By recognizing and celebrating accomplished women, our mission is to attract women, and inspire them to succeed in careers in aviation and aerospace. We will encourage those ambitions by engaging in outreach, facilitating mentorships, providing scholarship opportunities, and championing the values of diversity and inclusion.
To be the premier organization in Canada that inspires, supports, and promotes women, in the field of aviation and aerospace.
Kathleen received her private pilot's certificate on St. Patrick's Day in 1979. Exactly one year later she received her commercial certificate including a multi-engine instrument rating and proceeded to fly throughout North America for various individuals and corporations. During this time she also worked selling general aviation aircraft where she met and worked with the founder of NLAF, Anna Pangrazzi. In 1988 Kathleen left flying to work in the Aerospace industry to sell regional aircraft for Boeing Canada - de Havilland Division, flight training devices for Atlantis Aerospace, and commercial aircraft for Bombardier Inc. to airlines worldwide. Kathleen has also worked as Director in the Programs department at Bombardier in the development days of the C Series commercial aircraft family. Kathleen is currently working as Contracts Director at MHI RJ Aviation ULC.
As president and owner of Apex Aircraft Sales Ltd., Anna has over 25 years of experience negotiating hundreds of aircraft sales. She has been flying since 1977 and holds a multi-engine, commercial, instrument and float rating. She earned a degree in Economics from York University in 1985 and a second BA in Humanities in 2002. Anna is a member of AOPA, COPA, the International Organization of Women Pilots, The Ninety-Nines, Women in Aerospace Canada, and Women in Aviation International.
Treasurer / Secretary
Lynne McMullen joined Chorus Aviation Inc. in January 2022. Prior to joining Chorus, Lynne held progressive leadership positions over 20 years with the Seneca School of Aviation. She was instrumental in developing training and recruitment programs with the RCAF, Jazz Aviation LP, Sunwing Airlines, and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority. Lynne has over 25 years experience as an instructor and pilot examiner. She was honoured to be the 2014 recipient of the Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award in the Education category. Lynne enjoys working with industry through board positions with the Air Transport Association of Canada, Aviation Accreditation Board International, Northern Lights AeroFoundation, and Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.
Joy Parker Blackwood
Joy was an owner and partner of Thoron Productions Limited and Bankten Communication Services Ltd., which produced major industrial shows and other event marketing activities throughout North America and Europe from the 1970s until 2006. Joy is currently President and owner of Waypointers, Inc. a seniors’ downsizing and relocation service. Joy received her Private Pilot certificate in 1982 and joined The Ninety-Nines, Inc. in 1983. Within the aviation industry she has served as 99s First Canadian Chapter Chairman, 99s East Canada Section Governor, Director, 99s International Board of Directors, and 99s Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship Trust Chairman. She was inducted into the International Forest of Friendship in Atchison, Kansas in 2003. Joy was 1st Vice President and Treasurer of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) General Aviation Commission, Director of Marketing in the Aero Club of Canada, and Vice President of the Canadian Precision Flying Association. She is an FAI International Judge. Joy is also a member of Women In Aviation International, Women in Aerospace Canada, COPA, Silver Wings Fraternity, Commemorative Air Force, Canadian Air & Space Museum, and US Air Force National Museum.
Cathy Fraser is a captain on the B787 at Air Canada. Prior to her airline career, she flew corporate, charter and cargo flights. She also worked as a flight instructor and designated flight test examiner. She has been a Ninety-Nine for 30 years and has been a past governor of the East Canada Section as well as an Amelia Earhart scholarship recipient. Other associations include ISA and Women in Aviation. Cathy is a past organizer of the biennial Canadian Women in Aviation conference and is currently a board member of the Northern Lights Aero Foundation.
Judy became the first female pilot hired by Air Canada, Canada’s largest airline, on April 1978 at the age of 23. She was the first woman to graduate from Selkirk College’s Aviation Technology Program in 1975. Throughout her flying career of 40 years and over 23,000 hours, she has flown the DC-3, Twin Otter, Hawker Siddeley 748, DC-9, Lockheed 1011, Airbus 320, Boeing 767 and 777 to the far corners of the world. She retired in 2015, and then fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking an aerobatics course. Judy is an inspirational speaker and has volunteered to work with the Canadian Women in Aviation conference, Dreams Take Flight, and Wings of Courage. In 2015, she received the Elsie MacGill Northern Lights award in the Flight Operations category, and in 2016 was chosen by the 99s to be on its Canadian postage stamp.
Julie has been flying for 20 years. She started flying lessons at the Island Airport while at U of T doing her BSc; she then went to Seneca College to do the rest of her flight training. She was a flight instructor for 5 years before working for Air Georgian out of Toronto Pearson. She joined Porter Airlines in 2009 and over the 10 years, worked on many company programs and initiatives including Assistant Chief Pilot, Recruitment and Retention. In 2019 she joined Jazz Aviation as the Chief Pilot Line Operations in Toronto.
