American Airlines recently celebrated the outstanding contributions of 100 of its top team members at a special recognition experience held in Dallas-Fort Worth. The event marked the induction of these exemplary individuals into the newly named Circle of Excellence, formerly known as the Chairman’s Award.
The Circle of Excellence honors team members who have demonstrated a career-long commitment to exemplary customer service, dedication to their teams, and contributions to American Airlines’ overall operation. This prestigious award, the highest form of recognition bestowed upon American's team members for their career achievements, was renamed in 2023 to shift the focus onto the recipients themselves.
Over 1,600 peer nominations from around the world were considered, with a panel of former recipients and senior leaders, including CEO Robert Isom, reviewing each submission. This year's 100 honorees boast an impressive combined service of 2,543 years with American and its legacy carriers, with an average tenure of 25 years. The awardees represent the global reach of American Airlines, residing in countries such as Argentina, Australia, England, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, and the United States.
CEO Robert Isom expressed gratitude and recognition for the invaluable contributions of the Circle of Excellence honorees, describing them as dedicated leaders and problem solvers who have played a crucial role in American Airlines' success.
The winners come from various workgroups throughout the airline, showcasing resilience in the face of unique crises, commitment to fostering inclusivity, and challenging the status quo to advance their careers within the airline industry.
One standout honoree is Racheli Vardi, the General Manager at Tel Aviv, Israel. Racheli played a pivotal role in restarting service to the airport during the COVID-19 pandemic, facing unique challenges in a turbulent region. Her commitment to maintaining a safe and sound operation, especially during crises, earned her a nomination for the Circle of Excellence.
Another remarkable recipient, Kevaughn Hammond, a New York-based first officer, started his career at American as an aviation maintenance technician before pursuing his dream of becoming a military pilot. Kevaughn's passion for aviation has inspired many of his peers to pursue careers as pilots, and he personally mentors them on their journeys.
To celebrate the achievements of the Circle of Excellence winners, American Airlines treated them and their guests to a two-day experience in November. The festivities included an exclusive brunch and tour on the Robert L. Crandall Campus in Fort Worth, Texas, and concluded with an evening gala at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas. In addition to the recognition, honorees received a special pin, trophy, and a $10,000 award.