When you apply to be a part of our mentorship program, you’re matched with a mentor who will be your best network of support, encouragement, and guidance.
Our team is full of veterans who understand the industry, its challenges, as well as how to help others achieve success. Not to mention, they’re pretty awesome people.
We have close to 100 mentors from coast to coast in all areas of the aviation industry. Meet a few of them below!
Growing up as the youngest of four kids in Montreal, Sarah played competitive volleyball and was a member of Girl Guides of Canada.
As she was getting ready for a post-secondary education, she was seeking a both mental and physical challenge. After researching career options, joining the military in an engineering field seemed like the perfect choice.
Sarah joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) after high school in Aug 2003 within the Regular Officer Training Plan (ROTP) at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC). She graduated RMCC in May 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Sarah then moved on to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden in order to complete her training to be qualified as an Aerospace Engineering (AERE) Officer.
In May 2009, as a newly trained AERE Officer, Sarah was posted to 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS) in Valcartier, QC, as the Deputy Senior Air Maintenance Engineering Officer (D/SAMEO). She was responsible for managing approximately 50 aircraft technicians and the maintenance planning for 8 CH146 Griffon Helicopters. In January 2010, she deployed to Haiti within Operation HESTIA as the SAMEO for six CH146 Griffon’s and 35 technicians. This operation was in support of the disaster relief team following the devastating earthquake of 2010.
In 2011, Sarah was posted to 1 Wing Tactical Aviation Headquarters in Kingston, Ontario. She held many staff officer positions, working with quality processes and the new CH147F Chinook Helicopter as it was being delivered. She also did a quick hop from 2015-2016 in St-Hubert, QC, at 438 THS. In 2016, Sarah was promoted to Major and posted back 430 THS as the SAMEO. Her next stop will be in Toronto for year-long course at the Canadian Forces College.
Sarah is married and has two wonderful children, Maxime (5) and Annie (3). They make sure to keep her grounded.
Of mentorship, Sarah says that its guidance has been key for her throughout her career. She believes in the power of that safe and respectful sounding board that will allow you to ask questions and develop the strength to reach your goals. Sarah chose to become a mentor to give back and pay it forward and help others find their passion and pursue their goals. She loves what she does and is proud of her accomplishments, and wants to share her love for military tactical aviation with others.
Sophia was born raised in a small town in southern Alberta called the Crowsnest Pass.
She’s from a small family that spent a lot of time outdoors and simply enjoying the mountains. When Sophia was 12, she was encouraged by a new neighbour to join Air Cadets. At first Sophia says she hated it and was not so sure about wearing a uniform and having to put her hair up in a bun. After some encouragement, she decided to stick it out for at least a year. After that, Sophia was hooked and had been given the chance to see one of the Canadian Forces CF18s up close and personal! She fell in love right then.
After high school, Sophia moved to Calgary where she completed and received her Mount Royal University aviation diploma and her instructor rating. In 2008, she started working as a flight instructor at the Calgary Flying Club until 2009, when she moved to Edmonton to take a position with the Edmonton Flying Club. In 2012, Sophia became the Chief Flight Instructor with EFC and in 2013 began contract flying with Morgan Construction on a Navajo and a Conquest. In 2015, Sophia began volunteering with Elevate Aviation, where she is now the Director of Advocacy. In 2016, she began working as a flight test examiner as well. Sophia has a passion for teaching and flying, and is able to embrace both of those as well as enjoy time with her wonderful husband Mark and their mini schnauzer Elroy!
As a mentor with Elevate, Sophia loves meeting incredible women who are enthusiastic and motivated to accomplish their dreams. This industry is an incredible one and she hopes that more women are able to see and embrace.
Kristi is an air traffic controller at Calgary International Airport.
Prior to this career, Kristi obtained a degree in psychology at UBC, was then a flight attendant for 8 years with a major airline, followed by a commercial pilot for 10 years.
She has always been drawn to aviation and most of her relatives have an aviation background in a wide variety of positions. Kristi has always loved living near an airport and even enjoys the airplane noise.
Her goal has always been to manage a rewarding and fulfilling aviation career, as well as have a family and be able to enjoy her children and home life. Many thought it was impossible while others she encountered had successfully accomplished this lifestyle and were encouraging, helpful, and supportive.
