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23-Year-Old Felesha Johnson Makes History As Guyana's Youngest Female Flight Dispatcher
Felesha Johnson has officially become the youngest woman Licensed Flight Dispatcher Officer in her country of Guyana. According to Loop News, the 23-year-old is also a technical assistant in the drone department. Initially, she wanted to become a pilot. This became her dream after attending a career day held by the University of Guyana.
“At the booth for a local company, they had female pilots,” Johnson told Loop News, “and after their presentation, I knew in my heart I wanted to become a pilot.”
Johnson’s journey into the world of civil aviation began in 2019. She describes it as a story having equal parts disappointment, failure, success, and happiness. She received a scholarship from the Guyanese government to attend the Air Services Flight School. However, the school closed down while she was in the midst of her studies, and her scholarship became void.
“My dream was always to become a pilot, so when the school closed down and my scholarship was void, basically that dream was squashed, as piloting is very expensive. Given I was already halfway through the program, I was sent to the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) to work back my years. Due to my piloting background, I was sent on the flight dispatcher course, resulting in me becoming the first and youngest female flight dispatcher officer for the GCAA.”
As one of few women in a male-dominated industry, Johnson admits to having experienced challenges and difficulties in the field. She has been overlooked, doubted, and has missed out on opportunities she was deserving of due to the bias and preference for male workers.
“The major challenge that I have experienced so far is as it relates to training. It is very hard to get on to some training, especially as a young woman who is now moving up in the aviation industry…to get on to training and to get certain privileges is very hard.”
Still, Johnson says that it is in indeed possible for women to succeed in the field, but that it often comes at a price. As the minority, women must be willing to come out of their comfort zone and work twice as hard to receive the recognition they deserve. She encourages women to pursue a career in aviation if it is something they are passionate about.
“You need to be determined, focused and mostly, be relentless…to become successful in this field, you must love what you do. It is a very challenging sector, but it is also very fulfilling. You get to meet different people and experience new things. You must not feel that you can’t accomplish what a male can, just push yourself.”
In the future, Johnson would like to become an inspector and also plans to continue working to pursue her dream of becoming a pilot. In the meantime, she will continue learning more and more about the industry through exposure to the various sectors of aviation.
“The next step for me would be evolving along with the aviation industry. As it grows, I also want to qualify and attain the knowledge to deal with the new changes and challenges that are arising from my career development. In five years, I would like to be an inspector or on the path to becoming one.”