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Utah Business

30 Women to Watch 2024

Amelia Willden | 30 Women to Watch 2024

30 Women to Watch 2024
Amelia Willden | Photographed by Beka Price Photography

AMT Program Manager | Southern Utah University

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Amelia Willden’s career journey started with a leap of faith as an English teacher in mainland China — an experience that pushed her out of her comfort zone and taught her resilience in ways she never imagined. After returning home, she managed two bookstores in Zion National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument. She was admitted to Southern Utah University and worked as a student service assistant in the aviation department. She saw the opportunity to break barriers as a woman in the program and was eventually offered the role of administrative assistant for the director of the maintenance program. Today, Amelia acts as program manager, is close to completing her master’s degree and fervently supports other women in aviation.

What is an accomplishment you’re very proud of?

I am really proud of the Aviation Maintenance Technician program I helped build. I am very proud of the fact that I earned my medical assistant certificate and my bachelor’s degree, and I am 22 days away from completing my master’s degree. 

What’s the next big goal or project in your professional journey?

I want to create and build a program that influences the industry. We are already setting standards, but we can do more. There are less than 10 percent of female aviation technicians in the U.S. and less than 20 percent of females in aviation leadership roles. As a female, you can be in aviation. You can be a technician. You can be a pilot.

Mekenna is the editor of Utah Business magazine and a graduate of the print journalism program at Utah State University. She has written about business, music and culture for publications like Business Insider, Time Out, SLUG Magazine, Visit Salt Lake and the Standard-Examiner. She loves hiking, thrifting, reading and going on camping trips with her partner in their 1986 Land Cruiser.