By Drew Ianni
March 31, 2021

CDX was joined by American Airline’s head of emerging platforms, Phil Easter, and Sr Project Manager, Tomias Davis at its recent Accelerate conference to discuss the company’s commitment to diversity, the future of talent, and more.

Easter opened the discussion by laying out his top priorities and how the airline has managed through this difficult year. “We work with startups. We vet cool ideas. And we find great talent.” And in discussing the pandemic he noted, “We got hit hard. But we regrouped and we figured it out. And we still needed technology people to run the airline as the airline is really just a tech company that flies people.”

Doubling Down on Young, Diverse Talent

“We are constantly looking for great talent”, Easter remarked when asked about the airline’s staffing priorities and needs. “[We are] doubling down on getting college talent because that’s our hope and our future. And we do great outreach with a lot of different colleges. We put on external events. We worked with HBCU colleges and we are building a great pipeline of diverse talent.”

“I think one of the things this year has told us is that those relationships that we built along the years with HBCUs helped sustain us through this year,” said Davis. He also discussed some of the airline’s specific outreach to HBCUs and other institutions noting “we have had some wonderful talent come through our HBCU hacks (hack-a-thons). Last year alone, we had fourteen new hires come in from historically black colleges and universities including seven female black engineers. And they’re already doing some awesome work being able to use their authentic voice and be heard.”

Looking ahead, Easter discussed the airline’s overall talent strategy and ongoing diversity mandate noting “if you can’t represent your customer base with your employee base, there’s a major disconnect”.

View the full interview below where Easter and Davis discuss what they are looking for in prospective employees and their internal diversity development accelerator, Adept.


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