International Women's Day 2021

International Women’s Day is a day to globally recognize and celebrate women and girls while also raising awareness of the work left to be done. This year’s theme is Choose to Challenge, with the hope that challenge can be the spark for change to inequalities faced by women and girls. This year, we want to celebrate the major achievements of some of the amazing women of YVR who chose to challenge in their careers.

Diana Vuong, CFO, VP, Finance

Diana Vuong

Responsible for finance, accounting, enterprise risk management and sustainability reporting, Diana Vuong leads the finance team as YVR’s CFO and VP, Finance. Diana started working at YVR 13 years ago and is YVR’s youngest CFO. Not only is she a full-time mother of two young kids, she has also been at the helm of supporting the airport’s finances during its single largest operating deficit and debt burden, thanks to the drastic effects of COVID-19 on the aviation industry.

Diana credits her success, of course to her dedication and love for her career and the airport, but also to those who have chosen to challenge throughout her time, to support, advocate and be an ally. “We’ve made a lot of progress in this area,” said Diana. “We need to continue to choose to challenge what we’re expected to do in an organization and what biases are with respect to specific roles.”

Fun Fact: Diana is a CFO by day and hip-hop dancer by night. In fact, she was a dancer in the closing ceremonies at the 2010 Winter Olympics. She was also a torch bearer and part of the crowd at the cauldron unveiling.

Michele Zietlow-Euerby

Michele Zietlow-Euerby standing beside a Boeing 787 Dreamliner

It’s not often you see a female running an airline’s entire airport operation, but Michele is an example of someone who chose to challenge. She's the leader of a team that delivers customer service and airport operations supporting Air Canada’s flights from its Trans-Pacific hub at YVR. Michele has worked at YVR for 34 years and has been Air Canada’s Director, Station Operations at YVR since 2016.

Her love of aviation and drive to pursue all opportunities that came her way and learning from every job to the next are just a few of the ways she rose to the top at YVR. “Challenge yourself every day. If something is not working, try a different approach,” said Michele. “Jump at all opportunities that come your way and always put your best effort forward.”

Fun fact: Michele lives in perfect view of the flight path to YVR and is always looking to see which aircraft are in the sky. The sound of Air Canada’s largest aircraft, the Boeing 777, still sends shivers down her spine.

Kristine Kirkby

Kristine Kirkby

At four years old, Kristine became enamored by Golden eagles, which quickly became her favourite animal. She knew then that she wanted a job in wildlife. Eight years ago, Kristine Kirkby joined the YVR Wildlife team and has helped bring the program to new heights. She currently manages the raptor trapping and translocation program. She works with hawks, eagles, owls, falcons and generally birds with large masses that can pose a risk to aircraft. Kristine and the wildlife team move these big birds to suitable habitats away from the airport, while continuing to monitor and manage known individual resident birds.

And while her job is unique, she’s been met with challenges much like many other women in science. From working in environments that were entirely male, to noting that the bar is often set higher for females, Kristine has had to challenge inequality her entire career.

But, there has been a shift. There is currently a strong representation of women in the field of wildlife research and husbandry and Kristine says that she’s been fortunate to follow in the footsteps of earlier generations who fought through gender stereotypes to become leaders in the field.

Fun Fact: As a child, Kristine believed Golden eagles were large enough that she could ride on their backs as they flew. They remain one of her favourite species to this day and she even attended the Golden eagle festival in Mongolia in 2016.

Teara Fraser

Teara Fraser. Photo taken by Josh Neufeld
Photo credit: Josh Neufeld

This next person we are featuring will soon be known to everyone as a superhero. She is the first Indigenous woman in Canada to start an airline, Iskwew [pronounced iss-kway-yo] Air and is about to be featured in a DC Comics graphic novel for real-world heroes titled, ‘Wonderful Women of History.’ And this honour is well deserved because not only has Teara been able to bring her own career to new heights, she is always looking for opportunities to also raise up other women in the aviation industry.

And as if owning her own airline and being featured in a comic book isn’t enough to show you how trailblazing Teara is, you should know that she spends her spare time also supporting, creating and participating in programs that lift up Indigenous people and women in business.

Fun Fact: Teara has never had a cup of coffee in her entire life. Instead, she enjoys a hot cup of tea every morning as a way to greet the day.

Betty Butchart

Betty Butchart

Over the last 32 years, Betty Butchart has been a leader in changing the way we work at YVR. She is the full embodiment of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, choose to challenge. Betty is an electrician at YVR, a very male-dominated trade, and it’s no small feat. Vancouver International Airport is the largest building in B.C. and she helps keep everything operating safely and efficiently. Not only is she a team player, Betty goes above and beyond every day at work and has helped YVR move the dial forward in its corporate policy, trades environment and cultural thinking.

Betty told us she was excited to “dust herself off and shine a bit,” when we asked if we could feature her in this blog. But her bright, vibrant personality really shone through even before we talked to her. Betty is a master of her trade and truly exemplifies our YVR values of safety, teamwork, accountability and innovation.

Fun fact: Betty is a woman of many interests. She loves gardening, horseback riding and cruising around town in her 1950 Dodge pick-up and anything Mustang GT related.