Blazing a path in technology
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."