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Women’s History Month Spotlight: First Officer Shauna Parish

April 3, 2024

Women’s History Month Spotlight: First Officer Shauna Parish

March is Women’s History Month – a time to celebrate women’s contributions to our nation and communities. It is also a time to recognize our team members and highlight their stories in the aviation industry and beyond.

Today, we present Shauna Parish, a CLT-based first officer who grew up dreaming of becoming a pilot.

In honor of the month, we talked with Shauna about her love for aviation, her heroes, and the advice she gives to those who aspire to fly.

What was your journey to aviation and PSA?

I have always had an interest in aviation; I grew up near a small Georgia airport and would watch videos of flying for hours. When I got to high school and it was time to start thinking about careers, flying was the first thing that came to mind. However, I had never seen a female pilot before and was unsure if it were something I could do. I pursued a business degree instead and didn’t get into flying until years later.

PSA was the perfect fit for me when I finished my ratings and began my job search. I joined our Cadet Program and had an incredible experience from start to finish; a woman did my interview, a woman Captain did my technical, and my two mentors were women, too. It was a place I could see myself in.

What impact do you feel you have as a woman in the flight deck?

Representation is so incredibly important. I have children’s wings in my flight bag and bring kids to the flight deck every chance that I get; those interactions are very impactful. I try to share my story and my journey in aviation with others so that women feel more encouraged to go for their dreams. If I had seen more women flying when I was younger, I may have started flying right away!

In light of Women’s History Month, who are your heroes or women you admire, and why?

There are so many admirable women and role models in this industry, and several have personally touched my life. Margrit Fahan – the first female pilot I had ever met – helped guide me through the steps to become an airline pilot. Jody Brandel – my PSA mentor – checked in with me between 300 and 1500 hours and ensured I had all the resources I needed. Chelsea Noel – my industry mentor – keeps me under her wing and always pushes me to grow.

What motivates you, and what do you love most about the aviation industry and flying?

My motto is, “There’s room in the flight levels for all of us.” I have been fortunate to have so many incredible people in my life who have helped shape my career and me as an individual; I am motivated now by being able to give that level of mentorship back to others as a Cadet Mentor at PSA. I love how every single day and every single flight presents its own challenges and is uniquely different from the last. It has yet to feel like work and is the best job in the world.

What advice would you have for women and girls who aspire to be where you are in your career?

I would absolutely encourage them to chase their dreams. Even though women represent only 4.9% of airline pilots, this number is growing every year, and airlines like PSA create an incredible environment where you can succeed.

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