When a woman is told, “you can do anything you set your mind to,” the concept may go in one ear and out the other. However, when a woman is shown by another that she can use her mind, her heart and her skills to craft the life she imagines, she is given a tool she will forever take with her on her own unique journey. Being named after Amelia Earhart was the greatest gift my parents could have ever given me. . .they gave me a role model that led by example, dug into life with gusto and truly went out and made waves that were felt around the globe.
Quick Fact: In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
As a student at the University of Colorado, I studied English Literature, with hopes of becoming a teacher. My plans changed drastically when I met one of the most influential people in my life, a customer that asked about my name while I was waiting tables at the restaurant where I worked. After a casual greeting, chatting about school and hobbies, I mentioned that I had just taken my first discovery flight and that my name was also Amelia Earhart. I didn’t think much of it as I walked back to place her dinner order.
As it turns out, I was speaking to one of the top leaders at the University of Colorado Boulder. She took my story to the campus paper and the story of the “girl named Amelia Earhart learning to fly an airplane” went all over the country. The following weeks included interviews about being named after Amelia Earhart, learning to fly, and also being a woman interested in aviation, but the most life-changing interview came from the radio station 850 KOA. At the end of the interview about my flight and name, I was offered a job as a traffic reporter, pulling overnight shifts between classes in Boulder.
KOA was a launch pad for my career. I quickly transitioned to reporting news, weather, traffic and voicing commercials for multiple stations across Denver and beyond. As I continue to grow as a reporter, I am now focusing on my aviation career, running FWA Aviation, LLC, as its president and CEO, and the Fly With Amelia Foundation, a non-profit that grants flight training scholarships to young women and fosters aviation-based educational curriculum.
Quick Fact: Amelia Earhart became the fist president of the Ninety-Nines, an organization of female pilots advancing the cause of women in aviation.
In the aviation world, Amelia Earhart continues to be an inspiration: It was in her spirit that I decided to complete the flight that she never got to finish – an equatorial, 24,300 nautical mile trip around the world. Flying in a Pilatus PC-12NG − a state-of-the-art, single-engine turboprop aircraft with sitcom equipment – I set out last month with two goals in mind. Of course, I wanted to have an adventure of my own, to see the world, in all its amazing glory, to have the honor of making my mark and become the youngest woman to fly a single engine aircraft around the world.
However, the bigger reason why I wanted to soar around the globe is to lead by example. I wanted to show the young women that work with my foundation, as well as anyone who chooses to engage with flight, that success is possible with enough hard work, late nights, early mornings and the pursuit of what makes your heart come alive.
Quick Fact: Amelia Earhart was known as "Lady Lindy," the female counterpart to flying hero Charles Lindbergh.
As my career continues to evolve, as I find more and more reasons to engage with the good things in this world, from community events, to one-on-one interactions, I see the parallels to flight. No matter what the feat, no matter what the challenge, lift and thrust will always overcome weight and drag, if enough effort is applied.
The joy of life, with our friends, families and careers is in the connection we make to one another. It is the stories that we share, the memories that we make in the places we call home. While my career has changed over the years, the goal has always been the same with echoes of inspiration from the other Amelia – to lead by example with a life well lived. Our adventures develop by soaring to new heights and while there may be some temporary turbulence, your unique view is the best when you look ahead.
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