Kristi has thoroughly enjoyed all of her aviation jobs, each of which were challenging, adventurous and fun. She qualified as an air traffic controller in YYC Tower early in 2018 and feels that she has found the perfect career for her and her family. Kristi loves the new challenges of this job, as well as the schedule, as she can spend a lot more time at home with her growing girls. Seeing the aviation industry from the other side is fascinating, and Kristi feels like tying her flying experience into her controller job has been a really great asset.
Kristi became a mentor because she enjoys paying forward the encouragement, the perspectives, and words of wisdom that she received from others along the way. Those interactions empowered her to venture down new paths and give some seemingly far-fetched ideas and dreams some realistic potential. Of trying new things, Kristi says that if you have any interest in a new adventure, to be brave and start the path (even just a few baby steps at a time is a good start). You never know what life-changing opportunities await you.
Jessie, an IFC controller, comes from an aviation family.
In fact, her father and sister are both also IFR controllers, and she saw first-hand from them that it was a rewarding and challenging career. She loves her job because it is a different challenge every day and is always changing, so you are constantly learning new things. She also says it is a great feeling to be contributing to the global aviation industry.
The application and training process for ATC is very long and stressful. Jessie says she greatly benefited from having family members in the industry to go to for advice and wants to help give this kind of support to people who might not have friends or family in the industry.
As for advice for those looking to enter the industry, Jessie says to work hard and learn from those who have more knowledge and experience than you.
Currently a captain on a Dash-8 for Air Inuit, Melissa originally entered the aviation industry as a flight attendant and was looking for a new adventure.
She quickly fell in love with aviation and proceeded to get her flying license.
Melissa loves the feeling flying gives her, and also loves seeing friends and family travelling along with her. Melissa says that it’s a great career to get into, with many options for furthering your career as well. It’s because of this that she became a mentor, with the hopes of sharing her story and love for aviation as a whole.
On advice for those looking to enter the industry, she says “ask questions, research, and talk to as many people as you can to get to where you want to be! Believe in yourself!”
Andrea is an air traffic controller at Waterloo Tower, with her commercial pilot’s and glider instructor licences.
ATC gives her a balanced work/life schedule that lets her be around her love of airplanes each and every day.
Andrea enjoy the daily view from her “office,” the interesting types of aircraft she sees on a daily basis, and the various types of flights that take place at the Waterloo airport (from training to corporate to airlines). She also enjoys the different occurrences of weather and of course the beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Andrea became a mentor because when she started her aviation career in college, she had some amazing staff that welcomed her into the aviation world with open arms and made it less intimidating.
She wants to pass along this sincere help in wanting others to succeed, and to inspire young individuals who want to see their dreams become a reality.
Her advice to those coming into the aviation industry is to work hard and it will pay off. She also says to be open to all aspects of the aviation industry and that the aviation world really is a small but unique “family”.
Brandy grew up in an aviation family.
Her parents owned an aerial applicator business, and she grew up with aircraft everywhere on her farm. She had a runway her family farm in Saskatchewan, and her family also used an aircraft for many of her family vacations. Brandy got her private pilot’s license at 17 and flew back and forth to high school instead of riding the bus. She then got her commercial license at 21 while on summer break from her AME schooling.
Brandy is currently a M1/M2 aircraft maintenance engineer, working as the Manager of Maintenance Projects for Canadian North. As for her love of aviation, she says it’s obvious it comes from her family, especially her dad. Brandy also loves the work, especially the technicalities. The precision that is required, whether you are working hands on aircraft or doing the paperwork, is enjoyable for her. From troubleshooting via satellite phone with the pilots to importing aircraft into the country, there are always new challenges.
Brandy became a mentor because she think it’s important for everyone to have someone in the industry to bounce ideas off of. This industry is unique and it is hard to get perspective from someone not in the industry. Brandy says she has had great mentors in her life, and that she wants to be there for others. “There are so many different directions you can branch out to with an AME license and I think bringing awareness to new AMEs would be beneficial and provide goals to work towards in someone’s career.”
