Mentorship and recruitment keep alumnus flying higher
Twenty-one years into their career, some people may feel they’ve reached cruising altitude. Not true for alumnus Woody Green, ’98 Aviation Management. Through his position at American Airlines, Green challenges himself as an IT manager while actively mentoring and recruiting Ohio State students.
Green, who has spent his entire career working for airlines, recognizes the role The Ohio State University played in propelling him to professional success.
“I really loved it and enjoyed my time at Ohio State. The faculty members brought such energy. It was hard to sit in the chair and not be off soaring into the sky, because they made it exciting, made it come to life,” he said.
With that in mind Green made himself a promise many years ago. "If I ever do make that management rank, I'm going to recruit from the Center for Aviation Studies,” he said. “I felt like the preparation that I had with learning the business side of things with Fisher [College of Business], but also all of the classes specific to aviation really prepared me.”
True to his word, after becoming IT manager supporting the Maintenance and Engineering Division at American Airlines in 2015 he reached out to the center to seek collaboration. He’s been partnering ever since.
The results of Green’s initial cold call have created lasting impacts for many students. It has led to the establishment of Ohio State’s formal Cadet Program with American Airlines, as well as Green serving as a panelist at the center’s annual Industry Night and his appointment to the External Advisory Board. Most important, he enjoys opportunities for mentorship by coaching students and recent graduates with resume preparation and career advice.
“I encourage [students] to really try to network early on: ‘Find some friends in the airline industry that can guide your path, that can be an advocate for you,’” he shared.
“And that’s all they need: one step inside a door for one of the aviation companies and your career should soar, you know, if you work hard and put the effort in and are a great employee. The sky's the limit in my view.”
Green’s mentoring is both personally and professionally rewarding. “I feel very blessed and just like I have a huge debt to many people who have believed in me throughout my career and have given me the opportunities, and in some small way I just want to give back to others and to help them navigate life and explore life to its fullest.”
He encourages other alumni and industry members to build partnerships with the center, which can provide a well-trained pipeline of students. "You don't have to wait for something formal. It can be something grassroots and that's really what the relationship has been – predominantly a grass roots relationship."
In Green’s experience, Ohio State students enter the industry ready to be successful contributors and leaders.
“Students that come out of the Center for Aviation Studies, I think, are top notch. What they bring to the table versus other traditional colleges is they've already got that exposure to all things aviation. They can speak the industry lingo, they've worked on case studies and projects that prepare them for the aviation world.”
The best part about mentorship? Seeing students succeed as professionals.
“It's sort of like confetti going off in my heart when the students get the job offer and they take their first standby flight somewhere and they're just like ‘this is amazing, this is the top of the world experience for me.’ And I find it incredibly rewarding.”
“I may never climb the corporate ladder any higher than where I’m at now, but I feel like I have in my heart by helping others.”
by Holly Henley, communications specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org