Latest News

Apr 6, 2020 | Show Announcements

What to Watch: Inspiring, Thriving and Boundary-Breaking Women and Co-Ed Teams at InterDrone 2020!

As InterDrone?s official Adjunct Conference Planner this year, it?s been my honor to curate a series of panels, sessions and special programs packed with experts in their fields to help elevate the conversation in the drone industry. In doing so, it was important to me to help increase global female participation in the overall program because together, we are better.

This article highlights how you can play an active role in growing the UAS industry by networking with these amazing faculty members, nominating a deserving woman and/or diverse team as part of the ?Women to Watch in UAS Global Awards? initiative, and attending the on-site awards luncheon. After all, it is one sky, we are one team, and collectively, we can forget one better future.

Meet Your Faculty!

The InterDrone faculty is diverse, experienced and inspirational. These are but a few of the women that I personally have had the privilege to work with, in support of InterDrone.They represent the leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, mentors, visionaries, and rising stars making an impact on the drone industry now and in the future. They are driving change with their use, advocacy, innovation, and/or role in the reasonable regulation of UAS technology. Go out of your way to meet these folks, get to know them, and see how we can help each other fly!

Helena Samsioe (Sweden) is the CEO and Founder of GLOBHE, a startup on a mission to create a better future with drones. Helena has been named “World’s Top 50 Women in Tech” by Forbes, ranked as one of the most powerful businesswomen in Sweden, ranked among the top 100 young business leaders in Sweden, ranked as a top AI Thought Leader, won “Female Founder of the Year”, named among the “Top Women to Watch in the Drone Industry,? nominated for “Digital Influencer of the Year”, and has been featured as the “Drone Queen” on BBC. Helena has previously worked in different managerial roles in the United States, Scandinavia and in Sub Saharan Africa. She has been part of developing and implementing innovative change on a global scale. She is faculty for the ?UAS Policies Around the Globe? panel.

Patricia Lee ?Trish? Refo, Esq. (U.S.) is president-elect of the American Bar Association and, in August 2020, will become president of the largest voluntary association of attorneys and legal professionals in the world. As a partner at Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix, Refo concentrates on complex commercial litigation and internal investigations. She chairs the firm?s Professional Liability Litigation Group. Among her awards and recognitions, Refo in 2007 was named to the National Law Journal?s list of The 50 Most Influential Women Lawyers in America. She received the President?s Award from the State Bar of Arizona and has been inducted into the Maricopa County Bar Association Hall of Fame. She received her B.A. with high honors and high distinction and her J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan. Trish will be providing a Keynote speech at InterDrone.

Hitomi Uematsu (Singapore) is the Co-founder & CMO of SKY MAGIC, a swarm technology company with control system design, sensor data fusion, and swarming applications focused on becoming a leading industrial player through drone show entertainment and drone traffic management systems. An expert in business development and digital marketing, Hitomi brings more than ten years of digital marketing experience with a focus on delivering a superior brand experience in Asia. Hitomi believes her swarm technology is the key to unlocking successes in the Smart Cities of the future. She was recognized as one of five Women to Watch in UAS (Entrepreneurship) in 2019 and is faculty for the ?UAS Policies Around the Globe? panel.

Jackie Dujmovic (Australia) is the founder and CEO of Hover UAV, an internationally recognized drone consultancy and systems management company, providing solutions and critical links between emerging drone technologies, industry, schools, enterprise, and governments while assisting, empowering, innovative safe and efficient drone programs. Her strength lies in creating strong dialogue and procedures with regulators on a local, national and international level to ultimately implement revolutionary drone system integration to everyday life with a focus on safety, compliance and complex operational approvals. Jackie has recently received accolades within both the UAS and business worlds including as a 2018 honoree as a woman to watch in the Unmanned Aerial System Industry for conservation, and finalist of the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems 2019 for Leadership and Humanitarian Company of the Year. She sits on the board of WeRobotics an international humanitarian organization and the board of the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems. Jackie is a panelist on both the ?UAS Policies Around the Globe? and the ?Emerging Policy Issues in Energy and Mapping? panels.