As for advice, Brandy says to love what you do. It can be a hectic industry, learn to love the chaos, but be safe.
Kim is a Regional Flight Service Training Specialist with Nav Canada.
She says that it is an interesting and rewarding career that is never the same from one day to the next. There are excellent growth opportunities as you progress through your career. She also thinks that Nav Canada is a great employer with excellent benefits.
Kim wants to help spread the word about this great career and open up others to the possibility of a career in FSS. As for advice, Kim says that it’s a very exciting and challenging career with no real limits. “Those who like working with routine might not enjoy this type of career. You have to be willing to work hard, think on your feet, and follow the rules. Embracing change and a dynamic work environment will make your learning easier. Although many may work alone, you must be comfortable working by yourself and in coordination with others in order for you to be successful.”
Camille is a Flight Service Specialist with Nav Canada.
She was fortunate enough to grow up in a family full of flight service specialists who were always encouraging her to apply for Nav Canada, which she did when she graduated high school. While unsuccessful on her first try, her break into the industry was many years later, working for a de-icing company. That was the job that sparked her interest and passion for aviation, but she was still searching for a professional career which was more challenging. Her family, again, encouraged her to try for a position with Nav Canada, so she gave it another shot and am now a fully qualified FSS in Fort St John.
Of the industry, Camille says there are so many reasons why she loves what she does. Her absolute favourite thing about being an FSS is working the busy rushes of traffic. You must solve complex puzzles in a short amount of time while still being efficient, which can be challenging and rewarding. She also loves that no day is the same: one day you are working busy traffic, the next day you are working bad weather. Camille is passionate that this is a career that would fulfill many people, they just don’t know it yet. She’s a proponent of at least giving it a shot, “ If you want a career where you get to use a wide range of skills and knowledge, while working for a great company then apply.”
Camille became a mentor because not everyone is as lucky as she was, having family members in the industry already. She wants to be able to be a helpful resource for someone interested in a career in aviation. Also, becoming a mentor means she can be a part of the positive changes to the industry.
As for advice, getting to know people in the industry by volunteering, going to events, workshops, and finding a mentor are all helpful for anyone interested in aviation, Camille suggests. Dedication is necessary for success, in whatever career you choose to pursue, so make sure you are ready to work hard. Finally, never give up! It took Camille multiple tries to get offered a position on a course and she’s very thankful that she stuck with it.
Kristen is a civil servant and pilot for the Government of Canada.
After her first year of university, she knew that an arts degree was no longer her passion and took the summer to explore her options. One idea she had was to become a pilot, although she didn’t know any pilots and the only pilots she saw were males. While unsure at first, it was after the discovery flight her mom set up at the Regina Flying Club that she realized it was the career for her.
Of the industry, Kristen says that it’s hard to pinpoint one specific thing to love about aviation. Being a pilot, you may have the best day and the most challenging all in one, but there is a true sense of accomplishment at the end of the flight day. She says that there’s something about flying an airplane that gets in your blood. For her, it’s the moment she calls for “gear up” and the airplane rotates off the earth’s surface that she loves the most.
Kristen became a mentor because she wants to be a resource for women aviators. She was lucky to have a role model when she was in flight school at Mount Royal. Her mentor was a old pilot turned instructor, who taught her some valuable rules that she has used throughout her aviation career. She wants to pass along this knowledge and a few lessons that she has learned along the way.
“There will be ups and downs in this profession, like any, when you first start out. Be patient and be appreciative to those that teach you something new. Know that with hard work and perseverance you can have any pilot job you want. Oh, and the view from the office window is second to none.”
Michelle dreamed of being a pilot since the age of 12, after watching the movie ‘Memphis Belle’.
She fell in love with the old warbirds and joined Air Cadets a couple of years later. She earned her glider wings and my private pilot’s licence through the Air Cadet program. I graduated from Canadore College with a diploma in aircraft maintenance, and finished her commercial pilot’s license that same year. Michelle became a flight instructor, finished her multi-ifr and started working at First Air on the ramp in 1999. She moved over to the maintenance department where she worked as an AME apprentice in Ottawa on the Boeing 727s and in Iqaluit on the Hawker 748s.
