Air and Space, Military Aviation

Thank You, Lieutenant Penney

(Photo courtesy of Air Race 21)

When I attended the WAI Conference in March, one of my favorite speakers was Lieutenant Heather “Lucky” Penney’s two keynote speeches on empowering women in the aviation industry and her experience on 9/11. Many people do not know that a squadron in Washington D.C. – Penney’s Squadron were sent to take down United Airlines Flight 93 – hijacked with terrorists – with no active missiles on board their F-16’s. Penney was essentially on a kamikaze mission and spoke about her willingness to not return home to her family that night because of her commitment to serving our country.

Air & Space Magazine had sent me to the Conference to cover Penney’s speeches and another story that may be published in the future. It was the most moving story I have done thus far. There were many people in the room with tears in their eyes as she told her story – just one of million’s of stories from that Tuesday morning. It was a very touching story and one that I hope everyone gets to hear in full one day. My article touches on the very basics of her speech and what she did that morning – what she was willing to sacrifice. I hope that you’ll take the time to read this story and understand and appreciate what Penney was willing to do that day.

To read “9/11 Takedown That never Happened” on Air & Space Magazine Online, Click HERE.

To read my all my stories published on Air & Space Magazine, Click HERE. 

See Also:

My Name in Print!

The 26th Annual WAI Conference

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Aviation, Corporate Aviation, Other Publications, Published Articles

My name in print!

With the craziness of moving and recently being picked up by The News Hub I realized that completely forgot to mention an article that I had published while at the 26th Annual Women in Aviation Conference!

The first day I was there, I volunteered in the Press Room. When I arrived, I was immediately put on assignment to write a story about Walmart Aviation and how the WAI Conference helped many of them gain employment with Walmart Aviation. I was humbled that they would give me a task so large and quickly got to work. A few things that I learned was 1) I should always write down my interview questions before I go to interview people and 2) also remember to get everyone’s full names that are involved with the story. I had to go back a few times to gather up loose-ends, but it’s always a learning experience right? I was honored to be featured in their daily conference magazine that’s distributed to all the attendees every morning: “The Daily.” This was the FIRST print article that I had published, it was very surreal to see my name physically printed in front of me. (And it also gave me great credibility when approaching magazines offering my freelance services!).  Thank you Women in Aviation for supporting me & my endeavors to becoming a published author!!! This is just one step on the journey for me!

Without further ramblings… here’s my words in print for the first time! (The first page is just the cover, the second below the picture is where you can check out my article!

WAI Daily March 7 2015 | Cover | CulverWAI Daily Saturday March 7 2015 | Walmart Aviation | Culver

As always, thank you for following my journey.

xoxo Chrissi

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Embry-Riddle, Equality, My Journey, Women in Aviation

The 26th Annual WAI Conference

We’re down to just days until the 26th annual Women in Aviation Conference in Dallas, Texas. The conference will take place Thursday through Saturday March 5-7, 2015 at the Hilton Anatole. There will be hundreds of women and men gathering to share their experiences, network with industry leaders and expand their careers.

“Connect-Engage-Inspire” is the Conference motto, for good reasons.

Connect:

Attendees will be able to meet face-to-face with dream employers in the exhibit hall for internship, co-op, and job opportunities that are available. Additionally, networking opportunities will be available during the opening reception, luncheons, and the formal dinner on Saturday night. You never know who you will be sitting next to at dinner.

“It was possible to meet everyone,” said recent Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) MBA Graduate Holly Hewitt. She regarded her time at the 25th Annual Women in Aviation Conference as rewarding and added that the diversity of the attendees was impressive.

Many aviation and government organizations will be sending representatives to recruit new employees and even conduct interviews on-site. Chelsey, a recent ERAU graduate, received a job opportunity from last year’s WAI Conference. She was able to complete her initial interview on-site and was offered the position shortly thereafter.

Engage:

Those not actively seeking job or internship opportunities will be able to meet with representatives from organizations they are active in:  Aircraft Owners and Pilots AssociationProfessional Women Controllers, and The Ninety-Nines, Inc, just to name a few.