Fiona Lake (Australia) is the owner of Fiona Lake Photography, has more than thirty years of aerial photography experience and has become Australia’s best-known agricultural photographer. Her multi-strand pioneering business includes publishing books, producing magazine features, holding exhibitions (including at Australia?s Embassy in Washington D.C.) plus commercial work for many of Australia?s largest agricultural companies and organizations. Fiona?s work has won many awards and she has judged photography competitions at a national and international level. She is an active advocate for safe and productive drone use; she runs drone workshops across Australia and has presented at conferences on four continents. Less than 3% of Australia?s fully licensed drone pilots are women, and Fiona is one of them. Fiona is a panelist on both the ?UAS Policies Around the Globe? and the ?Emerging Policy Issues in Energy and Mapping? panels.

Dr. Tulinda Larsen (U.S.) is the CEO and Founder of the economic consulting firm, Skylark Services, LLC., a private pilot and licensed Part 107 Remote Pilot in Command. Dr. Larsen holds a Doctorate of Management from the University of Maryland Global Campus, BA and MA in economics from The George Washington University. She has turned her research from commercial aviation to the emerging Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS/drones) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industries, analyzing the large unmanned aviation vehicle (UAV) and UAM markets. Dr. Larsen is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Business, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Worldwide Campus, serves on the Advisory Committee for the School of Aviation, Utah Valley University, is a certified evaluator for the Distance Education Accreditation Commission, and is the UAM Editor for AirInsight Media, focused on commercial and business aviation programs. Dr. Larson will be moderating the ?UAS Policies Around the Globe? panel.

Laura Stefani, Esq. (U.S.) is of counsel at Mintz, working at the intersection of law, policy and technology, providing clients with creative regulatory solutions to bring new wireless technologies to market. Her areas of focus include unlicensed and licensed wireless technologies, unmanned aircraft, satellite, medical devices, and the Internet of Things. Before joining Mintz, Laura was a partner at a DC-area firm that serves technology, telecommunications, and media clients, counseling on licensing, regulatory matters, and spectrum allocation issues and represented them before the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and other federal agencies. Laura has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America: Communications Law (2019 ? 2020), Recommended by the Legal 500 United States for Telecom & Broadcast: Regulatory (2019) and awarded the 2018 Distinguished Service Award, Federal Communications Bar Association. Laura is a panelist on the ?Privacy for Drone Companies? panel.

Jennifer Richter, Esq. (U.S.) is a Partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and represents a number of clients on UAS/drone strategy, development and operation. Jennifer has represented technology and communications companies and investors for more than two decades. She is ranked by Chambers USA as a leading lawyer in telecommunications, and she has been named a Super Lawyer for communications law multiple times. She was a voting member on the FAA?s Aviation Rulemaking Committee that studied and made recommendations to the FAA Administrator regarding technology to enable remote tracking and identification of UAS. Jennifer is an active participant in NASA?s UTM working groups. She also is a subject matter expert on the FCC?s Technological Advisory Council on UAS and the Department of Homeland Security?s CIPAC that is studying how to protect critical infrastructure from drones. For the CTIA/NASA UAS Working Group, Jennifer is active with members, the FCC and the FAA on spectrum solutions for UAS. Jennifer is a panelist on the ?Drone Security? panel.

Anne Swanson, Esq. (U.S.) is a Partner at Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer, in Washington, D.C. Anne is a seasoned administrative law expert who helps navigation, aviation, communications, and unmanned vehicle companies solve their regulatory problems. During her 30-plus year career, she has worked on a wide variety of agency rulemakings, enforcement matters, mergers, and financial transactions involving GPS and other device manufacturers, media firms, aviation companies, and investors. Her practice focuses on complex spectrum issues and new technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles and ?smart transportation? systems. Ms. Swanson has been recognized by leading publications like Chambers USA, Legal 500, and Super Lawyers as one of the nation?s top administrative lawyers, and has held leadership positions in the Association of Unmanned Vehicles International (?AUVSI?). Anne is 1979 graduate of Yale Law School, where she received her Juris Doctorate. In the same year, she attained her M.P.A. from Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School. She also obtained an L.L.M. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1997. Anne is a panelist on the ?Start Ups and Commercial Innovation? panel.

