Stephanie Don grew up in two worlds, with a single foot firmly planted in each individual: the environment of her mother’s spouse and children in Spain, and the area she was born, the United States.
Her very first language was Spanish, and whilst developing up in Washington DC her mother ensured she would not fail to remember it.
“When I was very little, she would drag me to Spain each individual summer months,” Dress in recalls. “I just required to be a regular child that could go to summer months camp with her mates.
“But now as I glance back again, that was the ideal present she ever gave me.”
Wear, now 38, has utilized that present wisely, and designed an thrilling aviation career for herself on each sides of the Atlantic.
Soon after graduating from a US college with a diploma in global small business and politics, she went to Tenerife, the greatest of Spain’s Canary Islands, and worked for the neighborhood chamber of commerce, the tourism business and convention bureau.
Immediately after a decade and a half, she returned to the United states and joined Philadelphia Global airport as director of air support improvement and cargo products and services. In late 2021, Wear went again to Europe, getting vice-president of aviation growth at London Gatwick airport, the continent’s 10th largest.
“It’s a quite dynamic role,” she says. “It involves classic air assistance progress – making certain that our incumbent carriers are as profitable as feasible and supporting carriers that are setting up their existence right here at Gatwick with their advertising and marketing endeavours.
“As we’re coming out of the pandemic, Gatwick has plans to construct again even superior, and to expand to 70 million passengers per year by 2029,” she adds.
Have on was informed of the value of aviation from an early age. Her father worked for the United States Company for Worldwide Advancement, the authorities company accountable for civilian international help and enhancement help.
“He relied on traveling to do his job. I observed how travel can link individuals and cultures, and can transfer merchandise, acquire economies and change the entire world,” she says.
“I came at aviation via a facet doorway. Tourism is the financial driver of the Canary Islands, and with no it, the islands would be nothing at all,” she suggests. “Without air provider, there would be no tourism. Aviation is an amazing industry. It’s total of interesting folks.”
As a minority in a male-dominated field, even though, she in some cases felt pressured into staying a thing she was not.
“At the commencing of my occupation, I attempted to costume a lot more mature. I would dye my hair actually darkish, I’d use big pearls, and I’d have on beiges and browns and blacks and do anything I could to make myself look older and additional critical. I identified myself adopting a bit of a brash personality. I nearly took on this persona to try to make myself much more forceful simply because I felt like I necessary to be that way to have my voice read.”
With time, though, and as she received self-assurance, she recognised that staying her authentic self was a lot a lot more precious.
True Design and style
“I am every single bit as very good if not greater than the people today that I’m sitting down at the table with, and I realised my real type basically has a great deal of advantages,” she suggests.
But the field is difficult, and demands a wonderful offer from these who want to succeed in it, she adds. Extensive hrs and a great deal of versatility coupled with persistent bias normally would make it more durable for women of all ages to get forward.
“If you host an celebration, and the networking factor of the occasion is golf, for case in point, you are heading to go away a whole lot of people today out,” she states. “I do not engage in golfing, and not taking part in golf has saved me out of discussions and networking alternatives.”
When her personalized evolution has aided her come to be far more relaxed, she claims the industry is starting to change, much too.
“We’ve taken a huge phase forward in the final 10 decades,” Use notes. “There’s an recognition now that wasn’t there right before. Now we have to have to choose the next action, which is to get started applying modifications and distinctive behaviors in get to foster a far better place of work for women.”
“It’s however quite difficult for a woman to crack into the C-suite. We’re viewing additional gals in senior leadership roles, but we really do not have plenty of in the C-suite,” she adds.
From time to time, having said that, it is gals by themselves who be reluctant in building those people audacious, daring choices that could aid get them there, and get there speedier.
“It’s harder for girls to take hazards and to be bold in their occupation selections mainly because even if you really don’t have young children, you’re even now a sister, a spouse or a spouse, a daughter, you’re a ideal pal, you have a circle that depends on you,” she states.
“But each individual time I have produced that daring alternative – the difficult decision to move much absent from my household, to relocate and to go to a various tradition – it’s been exceptionally fulfilling, and I have never ever regretted it.
“Being smart, and being bold in your selections is seriously crucial for ladies in this industry,” she claims.
And there is no doubt that Wear has her eyes on the ultimate prize.
“I want to be CEO of an airport one particular day. Fingers down. I will not halt until finally I get there.”