As the Chief Pilot Line Operations, she is a Captain on the Q400 and flies within the Jazz network as well as supports the Toronto operation. In this role she will continue to support pilot recruitment and work towards the promotion of engaging more women in aviation.
Piyush is an experienced executive in the field of aviation. Most recently, he spent 2½ years with Sunwing Airlines in the role of Vice President Flight Operations. Along with the oversight and responsibility of more than 30,000 flights per year, he maintained his pilot proficiency flying on the line as a B737 Captain as often as possible. Previously, he was the Vice President Flight Operations at Porter Airlines where he was a founding team member since its inception in early 2006. Prior to that, Piyush spent 10-years with Bombardier Aerospace as their Chief Pilot & Customer Liaison Pilot.
Since 2018, Piyush has been on the Board of Directors for The Redwood – a not-for-profit shelter for women and their children fleeing domestic abuse. Collaboratively with a female VP, Piyush founded and co-chaired the successful Women Soar at Porter program. He also founded and chaired the Y.A.Y! (You Are You!) diversity and inclusion committee at Sunwing. Piyush has also been on the Advisory Boards for Colleges, and Universities, most notably, the Seneca College Aviation PAC (Program Advisory Committee).
Piyush is a graduate of the Seneca Aviation Program (Class ’93) and he completed a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) at the Rotman School of Business (UofT) in 2014. Piyush and his wife, Dr. Dolon Chakravartty, have two beautiful girls ages 14 and 10 who inspire them everyday to push for gender equality and inclusion.
Caroline has worked as Marketing & Communications Supervisor for a growing international airport, as well as Marketing Manager for one of the top flight schools in Canada. She currently works in Communications for a municipality. She officially joined the aviation industry in 2016 and has enjoyed every moment since. She’s worked on campaigns and events to promote careers in aviation and inspire women to consider a future in the industry, such as FlyCanada, Girls Can Fly and Aviation Fun Day. She also volunteers as a mentor and provides support and encouragement for aspiring young professionals.
Caroline has an extensive career in marketing and communications, as well as volunteerism. She worked for a marketing agency for more than 10 years and was employed in the non-profit sector for seven years. She has volunteered for more than 20 years in numerous capacities for various non-profit organizations, including aviation.
She has an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies & History from Wilfrid Laurier University and is a graduate of the Niagara College Public Relations program. She has been recognized for 20 years of volunteer service from the Government of Ontario, as well as other volunteer recognition awards.
In 2009 a small group of Ninety-Nines (International Organization of Women Pilots) from the First Canadian Chapter, under the leadership of the award creator, Anna Pangrazzi, met to discuss the purpose and vision for this exciting new initiative.
As is typical of this group of dynamic and talented women, the idea was to begin the first award dinner event the same year. With no time to waste, the Elsie MacGill Awards and the first event was locked in for October 1st at The School Restaurant in Markham/Unionville.
How was the name Elsie MacGill Awards chosen?
There were three basic considerations: 1- to name a woman who made a significant contribution to aviation and/or aerospace in Canada; 2- to visually signify Canada; and 3- should it be named after an individual?
The name Elsie MacGill
Elsie Gregory MacGill was a significant achiever in Canada with multiple talents both within and outside aviation, who pushed towards her goals with a physical handicap that didn’t stop her. This award is named after Vancouver-born Elsie Gregory MacGill. Elsie lived by what she called her “golden thread”….passionate, yet objective. She grabbed onto this thread throughout her unique and often challenging life. She was the first Canadian woman to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, the first woman in North America with an advanced degree in aeronautics, and the world’s first woman to become an aircraft designer. Elsie designed, oversaw production and was aboard the test flight of the Maple Leaf Trainer II. She was “Queen of the Hurricanes” and pivotal in the production of the Hawker Hurricane in Canada during World War II and designed a series of modifications including de-icing and skis to equip the plane for cold weather flying. She went on to serve on aeronautical research and regulatory committees for the National Research Council and the United Nations. During her appointment to the Canadian Royal Commission on the Status of Women, she supported abortion and tax laws that made women responsible for themselves. Among several awards, Elsie earned four honourary doctorates, made an officer of the Order of Canada, and The Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots presented her with the Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship medallion. All her work and achievements were accomplished even though she contracted polio at the age of 24. The only thing that this stopped was her deep desire to obtain a pilot’s certificate. However, from the rear seat of the Maple Leaf Trainer and for thousands of hours hovering over her engineering drafting table, Elsie flew.
Mailing Address: 2833 16th Avenue, Box 220, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 0P8
Ontario Not For Profit Corporation Number
80994 9688 RC0001