Blazing a path in technology - United Hub
women's history month

Blazing a path in technology

By The Hub team, March 21, 2017

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.

IT Applications Development Manager, Erica Henson

Erica was just 10 years old when her father, impressed with how her mind worked, told her she was destined for a career in programming and computer science.

At the time, Erica refused this prediction, thinking that she was destined for a career in music. Fast forward to today, and Erica's father can proudly say, "I told you so."

"After my first taste in school of what computer science could offer the world, I can see in hindsight this was my destiny," said Erica. "I spent a lot of time fighting it, but when I look back, I see a fairly obvious pattern of what I was meant to do. Even in the most trying situations, the truth is the work we do matters."

Erica has been with United since 1997, and in her 20-year journey at the company, she has contributed to many airline-industry firsts. From helping build the first network domain at Continental, to taking an active role in developing the technology and processes to ensure compliance with the Sarbanes Oxley Act and being part of the team that created the first direct channel for companies like Orbitz and Travelocity to book tickets directly with airlines, Erica has faced and conquered many challenges throughout her career.

The list of Erica's roles and achievements is long. Most notably, she was part of the post-9/11 emergency team brought in to make changes to the SPS (Security Profile System). More recently, Erica was involved in rolling out Agile, which helps us accelerate delivery between our airline and our customers.

When Erica was growing up, there wasn't much emphasis on getting girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, but Erica proves that the presumptions in a male-dominated field didn't stand in her way.

"The best thing to help counter the idea that women don't belong in STEM careers is to become a fixture," said Erica. "Don't ever let anyone lead you away from what you want to achieve."

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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