'To this day I think of her with a debt of gratitude'
In honor of Women's History Month, each week we will profile one of the many strong and inspirational women of United. Follow along throughout the month of March to learn more about their stories.
ORD Airport Operations Ramp Service Manager, Julie Ashley
Growing up, Julie always wanted to work for an airline. Throughout her childhood, her mother had two very good friends who traveled the world — one was an ice skater for the Ice Capades and the other was a flight attendant.
"I loved to hear their stories of travel," Julie recalled. "Since I didn't know how to ice skate, becoming a flight attendant seemed like the best option as, in those times, there were limited roles in an airline for a woman."
After realizing she would never meet the height requirement, Julie decided to pursue a different career. One day, a colleague of Julie's (who also worked for United) encouraged her to apply for a position with the company. Now, after nearly 30 years at United, Julie has made many memories throughout her career. Most fondly, she remembers a woman who inspired her early in her career. "I did not work for her but had many opportunities to observe her. She was impressive in every way. She knew her business, she was kind and supportive of her team, she was confident and never shied away from difficult situations or conversations," Julie recalled. "What impressed me the most is how she worked with others — she always found a way to say yes to work together and help someone. To this day, I think of her with a debt of gratitude for helping to shape me into the leader I am today." Julie serves as just one great example of the strong women of United, and she is now doing her part to support and inspire fellow women colleagues and young girls pursuing careers in aviation.
"There are so many wonderful roles in aviation that are greatly underrepresented by women. Considering a position in what may be considered a non-traditional role for women can be very rewarding," said Julie. "Whatever you may choose to do, do it well, know your stuff, find ways to work successfully with others, and never feel like you don't belong. Women often bring a completely different perspective to the table, which is very important to finding successful outcomes to issues."