Two new female-led communities for drone users launch

It has been a week since the launch of the Commercial Drone Alliance – the first industry-led non-profit for the working drones sector.

“It helps end users understand the value of drones,” said co-founder Gretchen West, who served for more than a decade as Executive Vice President of AUVSI and is now a Senior Advisor for Technology and Innovation at Hogan Lovells. “A lot of end users have concerns over the ROI of the industry. There are a thousand things we have to do for mass adoption, and we just want to create that connection between the manufacturing communities with the end users.”

That community includes members like Cisco, AirMap and CNN.

The Commercial Drone Alliance is female-led and founded by West and Lisa Ellman.

“You are starting to see more women taking on leadership roles in the drone community,” West said. West led a discussion at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL conference in New Orleans earlier this month about women in the industry. About 120 women and some men attended.

While the Commercial Drone Alliance focuses on law, perception, policy, development and innovation around drones, West and Ellman are working on a separate group targeted at promoting women in the commercial drone industry.

The duo are planning a nationwide group called the “Women of Commercial Drones.” For now, it’s an online “Meetup” to help organizers determine geographically where women would meet up in person.

West anticipates hosting a networking event in the Bay Area soon.

“It’s about mentoring women, getting them engaged in this community,” she said.

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