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17 years as a Woman of Aviation

Elissa Davies
March 5, 2022
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photo credit to Mattea McKinnon - https://www.matteamckinnon.com/

As we celebrate Women of Aviation Week, I’m approaching the end of my 5th year as a Captain at Draken Europe and it’s given me a reason to reflect on all I’ve accomplished in this incredible career.

There have been many challenges, and it was through working hard on my mindset that I was able to create the success and achievements I’m so proud of today.

Here is what I learned from the 17 years I’ve spent being a woman of aviation:

  1. It’s okay to be yourself. As a woman, I used to think that my sensitive side was a weakness, but my empathy has made me a better leader. I’m a good listener and put people at ease, which is especially useful with more junior crew members who might be feeling anxious. 
  2. Self belief is the most powerful tool you can have and it’s something you should nurture every single day. Thoughts have the power to become actions and the day I stopped doubting myself was when everything changed. When I went for my command assessment the second time around, I visualised that I was already a competent, capable Captain. The decisions I made came from a place of confidence which is what secured me a position in command.
  3. Failure and mistakes are inevitable but provide excellent opportunities to learn, adapt and grow. I was made redundant from the RAF before I joined Draken, and even though at the time it felt like the worst thing ever, it made me more determined to succeed and resilient to unexpected change. Without that failure, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
  4. Don’t wait until you feel ready, just fucking go for it! Put yourself out there for promotions or additional roles, because if you don’t, you WILL miss out. A couple of years ago, I was waiting for someone to ask me if I wanted to take on a new responsibility, but they didn’t. Instead, I later found out that one of my colleagues had got the position I wanted because he asked for it, something I was too afraid to do.
  5. There might be moments when you have thoughts that you’re waiting for someone to tap you on the shoulder and say they didn’t mean to put you in that seat. That is imposter syndrome, and it’s quite common for women in particular. When I have those negative thoughts, I call out the imposter and remember that I am enough and deserve to be here.

It was difficult, but I achieved success without having a role model to guide me. This is why I’ve now made it my mission to support other women in this industry, and others. The coaching I provide empowers them to find courage, face their fears, and live an adventure fuelled life.

If you’re looking to create a sense of freedom in your life, get in touch for more information on how we can work together.

photo credit - Mattea McKinnon

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