“Don’t be afraid to reach outside your comfort zone and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.”
In the summer of 1988, Colleen Tynan’s family went on a vacation to Hawaii. At the time, flying wasn’t affordable, making this opportunity highly anticipated and rare for Colleen. On her flight, at the age of 10, Colleen was intrigued by the cabin crew. “Everyone was so nice, engaging with guests and I remember thinking they were the best humans,” says Colleen. Coincidentally, Colleen had the exact same crew flying home and was delighted when they remembered her and her family. “After that, I was convinced being a cabin crew member was the coolest career on the planet, says Colleen.”
In 2003, Colleen would land at WestJet and become a cabin crew member. On March 5, she celebrates 17 years as a WestJetter.
We sat down with Colleen and asked her a few questions about her time at WestJet, the lessons she’s learned and the importance of diversity.
How have you felt supported throughout your career?
I feel incredibly blessed to have had amazing leaders who motivated me and helped me along my career path. There were many times where my leaders saw potential in me that I didn’t necessarily see in myself, because fear got in the way. Having individuals in my career who said, you can do this, pushed me to prove them right, even when I had self-doubt.
Why is it important for us to acknowledge Women in Aviation week and International Women’s day?
Gender and diversity never used to be something that was openly talked about. Today, not only is it talked about, there’s a conscious effort and commitment to improving diversity throughout WestJet. I think this week and International Women’s day is a great opportunity to acknowledge how far we have come as an industry and as an organization.
That said, our organization becoming more diverse adds to our competitive advantage and equal gender representation is just one aspect of that.
What advice would you give young girls and women who are interested in the industry?
Never limit yourself. When I first started my career, I could not have imagined that 17 years later I would be the director of the Contact Centre. People entering this industry think that opportunities begin and end with pilots and flight attendants, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The aviation industry is rich in diverse opportunities; don’t be afraid to reach beyond your comfort zone and take advantage of the opportunities that come your way.
To learn more, visit westjet.com/womeninaviation.