For Cole Goldenberg, an Atlas First Officer on the 767, it’s all about paying it forward.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today, if it weren’t for the people in my life and the community I found with NGPA.” Cole said. “All of it has inspired me to find ways to build that same kind of support system for others.”
The NGPA – or National Gay Pilots Association – is the largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pilots, aviation professionals, and enthusiasts from around the world. Cole has been an active member since 2018 and has served on the Advocacy Advisory Council since 2019.
NGPA’s Advocacy Advisory Council is made up of eight members, including Cole, who are tasked with addressing advocacy issues and needs as they arise.
“We prepare a position, statement, or response, if recommended with a majority, to
NGPA leadership,” Cole explained. “The Council ensures efforts and resources are best utilized and in line with NGPA’s mission, which is simple but powerful: Build, Support and Unite the LGBTQ aviation community worldwide.”
“Visibility is so important,” Cole continued. “I believe what Marian Wright Edelman, American civil rights activist said, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.’”
To that end, Cole has also supported the NGPA’s Inclusion Training Team, which is in place to foster professional development and diversity within flight programs and companies. He is also working on starting a peer-to-peer mentorship program.
“I love being a pilot and I love working for Atlas,” Cole said. “It’s really by chance that I am doing this for a living. I never thought I could be a pilot. But after a family friend took me up in his small plane – that’s all I ever wanted to do. That flight changed my life and put me on a specific path – all thanks to a family friend who took the time to give me a glimpse into flying.”
And now Cole has made it a priority to do whatever he can to build a community that welcomes and inspires others to consider aviation as a career.
“It’s so important to help people grow in their own space. Atlas been a very accepting place and I consider it the blessing of a lifetime,” he said.