Building a more diverse, inclusive workplace requires sustained, meaningful action at all levels of leadership. Bombardier CEO Éric Martel acknowledged as much at a recent event celebrating employees who participated in L’effet A (A effect—the “A” stands for ambition), a Quebec-based organization that runs leadership programs designed to empower women and address gender disparity in all areas of business. At the end of his speech, Martel told the crowd he hoped one of these graduates would someday fill his shoes—and Bombardier is in the process of bringing that vision closer to reality. While women make up 25 percent of management across Bombardier’s global reach, the company is constantly seeking to improve and lead industry change. Beyond its participation in L’effet A, Bombardier has renewed diversity targets and launched affinity groups to help foster inclusion. One of the most results-oriented initiatives was a direct collaboration with Concordia University on an internship program that’s already brought 37 women through its doors. Among the many inspiring people at Bombardier today are four transformative names that have each had a hand in propelling aviation into the future.
Jennifer Scotti, Manager, Interior Design & Digital Media
“If someone had told me even 10 years ago that I’d be in a role like this, I’d have never believed them!” Jennifer Scotti says of her unconventional path to leading Bombardier’s interior design and digital media teams. Both departments bring with them opportunities for creativity to flourish: while one works with customers to outfit cabins with everything from flooring to furnishings, the other brings concepts to life with 3D renderings. With a degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University, Scotti has worked at Bombardier since 2005, first as a project engineer for the Challenger 605 development team, moving on to sales engineering and account management. Not having a background in design works to her benefit, keeping her attuned to what matters most. “My role as a leader is to be an advocate for my team. I’m their voice. My job is not to tell them how to do their job. They are experts and very good at what they do. When they bring me an issue, I help remove any roadblocks and get them the tools they need to succeed.”
Scotti says she’s surrounded by people at Bombardier who have mentored her throughout her career—and now feels it’s time she pay it forward. A member of the company’s Diversity & Inclusion affinity group and a recent graduate of the A Effect leadership training program for women, Scotti believes representation is critical in bridging the engineering gender gap. She hopes these efforts will “effect change and show Bombardier as an employer of choice, because we need more women in leadership. Not just at Bombardier, but everywhere,” she says. “I’ll shout that from the rooftops.”
Kristen Cloud, Sales Director, US
“I don’t know if you could hear it in my voice or not, but I’m so passionate about aviation. I absolutely love it. It’s just who I am,” Kristen Cloud, who joined Bombardier in 2019, says in a tone that indeed conveys her adoration for the industry. Armed with the experience of running a full-service aircraft brokerage, Cloud is now responsible for selling Bombardier’s Challenger and Global aircraft in the Northeastern United States, a role she says presents new opportunities every single day—sometimes even in different cities. “One day, I was in NYC in the morning with a potential Global 7500 customer, at Teterboro [New Jersey] in the afternoon meeting with a flight department, and in Montreal that evening preparing for a Challenger delivery,” Cloud says.
A graduate of the University of Richmond, where she studied business administration and management, Cloud’s first stint in the industry was as an aircraft researcher. But her days rarely began in the office. Instead, Cloud could be found at the airport at 7 a.m., carving out time before the start of her shift to amass the hours needed to secure a private pilot’s license. She eventually accomplished that personal goal and went on to purchase her own aircraft. “It was a small plane, but the feeling of aircraft ownership is a feeling I will never forget,” Cloud says.
Though many thriving salespeople in the business have never dreamt of operating an aircraft, Cloud says being an accredited type-rated pilot remains a source of confidence as she navigates the industry. “You must be passionate,” she says, revealing the secret to her success: “Learn every aspect of the business.”
Elza Brunelle-Yeung, Senior Director, Aftermarket Products and Services
Growing up in Montreal, where Bombardier’s presence stretches back to 1942, Elza Brunelle-Yeung had her sights set on the airframer as a prospective employer long before she ever entered the workforce. After completing her studies in 2009—she holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University and a master’s in aeronautics engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology—she landed a role in the company’s business strategy division. Returning to her engineering roots, Brunelle-Yeung launched Bombardier’s Aftermarket Products and Services department and has led it for the past five years, overseeing everything from aircraft modifications and upgrades to Bombardier’s connected aircraft program, Smart Link Plus.
The program ingeniously applies the same real-time, data-driven principles of health monitoring phone apps to aviation to diagnose maintenance and reduce costly downtime. The culmination of years of hard work has generated enthusiasm from customers—and it’s only getting better, Brunelle-Yeung says. “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and working with my team on novelties draws on that. Forging ahead with a clear vision is what I find motivating.”
Today, her 75-person team is diverse in age, culture and gender and she’s proud to work for a company committed to strategic efforts to cultivate inclusion. “Building awareness about the benefits of diversity needs to start early, in academia, when people are considering which field to get into. It needs to continue so that the careers are successful for many years,” she says.
Kathy Guo Li, Sales Director, Hong Kong • Macau • Taiwan • Mainland China
Kathy Guo Li never planned on entering the high-stakes world of business aviation sales—until a Bombardier manager insisted she had what it takes. She’d studied aircraft design, been the editor of International Aviation magazine, and worked in Bombardier’s marketing department for five years, and eventually thought, “Why not?” It’s nearly a decade since Guo Li made the jump, first as a manager and then as a director—and she’s received numerous company awards recognizing her sales acumen in the time since. Guo Li attributes her success to a couple of factors, chief among them a multifaceted understanding of the industry and an intuitive, low-friction communication style. She says the latter goes a long way in building the long-term relationships needed to cement deals with her core customer base. “It’s a process that sometimes takes years. It could be challenging, with a lot of back and forth. But when the customer is happy, and you have that feeling of success, that keeps me going forward,” Guo Li says.
Perseverance comes naturally to Guo Li, whose dogged determination was displayed even in her second year with the company. She recalls running into a snag when the Shanghai venue Bombardier had reserved for the launch of an aircraft fell through at the last second. Instead of rescheduling the event as others on her team suggested, she found an alternative within the short lead time. “Customers flew from all over Asia-Pacific—Mainland China, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong—and had a good time. I needed to see it through, and I did, and when I think of that, it still makes me proud.”
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