Flight Attendant & Director of Human Trafficking Awareness
Major US Airline/ Airline Ambassadors International
Tell us about your career and how it all started?
You could say that flying is in my blood. My grandparents operated a crop-dusting business
and flight school in central Washington. Many of my relatives are pilots or have worked in
other airline roles, including my mom. She spent a few years as a Stewardess for Western
Airlines in the 1970’s. As a child, I was fascinated with her stories and dreamt of having that
kind of freedom and adventure someday.
After highschool, my cousin and I spent a couple of months in the Philippines, experiencing
some of the poorest and most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. We spent time in remote
mountain villages and visited organizations that helped orphans and street children. Our eyes were opened to the great need on the other side of the world and also to the joy of the
people, even those who had nothing. I returned home with a desire to travel and also do
something that could make a difference somehow. A year later, I began my career as a flight
attendant for an international airline in Minneapolis. While there, I learned of opportunities
to volunteer with AIRLINE AMBASSADORS INTERNATIONAL, joining mission trips and
accompanying orphans to their adoptive families. My first trip with AAI was to visit an orphanage in India and accompany a baby all the way to Seattle to meet her new family.
There’s much more to this story by the way. It was definitely an adventure!
I later got hired with a major US based airline, which I’ve been with for 15 years, and even
though we continue to grow, it still feels like a family! Two of my cousins are pilots for my
airline, and I recently flew with one of them to Hawaii! I am extremely grateful for what I get
to be a part of every time I go to work.
What is your favorite and least favorite part of your job?
Although, I love traveling, especially when that involves Hawaii, New York (or Sardinia for
vacation), my favorite part is the people. I love who I work with! Many have become great
friends. I also love meeting new people, and I thrive on the adventure of every day being
different from the last. It’s a privilege to be in a position to help make someone’s day a little
brighter, and it’s a good challenge to try and turn around a negative situation. I feel like I get
paid to meet people, make sure everyone is safe and along with my team, help make their dayamazing. Another highlight is the opportunities to engage and learn about my colleagues and guests. I could write novels about all the stories I’ve heard, things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met! My least favorite part is probably getting around the traffic at LAX! :)
There is such secrecy and enigma around flight attendants, what are the biggest
misconceptions about it?
It’s true, there are some misconceptions about being a flight attendant. Starting out, you are
on reserve, working during holidays and weekends and have to be ready when called out for a flight. After gaining seniority over a few years (varies by airline), it becomes more and more
flexible. You can pick and choose what types of trips you fly and destinations and even who
you work with. Some people think it’s a difficult career for relationships and family when
actually it can be really good, especially with some seniority.
Another thing many may not realize is that many flight attendants have other careers and
trades. I have friends that are real estate agents, teachers, business owners, actors,
comedians, bloggers, counselors, nurses, dads, moms, caretakers and many more. Every time I get on a flight, I learn something from my peers. Flight attendants are some of the most
clever and resourceful people I know...and we have to be! Some situations brought before us
are unusual and require quick thinking.
Another note, Flight Attendants are excellent resources for vacation and travel planning
...especially because one of the perks of this career is being able to travel on your time off.
As the Director of Human Trafficking awareness, what did the job entitled and
what were the biggest challenges?
I have been a part of a team at Airline Ambassadors International since 2014, helping lead
training sessions all over the US and the world on human trafficking awareness. Nancy Rivard
(President of AAI) learned of the need to educate flight attendants and airlines, and she
spearheaded this. Our team includes over 30 advocates, including Flight Attendants, Airline
Personnel and Survivors of human trafficking.
The training is designed to provide an understanding of how to recognize and report
potential trafficking incidents. It started as training for Flight Attendants but has grown to
include international airlines, UN conferences, Universities, Churches etc.
We are usually invited by a host airport/airline/or conference to provide an hour and a half
presentation, and sometimes a more intensive full-day training. We work with airports, local
representatives, Law Enforcement and other organizations to share from all perspectives.
The real experts are the Survivors. Many have become my close friends. It is truly awesome
seeing them honored and become leaders in this platform. Their testimonies and expertise
are what drive the message home, and it not only educates the audience, it inspires them, and may just save lives. The challenges are numerous, but getting to know the many involved in this fight for freedom has been an education in and of itself. I am humbled and honored to know them.
What does sisterhood mean to you?
I am surrounded by strong and loving women! My mom and sister are some of my best
I believe that sisterhood means standing up for each other and encouraging each other to
become the best versions of ourselves. We must be intentionally supportive of each other
when we succeed and when we fail, all the while calling each other back up.
As women, we need to be informed about the crisis mentioned above, which is impacting
women (and children and men) globally, Human Trafficking. Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery, and slavery is more prevalent today than any other time in history. The reason it is advancing is because of demand and the fact that a human being can be sold again and again.
This is something we need to be educated about, especially as women in our communities and worldwide are vulnerable to this.
There are so many ways to be involved and stand against this. As families, we can make
gift/toiletry bags to deliver to local shelters and safe houses. We can partner with and
support an organization fighting human trafficking and/or helping survivors. There are many
organizations out there. We can educate ourselves, write about it and even shop for “slavery-free items”, whether it is clothing, jewelry or appliances.
What's your personal mantra?
Today is the first day of everything!
What would be your advice for women who are building careers in your industry?
I would encourage anyone wanting to become a Flight Attendant to research the airline you
are applying for and read the reviews and specifics. It is a wonderful career, but there are
sacrifices, especially in the beginning. However, the travel privileges awarded to Flight
Attendants and family and friends are beyond imagination. If that is in your heart, go for it!
Also, the time off in this profession allows you to pursue other interests and passions.
That is worth its weight in gold to me!
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