This Women’s History Month, the City of Philadelphia Department of Aviation celebrates women who make a difference in aviation, like American Airlines Philadelphia Control Center Manger-on-Duty (MOD) Joan Wing, who oversees departments and functions for daily flight operations to ensure on-time performance at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).
Wing has been with American for 10 years, holding different positions within the organization. She received her MBA from the University of Phoenix’s Philadelphia Campus. Within her role as MOD, Wing focuses on operational performance, ensuring compliance, and enforcement of safety and security protocols. She also identifies areas of improvement to mentor and develop employees to increase productivity.
“Women’s History Month is a time to recognize and celebrate all the women past and present who pioneered from around the world and are paving the way for generations to come,” said Wing. “In my past 10 years at American, I believe this is the most women in a leadership role in PHL’s history, with a total of 74 women.”
Since the airline industry is still male-dominated, Wing believes it’s important to continue having equal female representation at the table. She’s proud of how their involvement impacts decision-making as women who bring diverse skills, thoughts, and perspectives. Wing is especially inspired by women in upper-level positions as they serve as good role models for her and her colleagues to keep pushing forward.
At PHL, Wing recognizes the diverse women breaking down barriers in their fields. “The women who inspire me the most, are my coworkers with whom I’m in the trenches,” said Wing. “They balance work and home life making the impossible happen day in and day out. Knowing a majority of them have come from a frontline employee to a MOD and beyond inspires me. They didn’t let any obstacles stop them from achieving their goals.”
“If you’re looking for a career where no two days are alike, and you are continuously adapting, put your seat belt on and enjoy the ride – this industry has so much to offer,” said Wing. “I’m blessed to be afforded the opportunity to work at American and experience everything it has to offer.”
Wing is dedicated to her job and always willing to help employees work through any issues and challenges. “They can count on me,” said Wing. “Working with my coworkers and providing direction is essential to running a reliable airline. Another important part of my job is that I play a part in helping our passengers explore new worlds.”
One of Wing’s most memorable moments at American was working an evening shift in the summer during a storm. Although she thought the storm would only impact the operation briefly, the storm sat over the airport for over six hours. As a result, planes could not depart due to closed departure fixes, causing many to return to their gates. “It took a lot of coordination and communication by the team,” said Wing. “Many difficult decisions had to be made to ensure we could keep the operation going and get our passengers to their destinations. It was a very long but rewarding day.”
Within American, there are 20 Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs) that promote diversity and inclusion for all employees. Wing is a member of the PHL Veteran Military Group and the Professional Women in Aviation (PWA) groups. Each group hosts numerous events throughout the year open for all to attend. The PWA recently hosted an event on March 21 celebrating the triumphs, sacrifices, and achievements of successful women within American and the TSA. “It was very inspirational to hear these powerful women’s stories and the obstacles they had overcome,” said Wing. “It taught me that we must continue to support each other and cheer for each other’s successes.”
Wing also enjoys participating in other EBRGs that focus on community service. In the past, she and her colleagues have distributed food and sorted donations for the less fortunate in partnership with the Chosen 300 Ministries.
Although Wing has gone through challenges that made her feel like giving up, she decided to continue moving forward. “Quitting was not an option,” said Wing. “I’m doing it not just for me but for my family as well. I hope my daughters can see how hard we all work, and they realize that we’re doing is for them and the next generation to come.”
When reflecting on the most important woman in her life, Wing recalls her late mother, Joan T. Wing, who passed away in September 2022. “Like most of us, my mom was my role model, hero, and best friend,” said Wing. “She taught me how to fill that role and be that for others. She would say, ‘Always have a prepared bag,’ which is a quote I truly live by. In my younger years, I thought my bag was to be filled with materialistic items. However, it wasn’t until after her passing that I realized she had been making sure my bag was prepared all along, filling it with memories, successes, failures, life lessons, trials, and tribulations to help me navigate and balance having a career, being a mom, wife, teacher, and all the other various hats us women wear on a daily basis.”