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Title
SPRING 2000
VOLUME 4
NUMBER 3
SPECIAL EDITION

MHC In The Media
Making Headlines: MHC In
The Media

Joanne Creighton
Joanne Creighton

Beverly Daniel Tatum
Beverly Daniel Tatum

Francine Deutsch
Francine Deutsch

Joseph Ellis
Joseph Ellis

Martha Ackmann
Martha Ackmann

Christopher Benfey
Christopher Benfey

Students As Newsmakers
Students As Newsmakers

Speaking, Arguing and Writing
Speaking, Arguing and Writing

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Mount Holyoke alumnae have long been headliners--movers and shakers in everything from education to the corporate world. Their significant contributions today are paving the way for women of tomorrow. While examples abound, for one such alumna even the sky is not the limit. Barbara A. Cassani '82, the first woman CEO of a commercial airline--Go Fly, Ltd., British Airways' no-frills discount carrier--is big news.

The New York Timescites her as the only woman in the world to be chief executive of an airline. Working Womansalutes her as one of the world's top women CEOs. The British Guardiancalls her a transatlantic high flier. She is one of just a handful of American women to land a top job in Britain, where less than 5 percent of CEOs are women. The "fast riser," as she was described in USA Today,was also listed in Working Womanmagazine as one of the top thirty women at the helm of a major United States corporation, back during her short stint with British Airway's operations in this country. According to the Times,analysts have predicted that she could be the heir apparent at British Airways.

What course did the self-described 39-year-old "maverick" take to get to the top? After graduating magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke with a major in international relations, her next stop was the Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Having completed her master's degree in public affairs there, she joined the firm of Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) in Washington, D.C., as a consultant in its international division. She then moved to the firm's offices in London with her husband, a British investment banker with whom she has two children. A British Airways newspaper advertisement for a job in sales and marketing led Cassani to a new career path and to swift ascension through the managerial ranks of the major international airline company.

Cassani told the Timesthat she "had no idea of what [she] was getting into" when she embarked on her career with the airline. But the turbulent industry seemed to inspire her greatest talents. She turned around a small European airline bought by British Airways in 1992 and was soon pegged for Go. Unhindered by competition and threats from rival low-cost airlines, Go, under Cassani's shrewd direction, now serves numerous European cities, from Copenhagen to Lisbon.

How does Cassani feel about her unique status at Go? "Running a business here in the U.K., particularly being a woman, is just far too big a deal," she told the Times."The point at which some woman starts up a business and nobody cares about it, that's when we'll all know we made it."

 

 

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Copyright © 2000 Mount Holyoke College. This page created and maintained by Don St. John. Last modified on April 27, 2000.