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Celebrating 10 Years of WomenVenture on Wednesday, July 26

By Megan Esau

July 25, 2017 - What started in 2008 as a group photo to set a world record for the largest number of female pilots gathered in one place has grown into a massive annual WomenVenture event that draws nearly 1,000 women during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

What would come to be known as WomenVenture grew out of the Women in Aviation International (WAI) breakfast and the group photo on the plaza. Dr. Peggy Chabrian, WAI columnist Patricia Luebke, and former EAA VP of business development and donor relations Elissa Lines said their original goal for establishing the event was to give female pilots a place at a largely male-dominated convention.

“Over the years, the photo has become more inclusive,” Elissa said. “Women in aviation and student pilots were welcomed as a way to bring our WomenSoar You Soar participants into the experience. The goal was to invite all women pilots to embrace the role of mentorship — helping other women of all ages take that [next] step to achieve their personal dream of flight.”

The now-iconic WomenVenture photo is an annual staple of AirVenture. It not only garners attention for WAI and female pilots but also welcomes women as an integral part of the fly-in convention. Elissa said she wants female pilots to leave the event inspired and embracing roles as mentors for one another.

“Women helping women overcome the challenges, the fear, the uncertainties and achieving their dreams,” she said. “The percentage of women pilots among all pilots has been a difficult number to push forward. The rewards are tremendous, the opportunities are terrific, and the impact on one’s life is just amazing. We want to pass it on!”

Wednesday, July 26,  WomenVenture events:

  • Women in Aviation International (WAI) Connect Breakfast: 8 a.m. at the Nature Center
  • WomenVenture group photo: 11 a.m. on Boeing Plaza
  • WomenVenture Power Lunch, with guest speaker Dr. Janet Lapp: 11:30 a.m. at Theater in the Woods
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