Women of WestJet come together in celebration of Women in Aviation Week and International Women’s Day

Last updated March 8, 2024 at 02:07 PM MT
By WestJet | | 4 min read
In celebration of International Woman’s Day and Women in Aviation Week, WestJet operated three flights with entirely female crew. On Friday, March 8, six pilots, 10 cabin crew and dozens of supporting WestJetters launched flights from Calgary and Toronto celebrating woman and diversity in the workplace.

WestJetters participating in one of the airline's all-female operated flights prepare for take-off in Calgary.

“On our aircraft, inside our airports and hangars, and across the country, women are making immense contributions to our industry and our business every day,” said April Crane, WestJet Director of Communications. “We must celebrate our collective accomplishments and continue to discuss the barriers women navigate in our industry. Women in Aviation Week and International Women’s Day serve as an important time to reflect, celebrate and honour all we have done and all we have left to do.”


An all female crew in Toronto prepares for takeoff in honour of International Women's Day

WestJet Pilot Jamie MacDonald, mentors new and potential talent in aviation. MacDonald has been with the airline since 2022 and is also a mentor lead at Elevate Aviation.

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"With hard work, determination and heart, anything and everything is possible. Never be afraid to ask questions, never give up and always believe in yourself. There are more resources and groups that are available for women today than ever before.” – Jamie MacDonald


After finding a passion for aviation as an Aircraft Cleaner, the now award-winning Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, Samantha Reid is making waves in Toronto. 

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"Being a Female Aircraft Maintenance Engineer has empowered me to understand that nothing is impossible to achieve regardless of any old-time stigma. We might encounter some roadblocks, but that’s life! And because of that, it allows me to continue to be that guiding light for other females considering a career as an AME.” - Samantha Reid 


Nicole Perkins, former Cabin Crew turned Inflight Instructor, plays a critical role in making aviation a space where women thrive. Her daughter plans to follow in her footsteps. 

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"It is cool to see my daughter showing interest in aviation, and we have told her, you will never know if you don’t try. Start with a discovery flight and maybe taking control of the aircraft for the split second in the air will guide you in the direction where you need to go! And maybe that is 40,000 feet in the air.” - Nicole Perkins


In Karice Pyne’s eight years with WestJet, she has held more than six unique roles within the organization including Zone Manager, Daily Duty Coordinator and Guest Support Lead. Currently, as IROP Coordinator she steps into action during weather and operational events.

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"[I think people feel like] there’s a limit in the aviation industry and that they only know of Pilots, Cabin Crew and frontline positions. They do not see all the people behind the scenes that turn the wheels for those planes to fly. More women need to be showcased in all their many roles.” - Karice Pyne


Shannon Mitchell continues to be an integral part of WestJet’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineer group. Since joining WestJet in 2007, she has paved the way for women to feel welcome in the typically male-dominated space.

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"The number of times I have been told things like ’you can’t do this’ or ’women don’t belong in this industry’ has made things very difficult for me and in a sense broke me down. It made me second guess the career I chose but, in the end, it also lit a fire inside of me that I didn’t know was there and taught me that I am just as capable as the men beside me succeeding in this industry.” - Shannon Mitchell


Customer Service Agent, Olivia Canlas found her passion for aviation at a young age by participating in air cadets and earning the title of Squadron Commander by the end of her tenure.  

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"When I started working at WestJet, my first thought was, ’I wish I applied sooner!’ I have been a CSA with WestJet since 2010 and will be starting a new chapter in my career as Cabin Crew later this year. I’m so excited and grateful for this growth and learning opportunity so ‘late’ in my WestJet career.” - Olivia Canlas


Stefanie Brown has worked in various roles within WestJet over the last 20 years. Today, she is full time IROP Recovery Lead and relief Operations Shift Manager.

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"As women, we need to build our support circles and lift each other up as opposed to tearing each other down. Offer mentorship to each other to bring up the next generation who will be filling our roles as we continue to climb ladders and instill a sense of pride in the work they’ve accomplished.” - Stefanie Brown


WestJet is committed to providing an inclusive and diverse workplace by actively recruiting women in roles across the organization. Earlier this year, WestJet was celebrated as one of Canada’s Best Employers. The award acknowledged WestJet’s people-first culture, keen focus on employee engagement, diversity and inclusion initiatives and its innovative approach to talent development.

Learn more about Jobs at WestJet here

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