By Katy Chahal
Our story today tells us of a story of a woman who has made a name in the Singapore Aviation industry. With 20+ years of experience in aviation design engineering, marketing, financing, and sales; this woman is one who I know you all are going to admire.
Moushumi is currently the Senior Commercial Account Director of the Airbus South East Asia sales team. She is also the Director and Treasurer for Women in Aviation Singapore Chapter Ltd. From that alone you get a glimpse of how impressive Moushumi is. She’s at the top of her field and is a female role model.
But before we dive further, let us tell you a little more about Moushumi. She started with being a design engineer for aircraft configuration parts. From there she went on to be in the (EEDP) Edison Engineering Development Program — a global program GE used to run to train top performers with engineering backgrounds. Then after that, she went on to get her MBA.
She quoted “Even during my MBA I was very sure I wanted to come back to the Aviation industry and it was fate that brought me back to GE and I joined the GE Aviation Engines sales team in Singapore. There I worked for 3 years in the Commercial team before joining GECAS in the aircraft leasing sales team. I managed aircraft leasing in India and other Asian countries for 10 years. And after 18+ years in GE, I joined Airbus in 2021 as Senior Commercial Account Director for South East Asia.”
It’s no surprise that she has reached far because even at a young age she was very good with numbers and knew what she wanted — to be an engineer! In her words, “I loved design and machines more than computers and I chose to pursue Mechanical engineering.” Even with her father’s (not so) happy opinions about her entering a male-dominated field, Moushumi pushed forward and chased after what she dreamed of.
While she did dream of entering the engineering industry, her introduction to aviation was of pure luck. She said that when her campus was recruiting for GE Aviation, she was one of the three undergrads to get into the final stages of the interview. And what stuck to her memory was that she was asked how airplanes fly. With not having a background in aviation, she was put on the spot. But her wit got her through! She answered, “If you hire me I can learn before I join.” And the rest is history.
Moushumi has given us insights into how the aviation industry is evolving in terms of gender equality. She mentioned that the reason why there are so few women leaders in aviation right now is that if you look at the landscape 20-30 years ago, there were far fewer women interested in aviation, much less leading it. When asked of the reasons she thinks that there are fewer women on top of the ladder, “A lack of focus on career development and pipeline from the manager is one of them.”
She stated that letting the middle and top management deeply understand why there is a necessity to place women in leadership roles in aviation is the most important step! It could play a deeper role in the goal of diversity. It could even affect culture and underline the expectation of society and change our subconscious biases.
Moushumi also shared how females are perceived in Singapore, “…things are changing, I see many more ladies in the commercial and customer-facing roles now. Today many of the regional head roles in MNC are led by a female. More females are graduating as pilots and engineers and I hope in another 10 yrs we don’t have to talk about diversity anymore.”
Part of the steps into a more diverse aviation industry is also keeping in mind that men play a BIG role in all of it. Moushumi said that we cannot talk about inclusion if we don’t have the other 50% — the male population. We have to include them in our conversations and in our movements. They are as much a part of the big picture as we are. We need to join hands and mentor each other, be colleagues, and vouch for each other. If the aviation industry is to grow, we need to help each other.
More than that, Moushumi emphasized the need for companies to have a “conscious bias of having diversity as a key metric towards productivity and growth. Top management should encourage managers at all levels to consciously look out for hiring and retaining talent of both genders.”
From the story of Moushumi we can get a sense of the responsibility that we have to better the aviation industry. To do this consciously and consistently. She shared with us a quote that has inspired her, and we hope this inspires you too; “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”