In 2001, Michelle finally got her foot in the door in the flight operations department and was hired as a second officer on the Boeing 727. She worked as a second officer for almost a year before getting laid off. They say every cloud has a silver lining and in her silver lining, her lay off gave her the chance to renew her Instructor rating and finish a 50 hour float course. Aside from gliding, flying floats was the most fun she ever had flying!
Michelle eventually found work flying as a Caravan First Officer for Sander Geophysics doing airborne geophysical survey. She met her now husband there and was fortunate enough to work with him over in Botswana for 3 months. At the end of the project, they travelled around Southern Africa in a Jeep for 5 weeks (one of the most exciting adventures of her life!). That project was to be her last, as when she returned to Canada, First Air had a position for her on the ATR 42 in Yellowknife.
Her husband, Bill, and her fell in love with the north and settled in Yellowknife. She flew the ATR 42 for 2 years, then the Boeing 737 for almost 4 years. While on the 737, she had two boys (Michael and Matthew) and decided to take a break from flying to stay home with them. Michelle went without flying for almost 5 years, running a daycare out of her home for income. When her youngest son was ready to start school, she felt ready to go back to aviation. She had lost all her seniority at First Air but they hired her back anyways onto the ATR.
First Air is a small airline and Michelle says they’re like family in a way. She works with a great group of guys who welcomed her back into the fold after her absence. She’s doing much more than flying these days, facilitating CRM, teaching ground school, and just started training to be a simulator instructor. She’s also involved with the union (ALPA) as a member of the safety committee on the Flight Data Monitoring team and will be training to be a Critical Incident Response Person. She’s had a few twists and turns in her career, but she’s in a great place right now and wouldn’t change a thing!
Michelle’s focus as a mentor will be to encourage women to enter the rewarding field of aviation and to help them navigate the challenges of trying to balance having a career and having a personal life. With the rate of female pilots at a stagnant 5% and an industry-wide pilot shortage that is already upon us, Michelle would like to take an active role in recruiting women and changing the industry to be a more welcoming place for all.
Krystal is currently a flight service specialist.
After completing her Bachelor of Science degree, Krystal was having a hard time finding permanent and relevant work associated with her degree. Knowing that she would have to return to school, she started exploring trades and randomly came across a recruitment ad for Nav Canada. After doing some research, she quickly determined that the aviation industry and the company was what she was looking fo.
Krystal is proud of the fact that her job is specialized and that not anyone can just walk in and take over, it’s unique. Aside from the benefits of working for a great company, she loves that her work stays at work. She arrives without any kind of to-do list. You handle tasks and events as they happen, and when the shift is over, you hand it over to the next person and the work day is done. It makes for a great work/life balance.
Krystal became a mentor because she feels like flight services as a career is under represented. She wants to help people to be able to understand what is great about an aviation career. She has also lived a good portion of her life in northern communities across western Canada, so would love to help women from the north interested in any career in aviation, or even help to guide any new FSS that might be relocating to the north!
As for advice for those looking to enter the industry, Krystal says to do as much research and talk to as many people as you can, reach out and network! There are many different jobs in the aviation industry, so find one that best suits your goals and personality.
Before becoming an air traffic controller, Robin was training to be a pilot.
While preparing for a flight, she came across a Nav Canada ad promoting employment opportunities as an air traffic controller and flight service specialist. Robin was very intrigued, so got more information and decided to apply. She figured she would try it out and if ever it wasn’t for her, she would return to flying. Once she started training as an air traffic controller, however, she was hooked and knew that this career was a great fit for her.
Of her career, Robin says it has been very rewarding. She loves what she does because every single day is different, the job is challenging, and it inspires her to always be my best. The aviation industry is forever evolving.
Robin became a mentor because she is passionate about what she does. She also feels it is a profession that most people know very little about but has so much to offer. Her advice to anyone entering the aviation industry is that, while training may be very intense and challenging at times, it is totally worth the effort. “Keep motivated!”
Charlene had an early introduction to aviation.
Her dad had his pilot’s licence and would take Charlene and her sister flying when they were kids. She later joined the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program at the age of thirteen to learn even more about flying. Through Air Cadets, she received scholarships for her glider pilot’s licence and private pilot’s licence, at the ages of 16 and 17 respectively. After high school she continued to seek out aviation, with a goals of getting her commercial licence, multi-IFR rating, and a job flying.
