United Women: In her own words... - United Hub

In her own words...

By The Hub team, November 01, 2019

Amelia Earhart said,

"My ambition is to have this wonderful gift produce practical results for the future of commercial flying and for the women who may want to fly tomorrow's planes."

Earhart's words and actions have been an inspiration for generations of women hoping to fly. However, the aviation industry is still a male-dominated field so we asked some of United's women in charge to share their inspiration and the secrets to success in their own words.

Jill Kaplan

Hi! My name is Jill Kaplan.

I live in New York and my favorite part about working/playing here is everything!

I am the New York/New Jersey President at United Airlines.

I am most proud of raising two young women who, while not perfect, are smart, hardworking and ambitious as well as kindhearted, thoughtful and open-minded and have supported me taking risks in order to build my career and in turn support my family.

My great grandma was an entrepreneur in the auto industry and leader before her time. She was 4'10" and inspired me because she was fearless, tough, smart, hardworking, socially intuitive while also being kind, generous and cared deeply about her employees and customers.

The world needs more female leaders so that younger generations can be inspired to go out of their comfort zone and realize that there are no roadblocks in achieving your desired goal.

As a woman working in the aviation industry, time has been the greatest challenge for me because there is no shortage of opportunities to explore, issues to tackle, customers and employees to speak with, new initiatives to launch, community events to participate in and the list goes on and on …

My best advice for other women in aviation is to speak up, ask for what you want, be bold and never be afraid to question something you don't understand, don't agree with or [that] makes you uncomfortable.

Janet Lamkin

Hi! My name is Janet Lamkin.

I live in San Francisco, and my favorite part about working/playing here is the beauty of this remarkable city and the ability to walk through the neighborhoods.

I am the California President at United Airlines.

I am most proud of the fact that I didn't follow the advice of many and instead listened to my inner voice and took a different course than many of my friends after college. My husband and I traveled and lived abroad, and then we put one another through graduate school while the norm was to buy a house and start a family.

There are several famous women who have inspired me over the years, but my true inspiration comes from my local group of women leaders/friends who work hard every day determined to navigate their lives with grace, fairness, and compassion and to feel good about what they have done at the end of the day. There is a small group of us that connects on a regular basis to check in on jobs/family/life and we support one another in everything we do. Our tag name is Artemis. A Greek goddess who was very powerful and healing!

The world needs more female leaders so that different leadership styles can be highlighted and modeled.

As woman working in the aviation industry, I am excited to be in the world of travel. When I was 16 I traveled to Guadalajara and it changed by life. I was excited to explore different thoughts, cultures, etc. and it served as a strong motivation through school. Our industry has so many opportunities to bring the joy and value of travel to so many.


Sharon Grant

Hello! My name is Sharon T. Grant.

I live in Chicago, IL (USA), and my favorite part about working here is learning something brand new about the aviation industry every day.

My favorite part about playing here is it never gets old just hanging at the airport gazing at our planes taking off and landing.

I am the Vice-President, Chief Community Engagement Officer at United Airlines.

I am most proud of seeing the many colleagues I have managed take on new roles and leadership positions across the company.

Dr. Condoleezza Rice is a leader who inspires me because she was the first female African-American Secretary of State commanding the highest position of leadership responsible for guiding the relations of the US with the world. She embodies the utmost of power, dignity and grace.

The world needs more female leaders so that we can advance the pace of creativity and innovation. Until we close the gap of diversity in thought and action, we will not realize our fullest potential.

As a woman working in the aviation industry, balancing work and family has been the greatest challenge for me. Rising to this challenge has sharpened my strengths and I am grateful to have raised four children during my 26 years in the industry.

My best advice for other women in aviation is to take risks by pursuing various careers throughout your service in the industry. The aviation industry provides a rich and diverse spectrum of challenging fields, in many of which women are still largely underrepresented. The future of our growth and success is dependent on women owning a seat at every table of the organization. The future generation of women leaders is looking to you to keep paving the way.

Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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