Northern Lights Aero Foundation 2020 Award Recipients
Celebrating the leadership of women in Canadian aviation and aerospace
January 18, 2021 By Wings Staff
The Northern Lights Aero Foundation every year recognizes leading contributions of eight Canadian women in aerospace and aviation, highlighting the diverse career opportunities available to young people based on seven program categories, including: Business, education, engineering, flight operations, government, trailblazer, and rising star. Named after aviation pioneer and human rights advocate Elsie Gregory MacGill, the Elsie Awards provides a platform for those entering the industry to aspire too.
Business Award | Nancy Barber
Barber was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Bombardier Aviation in July 2020 and is responsible for harmonizing operational processes across all manufacturing sites. Prior to this, Barber was COO of Final Assembly Line and Deliveries for Learjet, Challenger and Global aircraft programs in production at Bombardier’s facilities in Montreal, Toronto, and Wichita, as well as the business unit’s Procurement function. Barber was also instrumental in the creation of Bombardier’s Women in Leadership conference and is a mentor in the Northern Lights mentorship program.
Education Award | Jo-Anne Tabobandung
Tabobandung is the Dean of Aviation at the First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. FNTI delivers the only Indigenous post-secondary Aviation program of its kind in Canada, serving First Nations, Metis and Inuit people from coast-coast-coast. She graduated from the program in 1992, and has flown for the company Charter service and held the position of Chief Flight Instructor for 14 years.
Engineering Award | Kathryn Atamanchuk, P.Eng., MBA, PMP, FEC
After completing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manitoba in 1999, Atamanchuk began her career at StandardAero as a T56 Service Engineer. In her 13 years at StandardAero, she gained experience in both technical and engineering leadership roles while also completing an MBA. For the last eight years, Atamanchuk has been an Engineer-in-Residence and Industry Partnerships Facilitator for the Price Faculty of Engineering at the University of Manitoba.
Flight Operations Award | Stacey Jackson
With over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry, Jackson has done mountainous, glider and medevac flying and captained a Dash-7 for the United Nations in the Middle East and Africa. She received an Honours Diploma in Aviation Flight Technology from Sault College, a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics, Summa Cum Laude, and a Master of Science in Aeronautics, specializing in human factors and aircraft accident investigation, at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Jackson is a current aircraft accident investigator with the Air Line Pilots Association, representing the WestJet Airlines, where she operates a B737NG.
Government Award | Lieutenant Colonel Diane Baldasaro
A graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada, Baldasaro received her pilot wings and flew the CC-130 Hercules at 435 Squadron in Winnipeg. After promotion to Aircraft Commander, she became an Instrument Check Pilot and Squadron Standards Pilot at 436 Squadron in Trenton. Following four deployments to Afghanistan, Baldasaro advanced to Major as Squadron Aircrew Leader. Next, she was posted to 2 Canadian Forces Flying Training School as Chief Flying Instructor. Returning to Trenton, Baldasaro completed the Joint Command and Staff College program, then became Deputy 8 Wing Operations Officer. Promoted to her current rank of Lt. Colonel, she was Operational Planning Team Lead for the RCAF Air Test and Evaluation Rebalance.
Trailblazer Award | Honorary Colonel Kendra Kincade
Kincade worked as an Air Traffic Controller for nearly 20 years, until transitioning to her role as NAV Canada’s Employee Brand Specialist. In 2015, Kincade founded Elevate, a non-profit devoted to helping women realize their potential, where she is currently Chair and Executive Director. Elevate is a support network for women in aviation, with a mentorship and bursary program and the Elevate Aviation Learning Centre that inspires the pursuit of careers in the industry. Kincade is an Honorary Colonel of the RCAF 417 Helicopter Squadron.
Rising Star Award | Maegan Extross
Extross earned her Glider Pilot’s License and Private Pilot’s Licenses through the Air Cadet program, before graduating as a Warrant Officer Second Class in 2015. She attended the Aviation Safety Advanced Diploma Program at Seneca College, where she became the President of the Seneca Aviation Association in her first year. Extross was chosen to be the Valedictorian of her class and graduated with Honours. She completed a co-op term with NAV CANADA, where she was hired full-time after her graduation in 2018. She works as a Research Analyst, providing traffic and safety analysis.
Rising Star Award | Kathleen Legge
Legge received her wings at age 17 through the Air Cadet Power Pilot Scholarship and then completed the Integrated Commercial Pilot Course, both at Moncton Flight College. Legge transitioned to a flight-line position, flying cargo on the Cessna Caravan and operating single pilot to challenging Maritime destinations. Legge was later hired as a King Air 200 Captain for Maritime Air Charter. In addition to being Assistant Chief Pilot, Company Aviation Safety Officer, and Marketing Manager, she is also the Director of Flight Operations.