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The Women of the Airport Authority Reflect on Women’s History Month

Monday, March 28, 2022

In 1987, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the National Women’s History Week through the entire month of March. Since then, women’s accomplishments and contributions are celebrated and recognized every year during March across the United States.

At the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (Airport Authority), we recognize and honor the contributions of more than 140 women employees who play a significant role in the service provided every day to our region and our customers.

Our President and CEO Kimberly Becker was recently named to California Senator Toni G. Atkins’ list of outstanding “Women of the District.” Kim was selected by local community leaders in the 39th Senate District to this list of 26 accomplished women in our region.

Also of note, for the first time in our history more than half of the members serving on the Airport Authority Board are women (five of the nine members) who each individually are accomplished regional leaders. (Check out this blog post on these trailblazing women.)

In the spirit of Women’s History Month, eight Airport Authority women shared their insights on what it’s like to be a woman and what inspires them.

Jennifer Stiff, Senior Marketing Specialist

What is the key to finding a work/life balance?

Boundaries. As women, we’re often taught that it’s our job to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. If you’re one of those women, shout out to you for doing so much for so long, and I now give you permission to stop bearing that weight. For me, this concept was so foreign that I’ve had to work really hard to set boundaries that help me maintain my well-being. If you’re like me, start small. Start saying “no” to small things (a dinner you don’t really want to attend, a project you don’t have time for, but you don’t want to “look bad”) and see how good it feels. “No” is a complete sentence.

How do you support other women?

I think there are innumerable ways we can show up for each other, but something I’ve cultivated the last few years is a listening practice. I try to listen with every molecule in my physical, mental, and emotional body. We can listen without trying to fix, change, or problem solve. We can offer our undivided attention, without interjecting a personal narrative. Listening with full presence is a transformational means of supporting not just other women, but all humans.

Candice Potter, Executive Assistant, Development

What female, past or present, inspires you? 

I don’t have one woman that has inspired me, but rather, I feel incredibly fortunate to have been raised in a family of strong women. My grandma raised five kids, primarily on her own, in the 50s, 60s, 70s while my grandpa was a pilot in the Navy. Three of those kids were my dad’s sisters, all of which lived life on their terms and broke barriers in their way. Growing up and seeing what my aunts did and how they chose to live helped me realize life can be lived in more than one way and to pursue whatever I felt like doing. I don’t live a life that checks boxes but rather one that brings me joy.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

It’s a reminder of both how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go. We live in a country that told generations of little girls they could be anything they wanted and yet it took until 2020 to have a woman in the 2nd highest-ranking position in our government. Until women, who make up 50 percent of the population, are represented at 50 percent in our government and corporations we have work to do. Until the narrative around women leaders matches that of men, we have work to do. Until little girls aren’t just told they can be President but see a US President that looks like them, we have work to do.

Sharon Gonzales, Marketing Specialist II

What female, past or present, inspires you?

From the past, it must be Mother Teresa. Her faith, compassion, and love of all mankind is an inspiration to all. Her life story was also amazing. She was a tiny lady yet achieved so much good through hard work and was greatly loved by many.

I am also very impressed by several women I have known. Two of them are women that used to work at SAN. Susanna Peredo who used to work in the Arts Program, formed Vanguard Culture a non-profit organization in San Diego to promote the Arts; and Tira Hawthorn who formed Heartbeat Music Performing Arts Academy a non-profit organization for undeserving youth. The other women are fellow designers, Amy Jo and her sister Maelin Levine who created a design studio, Visual Asylum, but also formed a charter school, URBAN Discovery School which promotes design thinking and a good education in San Diego's inner city.

All these women created these wonderful community organizations while most being mothers and working to support themselves. These women's commitment, compassion, and passion to make a difference just amaze me.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

It's so important to recognize the history of women. For many centuries women had very few rights and yet still we hear of women who, against the odds achieved greatness and contributed much. This shows that women play an important part in civilization. As a woman, I feel very fortunate that I have the rights that I have because of the many women who sacrificed and fought for them.  Today we must realize that this fight is ongoing as we continue to be equally recognized and respected in the Western World and to help the many women in other parts of the world who are still struggling with little or no rights at all.

For more insight into the women of the Airport Authority check out the video below.