It has been a fact of life
in the air cargo industry that women have been relegated to positions
of lesser importance than their male counterparts. Not much has changed
in the sixty-odd years since modern air cargo was born above the Himalayas,
when military supply flights were flown by the China-India-Burma Hump
pilots – the transport arm of the famed Flying Tigers.
“The old boy’s club,”
is how dynamic Lisa Marie Turpin, top executive at Air Canada Cargo, described
the situation recently in an interview with Air Cargo News FlyingTypers
at CNS in California.
Lisa’s talk with us was gently interlaced
with a genuine smile, which only shows that in 2009 there are surely some
females who have broken through the glass ceiling that once held women
back from top air cargo posts.
Lisa is one of many great female air cargo
pioneers who comprise a growing list of top women managers in our industry.
We dedicate this issue of our exclusive Women in Air Cargo Series to a
very special woman who is not unlike Lisa.
Air Cargo News FlyingTypers is
proud to mark the Second Anniversary of gathering and publishing these
exclusive stories. (See below for past articles)
We are honored to be the first and only
publishers of a continued series that recognizes women of our industry.
some advancement, it is not unfair to say that women in air cargo are
a rare occurrence when one examines the Middle East.
But there are signs of change, even in the
most rigid environments.
We met up with Budoor Al Mazmi at Emirates
Airline headquarters. She is Cargo Commerical Manager at SkyCargo.
The first thing one notices about Budoor
is her level gaze, bright smile and traditional Arab Abaya and Hijab.
She is dressed all in black as are many women in this region, whether
at business or at home. It is a matter of tradition and pride.
I have always wondered why anyone should
find anyone else’s manner of dress unusual.
In America, one of our most popular singing
icons, the legendary late Johnny Cash spent the last fifty years of his
life dressed head to toe in black and nobody thought very much of it.
Even at 71 years old, he was still dying his hair jet black.
The point, I suppose, is that one should
be as comfortable in one’s own clothes as in one’s own skin.
“I have been in air cargo for eight
of my nine years at Emirates,” Budoor says.
“The opportunity here at SkyCargo
is both wonderful and challenging. At one point I was actually moved into
the passenger operation for eight months, but when that mobility assignment
ended I was very glad to come back to cargo.
“My job here involves looking after
IT service delivery to our outstations where I am in constant communication
with people across our growing world network.
“It’s both exciting and quite
gratifying to work at building SkyCargo into a vital global resource.
“I love the ability to communicate
with people of different cultures and lifestyles all over the world while
we are working together toward a common goal.
“Best of all I am proud to represent
Dubai as perhaps the only ongoing direct contact between here and many
of our colleagues and customers.
“The thing about the air cargo business
is that progress to new ideas and formulas is continual and discovery
is simply the way of life around here.
“Put another way – there is
never a dull moment around here.”
We wonder where Budoor might imagine her
career is leading?
We ask if she might see herself eventually
stationed at one of those faraway places with which she is in daily communication.
She brightens at the thought and says:
“My family is very traditional, so
we are taking my career step by step.”
It’s a good answer from a smart and
savvy lady who gives every indication that nothing will hold her back.
As women move further upward in the management
scheme, it is certain there is no turning back, and no need to turn back.
Credit must also go to Emirates for bringing
the best and the brightest from the UAE into the great world airline building.
Budoor’s boss Peter Sedgley, Senior
VP Commercial Operations, Emirates SkyCargo has no doubt at all what she
brings to the table.
“Budoor was instrumental in setting
up our cargo offices in the new headquarters.
“She is quite organized, methodical
and also imaginative, taking every project from start to finish and with
great attention to detail.
“Budoor Al Mazmi is very much the
future of this airline,” Mr. Sedgley declared.