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Recipients of the sixth annual Earl G. Graves Award for Leadership in Diversity are: Kathi Durst, Fleet Captain; Robert Ciminelli, Vice President of Airport Integration; Anila Jivanji, Senior Analyst Sales Strategy; and Linda Kozma, Staff Assistant, Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). They were honored June 30 at a ceremony held in Dallas/Fort Worth.
Graves award recipients are chosen through an open nomination process and recognized for their efforts as leaders in diversity, both at work and in the community. “This year marks a milestone as we opened Graves Award nominations for employees from American Airlines and US Airways," said Cindy Fiedelman, Vice President People and Diversity, American Airlines. “Not only are we proud to recognize employees for exceptional leadership in diversity, but we are proud to have so many employees willing to take time and nominate their fellow colleagues. It's truly inspiring."
The award is named in honor of Earl G. Graves, an African-American businessman, entrepreneur and former AMR board member. While on the AMR Board of Directors, he inspired the creation of American's diversity supplier program, diversity marketing initiatives and a board diversity committee. He has since sat on the boards of several major corporations, and in 2002 Fortune magazine named him one of the 50 most powerful and influential African-Americans in corporate America.
Bob is currently the Vice President of Airport Integration, but he is being awarded for his work at his previous position as Vice President of Hub Operations at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), where he served from 2008-2014. He served as an executive sponsor for the African-American Diversity Network and collaborated frequently with other employee business resource groups. He is a board member of the American Airlines Credit Union, the US Airways Education Foundation, the Police Athletic League of Philadelphia and the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. Bob is currently serving as an executive sponsor with our Christian Employee Business Resource Group.
Upon graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1981 (only the second class that admitted women), Capt. Kathi Durst spent her seven-year Air Force career flying the Northrop T-38 at Williams Air Force Base in Phoenix. Ariz. In that time, she was an instructor, Check Section Evaluator, Academic Officer, and the Student Squadron Executive Officer. While in Arizona, she earned a master's degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Kathi is the first female American Airlines pilot in a flight management leadership role. She stepped up to assume the Fleet Captain position for the 737 fleet. She's very active with Women in Aviation International and leads career improvement presentations and resume-building workshops, as well as actively mentoring young pilots.
Anila was born and grew up in South Africa during apartheid, which inspired her to be involved in her community and workplace. She joined the Indian Employee Business Resource Group at a time when we started the Delhi route. She was a key collaborator with the food and beverage department for menu selections and also helped with cultural training for the crew. As a member of Family Matters Employee Business Resource Group where she strongly advocated for the Mothers Room built at headquarters and also put her efforts toward the Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day and the Trick or Treat for UNICEF event. Anila is also a member of the Texas Education Association.
Linda is chairwoman for the Chicago chapter of the Military Employee Resource Group, now the American Military Employee Business Resource Group. She collaborated with our Veteran's Initiatives department to present the first Annual Marine Week at ORD, working closely with the Pentagon. The success of their efforts resulted in an invitation for the resource group to tour the Pentagon, where staff provided guidelines and protocol for Military Human Remains/Planeside Honors. Linda also led Veterans Military Employee Resource Group fundraising efforts to support Hospitality for Heroes, an initiative to support the USO at ORD by providing pre-paid hotel vouchers.