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Shattering the Glass Ceiling. Again.

I’m proud as a peacock of colleague Ashley Bowen Cook. The Wichita Aero Club has named her chair of its board of directors – making her the first woman to hold that prestigious post. She’s earned the title through many years of serving on the board. Heading its trophy selection and gala committees. Volunteering at its annual golf tournament. Bringing in keynote speakers such as Shaesta Waiz, the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe solo in a single-engine aircraft. Developing a must-attend, women-leaders-in-aviation panel. Ashley was the first woman to sit on the Wichita Aero Club executive committee and to serve as vice chair. Every new position of Ashley’s seems to become a first.

She follows in some impressive footsteps. Previous chairmen (in order) include John O’Leary, Airbus Americas Engineering vice president and general manager; Jeffrey Peier, Klenda Austerman, managing member; Patrick Tuttle, then ADR CEO and now Delta Dental of Kansas COO; and Robert Stangarone, then Cessna Aircraft Company vice president of corporate communications and now New England Air Museum chairman and president. Ashley’s tenure officially begins on January 29 at the club’s must-attend annual gala.

Women Have Always Been Part of Our Aviation Heritage

I’m proud of the Aero Club, too. While aviation has long been thought of as men’s domain, in 2010, the club named Velma Wallace the very first recipient of the Wichita Aero Club Trophy. So, it has a history of seeing past gender and focusing on merit. For those of you who only know Wallace as the widow of longtime Cessna leader Dwane Wallace, she was a leading benefactor behind Exploration Place and one of general aviation’s earliest female pilots, with both single- and multi-engine ratings. She spoke softly, but her words carried weight. And made things happen.

And, okay, I’ll say it. I’m proud of the Air Capital, as well. Olive Ann Beech, The First Lady of Aviation, was the first woman to head a Fortune 500 company. She navigated Beech Aircraft through its WWII-fueled expansion after her husband, Walter, was hospitalized, and following his death in 1950 served as its president until 1968 and chair till 1982. Both she and Walter received aviation’s highest honors, including induction into the Aviation Hall of Fame. Of course, it’s her spirit I admire most. She commanded respect, kept meetings short and went straight to the source with “See me” notes when she saw issues.

Pride in the Air Capital reaches back even further to the very dawn of aviation. Our book, Wichita: Where Aviation Took Wing, brims with stories of fearless barnstormers such as Ruth Garver and Bertha “Birdie” Horchem. The daring Ruth would walk out onto the wing and jump from her Wichita-built Laird Swallow. Birdie held the women’s altitude record and could do up to 25 consecutive loops as well as a 2,000-foot tailspin. Both died young when their equipment failed them (a parachute in Ruth’s case and a crumpled aircraft wing in Birdie’s). Their trailblazing continues to blow my mind – and make me wish I had known these women.

Congratulations, Ashley, on your rise, and thank you for your dedication to elevating the industry, the club and our agency.

Celebrate With Us Come help us honor trophy recipient Ron Ryan of Ryan International Airlines at the 12th Wichita Aero Club gala. It’s 6 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 29 at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton near Eisenhower National Airport. Haven’t secured your tickets for the gala yet? You still can. RSVP here.

Check out the Wichita Business Journal’s article about Ashley’s new role as Wichita Aero Club chair in its Jan. 20 issue.

Social Media Manager Joins Greteman Group

Jen Cole eats, sleeps and breathes social media, which is why she recently joined Wichita-based marketing agency, Greteman Group. She plans to use her role as social media manager to help the agency’s clients build their brands through socially engaged online communities.

“I help brands develop unique voices that manage to be relevant and authentic while also being human,” says Cole. “You want to feel that there’s a person at the other end of the conversation.”

Cole should know. Her extensive background encompasses 10 years of social media marketing. She’s done everything from owning her own agency to running social media for the globally renowned, U.S.-based Social Media Examiner. She has hosted several live-streamed shows and cohosts her own podcast, Making a Marketer. As she likes to say, “Community is my aesthetic.”

“Jen has learned how to be strategic yet genuine in her approach to social media, which is rare,” says Greteman Group Vice President Ashley Bowen Cook, who oversees the agency’s digital department. “In addition to her proven skills, we appreciate that she does everything with a smile. That helps in any work environment, but especially in today’s fast-paced world. Jen stays nimble and responds quickly.”

Previously, Cole was co-owner of X-Stand Standing Desk, a relationship marketing account manager for NOW Marketing Group and a community manager for the Social Media Examiner. She co-founded DepICT Media and owned Backspace Media. Earlier in her career, she managed social content for Sullivan Higdon & Sink and RSA Marketing.

Cole earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Her volunteer experience includes ongoing, multiyear support coordinating social media for Digital Wichita, managing social media as a 1 Million Cups organizer, and serving as a mentor for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


Greteman Group has developed an international reputation as an aviation-specialty marketing agency based in Wichita, Kan. – the Air Capital. Leading aircraft manufacturers, flight support, aftermarket services, fractional ownership, insurance, in-flight Wi-Fi, regional airlines and airport analytics have entrusted their brands to Greteman Group. Clients include FlightSafety International, Wichita Eisenhower National Airport, Clay Lacy Aviation, JetHQ, USAIG, King Aerospace, Signature Flight Support, Vantis, Piedmont Airlines and Aviation Partners. It also supports causes and clients such as the Tallgrass Film Association, Mark Arts, the City of Wichita, Wichita Water Partners, AGC Kansas, GLMV Architecture and MKEC Engineering. The firm is a founding member of the Wichita Aero Club and a longstanding member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). Since its founding in 1989, this certified women-owned business enterprise (WBE) has developed a team of purpose-driven pros.