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   Vol. 19 No. 45
Monday June 8, 2020
Jessica Tyler Next President AA Cargo
Jessica Tyler

With all of the difficulties people are facing in our industry these days, here is some great and hopeful news.
     Jessica Tyler will assume the role of President of American Airlines Cargo.
     The announcement expected in a few days will see Rick Elieson, current AA Cargo President capping a three-year tour of dramatic change for cargo at the carrier, moving on to work his magic for AA’s frequent flier program.
     We will talk about Rick later, but today this is about Jessica Tyler
     Not only will she be the first woman President in the 76-year history of AA Cargo, but FT learned she will additionally have expanded responsibilities over American's passenger operations.

One Smart Cookie

     We have covered Jessica since she served as American Airlines Managing Director of Cargo Culture and Transformation, where she led the implementation team in a very successful collaboration effort after the carrier chose IBS, to become one of a handful of carriers to leverage all of iCargo’s various modules.
Jessica was a key player as the airline moved toward a true end-to-end platform from booking to accounting and everything in between for air cargo.

The AA Cargo Control Center

All About Teamwork

     “I love supporting the teams that are driving culture and transformational efforts within our business,” Jessica said in 2018 describing the IBS integration effort.
     “So while my title seemed a bit fancy, it means that my team gets to think about and implement ways to support our people (no, I’m not HR) and how we move our business forward every single day.”

Lessons Learned

     “We certainly created some best practices for others to use, but we also created a lot of lessons learned that others benefited from as well.
     “One of which is, don’t underestimate change.
     “What seems like a minor change on paper can be a major change for the human being experiencing it.”

Carrying Change Forward

     Last October we spoke to Jessica in Dallas, (then VP Strategy & Development since September 2018) where we spent a few days.
     We were struck by the level of excitement and purpose as Jessica and team shared some thoughts.
     Jessica is such an amazing leader; she is inspiring and driven.

Tackling The Paperwork Jungle

     “When I first started supporting our transformational group,” she said, “I’d been around a bit so I understood the amount of paper in our process, or so I thought.
     “When you follow an auditor around, you see paper that supports the paper and we make an extra copy of that paper so that we can keep that on file.
     “You also see the files of paper that we have to keep around to show we follow policy and regulations.
     “I think if we can leverage technology more in this industry, it not only helps the environment and makes it easy to share and utilize information, I think we actually make this industry even safer than it is today (and it’s already safe!).”

Work Smarter Simply Adds Up

     “We could repurpose the human energy put into checking all the paper, to let humans do what they do best—share and learn from each other.
     “We should be putting our energy into teaching and supporting the teams that have to execute on the complex policies and regulations that we have in this industry,” Jessica Tyler said.

Jessica & Family Values

     “Honestly, my ‘look to’ role models are my parents. I admire the incredible sacrifices they made along the way to raise four children.
     “They owned a small business for 40 years and the work ethic, the constant reinventing of their business to stay competitive, the way they merged work and life, and the importance they put on education, are all things I try to emulate as a mom, and as a leader that supports super-talented people every day at work.

Diversity & Women in Air Cargo

Jessica Tyler and family     “I don’t love generalizing about any ‘group’ of people.
     “To say ‘women are talented at X’ is weird to me.
     “I get that men are from Mars and women are from Venus (remember that book!?) and that there are some real differences—believe me, I live with three sons, a male spouse, and a male dog, so I get it.
     “To me, diversity is about variation of thought, perspective, experiences, talent, etc. and it’s really hard to fully get that without a lot of different ‘groups’ represented.
     “It’s about coverage, not numbers.
     “One of my very first large integration meetings at American was a gathering of all the various leads from different divisions, maybe 75 people in all.
     “There were very few women and very few people under the age of 50.
     “Those were the ‘groups’ I could visually see underrepresented, but I’m sure there were other diverse experiences we were missing and I’m sure there were other diverse talent/experiences that were present that I couldn’t see with my eyes.
     “I typically don’t notice things like that, but it was so evident it was hard to miss.
     “That was some years ago and I’m happy to say that today we are way more focused than ever on the diversity needed to make this great company even stronger.”

Why The Math Matters

     “I love math, but not in the way that most math nerds love math.
     “I love a good debate around chaos theory. I believe that order is possible in the midst of mayhem.
     “I honestly think a mathematical mind is what keeps me calm in the midst of craziness.
     “I don’t love spreadsheets or modeling or any of that, what I love about math concepts is that no matter the challenge if you work creatively enough, you’ll find a fit—a model, a structure, or a framework. It might not be perfect, but it might just get you there—you’ll see the order out of what was once clutter.
     “All life and work challenges are that same way.
     “There is always a way, no matter the challenge.
     “I don’t use all of the upper-level math I learned, but I definitely use the concepts all the time.
     “I think of culture like a network (and not in the airline sense of the term).
     “I’ve always thought of leaders as the nodes in a network.
     “Formal and informal leaders are the hubs of care, influence, and information.      “They are the connectors.
     “Just like we think about ways to optimize our hubs as an airline, I think about how we equip and support the critical nodes of the people network.
     “If they aren’t supported and ready, the network of people falls apart.
     “If you support those critical connectors—the people hubs of the network—the right way, anything is possible.”

It Takes Good Timing

      Jessica who takes command of AA Cargo as the world recovers from the worst global pandemic in recent history, an event that has impacted the airlines like no other, went on the record with these thoughts two years ago.
      Fast forward to the Summer of 2020 and here is someone whose words seem to get it about the world of tomorrow.
      Jessica is no overnight sensation but rather a transformational leader in a time of change like no other.
      “Our projects and the people involved are what I think about as I fall asleep and it’s first on my mind in the morning.
      “Every single day our team is working to ensure that not only do we have a smooth technology transition, which is complex enough to cause stress and angst, but most importantly, that our team and customers are ready when they need to be.
      “Taking care of our team and involving everyone along the way so that we all own this transformation is an every-day priority.”

Good Timing
If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
Access complete issue by clicking on issue icon or
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Vol 19. No. 44
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