Women who are commandeering the friendly skies of aviation from the control towers to the cockpit were spotlighted at the 2019 Young Women of Color Empowerment Conference at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts on last week. This year’s event themed: “FlyGurlz: We Are Because They Were,” was aimed at educating and empowering young women of color with the foundation needed to become forerunners in the various fields of aviation.
The forty invited female participates began the day with a challenge by organizer Debbie Rouse. ‘You have been chosen to serve as ambassadors to the vision of excellence and the beacon of true courage. After to days event, you will be responsible for sharing the knowledge you will acquire to inspire others and serving as champions for others to have a greater vision for themselves.”
Hosted by CEO of the non-profit foundation Holding Open Opportunities Door (HOOD), Curlene Washington-Picard, speakers included Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Assistant Professor, Aeronautical Science, Samantha Harrison, certified commercial pilot Niah Thomas, FAA Air Traffic Controller Teddie Richardson and FAA Office of Security Special Investigator Shawnetta Ray. These four women, pioneers in their own rights, shared their fascinating and inspiring career stories.
During the Power Lunch, CEO and Director the OPAS Foundation Leonard Roosevelt spoke on the importance of service. This was followed by a special Wing Pinning Ceremony in which Douglas Anderson Firey Dragon Alumni Association, the students and other honored guests pledge to “always have the courage, the will-power and the confidence to navigate and defeat barriers placed in their paths.”