Sister Kathryn McCarthy has been an IAM member of Local Lodge 11 for three years and has held the position of Trustee for almost the entire time. An aircraft inspector at AVCORP Aerospace Industries, Sister Kathryn was encouraged by friends and colleagues to attend lodge meetings. She soon began taking a more active part, because she wanted to participate in building her newly formed lodge.
Sister Kathryn says she’s received help and encouragement from all her union sisters and brothers. One of her brothers encouraged her to attend the Basic Editor’s Training at the Winpisinger Center, which ultimately led to her creating The Delta Wing, LL 11’s newsletter. She is especially proud that The Delta Wing won an honorable mention award at the 2004 Grand Lodge Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Based on her own experience, Sister Kathryn advises any sister desiring to become more involve to educate themselves on how the union functions. She admits to being very timid at meetings until she learned procedures, adding, “Education is the key to power and the more you learn, the more confident you feel.”
Sister Patricia Elizondo has lived and breathed union her whole life. She was raised in a union family with union values and has been a union member for 33 years. Prior to joining the IAM 10 years ago, Sister Elizondo had been a dues paying member of AIW, UPIA and PACE. She says that it is the IAM which has afforded the greatest opportunities to their women members and has helped her become an effective leader for Local Lodge 66. She held the Conductor Sentinel position for three years, the Educator position for six years and as of August 1, 2006, she will begin her term as President. In addition, she’s recently been notified that she’s been chosen “Midwest Territory Educator of the Year.”
Sister Patricia says that her biggest obstacle to achieving a leadership position was combating the stereotypes. She had to prove to the predominately male membership that women could be leaders and not just cooks for the social events. She said she just won them over one member at a time. The most important thing, she says, is to take that first scary step and then never give up. She advises, “The support from one or two good sisters is all you need. Don’t ever let anyone say you can’t do it.”
She is motivated by the desire to do the best for her lodge members. She feels privileged to be a lodge leader, and never lets her position go to her head. She claims, “I am able to stay humble, because I am also the local lodge janitor.”