Kelly Daly, Esq. (U.S.) is a Partner at the Snell & Wilmer law firm, with offices in Washington D.C. and Phoenix, Arizona. Kelly is a regulatory and transactional attorney that represents publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, and coalitions in complex negotiations and in matters in litigation before various federal agencies and the Federal Appellate Courts. Kelly also advises and represents clients (including renewable and traditional energy, agricultural, construction, defense contractors, food manufacturing, real estate, medical/healthcare and police and fire departments) on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Autonomous Vehicles (AV) matters before local, state and federal legislative bodies, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Kelly is a panelist on the ?Emerging Policy Issues in Energy and Mapping? panel.

Nominate a Woman or Co-Ed Team to Watch!

On March 16th, Women And Drones officially launched its fourth annual Women To Watch (WTW) Awards in UAS Global Awards initiative. Women and Drones is the premier global platform for women in the UAS industry and one of the top companies to watch in the UAS industry in 2018 and 2019.

The WTW awards recognize women who are making significant contributions to the industry to include inspiring innovations and solutions, leading people and companies, promoting other women in leadership positions, positively shaping the public perceptions of drones, empowering more women to enter the industry as well as advocating for more inclusive practices in STEM.

Last year, I was honored to be a WTW Award recipient for Leadership, and it was life-changing! This year, I played a strategic role in shaping the program to better acknowledge and celebrate the incredible women and teams who are leading the way for all of us in the UAS industry. The updated individual awards will recognize honorees in the categories of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Education, as well as Public Safety and Service. The individual award is designed to acknowledge and inspire women who are driving change and leading the drone industry closer to gender parity. In creating this recognition, the aim is to raise the profile of women doing amazing work and to encourage more women to embrace UAS technology.

There are also Team/Company awards this year: the UAS Humanitarian Team and the UAS Innovation Team awards both recognize co-ed teams. The two team awards acknowledge organizations/companies that through their pursuit of excellence through diversity and a culture of inclusiveness have women engaged in key roles on their team and/or in leadership positions.

You can get involved by nominating potential honorees (including yourself!) and by partnering on this program at:

The WTW awards nomination is live now and will be through May 14th Award recipients will be announced live at InterDrone ?20 during the annual Women to Watch Awards Luncheon.

Attend the Luncheon!

InterDrone pioneered the first Women in Drones Luncheon, which has evolved into the Women to Watch Global Awards Luncheon this year. The luncheon was created to connect women and others in the drone industry and has become a popular gathering spot with conference attendees. Last year the luncheon grew dramatically in attendance, with a wealth of individuals attending who are on the forefront of leading and making change. The event, running for the sixth year in a row, and open to all InterDrone Expo Plus and Conference pass holders, will highlight achievements and successes in the exciting and competitive industry of commercial drones. You will also be encouraged to participate in this one-of-a-kind dynamic event by sharing your own experiences and insights with your peers and advocates. This year, there will be a special fireside chat with Jennifer Andrews of Bell Technology and Wendy Erickson of Women & Drones. We look forward to seeing you at 12pm, August 19th at this must-attend event! Please enter your information here to reserve your seat.

Hope to see you there. We are one sky, one team, one future!

Bio: Dawn M.K. Zoldi (Colonel, USAF, Retired) is a licensed attorney, a 25-year Air Force veteran and the founder and CEO of P3 Tech Consulting, connecting people and their advanced tech platforms with full-spectrum policy-relevant information. She is an internationally recognized expert on unmanned aircraft system law and policy, and a recipient of the Woman to Watch in UAS (Leadership) Award 2019.

*Mandatory Disclaimer: *The views and opinions in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of the DOD, do not constitute endorsement of any organization mentioned herein and are not intended to influence the action of federal agencies or their employees.