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LGBTQ+ Pride Month Spotlight: Pilot Recruiter Chad Armes-Smotherman

January 10, 2023

LGBTQ+ Pride Month Spotlight: Pilot Recruiter Chad Armes-Smotherman

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which honors the arts, culture, contributions, and history of LGBTQ+ people in the United States. During this important observation, we are proudly spotlighting our team members who show how diverse backgrounds contribute to The PSA Way.

Today we introduce Pilot Recruiter Chad Armes-Smotherman. He talked with us about his aviation journey, cultural traditions, and representation in the aviation industry.

What was your path to PSA?

I owe it all to my incredible mentor and leader, Laura Bailey. Laura had been watching my career from a distance when I started interning at another 121 carrier. A year or two after my internship, I was well into my HR career in more of a Labor Relations role when a role at PSA became vacant. I opened up LinkedIn one day, and there Laura was in my inbox asking if I’d be interested in chatting with her and the rest was history. She has taught me almost everything I know about pilot recruiting and talent acquisition and is one of the biggest influences on my career. She is truly a legend in the pilot recruiting world, and we are all so lucky to have her!

What do you love about the aviation industry?

I love that no two days are ever the same. This is the only industry where change is tangible and visible from all levels. I have the ability to implement change at my level as an individual contributor, and that is not an opportunity afforded in every industry. Another favorite about aviation is the people you meet and the incredible network you build from day one. It’s almost like a homecoming at your high school when you go to these recruiting events and see all your friends from other carriers and get to catch up. The aviation industry is very competitive, but your peers help you and are there for you to bounce ideas off of, and that is super cool to me.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community in aviation, how do you feel you positively impact PSA’s culture of diversity and inclusion?

I think I bring a different perspective, just like all my teammates. I have different life experiences and see through the world through a different lens, as we all do, which enables me to bring ideas and viewpoints otherwise lost.

In the spirit of Pride Month, why is it important to bring awareness to the challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces as well as its successes and triumphs?

As we have seen, now more than ever, it is important to showcase LGBTQIA+ folks from all walks of life. Little people everywhere are watching the world around them. Companies like American Airlines and PSA Airlines supporting Pride, which at its core is about celebrating all as they are, sends a clear message: Regardless of how you identify, the color of your skin, where you come from, or how much money you have; you are welcomed, valued, and wanted at this company. These messages from companies like ours are so powerful and needed now more than ever.

Is there anything at PSA that you would like to see more of regarding benefits and culture for LGBTQ+ team members?

PSA is the most inclusive workplace I have ever worked at. We are always changing and open to change, which is the first step to being inclusive. As of right this second, I do not, but I know that if I ever have suggestions, I am empowered and encouraged to bring them to my leaders.

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