On Friday, February 4, the College welcomed Vanessa Blacknall-Jamison, change advisor and leadership coach (ACC) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Aviation Safety and Flight Standards Leadership Development Team Change Management Group. Blacknall-Jamison has been a member of the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) since 1989 and serves as the first non-pilot chair for the OBAP Board of Advisors, where she previously held the position of vice-chair. She received her master’s of business degree from the University of Phoenix and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. In addition, she holds an associate coaching certification from the International Coaching Federation. Blacknall-Jamison currently resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband and children.  

Blacknall-Jamison has been with the FAA since 2009 as an aviation safety inspector with oversight responsibilities for American Airlines and its subsidiary, American Eagle Airlines. She previously served as the manager of emergency procedures training for pilots and flight attendants worldwide and human resources senior staff specialist for United Airlines. She has accumulated more than 40 years of professional aviation experience, 28 of those in a managerial role. Blacknall-Jamison will be an adjunct professor at the College starting in the fall semester later this year. 

Blacknall-Jamison’s presentation discussed various aspects of change management and leadership coaching. Her presentation touched upon the importance of leaders acknowledging change is constantly happening and the challenges of communication while staying current with trends. She stressed that successful change requires both a technical side and a “people” side, with the people side being vital for change management. Blacknall-Jamison explained that the ADKAR model (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, Reinforcement) is the building block for successful change. In conclusion, students were reminded that change is adopted at different times and the necessity to be prepared, coaching can help leaders become the best version of themselves and that every small success is a win and it’s alright to question your ability, but the key is to not remain in that negative space for long.  

At the end of the event, students had the opportunity to ask Blacknall-Jamison questions about her experience, confidence tips, work-to-life balance tips and garner insight into how to manage expectations in their prospective careers.   

The next speaker series will take place on February 16, featuring award winning journalist and author, Bill McGee.