To celebrate Women’s History Month, we are spotlighting just a few of the talented women of Wisk. These women have dedicated their professional careers to creating a future where autonomous advanced air mobility is accessible and open to everyone. Aviation is a team activity, and the women in these roles are an essential part of our Wisk DNA. Here are some of their stories:
Manasa Srinivas, Manager Safety & Reliability Engineering
Life before Wisk: At first, Manasa Srinivas wasn’t focused on aviation. When she went to visit her uncle at his Indian Air Force base she was more interested in engineering and his work with radar. This interest drove her to complete a masters in electrical engineering. After a short stint at a semiconductor company (turns out she doesn’t love to code), Manasa spent eight years at an aerospace company before making her way to Wisk.
Favorite part about working at Wisk: The Wisk culture. At Wisk everyone is encouraged to speak up and voice their opinions. There are many growth opportunities, such as employee resource groups (Sustainability, Women at Wisk, Aviators, etc.), and in-team advancement. Leaders are also supportive of employees wanting to move laterally, such as working with another team, so that talented employees can grow with the company.
As a woman in the industry: Manasa recalls many times when she was the only woman, and the only minority, in a room full of male engineers. However, her experience at Wisk has shown her a workplace where talent is supported irrespective of gender.
“Women are getting paid equally and women have a voice and representation here. The leadership across the company, and the individual contributors, are very respectful of everyone’s opinions. Leaders are humble enough to hear individual voices and there is no distinction between male and female voices. I think this will strengthen our workplace in the future.” – Manasa Srinvas
Lindani Johnson, Staff System Safety Engineer
Life before Wisk: Lindani has degrees from both Oberlin College (physics) and the Illinois Institute of Technology (aerospace engineering). Lindani’s first stop on her journey to Wisk was at a major aerospace and defense company where she was a systems safety engineer. There, she discovered a passion for fast-paced R&D environments where she could creatively problem solve and wear a lot of different hats.
Pre-Wisk, Lindani says she had a vision of Silicon Valley that consisted largely of computer programmers. Luckily for us, she looked a bit deeper and found that the company fit her personality and was solving interesting and important problems, and doing so sustainably.
Favorite part about working at Wisk: Now Lindani’s focus is ensuring that Wisk aircraft are as safe as possible, a process that starts on the drawing board and goes all the way through the development and test flight processes. She particularly enjoys the challenge of thinking three steps ahead of development and testing her skills in all different types of engineering to anticipate potential problems and solutions.
As a woman in the industry: While Lindani unfortunately experienced some sexism and racism during her education, she has had a different experience at Wisk.
“I love this workspace, I can’t stress that enough. I love the flexibility and I love the people. Here, I can speak freely and in my own voice.”
Susan Hopkins, Aircraft Technician
Life before Wisk: Susan can trace her interest in aircraft back to 1994, the day she visited the Imperial War Museum at Duxford Airfield in Cambridge, England. While looking at a DeHavilland Comet, she peppered a volunteer with so many questions that the volunteer encouraged her to ‘come and find out all these things for yourself’. This volunteer was Trevor Scarr, a member of the Concorde design team. Susan ended up volunteering at the museum where she got her hands dirty maintaining and repairing aircraft from World War I (RE8), World War II (JU52, B24, Shorts Sunderland and Fairey Swordfish), and the post-war era (Handley Page Victor mk1, Avro Shackleton, and Panavia Tornado) to name a few.
Favorite part about working at Wisk: According to Susan, the aviation industry needs to evolve, so the move from general aviation to Wisk was a no-brainer. She draws a comparison between Formula 1 racing cars and aviation. “So much of the technology developed for these cars slowly found its way into our everyday cars and is now commonplace. I see Wisk as part of this progression.” Her hope is that the developments made at Wisk will eventually become standard and propel the industry away from the out-dated engines in use since the 1940s.
As a woman in the industry: Susan’s experience in aviation has been positive, and even humorous, at times.
“Honestly, [working in aviation] has been life changing for me. I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve worked with a large spectrum of people and aircraft. I have learned so much from everyone and everything I’ve worked on. It’s really been amazing. At one of the companies I worked at I remember a customer coming in and asking one of the lads what it was like having to work with a woman?!! His reply was priceless, he said ‘What? You mean Susan? She’s not just a woman, she’s a mechanic!’ Perfect.“
Kacy Anderson, Integrated Product Team Lead
Life before Wisk: When most teenagers were learning to drive, Kacy Anderson was getting her pilot’s license. She grew up around airports and planes and flying is in her blood. She knew she wanted to go into aviation early, but didn’t want to turn her passion of flying into a full-time job. Instead, Kacy opted to study aerospace engineering and ultimately landed a position as a civilian flight test engineer with the US Air Force.
Kacy started as an entry-level engineer at Edwards Airforce Base and eventually ended up developing and coordinating F-16 flight test programs. Some of the most interesting tests were for automatic ground collision avoidance (e.g., preventing crashing). Testing included pointing the airplane at the ground and waiting for the system to engage. Needless to say, Kacy is an expert in ensuring the safety of both aircraft and the people in and around them. She joined Wisk as a flight test engineer before moving into the role of cross-discipline integrated product team lead.
Favorite part about working at Wisk: Creating something from the ground up. “Wisk has the opportunity to build a structure and process from scratch. We know where we want to go and how to get there.”
As a woman in the industry: Kacy loves being part of the aviation industry and notes that Wisk offers an environment equally welcoming to everyone. Is she often the only woman in the room? Yes. But that doesn’t bother her. She knows she belongs there.
“Working at Wisk has been an excellent opportunity to gain technical leadership, be part of cutting-edge innovation, and bust pay gaps.”
Wisk is committed to addressing inequality in all of its shapes and forms, and is actively seeking to recruit women and other underrepresented populations. Interested in joining Wisk? Check out our career’s page.