Reagan National Airport Traveler Update on Coronavirus
Interview with Monica Hargrove
In honor of Women's History Month, Monica Hargrove, Board Office -Vice President and Secretary, shared her personal journey, experiences, inspirations, and her take on being a women in an executive role.
Brief introduction of your professional journey
I am currently Vice President and Secretary of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is a position that I have held since March of 2016. In this position, I oversee the Board Office of the Airports Authority and work directly with the Board of Directors and Executive Staff on governance and policy initiatives designed to ensure that the Airports Authority manages effectively both Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International Airports, as well as the Dulles Toll Road and the construction of the Silver Line of the Metro system. I joined the Airports Authority in November of 2013 as its first Deputy General Counsel after having served as an attorney in the aviation industry more than twenty years.
My legal career began as a trial attorney in the Honors Law Program of the United Stated Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, in Washington,D.C., at a time during which many industries, including the airline industry, were undergoing deregulation. I was a member of the Justice Department’s AT&T trial staff and worked on several deregulation-related competition advocacy initiatives, largely in the telecommunications and banking industries, within the old Special Regulated Industries Section of the Antitrust Division. Because the airline industry was undergoing deregulation during that time, US Airways was interested in hiring an antitrust lawyer to work with its marketing, scheduling and pricing managers to ensure that they understood and complied with the antitrust laws and regulations in the then recently-deregulated industry. My timing, legal training and employment experiences were aligned, and I had an opportunity to learn about the airline industry firsthand, in Crystal City, as I served first as Attorney, then Senior Attorney and Associate General Counsel and Secretary of a subsidiary corporation at US Airways until September of 2003.
In February of 2008, after operating a franchise business in Union Station, I re-entered the aviation legal sector on the airport side of the business, as General Counsel of Airports Council International-North America in Washington, D.C. There I served on the executive leadership team of the trade association and as the point of contact for Chief Legal Officers and the legal staffs of all airport members of the trade association.
What are the biggest challenges women face in the workplace and how can they overcome these challenges?
The biggest challenges that women face in the workplace are denial of the opportunity to share their skillsets in a meaningful way, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to juggle their professional and domestic roles.
Women can overcome these challenges by: 1) setting interim goals to help them advance their career paths; 2) taking advantage of networking opportunities to expand their knowledge of professional opportunities that will help them achieve their career goals, and 3) being willing to go the extra mile to advance the company’s goals, especially when it expands their skillsets and allows them to work with persons in leadership who can contribute to their professional growth and development.
Why should we have more women in executive roles?
It is important to hire more women in executive and leadership roles at the Airports Authority as well as in government and other private sector organizations because increased diversity in leadership is the only path to ensuring that the voices of underrepresented groups are considered at the leadership level. Indeed, it is critical that women be selected for executive leadership roles in order to create leadership paths for other aspiring professional women and racial minorities to emulate, especially inasmuch as they are underrepresented in leadership positions in important industries, including the aviation industry. As persons with different backgrounds and experiences share in decision-making at all levels in both the government and private sectors, better informed business and governmental results can be expected since the views of a broader range of individuals will be considered in making important decisions that will determine the future of all aspects of our country and the world.
What are some of your personal and professional motivations that help you push forward?
I have always been motivated to give my best and do my best to make a difference in whatever role I assume. My parents both encouraged me to aim for the stars, to believe in myself, and to set my own agenda without allowing anyone else to limit my aspirations. As a result, I left Atlanta, GA to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and matriculated in the first co-educational class at the college. After graduating cum laude from Dartmouth, I attended the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I served in several roles, including as Legislative Notes Editor of the Journal of Law Reform. I have served in leadership positions in professional legal organizations including Chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Air and Space Law, and the Federal Bar Association’s Transportation and Transportation Security Law Section -- in order to broaden the paths for others from diverse backgrounds and to encourage other women and minorities to pursue legal and other professional careers in aviation. In other areas I have also held significant leadership positions.
What does Women’s History mean to you?
Women’s history is an important part of American and World History and gives us insights into the roles that women have played in making America become the country that it is today.
During the month of March, special emphasis is placed on learning about women whom many of us never knew existed as important leaders in various fields. I am very pleased that the Airports Authority is sharing information about women in the aviation industry during March of 2021.