In September, Margaret Soda, our VP of Human Resources, had the opportunity to talk to a group of attendees for a Women In Aviation event held in Dayton. She was among six women featured in an article about the event, released this week.
Margaret talked about the company’s growth and the challenges that come with it, as well as the benefits of being wholly owned by American Airlines. The experience opened the eyes of attendees to the many possibilities for careers in aviation while providing a historic look at the industry. Read More
Title: Chief Pilot, Charlotte
How long have you worked for PSA? I started as a Direct Entry Captain on July 6, 2015.
How long have you been in the airline industry? Where did you work before PSA? I began my airline career in 1995 so this completes my 22nd year as a Professional Airline Pilot. Immediately prior to PSA, I was a First Officer on the A330/340 with Emirates.
What brought you to PSA? After returning home from the Middle East, PSA offered a great opportunity to be a Direct Entry Captain.
Give us a brief overview of what you do: I serve and support our pilots as they go about serving our customers in a variety of ways. A Chief Pilot may be called upon to provide guidance on everything from safety, regulatory, contractual, and operational issues. Along with that, our pilots are my customers and I make sure that they have the tools and the knowledge they require to deliver service excellence with every flight.
What is one of the biggest challenges of your job? The biggest challenge is also part of the greatest reward because of the continuous professional development that happens behind the scenes that enables me to support our crew members.
Where’s your favorite place you have traveled? That’s a very difficult question because each country that I have visited has such a unique culture as well as sights. From Nairobi, Kenya to Singapore, on to St.Petersburg, Russia, to York, Chester and London, England, throughout the Middle East, South America, and, of course, what I feel is the greatest country on earth, the United States. Each place has given me such a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. And, it’s all because I am an Airline Pilot.
What are some of your hobbies? I love the outdoors. I like trail running and I enjoy spending my free time with my wife and five children.
What do you love about working for PSA? I have had nothing but opportunities since I arrived. I was a Direct Entry Captain, a Simulator Instructor and now I serve the pilots as a Chief Pilot. I really enjoy that day after day I have an opportunity to make a positive difference in our pilot’s lives.
Would you recommend PSA and why? Absolutely! PSA Airlines is in a great position in that we have positive growth, and with this growth, comes tremendous opportunities. From quick upgrades to opportunities to be an instructor or a check airman, there really is no limit on what you can achieve.
Tell us something about your role most people don’t know: I view my role as servant leadership. I provide support in such a way that does not undermine a crew member’s knowledge, but challenges, encourages and promotes them as they take care of the most important people outside of our employees: The customer.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of being an airline pilot is the friends that I have made over the years. It is my greatest blessing besides my family. There is just no shortage of fantastic people who make my life better just by being a part of it.
Tell us something no one knows about you: Professionally: I was an A320 Captain at age 26 and later I was hired in the first class of Direct Entry Pilots on the A380 for Emirates. Personally: When I was 18, I placed a large Christmas tree in the grill of my car to fill the gaping hole in hopes of hiding the fact that I had an accident and thought my parents wouldn’t notice.
There is a big emphasis on women to get mammograms to help detect breast cancer. For many, they have been effective, but not for all as one of our PSA team members found out. Crew Pay Analyst Joy Koehler pushes for an additional, simpler test that helped lead to her breast cancer diagnosis. Here is her Story of Hope:
I am a survivor of breast cancer and I feel not enough emphasis is put on self-examinations. I had a normal mammogram, but because I had felt a lump, they did an ultra sound. I had a fast-growing aggressive cancer. If I had waited a year for a mammogram, I do not believe things would have turned out so well for me.
There is no history of breast cancer in my family or any kind of cancer. As part of my treatment, I took two chemo drugs every two weeks and a Nuelasta shot the day after each chemo. Today, I am cancer-free, but I am still monitored with blood tests, self-exams and mammograms.
My advice is to do self-exams monthly at the same time every month. Notify your doctor right away, if you feel a lump. If possible, ask for an ultrasound. That’s how they found mine.
Here is her story:
I wear pink for the women I volunteer and teach for through the American Red Cross’ Look Good Feel Better Program. This program provides licensed professionals, such as myself, teach women who are currently in treatment or in remission about proper skincare, makeup, hairstyle selection, wig-sizing and head-wrapping techniques. It also provides more than $200 in skincare and makeup.
These generational women are a story of hope because they are not only survivors, but thrivers in their home, workplace, church and community. Each monthly class I teach, I am amazed at the footprint that is left on my heart to strive more and complain less as I represent my beauty. These women inspire me to Look Good and Feel Better in all my circumstances.
This week’s Story of Hope comes from HR Admin Supervisor Terri Shaffer whose connection to breast cancer spans a range of people from close family to friends, but there is one common theme. Read her story:
Way too many women are affected by breast cancer. For me, I know three women who were diagnosed after going through regular mammograms:
My grandma, who I love dearly, was diagnosed in 2006 at 75 years old. She had a mastectomy, but did not have reconstructive surgery. She is now 87 and is cancer-free. She went through everything like a champ. Nothing rattled her. She is such a giver. She always takes time to be with her grandchildren, of which there are 12. She always made each of us feel very special. Even at my age, she still gives me stickers. It’s precious to be with her.
I just found out last week about a dear friend of mine who was diagnosed. She had a lumpectomy and is undergoing radiation treatments now. She’s on 15 of 25. Throughout her telling me and her treatments, she hasn’t changed her outlook. To her, going to treatment is like going to the store. She is my Sister in Christ. That is why this is just a bump in the road to her. She has hope because she believes He is going to take care of her even if it means she will go home to be with Him. It isn’t stopping her from living and giving.
A former co-worker of mine at the company I worked at before PSA was diagnosed while I was working there. She also underwent a mastectomy. It was like I went through it with her, as I was in HR and helped her with insurance and such. I’m happy to say she is now cancer-free.
All these women share two common traits: Being very strong and positive