- Michelle Bassanesi
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By Michelle Bassanesi
I believe my future passes through the future of those around me. By sharing my experiences and mentoring others forward towards their dreams, I get closer to achieving mine: creating opportunities and awareness through Aviation and Women in Europe (www.aweu.org) and Women in Aviation International (www.wai.org), mentoring for the Ninety-Nines Professional Pilot Leadership Initiative Program, mentoring for the EAA Women Soar, You Soar program, mentoring for the Girls Fly Programs in Seattle and South Africa, and flight instructing.
Out of an aviation job, as a single mum working full time as Chief Operations Officer and Resource Broker for one of Italy’s oldest events servicing companies based in Rome, I am working towards my Professional Aeronautics degree with Minors in Aviation Safety and Airport Management as an undergraduate Worldwide student with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I recently passed my FAA ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) and Flight Engineer knowledge tests, Biennial Flight Review and Instrument Proficiency Check with flying colors!
I believe determination and preparation get me ahead and I plan to be well prepared when the hiring starts again. My degree, my aviation experience, and over three decades of business experience together will open up incredible opportunities for me. Networking and mentoring, giving forward, being a role model, sharing experiences, increasing the circulation of information available – knowledge is power. My strength is my desire to learn, grow, and develop, as well as my passion to share it with others.
The Women in Aviation International Conference this year was another hit! Over 3300 attendees from 13 different countries and more than half of the international attendees were from Nigeria. Welcome to all. The International Welcome reception, sponsored by Walmart and organized by Erin Gormley and Christi Dobelli, was another precious gem of the conference. The event made me feel not only welcome, but also part of an international sisterhood that will support me always! Thank you for another great cheese and wine social event. After this event it always makes me feel “part of it” I can walk the halls of the exhibition and meet up with others that “I know” and not feel so “out of it.” The conference is a unique opportunity to meet up with old friends, make new ones and in many cases put faces to names, those names that one has connected with through the internet all year round. I also find that WAI conferences are energizing and inspiring through getting to meet many people who made a difference yesterday for today and those that are making the difference today for tomorrow!
One of the more inspiring and immediately useful workshops I attended was Torea Rodriguez’ presentation on Tips, Tricks and Gotchas in using the iPad as an EFB (Electronic Flight Bag). I learned so much and actually 100% improved my use of the iPad for use on the flight deck in GA aircraft. The most important tip was “3 taps and then look outside the iPad is the sexiest instrument on the flight deck, it attracts a lot of attention 3 taps, then look outside.”
My next dream is to receive the type rating scholarship I interviewed for at the WAI Conference in Dallas, Texas (that would make such a success statement with my mentees – I mentor by example) enabling me to work for airlines flying jets around the world. I utilized my time in the Exhibit Hall to seek out information about and make connections with prospective future employers.
My studies with ERAU (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University) are online, so it was a pleasure to be able to participate in the ERAU alumni luncheon in person, meeting its President Dr. John Johnson and his wife, other alumni, and professors. My dream includes receiving accreditation as an airport manager at 80 I will be a commercial helicopter pilot and at 105 I will write a book! This year I turn 50 and I am celebrating my birthday 12 times this year - each month I give myself a “pat on the back” and “a fun time.” This trip to the US was my third birthday celebration.
Since getting my certificates in 2000 I have achieved both FAA and JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities—the European equivalent of the FAA) Commercial Multi Instrument and FAA and JAA Certificated Flight Instructor Single Engine Land including Instrument instructor. Preparation, determination, scholarships, a great support system, believing I CAN DO IT and resilience have helped keep me focused especially through tough times. Since joining various International associations such as Women in Aviation International and Women in Corporate Aviation, I have helped make them truly International! Aviation and Women in Europe’s 8th Conference will be held in the Fall of 2012 in Istanbul--more on that soon. Each year the conference moves around Europe in an attempt to allow each country to showcase their involvement in aviation throughout history.
I have another dream: that the aviation associations around the world will work together globally. Strength is in numbers, strength is in sharing of knowledge and resources, inspiring and creating opportunities for all those who wish to enter aviation as a profession. We must celebrate all the accomplishments of those that have come before us and those today that are making a difference for tomorrow. Thank you to all my friends and colleagues for another great time.
This article was published in the April 2012 issue of Aviatrix Aerogram, an eZine for women pilots. Women pilots interested in Aviatrix Aerogram should contact laurasmith (at) aviatrixaerogram (dot) net.