have been men. I think the biggest message to our male allies is just to be aware that gender shouldn’t matter. And you should be out there helping anyone that you see. Either people who are struggling or people with exceptional ability. There’s all ends of the spectrum. And I just, I really wish everyone could just be gender agnostic, and just not even pay attention to gender. That that’s my dream in life. I know, It won’t happen in my lifetime. But you know? Yeah, I mean, it’s unfortunate, right? You know, and it’s so funny, it’s, I probably shouldn’t say this on camera. But, you know, I’ve been a member of Women in Aviation International for 20 years now doing nothing but helping women get further ahead in these fields. And I really hope someday they go out of business and aren’t needed. I really do. I really wish there wasn’t any need for organizations of any minority, quote, unquote, you know, we have so many organizations. There’s organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, there’s, you know, Hispanic Pilots, there’s the National Gay Pilots Association, there’s so many of these. And I really wish we didn’t need any of them. But we do you know. Because we are where we are. And, you know? I used to be a Star Trek fan and Star Trek in reality would be a nice Sunday, where no one cares what you look like, or who you love. It would be really nice. But I think we’re far from it.
Amen. Totally agree. Yeah, anybody who’s listened to the past couple episodes are following really closely on LinkedIn. It’s my goal to send, I mean, an unofficial race to Mars, trying to get the first human crew there. And via this podcast, Fiona gave you a great idea. But let’s make it an all-female crew and all women crew. So, for that, what role do you think mentoring will play in that and trying to, you know, get us there?
Oh, I think it would be huge, hugely awesome, and would require a lot of mentoring, you know? I mean, there’s actually quite a decent percentage of women astronauts that have been up and I have a friend who’s an astronaut. And I think she last told me that the percentage of women in the NASA official astronaut corps, I think it’s almost 30%. So, it’s getting very high. And I guess, you know, the mentoring, you know, because going to Mars is going to be obviously extraordinarily challenging. And anyone who’s going to be going to Mars, male or female, is definitely just going to have to find people who’ve been in space before, you know? Whether you’re actually finding people who’ve been in space before. And also, I think, look for mentors on the side of the companies that are actually manufacturing the vehicles that will be going up because there’s a lot of benefit in having connections to everyone who’s related, in my opinion, to the activity that you’re about to embark on. So, you know, no astronaut is successful without understanding a lot about the vehicle, that the training they go through is incredible. So even looking for mentors in those worlds, I think will be really important.
Notice running that time right now.
So, I think a really, really important final question today, Jill, for all the people listening that I think is well, how do I find a mentor? What advice would you give to women out there who are desperately seeking a mentor? How do you go about finding one?
Actually, my favorite path for that is really not to look for it in the workplace. My favorite path for people is to look for it in all of the supportive membership organizations that are around us. And there’s so many of them. You know, I’ve mentioned Women in Aviation International. I’m also a member of Women in Aerospace. I’ve been a member of AIAA, which is the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, for over 30 years. Phenomenal mentor opportunities in those worlds, society, women engineers. I’ve been a member of for over 30 years. So, they’re all without exception. They all encourage student members. So again, if you’re talking about the next generation, I know we’re not talking exclusively about the younger folks. But you know, all of these organizations, some of them even have a formal, like, I’m in the mentor database. So, AIAA people can go in and look me up and you know, asked me to be a mentor. All of these organizations offer, in my opinion, not only mentors, of all different kinds, levels of management, and different slices of the industry. But the same organizations usually have scholarships, educational programs and professional development. So, if you reach out to some of these organizations, you can get more than just a mentor. But I think they’re the best place. Obviously, you can find people in your own workplace. But I just feel like people, having mentors that are from slightly diverse universes is important, too. So, I mean, if you’re at Boeing, and you want to spend 30 years at Boeing, and never want to leave, then maybe you find a mentor within Boeing. But I’m just a huge fan of the diversity of all of your thought processes and your experiences. So, reaching out to these organizations, and finding mentors that maybe you wouldn’t have ever thought of would be a mentor to you. Most people will say yes to a mentor request, especially, as I mentioned earlier, if you’re not looking for something super time intensive, but just someone to give you a few pieces of advice and listen to you for a while. I actually mentored a young man, about a year ago, for a short bit. We ended up doing, we tried to set up zoom sessions, and our schedules didn’t align. So, it was all email. But I was able to help him by picking the right company. He was getting ready to graduate from college. And he saw me on LinkedIn and reached out. So again, since there’s so many ways to find a mentor. And I would also say LinkedIn, you know, and again, I failed to say this earlier, Matt, but, you know, we all can’t thank you enough for what you did to put this list of women together. And, you know, we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit. Now some of us are on the list. And I’ve gotten quite a few personal requests just for connecting with folks. But you know, LinkedIn is my favorite social media platform. If I had to ditch all but one, I would only keep LinkedIn. And I’ve met amazing people on LinkedIn. I have actually recently asked someone to be my mentor on LinkedIn, who I’ve been following and stalking for a while. So, LinkedIn, I guess my second answer, Fiona.
