Aviation CEOs among Canada’s most influential women

By Don Fennell

Published 3:00 PST, Thu November 21, 2019

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Teara Fraser and Cathy Press are among some select company.

Fraser, who is the chief executive officer of Iskwew Air, and Press, head of Chinook Helicopters, have been named to the Women’s Executive Network 2019 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners list. Past winners include Canada’s most iconic and best-selling author Margaret Atwood, astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar, Venture Communications CEO Arlene Dickinson, Sleep Country Canada president Christine Magee, former Canadian governor-general Michaëlle Jean, Royal Bank chair Kathleen Taylor, and Indigo Books & Music founder Heather Reisman.

The award pays tribute to iconic Canadian female trailblazers who advocate for diversity in the workplace and inspire the next generation of leaders.

“They’re great people and I’m extremely pleased they’re receiving this recognition,” says Dave Frank, executive director of the BC Aviation Council. “They’ve done so much to enhance diversity in our industry that has been critically needed.”

Frank says they are not only exemplary figures, but their insight into the aviation industry is greatly appreciated. More than mentors, he says they have been heavily involved in recruiting women to the trade.

“Teara has introduced Give them Wings, introducing and inspiring Indigenous youth to the possibilities of flight,” he notes.

The aviation and aerospace industry is facing critical and growing human resources shortages in almost all areas—from pilots to machinists. Increasing the number of Indigenous Peoples and women in the industry is part of the solution, especially in remote communities.

Métis woman Fraser was named in the Trailblazers and Trendsetters Award category which recognizes women who have broken new ground with landmark achievements, forging pathways for future generations and making a great contribution to Canadian society.

Press was named in the Industry Sector and Trades category, which recognizes women who have made significant contributions to the advancement of women through their inspiring work and advocacy in underrepresented sectors. This award recognizes her vision and leadership—empowering women, creating change, and removing traditional barriers. 

“Today we are congratulating and celebrating the landmark achievements of these two extraordinary leaders. Cathy and Teara are courageous change-makers, strong role models, and brilliant entrepreneurs who are boldly making a difference in the aviation industry”, says Heather Bell, chair of BC Aviation Council.

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