Meet the NGPA Women's Committee

by Women's Committee Co-Chairs 

NATASCHA FULLER NGPA member since 2009
KIERSTEN ORRICK NGPA member since 2018

"The NGPA Women’s Committee strives to give a voice to the women of the LGBT aviation community. Our vision is twofold: to give women in our industry a structure through which to meet and connect as well as become a constant, visible presence that provides resources and community to pilots. We aim to push for more inclusion within the NGPA and the larger aviation profession. Our primary goal is to develop consistent communication with members and focus on recruitment that engages more women in aviation. It is an important committee that can make a difference and have a great time while doing so."

What is the Women’s Committee? It is a unique group of females from all aspects of the aviation community. From General Aviation enthusiasts to all-female airline crews to female fighter pilots, NGPA women can find a cohesive environment within the organization itself and the wider aviation community.

A top goal of this fledgling committee is increased female membership and participation in the NGPA. Other important goals focus on resources that female-identifying members can take advantage of, specifically professional development. Other initiatives address interview and résumé preparation, mentoring, and preventive measures related to homophobia and sexism. We are dedicated to actively working with other NGPA groups, including the Transgender and Military Committees, to facilitate building a stronger network.

While women only make up roughly 6% of pilots worldwide, they are also underrepresented in other aspects of aviation. It is important to celebrate the successes and accomplishments of women worldwide, and this is at the heart of the committee.

In the summer of 2018, the committee co-chairs conducted a climate survey. The results of that survey identified key issues around which we are building an action plan. A few of these issues include:

  • Increasing inclusivity and changing the image of lesbians/women in the industry.

  • Educating all pilots on sexism, bias, and workplace hostility.

  • Increasing outreach to young girls and women to help them join the industry.

  • Working with the FAA on outdated gender identification systems.

Getting involved is easy. Upcoming events provide opportunities for volunteering and help with workshop planning. We are in the infancy of the committee and want women to be involved and feel energized by what we have planned over the next couple of years. Increasing our capacity at regional and local chapter events is a fantastic way to be more involved. The NGPA's Winter Warm-Up presented by United Airlines in Palm Springs includes a women’s brunch on Sunday, February 10. The Committee is also organizing several key events at Women in Aviation in LGB. As details unfold visit our Facebook page “Women of NGPA” and keep an eye out for emails with updates!

If there is a special role you’d like to take on at our events or have suggestions, please do not hesitate to email us at [email protected].

Kiersten Orrick is an A320 First Officer for American Airlines based in LAX. After attending her first Winter Warm-Up in Palm Springs, she wanted to further connect and advocate for women pilots from all facets of the industry. That initiative led her to a new leadership position on the Women’s Committee. She wants to see the women membership grow massively to the point where they can hold their own events at different places around the world and believes it can be done within five years. Also, she would like more advocacy involvement in all types of women’s groups. She hopes all the female members enjoy the adventure of flying and have fun while doing it. There isn’t a mountain high enough when you love flying!

Fun Fact: She can do a walking handstand!

Natascha Fuller currently flies the B737 for Southwest Airlines and holds type ratings for the CRJ and B757/767. She enjoys volunteering and participating at NGPA events, a perfect avenue to network and make friends. From an early age, she has noticed an underrepresentation of the LGBTQ community, and by extent women, all around her. In high school, she worked with legislators to save gay-straight alliances. This brought together two different communities for a common purpose; a safe, after-school club. Her committee role allows her more engagement with female-identifying members and ensures their voices are heard within the NGPA. In the next five years, her vision is to see a boost in female membership and participation at events as well as professional development workshops geared toward women in the industry. Her advice for the new generation of aviators is to support and celebrate others’ successes like they were your own and utilize your mentors. Don't forget to have fun!

Fun Fact: As a kid, I was taught to put my baby teeth under the pillow for money. The Tooth Fairy still owes me for the two baby teeth I still have. With inflation, I imagine it’ll be $5/ tooth!

Committee member Jan Anderson has been a member since 1998 and currently finished her first year as the NGPA Vice President. From 1998-2003 she served as the Women’s Coordinator and served on the Scholarship Selection Committee from 1998-2017. She is a CA on the 737 for American Airlines based in ORD and celebrated her 30-year anniversary with them recently! 

Fun Fact: Other than having an avid love for her wife Koré, family, horses, and sports. Jan has a passion for antique African Trade Beads…the kind your mom and dad had back in the '60s and '70s. Those “Hippie Beads” they use to wear were made by hand in the 1500s–1800s by glass bead makers in Europe and are now very collectible. You may see her wearing them. If so, feel free to ask her about them because she would love to tell you!

Committee member Kathy Dulson joined the NGPA in 2007. She is currently a member of its Board of Directors and also volunteers annually in the NGPA booth at the Women in Aviation (WAI) conference. She is currently on the Chapters Committee, Membership Committee, and Governance Committee. Kathy is a First Officer on the 757/767 for United Airlines based at LAX.

Fun fact: My backup career if I couldn’t be a pilot was to be a professional bowler. I’m glad the flying worked out!

Committee member Leslie Altman is a recent member, having joined the NGPA in 2014. She is one of the copy editors for Contrails and volunteers with registration for the Winter Warm-Up presented by United Airlines and its accompanying Industry Expo in Palm Springs each February. She can also be seen in the NGPA booth at the Women in Aviation (WAI) Conference. As a pilot spouse, she flies the “virtual airplane" of aviation enthusiasm! She loves continually learning about aviation and the airline industry through the NGPA, which welcomes spouses and partners to be part of its inclusive and supportive family.

Fun Fact: She always asks for a window seat!