The wonderful thing about aviation is there are lots of opportunities to combine your interests and passion. You can be a pilot for airplanes, helicopters, or fighter jets. You can be an air traffic controller that assists pilots during their flights. Do you like to fix things? You can be an aircraft mechanic, or an aerospace engineer. You can manage an airport and ensure its safe operations, or you can explore space and be an astronaut. There are so many options.
This week is Global Tracheostomy Tube Awareness Week, and I would like to tell you something about this picture and why representation matters.
I love that there's a little girl with a tracheostomy in an advertisement for kids' clothing.
I love that a new audience is now seeing a kid with a trach, because before Xiomara, I had never seen a kid with a trach.
I love that the ad is not about a trach. It's just a kid, in a pretty dress, who happens to have a trach.
I love that there is a parent with a trached kid in the NICU somewhere right now who might see this, and pause, and hopefully then see their kid as a kid full of potential, and not as a long list of medical diagnoses.
I love that this image of the trach is not scary and medical, like it often is.
I love that Xiomara's pulse ox machine is just hanging out in the background. I know that a great majority of people have no idea what that is, but I am so excited for my fellow medical parents to see it and exclaim "WE HAVE THE SAME PULSE OX!"
Talking with girls and engaging with the females who were working in shark research had myself and several others thinking about how these young girls should be able to learn from the female scientists. Looking at the experiences of these role models could help them see and better understand how they can go on to one day work with sharks. It was then that we founded The Gills Club, an education initiative of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy dedicated to connecting girls with female scientists from around the world, sharing knowledge, and inspiring shark and ocean conservation.
I learned to speak five languages and how to work in the tourism business, especially hotels, but one fateful spring I landed in the Bahamas on a vacation to learn how to scuba dive and I never left.
I moved forward in the industry thanks to my passion but also convinced that the best way to be a woman was to be less girly, because everybody “knew” that a girl could not have possibly been able to carry tanks through the forest and go exploring new caves. Then one day I realized that this “girl” was doing exactly that - and that it was perfectly ok to wear pink and to like dresses and heels, or not.
I was scared. Feminism in the business world wasn’t mainstream yet. I didn’t want to be perceived as a crazy man basher. I also didn’t know whether there was any money in this. And launching yet another business (my fourth), and this time, exclusively for women, was risky. Was I willing to sink more money into a new business? A new website? A new suite of offerings? Would anyone want what I was offering? Maybe there was a reason it didn’t exist.
I am an aircraft mechanic. A literal, if not so glamorous, Rosie the Riveter. After WWII, the men came back from the war, and most women left their jobs in factories and hangars and went back home to their more traditional duties as wives and mothers. Even today, in 2017, less than 3% of all aircraft mechanics are women.
There are so few of us that most companies do not even offer uniforms in women’s sizes. They call a 36”x32” unisex and send us on our way in boxy shirts and ill-fitting pants. It is ingrained in our cultural presumptions that mechanics are male. Time and again, flight crews are surprised and sometimes confused when they call for maintenance and I show up, but always interested to see that I know what I’m doing!
Playing sports is a sure-fire way to help girls develop their superpowers of strength, confidence, and leadership. Through sport, we learn how to collaborate, how to compete, and how to make progress over time through consistent effort. Sport has the added benefit of teaching girls to respect and value their bodies. Through sport, girls learn they can be strong and that strength is a good thing.
“You are not only extremely beautiful, but intelligent beyond what you even recognize.”
I wish someone had shared these words with me as a girl growing up. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by a single immigrant mother, more things seemed pressing than the need for positive affirmations. I was always told that hard work was inevitable for success and that good company was essential for good character so that was my focus throughout my adolescence.
We recently met Laura Venos, a local DC area mom who self-published her own series of books called The Royal Series. Laura's books spoke to our mission here at Princess Awesome, and her desire to write her own books to solve a problem she saw in her own world echoed our own story. We asked her to write a guest post for the Princess Awesome blog to share her story and her books with you.