Encouraging women to pursue a career in aviation

WestJet
By WestJet | | 6 min read

Women of Aviation Worldwide Week (WOAW) is a global aviation awareness week for girls of all ages observed to mark the anniversary of the world’s first female pilot license (March 8, 1910). In recognition of the occasion, and International Women’s Day, we asked the women of WestJet a simple question...

Why would you encourage women to pursue a career in aviation?

 

Annie Lagueux, First Officer, B737

I would encourage young women to pursue a career in aviation because it takes you to places you never thought you'd go, both physically and mentally. If it wasn't for flying, I would never have seen the arctic the way I did, with all the beautiful landscapes and way of life. Flying has challenged me in so many ways and keeps doing so. It's an amazing journey.

 

Annie Lagueux, First Officer, B737

 

Daphe Olivera, CCM (Cabin Crew Manager)

Pursuing a career in aviation will grant you countless opportunities to travel the world, immerse yourself in new cultures and overall learn who you are as a person. It’s also given me the freedom and capacity to pursue other hobbies and education on my allotted time off that I wouldn’t have had in a typical 9-5 job. I started at WestJet six years ago, and when I reflect on my favourite memories and experiences, most of them were presented to me simply because I chose a career in aviation.

 

Goldie Obrien, Maintenance Controller

I started my aviation career with fourteen years in the military. I lived in Germany and served on a navy supply ship off the coast of Somalia. While in the military I worked on multiple aircraft including F-18's and Sea King helicopters. 

After leaving the military in 2000, I joined WestJet in Calgary as an apprentice. I received my Aircraft Maintenance Engineer-E license in 2001 and I worked in Technical Operations on the line for the first fourteen years after which I became a Maintenance Control Coordinator in the Operations Control Center.

I would encourage young women who are looking for a challenging and rewarding career to pursue aviation. It's exciting and from my perspective as an AME, you get to work as part of a great team in an ever changing and progressing industry. Besides, it's just cool to tell your friends that you work on aircraft.

 

Jacqueline Book, First Officer, B737

Aviation is not your typical 9-5 job in that every day is a new experience. You are continuously being challenged by weather, aircraft capabilities, equipment abnormalities, operational pressures, and though time you learn to expand your skill set and make the best decisions possible. Aviation, especially the pilot profession offers the opportunity to travel, learn about the climate in which we live, and see the world from a different perspective. I have made incredible friendships and gained another family through those I have studied and worked with during my life in aviation. Aviation really does provide the opportunity to continuously grow and hone your skills to become as diverse as you want to be, professionally, culturally, and personally. 

Aviation is a small community and when you become a member of this community, no matter where you are in the world, you are never far from home.

 

Jillian Horvath, Senior Manager WCB & Employee Health

At WestJet you will find women positively transforming our organization through inspiration and motivation every day. I love working with liked minded female leaders who are solution focused and driven to succeed by making positive change for the organization and our employees.     

There are endless possibilities for women when you start a career in the growing aviation industry. I would encourage anyone who is looking to start or change careers paths to pursuit a career in aviation.

 

Michelle DaSilva (left) Michelle DaSilva (left)

Michelle DaSilva, Program Manager JV – Sales, Training and Communications

When I started in this industry in 1996, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I knew that whatever happened it would be amazing; and I wasn’t wrong. Aviation is an ever evolving, changing industry with vast opportunities. I am fortunate to be an example of someone who has worked in a variety of roles within WestJet and throughout my journey I have gained knowledge, skills and experiences that are not only transferable but have allowed me to be innovative and multidimensional. 

I have seen it change from an industry that was thought to be only for the elite to what it is today, connecting people in all ways.  I am proud to work in an industry that is vital in the support of communities, charitable initiatives, bringing family and friends together, humanitarian aid and the Global economy. 

It is far reaching and is a source of considerable global impact.  The aviation industry is rewarding and exciting with immense possibilities to learn and grow but also to have a sense of community that fosters support and career growth.

 

Peggy Cheung, WestJet Encore First Officer, Toronto (YYZ)

I feel really lucky and grateful to be in the aviation industry. It has been such a rewarding journey. I am constantly surrounded by amazing people that are passionate about what we do. We all love flying, meeting new people and traveling to places. If you love that too, there is no better time to start than now! 

 

Rose Streete, CCM

I encourage and promote girls and young women to pursue a career in aviation because air transportation is the world’s highway. Through the gateway of aviation, you gain a deep understanding of the magnificence of flight and the meaningfulness of connecting people, places and hearts. When you’re in aviation, the sky is not the limit, it is your home

 

Samantha Reid, Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME)

My career at WestJet started as a Guest Service Ambassador, and within a matter of months I transitioned over to the hangar as a Furnishing Technician. Afterwards, I moved into the role as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and in this position, I now have the responsibility of maintaining and ensuring the safety of all of our aircrafts. 

Women should pursue a career in aviation, because it's an industry that is constantly growing and evolving with endless opportunities. Your work takes you places you've never been before and builds a passion within you that you never would have dreamed of. I love and sincerely enjoy what I do and there are plenty of women out there that will too.

 

Sandy Houston, Senior Manager, Guest Experience Edmonton Airport (YEG)

The aviation industry is dynamic, fast paced, ever changing and without question an industry filled with opportunity to grow, learn and make lasting impacts on all of the people that make up WestJet’s world.

If you are looking to find a career that includes and celebrates women, look no further.  The aviation industry has an abundance of diversity, so if you start out as a CSA the road to advancement is not a clear path, the path is yours to forge. There is no clear path forward, making it easy to choose your own adventure, the options are only as big as you can dream.

I’ve had the great pleasure to work in this industry for more than 20 years and I am grateful to say that without question, I love what I do. 

"Reading the inspirational submissions of the incredible, diverse women of WestJet explaining why they chose and continue to choose aviation and WestJet to fulfill their respective careers,” said Kathy McCrum, WestJet Vice-President, People & Employee Relations, Recruitment. “I can’t help but feel optimistic and excited for what will no doubt be a bright future ahead for our industry. I can speak firsthand about how fulfilling it has been to learn and grow in this exciting industry.” 

Women of Aviation Worldwide Week runs from March 7-13, 2022, learn more about careers in aviation with WestJet or Swoop.