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Speakers And Presentations

Our speaker program gives you the opportunity to hear how these women got started their career. We offer speakers from a variety of aviation and aerospace careers, from engineering, maintenance and air traffic control to piloting large aircraft.

Presentations are typically 20-30 minutes with lots of time afterward to ask questions.

Most speakers can also be found at the booth of the company they are currently working for, so you can talk with them one‑on‑one as well.

Elizabeth Mitches (Pilot) 10:30

Photo of Elizabeth Mitches (Pilot) 10:30

Elizabeth Mitches is the Dash 8 Chief Pilot for Porter Airlines. As Chief Pilot, she holds the regulatory responsibility for the pilot group and oversees this team on a day‑to‑day basis. In addition to her management role, Elizabeth maintains an active flying schedule as a Captain and Training Pilot on the Dash 8‑400. She is an Approved Check Pilot (ACP) and holds a Master's degree from the Ivey School of Business. Elizabeth is passionate about her volunteer work with St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, as well as travelling and cycling.

Melissa Swain (Air Traffic Controller) 11:45

Photo of Melissa Swain (Air Traffic Controller) 11:45

Melissa Swain works as a Visual Flight Rules Air Traffic Controller at the Kitchener-Waterloo Airport. She worked at the Boundary Bay Tower in British Columbia and the tower at Toronto Island while training.

In addition to working in air traffic control, Melissa also has experience in airport management and airport regulatory compliance.

Melissa is also a pilot and has her Commercial Multi IFR licence.

Whitney Camm (Military) 12:00

Photo of Whitney Camm (Military) 12:00

Major Whitney Camm is an Air Combat Systems Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Over her 22 year career, she has flown Search and Rescue, Air to Air Refuelling and Tactical Airlift missions on the CC-130 Hercules, and is currently qualified as a Flight Refuelling Specialist on the CC-150 Polaris. Outside of flying, Major Camm has worked in the Combined Air Operations Center in Winnipeg, Canadian Forces Joint Operations Command in Ottawa, and the RCAF Aerospace Warfare Center in Trenton, Ontario. Her deployment experience includes six tours in the Middle East, and she holds a Master's degree in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada.

Jessica Burns (Aircraft Maintenance) 12:45

Photo of Jessica Burns (Aircraft Maintenance) 12:45

Jessica Burns is a Professor of Aircraft Maintenance at Centennial College. She is a Mom of 3 boys, and has been an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer for just under 25 years. After working for different companies, she was able to retire from Westjet Airline at the age of 45.

Jessica is currently a new Professor in the Aircraft Maintenance Program at Centennial College. Her passion is teaching human factors to keep our aircraft maintenance engineers safe. If she not teaching, you will find Jessica with her family playing hockey as a goalie or under the water as a Certified Diver.

Karen Howard-Chun (Engineer) 1:30

Photo of Karen Howard-Chun (Engineer) 1:30

Karen Howard-Chun is an Analysis Lead Engineer at Safran Landing Systems.

Karen studied Mechanical Engineering at University of Waterloo, where she completed a Bachelor of Applied Science and Master of Applied Science. During her undergraduate program, Karen was enrolled in the Co‑op program where she had an opportunity to work in various industries including automotive and aerospace.

Karen began working at Safran Landing Systems (then Messier-Dowty) in 2005 as a designer. As a young engineer Karen gained experience in several engineering disciplines and settled as a Stress Analyst. Karen became an Analysis Lead Engineer in 2017. Karen has worked on several programs in the course of her career at Safran Landing Systems including Bombardier 7500, Boeing 787 and the developing Bell V‑280.

In her personal life, Karen is a mom of 2 boys. Karen is an advocate for women in STEM, and enjoys encouraging girls and young women to pursue technical careers through events and mentoring.

Shannon Chisholm (A220 Captain) 2:15

Photo of Shannon Chisholm (A220 Captain) 2:15

Shannon trained for her Private Licence at the Ottawa Flying Club before completing an Aviation Diploma at Coastal Pacific Aviation and University College of the Fraser Valley in B.C. She worked as a flight instructor at Coastal Pacific for four years. Shannon flew a King Air 100 air ambulance at Voyageur Airways in Moncton for 4 years. In 2011, she began flying for Air Canada as a first officer on the Embraer 175 and 190, and became Captain in 2016. Shannon upgraded to Captain of the Airbus 220-300 in 2020.

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