Editor's Note - January 2018

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 Not quite a Wonder Woman yet, but some day.

Wonder Women Everywhere

After beginning my job at IAAPA years later, I met Kathy again, and she remembered me with as much warmth as she had before. When compiling the vast list of women consulted for our cover story, Kathy was, of course, at the top. Call me sentimental, but I realized she was truly the first person to show me there was a place for determined professional women in this industry. My first story as a cub reporter was covering the opening of The Boardwalk at Hersheypark. I was nervous, as any young journalist would be, but there was a little more to my shakiness than just first-time jitters. I’d been up for an internship in Hersheypark’s public relations department, and I feared running into the woman who had interviewed me. To my chagrin, she was the first person I saw, standing sentinel to the entrance to the new attraction. But Kathy Burrows greeted me by name and extended a genuinely warm welcome into the world of reporting and (little did I know) the attractions industry.

Our cover story this month about women in the attractions industry was sparked from conversations with IAAPA members and the success of last year’s IAAPA webinar on gender and achievement in our business—you see, this industry isn’t just a place for ambitious women; it’s full of them.

The drive and multidisciplinary expertise of the women of IAAPA never cease to amaze me. You’ll see Denise Beckson of Morey’s Piers at a committee meeting and then again lobbying with IAAPA in Washington, D.C., and yet again presenting at an IAAPA Safety Institute in Latin America. Jane Cooper, one of only two female chairs of the IAAPA Board of Directors, somehow finds time to lead Herschend Family Entertainment and foster the next generation of industry visionaries through the IAAPA Foundation. These leaders are tireless in their quest to grow the industry.

We spoke to professionals from multiple levels of management. Their experiences weave a multifaceted narrative of the unique challenges and triumphs women face, and the immense contributions they’ve made to this industry. 

Our cover story is just the beginning, however. According to research by LeanIn.org (the organization founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg), though 47 percent of entry-level positions in the U.S. corporate pipeline are filled by women, only 20 percent of C-suite positions have female occupants. From their responses, our contributors are eager to continue the conversation on women in leadership.

This year in Funworld, we’ll be honoring these Wonder Women with a column on their accomplishments and career successes. Keep an eye out—these ladies don’t need an invisible plane to reach new heights.


Prasana William is formerly associate editor of Funworld and now IAAPA’s manager of digital content and strategy.