Drone Attorney and Advocate Grant Guillot shares his perspective
I grew up with two older sisters, so I’ve been looking up to women as long as I can remember. I also have two daughters, followed by a son, and I see how much my son looks up to his sisters. I have always respected women leaders who are admired not solely because of their gender – but because they happen to be the best person for the job! I have never felt that there are jobs that women simply cannot do. What has motivated me to become an advocate for change is the fact that some men and, sadly, even some women do not believe women should be in positions of power. There is simply no reason a women cannot lead as well as a man can. It seems foreign to me that some could think otherwise, but we unfortunately know that to be the case. I am a firm believer that a woman should have every opportunity that a man has to prove that she is the best candidate for a job. As a society, we need to make sure that women are given the same opportunities that men enjoy when it comes to establishing leadership in the workplace. We will all be better for it.
Like any industry, diversity in the commercial drone industry has the ability to provide unique experiences from which others can gain information. I am blessed to have both male and female friends, and to have friends that are not the same race as me. I cannot imagine I would have gotten to the point I am at in both my career and my personal life without the benefits I have received from opening myself up to differing viewpoints and experiences. In a world that is constantly telling us we have to pick a side – democrat or republican, liberal or conservative, etc. – it is refreshing to know that I can have engaging conversations and great experiences with people from all walks of life. When an industry is compiled of people with differing backgrounds, viewpoints, and experiences, everyone in that industry is better off for it.
I think the solution is two-fold: On one hand, men need to recognize that women bring unique perspectives and qualifications to the industry. Encouraging diversity in the industry will only help the industry expand to the benefit of everyone involved. On the other hand, men also need to refrain from seeing women through too different of a lens. While it is important to respect the unique attributes a woman may be able to bring to the job, at the end of the day the woman is a human being who wants to be valued for her skills and accomplishments, not judged by her gender. I also think men and women both need to become more comfortable talking about the matter. I have come across men who think it is taboo to discuss women’s issues with women, and I have known women who do not think men should have any voice in the conversation. The only way to effect change is for everyone to become comfortable with discussing an issue that seems uncomfortable to broach.
I am fortunate to have been asked by MarketScale to host “Drones in America”, a weekly podcast that focuses on policy, regulations, and the individuals who are making a difference in the commercial drone industry. I am able to showcase women leaders on the podcast and, in doing so, I am able to give women another avenue whereby they can inform the industry of how they are effecting change in the commercial drone sector. I also utilize speaking opportunities and article publications to highlight women leaders who are positively impacting the industry. I am finding that in addition to the women appreciating the opportunity to showcase their achievements, men appreciate having the opportunity to learn how women are helping expand the industry.
I think the industry needs to encourage men to participate more in the efforts to increase the involvement of women. For example, if a drone conference features a panel discussion addressing women’s issues in the drone industry, men should be included on the panel. Not only will it give men the opportunity to learn about the issues faced by their female colleagues, it will also send a message to the conference attendees and the general public that it is acceptable for men to be a part of this very important conversation. I also think the industry would benefit from hearing the success stories of companies, both inside and outside of the drone sector, who have been able to cultivate and celebrate women leaders.
Most people takes their cues from leaders they respect. I think it is important for leaders who have successfully encouraged and elevated women within their companies to speak out on this matter and explain why it is better for everyone involved – not just for women – to accelerate the involvement of women. I believe it actually beneficial for humans to surround themselves with others from diverse backgrounds and with different viewpoints. We all have the potential to learn so much from each other, and this can lead to finding innovative ways to improve business operations. Life is not a fraternity or sorority – it’s a collage.
Partner at Adam Reese LLP