Dawn Zoldi

DIVERSITY
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DEI Efforts
We have partnered with Women And Drones and the Diversity Development Network of Canada (DDNC) on a series of DEI efforts, including the first-of-its-kind Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) 2021 Survey Report!

The UAS/AAM DEI Survey Report culminates more than eight months of work that began in July 2021. At that time, the three companies collaborated to develop and implement a national survey to understand the current DEI status within the UAS and AAM sector. 

 

The survey remained open between August 6 and September 17, 2021. It probed a range of topics, including respondent organizations’ UAS/AAM size, location, funding, identity group composition at all levels, as well as their available DEI efforts and initiatives. The survey also addressed respondent perceptions relating to DEI and willingness to participate in future change-making programs.

 

The Vertical Flight Society (VFS), the world's only international technical society for engineers, scientists and others working to advance vertical flight technology, sponsored $50 gift cards in support of a random draw as an incentive for survey completion. Ultimately, over 1000 UAS/AAM industry professionals provided survey responses.

 

We then compiled and analyzed the data over the next several months. The data validated that women and other minority identity groups remain underrepresented in the UAS and AAM industry, particularly in leadership positions. The African American identity group consistently surveyed as the least represented across all employee categories (entrant, middle management, and leadership).

 

That said, respondents also expressed beliefs that DEI is important to the success of UAS/AAM and UAS/AAM-related businesses, that a lack of DEI would result in financial impacts to businesses and that it is important for the industry to understand the value DEI brings to the table. Perhaps most heartening, the data also indicated that the industry, as represented by respondents, desires change and that they are willing to help make that change happen. Specifically, almost all respondents expressed interest in participating in an UAS/AAM DEI Advisory Group (DAG) to provide industry input towards DEI, skills & competencies development, programming and training to ensure Industry relevance.

 

Recently, our companies released a free downloadable preliminary summary, consisting of the top ten industry takeaways from the survey. 

 

As an additional lead up to the Report’s final release, Sharon Rossmark, CEO Women And Drones, participated in a VFS DEI panel, Zoldi appeared on VFS’ new DiversiFlite Podcast and Zoldi and Conway Diels presented to the North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Know Before You Fly Your Drone Workshop

Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Legal and Business Considerations Textbook

Dawn Zoldi partnered with Women And Drones and the Diversity Development Network of Canada to create the UAS/AAM industry's benchmark diversity, equity and inclusion report.

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The 2021 UAS/AAM Industry DEI Survey Report provides the best insights into the status of DEI in the industry across a range of sectors in the market. The 100+ page downloadable PDF report combines survey findings and our proprietary research to establish the current DEI benchmark for the UAS and AAM industry. This is the first survey that specifically addresses DEI in the UAS and AAM industry. Prior to this effort, workforce composition research and reporting focused on the aerospace industry in general or the aerospace and defense industry. The survey specifically sought to create the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) baseline for the UAS and AAM industry. We wanted to know not only whether the UAS and AAM industry demographically resembles demographics similar to the general aerospace and aerospace and defense industries but also how industry participants viewed the current status, what DEI initiatives, programs and processes businesses and organizations within the industry have employed to bolster DEI, and which of those has been successful...or not.

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Dawn Zoldi

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