Charlene loves aviation because it’s a unique job and it provides a lot of freedom, fun, and adventure (depending on what type of flying you choose and where you work). After flight school, she spent 10 years in the Northwest Territories as a bush pilot, prior to airline flying. She flew into amazing places and was up close and personal with untouched beauty and nature everyday. Of the work, Charlene says that it was challenging and fun, and that she learned so much about flying, herself, and life. The last 10+ years have been in the airline world and very different from the adventures of bush flying. It’s structured, predictable, and safe. She is now a captain on a Boeing 737 for Canadian North Airlines.
Charlene became a mentor to help other girls and women curious about flying. With 20+ years in the industry, Charlene can help to answer questions and add guidance however else possible. “It’s still one of the remaining industries where females are hugely underrepresented, and female captains even more so, so there is a need for mentorship and visibility.”
Charlene has always been a fan of building pilot-in-command time when first starting out versus staying in a co-pilot position and not gaining any PIC time. “It’s a great way to learn when it’s just you making decisions, and it increases your skills and confidence level as well,” she added.
Danielle got into aviation because she had an unavoidable passion for flying.
She tried going to college for something else and, for her, it was unenjoyable. She went on a discovery flight and was hooked (and hasn’t looked back since). She is now a pilot at Sunwest Aviation.
Of flying, Danielle feels like it gives you unlimited freedom. “The views are like nothing else out there and hurtling a metal tube threw the sky can be described as nothing but amazing,” says Danielle.
Danielle became a mentor because she wants to support and inspire the next generation of female pilots. There are not a lot of women in the industry and it can be a struggle working in a male dominated field.
Her advice to those starting their pilot journey is to have a lot of patience, and to get as much pilot command time, specifically night pic time, as you can during your flight training. “Reach out when you need help, there are so many people willing to support you. Remember that the aviation industry is small, so don’t burn your bridges.”
As a third generation pilot, Kim has been exposed to aviation throughout her life.
She completed her commercial training in 1998 and began her career as a flight instructor. She then flew with Provincial Airlines in Newfoundland And Labrador. She has also worked with CanJet Airlines and Sunwing Airlines flying throughout North America, The Caribbean and Europe.
She has been flying with Air Canada for 11 years and has flown the Embraer 190, the Airbus 320 and is currently a captain on the Boeing 7373 MAX, In addition to flying these aircraft she has been a simulator instructor and continues to do so on the Boeing 737 MAX.
Her love for flying and aviation continues outside her job. She has flown gliders and vintage tail wheel aircraft and is actively involved with The Ninety Nines International Women Pilots Organization. She was also a volunteer with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association. In her spare time Kim also enjoys sailing and horseback riding.
Kim has also been a mentor with the 99’s and continues to mentor young enthusiastic aviators!
Christine is a licensed commercial pilot with over 2,500 hours (IFR, Multi-engine and Floats), VFR air traffic controller (Ottawa Tower) with 10 years experience and is now a manager in the department of Level of Service at NAV CANADA.
She chose aviation because it fascinated her. Christine was in her third year of university (getting her degree in biochemistry) when aviation entered her world. She went to the aviation museum in Ottawa and spent the afternoon looking at small airplanes take off and land and thought it would be a fun thing to try. It was completely foreign to her, but it looked exhilarating – she was a little bored in her lab world! She booked an intro flight at the Ottawa Flying Club and was hooked from that moment.
Christine decided to make aviation her profession because it gave her goosebumps, and still does. Everyday is different and interesting. New challenges arise constantly and there are no more boring days.
Of aviation, Christine says there are so many aspects to love depending on the role you want. She feels like there really is something for everyone, whether you want to travel the world (and perhaps have someone else pay for it) or have everyday be different, challenging yet interesting, it really is a feeling like no other.
Christine has been lucky to have been both a commercial pilot who worked in South America, Africa and the Canadian Arctic as well as an air traffic controller in the nation’s capital.
