2021 was an exciting year for drones, and it was a big year for this handful of women in particular. Depending on who you ask, these women can be held responsibly for making 2021 so important and exciting for the drone industry. Those aforementioned women are the 2021 Women To Watch honorees, and they got well-deserved recognition at the beginning of January.
As part of CES 2022, the Women and Drones online drone community hosted its 2021 Women To Watch awards in real life. Nominations were taken back in March 2021 but the award ceremony was met with delays due to COVID-19. But it finally happened in the first week of January in Las Vegas.
And with that, here are your 2021 Women To Watch honorees (announced in 2022):
- Bronwyn Morgan, Founder of Xeo Air: Morgan won an Entrepreneurship Award for her work as the founder of Xeo Air, which provides AI based drones on demand. The company also provides a data analytics and autonomy platform for mission management that connects clients in telecom, catastrophic response, oil and gas, energy, construction, civil infrastructure.
- Madison Jeffery, manager at Swoop Aero: Winner of the Public Safety/Service award, Jeffery relocated from her home in Australia to Southern Malawi to manage Swoop Aero’s flagship medical drone logistics network, which connects over 1.5 million people with essential medical supplies.
- Karen DiMeo, CEO of AERODiMEO: Karen DiMeo walked away with a leadership award for her work advising clients on issues related to drones and other advanced emerging technologies in the commercial aerospace ecosystem. Karen has 30 years of experience in the aviation industry from both government and industry leadership positions.
- April Lanotte, STEM lead for NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate: Lanotte won an education award for her work at NASA to make aerospace science more accessible to more teachers and students.
Recipients were chosen for factors including their work as a role model, their collaborative approach, their influence in shaping the industry and their success in driving change.
Beyond individual 2021 Women To Watch honorees, the awards ceremony also recognized outstanding teams. Those winners were:
- Toni Drummond, CEO of Global Aerial Management Group : Global Aerial Management Group is an 100% women-owned and operated company that works on turboprop and jet aircraft. This year, the company’s drone vertical expanded heavily, specializing in drone sanitizing and disinfecting of indoor and outdoor arenas, stadiums, schools and other large spaces.
- Pharns Genece, CEO of USOG: Unmanned Systems Operations Goup (USOG) is a provider of medical logistics solutions that uses drones.
- Michael Healander, CEO Airspace Link: Airspace Link is a company that builds digital infrastructure required to support drone use. 60% of its leadership team is female.
New to this year’s awards was a tidy sum of prize money. Honoree women and teams all received a $500 micro-grant.