Women in Aviation and Logistics (WAL), a movement for positive change, has launched its mentorship scheme and has participants matching 27 industry leaders, including 16 women and 11 men, with aspiring female professionals from across the globe.
The free-to-join program will run until April, with mentors and mentees making a minimum four-hour commitment over four months.
Participants will provide their feedback and lessons learnt at the end of their mentorship for further improvement of the program.
Mentors and mentees taking part in the scheme come from different parts of the supply chain, including airlines, forwarders, tech and drone companies, airports, and associations.
"We have received encouraging feedback from mentors and mentees who have already started their journey on the program," said Emma Murray, chief executive officer and founder, Meantime Communications, and co-Founder, WAL.
"Once we have our first wave completed, we will review and have every confidence that we will be able to set up a second wave in the autumn with a view to establishing a rolling mentorship scheme."
The mentorship program is designed to grow and empower female professionals who will be the future heads of cargo companies and board members.
This new generation of leaders will be in charge of the air cargo industry, which will be sustainable, diverse, and even more resilient to future shocks.
"I hope that my experience of the air cargo industry will be helpful in ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity of succeeding in what is a vitally important global service," said Tristan Koch, chief commercial officer, Awery, and WAL mentor.
"I was fortunate to be one of the inaugural mentors on the American Airlines' mentorship program promoting female development throughout the company. I saw the incredible success stories that emanated from that and am keen to take that to the wider industry. As a father of two daughters, I also see it as a good investment!"
Each mentorship is tailored to the individual's needs with the WAL team, which includes Change Horizon and Meantime Communications, providing the framework and guidelines.
"The mentoring program and database of speakers are concrete steps that can change the tone of the entire industry," said Megha Palkar, assistant manager, Cargo iQ, and WAL mentee.
"I am looking forward to learning from the experience of 'people that made it' and making air cargo a more innovative and equitable space for all."
The mentorship is one of a number of initiatives launched by WAL since March 2021, including starting a database of female experts willing to speak at events and join boardrooms, launching an industry pledge to encourage commitment to gender diversity, and monitoring gender balance at online and in-person events.
"This year we want to double the number of female experts on our database from 43 to 86," said Céline Hourcade, Founder and Managing Director, Change Horizon, and co-Founder, WAL.
"We are encouraged as at least eight organisations have started to use the database and improved the gender diversity at their events, on their Boards, and in their articles. We now need more women covering all areas of expertise to give no excuse to all-male line ups at events! The average for 2021 was 16 percent women speakers; we want to meet an average of 25 percent this year."
The WAL movement is also calling for event organisers to start monitoring and reporting on their gender balance.
The pledge already has 113 signatories, including seven associations and networks, 19 corporates, three media outlets, and 84 individuals.