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Calisa Horton: Turning Passion into Action

February 19, 2024 | by Lauren Devoy
Calisa Horton was looking for a challenging career when she chose accounting. But looking back, she thinks if she had more resources like those that GE Aerospace offers, she may have chosen engineering.

An active member of GE Aerospace’s African American Forum (AAF) employee resource group, she’s dedicated her volunteer time and talent to Next Engineers, a program to increase young people in engineering, especially people of color and women.

For Horton, who started her career at GE nine years ago, the work done with Next Engineers is personal. When she attended Kentucky State University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in accounting, she said she wanted to explore the most challenging careers. She didn’t have any exposure to engineering when she was young, so she did not pursue that field. Horton says that’s where much of her passion for her involvement with Next Engineers comes from.

“I see young people just like me not having that exposure or resources to go into the engineering field,” said Horton.

All images courtesy of Calisa Horton.

Horton, a finance Senior Staff Technical Product Manager located in Evendale, Ohio, was even recognized last year with GE Aerospace’s “Lifting People Up” award for her involvement in Next Engineers. She also serves as the leader of Next Engineers’ highly successful Engineering Discovery program, which is integrated into seven Cincinnati-area schools. The program starts in eighth grade, with a variety of short, exploratory sessions led by GE volunteers. In tenth through twelfth grade the students may apply to participate in the University of Cincinnati-partnered engineering academy. Next Engineers graduates who enroll in an engineering degree program at an institution of higher education receive a partial scholarship.

Before being hired, she says the thing that appealed to her most about GE Aerospace was its diversity. Horton views diversity as everyone having a seat at the table, saying, “If all voices were heard and everyone was given space where decisions are made, the impact would be amazing.” She quickly got involved in the AAF employee resource group and served as the vice president of the AAF for two terms.

“The networking impact alone from involvement with employee resource groups really can’t be understated. Taking that time to invest in your future by ensuring you allocate time to educate yourself and understand how the business runs in various functions is invaluable,” said Horton.

Whether it be her day-to-day work or her volunteer involvement, Horton says what inspires her most is helping others. She greatly enjoys making other people’s jobs easier and overcoming roadblocks and obstacles for others along the way.

“My work as a Sr. Staff Product Manager allows me to help other GE Aerospace employees when something is going on within the system that they don’t understand. It also allows me to work on continuous improvement initiatives that help stabilize the system and standardize processes.” said Horton. “Making the next person’s job easier is my overall goal, and being able to be a resource for my fellow employees is highly rewarding to me.”

Horton wishes the accomplishments and contributions of Black people in the United States were celebrated year-round, not just during February.  She does however appreciate that some time is set aside for the talents of Black people to be showcased during Black History Month.

As the only Black Woman in her high school graduating class, she fondly recalls staging a play with fellow students to honor Black History Month as a student.


Married with three adult children, Horton notes that GE Aerospace creates a space where she feels like she can bring her best, most authentic self to work and allows her to contribute to different programs that serve the community. Calisa also takes pride in being the glue to her extended family, she loves being a safe space and planning family reunions and vacations where all of her 100+ cousins come together as one. Another one of her personal passions is mentoring at-risk teens, assisting them with applying and getting accepted into college, and supporting them throughout their time in school. And she feels that without GE Aerospace’s support, programs like Next Engineers would not otherwise find their footing.

“The opportunity to highlight Black Americans’ role in the history of the country through celebrating Black History Month is more important than ever. Inspiring others to overcome adversity and oppression despite challenges is a key role of the celebration,” she says.

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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.