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Margaret Soda on Leadership, Women in the Aviation Workforce and Career Advice

January 10, 2023

Margaret Soda on Leadership, Women in the Aviation Workforce and Career Advice

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are spotlighting Margaret Soda, Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations. Margaret talks about her role on the executive team, her thoughts about bringing women into the aviation industry and her advice to those who want to pursue a career in aviation.

Like many of our team members, Margaret Soda’s career took some twists and turns before she landed at PSA Airlines. She began her career in the manufacturing industry after studying labor relations in college. Her journey took her to Air Wisconsin Airlines in 2007, where she fell in love with aviation. While at Air Wisconsin, she worked in Employee Relations and climbed the ladder to Managing Director. She took an opportunity at a different company in her hometown in Wisconsin, but several years later, that company went through an acquisition and subsequently closed the plant where she was working. At the same time, PSA was in the midst of exponential growth and looking for an executive to head the Human Relations Department. With the industry experience Margaret possessed of leading change and growth, it was the perfect fit.

Throughout Margaret’s career of working in manufacturing and aviation, she has been in many situations where she was surrounded by male colleagues, but she said at PSA she doesn’t feel like the only woman in the room. Does being the only woman on the executive team mean she champions a voice for women at PSA? Margaret doesn’t see it that way.

“I don’t feel I champion a voice for only women because I feel I champion a voice for all team members,” she said. “I never looked at influencing or changing the perceptive of my peers because I am a female voice. To me, it is more of what I have to say, my knowledge and experience. My voice is heard equally with this team and that is one of the reasons I enjoy working here.”

There are some positions in the aviation industry that are generally held by men, but Margaret said that shouldn’t stop a woman from pursuing a career in aviation.

“I do acknowledge that certain career tracks tend to be more male-dominated such as Tech Ops, Dispatch and Pilots, where the population of females shrinks to roughly 5% in those roles across the industry,” Margaret said. “To that end, females perusing careers in those roles should know they can find support, friends and mentors in other departments.”

At PSA, women make up nearly 35% of all team members.

Margaret sees a bright future for PSA through the programs put in place to create opportunities for bringing in a diverse workforce. She also said she remembers a comment by entrepreneur Warren Buffett about the impact women can and will have on the workplace.

“He said most of America’s prosperity was created using only about 50% of its talent — men. So he’s confident the country will prosper as more women excel in the workforce,” Margaret said. “I remember hearing him say that in a documentary and it gave me hope. As a reminder, women make up half of the world’s population, it’s time to take that seriously.”

Margaret’s message for all women seeking an aviation career is that the aviation industry doesn’t discriminate against hard work. If you have passion for what you do and get excited about change, then the opportunities are endless.

Recently, Margaret was a guest on a podcast with The Ed Eppley Experience. Learn more about her career path, leadership style and why she’s so passionate about labor relations. Listen here

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