Bose, Pearls with a Purpose, and the Abingdon Company (as well as other companies) will also be on-site for product support and purchase. For these companies, opportunities to market to such a unique clientele only come a few times a year.

Attendees can take full advantage of two day’s worth of education sessions as well as  AOPA’s Rusty Pilot Seminar, two seminars featuring WWII WASP Pilots, and a panel discussion on the new medical reforms taking place.

Inspire:

This year speakers include: Amelia Rose Earhart – the youngest woman to circumnavigate the globe in a single-engine aircraft, Heather “Lucky” Penney – Major, F-16 Captain ordered to take down Flight 93 on 9/11,  Colleen Barrett – President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, as well as many others.

“The experience of being around so many successful, driven people is motivation in itself,” said recent Embry-Riddle graduate and last year Conference attendee Yreka Flores. “It really makes you feel like you can achieve something great,” she said.

Last year, jet dragster racer Elaine Larson inspired me to never be afraid to take that leap of faith, to step out of your comfort zone to do what you’re put on this earth to do. Eileen Collins, first female commander of a spacecraft, told me to follow my dreams and never let gender or typical gender stereotypes get in my way. And Deborah Hearsman, then NTSB chairman, put my education at ERAU into a real-world perspective and challenged me to help make change.

ERAU’s WAI Daytona Beach chapter will be sending 13 student members to Dallas this year. Last year they were able to send 18 members and many were pleased with their experience. “Seeing everyone make connections and some people getting interviews [was my favorite part],” said Janelle Walsh, former President of ERAU’s WAI Daytona Beach chapter. “It made me feel like all the efforts we put into getting everyone to conference [paid] off,” she said.

Personally, this will be my third year attending. I’m excited to volunteer in the Press Room on Thursday and hopefully meet many new contacts in my new-found love of journalism. I’m hoping to cover a few different stories while attending and help my fellow WAI chapter members achieve their personal goals.

Are you going to the WAI conference?

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Equality, My Journey

Inspiration for the Next Generation

As everyone looked forward to the Super Bowl for a great game, I was actually looking forward to the commercials more.  Budweiser had already released their adorable video of their puppy and Clydesdales and I couldn’t wait to see it again because who doesn’t love puppies and horses?! (and beer?)

The Dove Men+Care ad had me “awww”-ing at the men with their sons throughout all phases of life and the Coke commercial made me feel like I myself could somehow make the world a better place (#MakeItHappy).

But the ad that inspired me the most was the Always “Like a Girl” commercial. Anyone that saw it can understand why.

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I pride myself in having the confidence to stand up and fight for my right to equal opportunities in the industry that I love. But there was time in my life, a time in every girls’ life, where I did not have the confidence to stand up and fight for my thoughts and for the treatment I deserved. But some women unfortunately never gain the confidence they need to stand up and fight.

But this campaign may just make it so eventually we don’t have to fight anymore.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not some crazy feminist that DEMANDS equal pay for equal work. I just want to be treated like a person. I understand men & women have inherent differences, but I also know that this world can be a very cruel place for many women. We need to stand together & make things easier for one another, not tear each other down or try to make a men vs. women war.

This ad may have started a trend, an understanding, or even a societal movement to change the perception we all have of women.. of what it means to be “like a girl.” Twitter was a buzz because of this ad, and I sincerely hope it will spark some sort of social change.

Then just two days after the Super Bowl, I woke up to Twitter making the hashtag #QuestionsForMen famous.  This hashtag highlighted the sexist comments geared towards women and spun them around towards men.

Would you ever ask a man on an interview how he’s going to juggle home and work? Would you ever ask a man if he’s had trouble breaking into his chosen field because it’s a “girl’s club?”  And would you ever ask a man if his body has been compared to an unlocked car, wallet or other object that can be carelessly left unattended?

The #QuestionsForMen and #LikeAGirl hashtags were only the beginning of this fight. But it’s progress.

Being a girl does not make you inferior. It makes you a warrior. You are strong, intelligent and capable. You are the force that can move mountains. And you are the force that can make change in this world. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

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