Realizing Our Full Potential

What a remarkable time this is for AIAA and our members. I am honored to be leading the Institute during this time of such great promise for the future.

AIAA has undergone numerous changes to manage through the global pandemic while continuing to provide forums for sharing scientific discoveries, engineering advances, and new technical capabilities, and never slowing down on celebrating our aerospace history and achievements. These activities have been successful in spite of ongoing COVID-related constraints on travel and physical gatherings. Throughout this incredibly challenging period, AIAA has maintained a high standard of service to the industry and our members by rapidly flexing and learning to work in new ways thanks to the leadership of Immediate Past President Basil Hassan and the creativity of the AIAA staff.

We now have the opportunity to embrace the lessons of the last two years to build on the strengths of AIAA with new capabilities and expanded models for technical engagement. We can increase and simplify the ability of members to access ideas and information that are relevant to their work.

As I proposed when I put my name on the ballot, I want every member to realize the benefits of AIAA membership that have been so much a part of my life and career for the past 30+ years. I want each of you to leverage AIAA offerings to easily:

• Expand your knowledge and skills in ways that are relevant to your career direction
• Share your ideas with colleagues working in your field of interest or on similar projects, wherever they reside, to advance technology and the performance of the systems that you are working to develop and support
• Publish the results of your work in archival records that will in turn generate further ideas and advancements
• Engage decision makers to inform and influence aerospace and defense policy
• Participate in the development of standards that improve efficiency and safety across the industry
• Recognize your colleagues at all levels for their technical and leadership contributions to aerospace, and for supporting the career growth of fellow members

These activities have always been strengths of AIAA, but may not have been easy for all members to access and navigate. I will work to advance our infrastructure and offerings so members will feel motivated to connect routinely using a refreshed AIAA multipronged digital presence, allowing them to access current information and live events relevant to their technical discipline and the aerospace programs that they support. Our new tools will better unite people with common interests. Members will be able to engage seamlessly at local, national, and international levels.

To accomplish this, I will focus on four areas:

• Providing tools and resources that meet the needs and expectations of today’s technical professionals
• Supporting career advancement and furthering the success of our members by helping them build technical and leadership skills that are applicable to their chosen career paths
• Enabling members to explore multiple interest areas by providing content-rich forums and events, and increased opportunities to engage with others who are working in related fields and areas of discovery
• Recognizing our members publicly and within their home organizations for technical and leadership contributions to advance aerospace, and for their volunteer efforts that enhance our activities.

Throughout my professional life, AIAA membership has allowed me to engage in numerous technical and leadership activities that have enhanced my skills and brought great personal satisfaction. I’ve been able to influence aspects of the aerospace and defense industry that were sometimes unrelated to my work. I’ve developed deep professional relationships that have sustained and grown, independent of changing job assignments. I’ve been heartened to see colleagues ascend to the highest levels of leadership and be lauded for their innovations to address critical problems, advance the state of the art, and contribute to the performance and capabilities of leading-edge systems. I’ve been exhilarated to see teams who took on and succeeded at missions that tested the limits of our technology and ingenuity.

I want all our members to be similarly inspired and value their membership as much as I do. There is incredible strength in AIAA, and unlimited opportunity for the future. For the next two years, I will be focused on advancing our products and capabilities, to assist you – our exceptionally talented members – to realize your full potential in your aerospace endeavors.

Laura McGill, AIAA President (2022–2024) Credit: McGill

Realizing Our Full Potential