All that said, it hasn’t always been easy. She didn’t know anyone in the industry when starting out and thinks that she could have benefitted from mentoring (it came later). She wants to mentor to help others understand all the next steps and provide encouragement and expectations.
“You’ve got to put your heart in it. It’s that simple,” she continued.
Jessalyn is currently a first officer for Sunwing Airlines.
There are a few reasons why she decided to become a pilot. First off, at the young age of 8, she had the opportunity of going on a “Young Eagles” free flight for kids out of the Gravenhurst Airport, in Muskoka, Ontario, with an organization called COPA. She felt sheer joy and amazement when she first felt the wheels lift off the ground. She was mesmerized as a young 8-years-old and essentially caught the bug.
After that, it was the community of pilots that Jessalyn sought out that continued to share their passion and love for flying, which made her want to be part of that community. She loved the idea of helping others get from point A to point B, for so many reasons and causes, and doing it by way of transportation that makes the world so much smaller, and accessible.
Jessalyn was also encouraged by the organizations and women who spoke for the female shortage in the industry and cheered her on in her pursuit. It was inspiring for her to meet other pilots, hear their stories, and then strive to join them. She wanted to join a community that encourages other young girls in their pursuit and setting fire to their passion, with confidence that they too can do it.
When Jessalyn decided she wanted to pursue aviation as a career, she got connected with other pilots throughout high school, taking the chance to go up any time she could, went to every local airshow, and sat at the end of the Breslau Airports runway countless evenings to watch the planes. Taking steps in becoming a pilot, she chose to attend the University of Waterloo, and Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre, graduating with a degree in environmental studies and aviation, and completed her commercial license with a Multi-IFR rating. In her final year, she applied to various programs, including the Sunwing Cadet program.
After applying for the Sunwing Cadet program, Jessalyn was offered a position as a first officer for the airline, based in Toronto. Jessalyn began training September of 2017, and completed her Boeing 737 Type Rating at the end of October. She was then flying the line, and completed line indoctrination a few months later, on-track with the Sunwing Cadet training program. It was a big jump from the Cessnas and Piper Seminole to a jet, but with the Sunwing training program tailored to pilots with no jet time, and the attention and expertise of many training captains, she built confidence in the skill with time and exposure. Jessalyn also currently working with the Waterloo Wellington Flight Center in equipping other students for this opportunity.
Jessalyn loves aviation and the career of a pilot specifically because you get to be a part of an industry that makes our big world, a lot smaller. She also has a strong passion for advocating for women, as well as shear passion. It was instilled in her at a young age that she could do it if she put her mind to it. Her parents were the first ones to tell her this, but it has continued to ring through her journey, as aviation is truly a supportive, and uplifting community.
Jessalyn is excited to be a mentor because it was pivotal in her own personal journey. She is very grateful for the role my mentors played in her career and hopes to be that person for someone else. Her goals within her career are to encourage, equip, and empower other young women by exposing them to such a fantastic career and community.
As for advice, Jessalyn says to seek community, mentors and opportunities, from start to finish of your career. It is a small industry where community is an essential part of your support, training, and industry network.
Adele is a BK117 captain for STARS, which is a helicopter air ambulance operator.
She became a pilot because she was interested in all the different fields involved in aviation. She loved learning about weather, navigation, air law, aircraft systems and of course, loved seeing beautiful places from the air.
One thing Adele truly loves about being a pilot, and in particular a helicopter pilot, is that you are never “done” learning. There is always another course, certification, endorsement or utility to learn in her job. It is a career that requires you to think outside the box and problem solve on a daily basis, and also brings you to some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Adele wanted to become a mentor because she would not have become a pilot without meeting someone who looked like “her” doing it. She always admired the job but never pictured herself as a pilot because she had never seen anyone I could relate to in the role. Then one summer day, she met a female cherry drying pilot and she said, “yeah, I do that.” Adele asked her a few questions, but still wishes that she had taken her name or number because she quite literally changed her life that day.
Advice from Adele? She says to “breathe.” “It sounds silly, but there will be times that you feel overworked, overtired, task-saturated and behind the aircraft. Just take one second and remind yourself to breathe, slow down, prioritize and complete one thing at a time. On my approach checks I secretly add this to my checklist before I land each time.”