Marion Clifton Blakey came to Vaughn College to share her extensive knowledge about the aviation and aerospace industries and her insights on success, career readiness and navigating transitions within ever changing business environments and sectors. She was interviewed about her career and her successes by Otha Ward `19, a Vaughn College senior majoring in airport management and former president of the Vaughn College American Association of Airport Executives student chapter.

Blakey spoke on her education, her early career and the many transitions she made during her professional life. “Drive and enthusiasm carry a long way towards success and my love for aviation kept me motivated throughout my career,” said Blakey.

She mentioned her first job at the National Endowment for the Humanities working where she learned a great deal from people from academia who helped her think about her future and the broad horizons that existed. She joined Rolls-Royce North America Inc. in 2015 as president and chief executive officer. In this role, Blakey also served as chairman of the Rolls-Royce North America Holdings Inc. Board.

During the interview she spoke about the exciting future for aviation careers and showed a video from Rolls Royce on their future investments in the UltraFan® engine that will maximize fuel efficiency, lower emissions and provide better thrust, and the move towards the electrification of engines. Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, Blakey served in various senior executive roles including; president and chief executive officer of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

When asked how you know when to move from one job to the next she gave the following advice: “Don’t stay too long anywhere you are comfortable and don’t be risk adverse. If an opportunity presents itself—jump.”  She also encouraged students to not waste time and work harder in their studies in college because “it’s easier to learn there than on the job.”

In addition to her prestigious career, Blakey has been a friend and supporter of Vaughn College and was honored at the Vaughn Gala 2016 when Rolls Royce donated equipment for student training and learning.