Friday Buzz: Aerospace Association Leader Flies in New Direction

Industry surprised by AIA President Marion Blakey’s unexpected jump to Rolls-Royce. Plus: Talking wages in the event space.

Longtime Aerospace Industries Association leader Marion Blakey is flying high—but she’ll be doing it outside of the association.

On Tuesday, the AIA president and CEO announced she is leaving the association to take the helm at Rolls-Royce North America, replacing James Guyette, who is retiring at the end of May. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, Rolls-Royce is separate from the luxury car company, Rolls-Royce Motors, and works in the aerospace field.)

Blakey’s move stunned many, including her.

“This came to me very much as a surprise opportunity,” she told The Washington Post.

Blakey leaves a strong legacy at AIA, including efforts to draw younger people to the industry.

“I’m very proud of AIA’s record of achievement these last seven years,” Blakey said to AINOnline. “I strongly believe we’ve strengthened AIA and better positioned the organization and our member companies to inform and influence the debate on key issues facing our country and our industry in the coming years.”

AIA Chairman David Joyce says the association is “quickly moving forward” to name a new president and CEO.

Let’s Talk Wages

The minimum-wage debate has been a hot topic lately. Last week, for example, Walmart announced plans to boost wages for many of its workers. And New York’s plan to raise wages for tipped workers could lead to the elimination of tips for some .

But moving beyond the minimum-wage debate, where do event planners stand on the wage front? The British publication C&IT Magazine explored whether rising wages could make it tougher to retain talent in the conferences and events planning industry.

TRO Talent Director Nicky Morgan doesn’t foresee a problem, explaining that the event space is different from other industries.

“Ours is an industry of passion, adventure, creativity and experience,” she states.

Morgan says that high wages aren’t the top reason why talented people are drawn to the events industry.

“Yes, paying well and paying fairly are essential. But so too are activating the best projects for the best brands, ensuring a variety of work, being part of an award-winning team and fostering a very special culture,” she writes. “Creating a culture that is supportive, flexible and which ensures plenty of scope for growth and development is hugely important.”

Additional Links for Today

Also worth considering on the wages front: Adrian Segar reposted his blog post from 2013, which questioned why conferences don’t pay speakers. “The pitiful reality [is] that few meeting conferences offer to pay speakers,” he laments.

“The future of SEO is not SEO,” Ryan Lunka says in his latest blog post, which dives into how internet usage can change. Look at mobile tech, apps, and elsewhere for future work, he suggests.

Looking for something new on Monday? Inc. contributor Murray Newlands shares 10 things successful and productive individuals do to jumpstart their workdays.

Departing AIA head Marion Blakey, shown with former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. (Defense Department/Flickr)

Patrick deHahn

By Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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