I’m a huge fan of LinkedIn. So, we have the Leading Ladies Of… Aerospace LinkedIn page and the Leading Ladies Of… Defense LinkedIn page. And between the two, we’ve got over 2000 members now. And my dream for those groups is that people look for other women in those groups and say, “Hey, can you can you be my mentor?” You know, I keep saying, “Hey, I don’t want this group to be the Fiona show. I want this to be our show.” And in fact, just yesterday, somebody went in there and said, I’m thinking of taking a step down to move to another company. Could people give me some advice, please? And people were responding and saying, “Yeah, I’ll jump on the phone with you, happy to talk to you about it.”
Yeah, you know, that’s mentoring. It doesn’t have to be this formal thing. It’s, you know, jumping into the group. But yeah, all those great organizations that I’ve mentioned that you’ve mentioned, for our listeners. If you head over to mckayunlimited.com, and hit podcasts, and it’ll take you to Jill’s page. And we’ll make sure that all the links to those organizations and those mentoring programs are in there. So, you know, get on the Leading Ladies Of… LinkedIn pages. Look at that and if you want something more formal, get on my website, and go head over to these amazing organizations.
Yeah, and then I wanted to mention that on LinkedIn, like LinkedIn is amazing, and I’m so happy that I could give this to all of you. This is what I was hoping would happen. And you heard that Jill’s a great coach and Fiona is an amazing coach as well. So, definitely reach out to her for mentorship. But also, I don’t know if I mentioned this already, but Jill’s a Leading Ladies Of… Aerospace as well. She made the list. And I don’t know if she’s mentioned that in her intro, but like, Jill, she’s also on that list as an amazing person. So definitely reach out to either one of them.
Oh, thank you, Matt. I am on the list. But you shouldn’t really talk about yourself. Other people should talk about you. Thank you, Matt. I appreciate that. Well Jill, Matt, it’s been a pleasure. I could talk to you all day long. But it’s Saturday, and I know you guys want to go enjoy your friends and family. So, thank you both for being here. And to all of our Leading Ladies and Male Allies listening, you know, thanks for tuning into the podcast, and we can’t wait until we meet again.
Thank you so much.
Jill Meyers has more than 30 years of experience in aviation and aerospace, including eight years active duty in the U.S. Air Force and more than 25 years supporting programs including the NATO Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), Global Hawk, the Eclipse 500 business jet, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. She owns an aviation management consulting business and provides her expertise to organizations around the world. One of her most rewarding roles was as the consultant to Indie Atlantic Films for production of their award-winning 2019 documentary film Fly Like A Girl. Jill is also a professional speaker represented by Changemaker Talent, with an inspirational keynote speech called “Shifting the Balance: Women in Aviation”. Jill holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and was elected to their Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2021. In recognition of her contributions to the industry and her many years of outreach and mentoring, Jill has received many awards and honors including being elected as a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2019.