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Tips from the Top with Laverne Francis Reid


“Service is my sincere response to the privilege of occupying space on earth. If I were asked to give the motivations behind the various professional, civic, and personal activities that I have undertaken over the years, this is what I would tell you. Much about my beliefs and values is reflected in this short statement, and as my life journey continues, it becomes increasingly more meaningful.” – Laverne Francis Reid

 In 1973, Reid became one of the first African-American air traffic controllers. Reid worked at the FAA in Alaska, the US Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service and then again with the FAA in ’89. She ended her career with the FAA as the Airports Division Manager for the New England Region. She served as WTS Board Member. In 1989, President George H. W. Bush appointed her to the US Small Business Administration Council. Reid joined the WTS International Advisory Board in 2009 and the Foundation Board in 2010. Reid also chaired the inaugural DC Summit, the flagship program of the foundation’s Transportation YOU program, stating, “It was just wonderful to see the possibilities though the eyes of these young women and see the excitement about their future careers.”

Find the right fit!

“I felt I could grow and contribute,” Reid said of airports, where she would spend two decades of her career. Finding a supportive and stimulating environment to work proved important.  “Starting in the early 1970’s in Anchorage, Alaska, my cumulative career experiences have encompassed Airports, Air Traffic, Logistics, Flight Standards, and International Aviation. These various assignments have taken me to Seattle, Atlanta, Washington D.C., the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Memphis, and ultimately to Boston, MA.”

“Lift while you climb.”

“My motto is, ‘Lift while you climb.’ Every time you have a mentor you should have a protegee, regardless of where you are in your career.”

She joined WTS in 2009 and became the first African American President of Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (BPW) in 1989. She attributes personal and professional development to many mentors throughout her career.

Learn from Others

“One of the things I would do is information interviewing…Even when you’re in the position you want, you might have an opportunity to gain experience that not only helps you in your current position, but also helps you in the next position you’re aiming at.” Reid had many different position, and not all in transportation, but all of her work experience prepared her in different ways.

Follow Your Principles

“These two guiding principles in my life, faith and service, give me resilience when things happen and the strength, perseverance, and ability to adjust and adapt.”

Quotes for this article are attributed to Boots on the Ground, Flats in the Boardroom by Grace Crunican and Elizabeth Levin.



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