What sparked your interest in aviation?
When I was a kid I went on my first flight as a passenger for a family event. I was so amazed by the size of the aircraft and I couldn’t stop staring out of the window the entire time. The clouds were so beautiful, the turbulence was so much fun, and the crew was so nice. I just knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
International Women’s Day (IWD) is recognized annually on March 8 and is a global holiday celebrating the economic, political, cultural and social achievements of women. What does IWD mean to you? Why do you think it’s important to celebrate IWD?
International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate and recognize all the achievements and sacrifices women have made over the years. It’s a chance for young ladies to see women in incredible positions doing incredible things to inspire and encourage them to reach their goals. There have been many inventions, scientific advancements, and record breaking achievements made by women that have often been hidden by history and kept out of educational systems. It’s amazing to be a part of the educating so others can have the same opportunities and know that it is possible to follow their dreams.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, what does this mean to you?
Being a young African American, Japanese woman, I have realized that I have the same opportunities as anyone else, regardless of my age, gender, and race. Equity means being fair and impartial and I am fortunate to have exactly that.
What woman has positively impacted/inspired you in your career, and what’s one lesson she taught you?
My Grandmother came to the U.S. from Japan, learned English on her own, and raised five kids by herself. She always told us, it doesn’t matter what job you have, you always work hard and do your best because at the end of the day, you can look in the mirror and know that you did your best and you have your own self achievement. Knowing this helps get you through any hard work day. I have worked every job since then, including, farming, landscaping, child care, cashier, sale associate, flight instructing, and now airline pilot, with this in mind. With every one of those opportunities I’ve reached my achievements, got the raise or promotion, learned a new skill and went home feeling accomplished.
At Atlas, we are proud of our culture of inclusive diversity, and we are committed to making even further progress to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within the workplace. How can we get more girls interested in aviation?
I think that it comes down to educating and advertising women in aviation to other women. In very basic terms, “normalizing” females as aviators. For a long time, most people thought of aviation as a male-dominated career. Showing people that there are many female aviators of all races and ages, allows room for growth and accepting that it is perfectly okay to be a female in aviation. Let’s make this the new normal.