From Marketing to Aviation

by Jade Alejandro on Apr 07 2021

Hi there! My name is Jade Alejandro and I’m currently a Flight Instructor here at L3Harris Flight School at Sanford, Florida. Being a pilot honestly never crossed my mind until I reached my senior year of high school and I was contemplating a variety of career paths. No matter what I decided on I just knew I couldn’t do anything mundane. A fixed 9-5 job never sat well with me.

Interested in an aviation career I applied to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University as well as other universities here in the state of Florida. Despite being accepted to Embry Riddle I decided on the University of Florida (Go Gators!). I figured that would be the most feasible option as it was more affordable and offered a plethora of degrees that peaked my interest.

Despite putting aviation on the back burner, I gained such a valuable experience at UF and after jumping from major to major I finally decided on Marketing going into my third year. This led to an opportunity to study aboard in Salzburg, Austria that re-ignited my love of traveling and experiencing different cultures as I was able to spend my free weekends traveling around Europe! Just being in the airport made me giddy with excitement just like it did when I was kid. The whole process of checking-in, watching in awe at the jets taking-off and landing, stepping into the aircraft, checking out the cockpit – it all just gives me goose bumps in a joyful way.

Although I found Marketing interesting, I knew it would not fulfil me long term and after graduating I decided I would take a discovery flight at an airport near UF. That flight marked the moment I decided to pursue a career as a pilot, and I haven’t looked back since. I did my research, and found L3Harris Flight School, in which I attended its Professional Pilot Program back in 2017. What drew me to the program was its structure, quality resources, and network of fellow individuals all working towards a common goal, becoming professional pilots themselves. After successfully completing the program I got hired by the school to work as a Flight Instructor. It’s been almost two years here at the academy, where I’ve been continuing to teach a wide range of students and continuing to learn, myself.

From the moment I decided on a different career path I haven’t looked back. Reflecting, on my flight training and my experience so far as a flight instructor, it has most definitely been rewarding and meaningful for me. It’s a gratifying experience to get the chance to spend your day in the air – how many people can say that?! - and now as a flight instructor I share my knowledge and passion with other aspiring pilots and help play a part in their success and growth. The most meaningful part of it all is that no matter what role I’m in as a pilot, whether it’s as a flight instructor, and ultimately one day as an airline pilot, this career presents its own challenges yet continues to be such a rewarding experience for me at the end of the day.

I would love to inspire other women out there who are wondering if a career as a pilot is the right decision for them. For those interested, I say do it! Despite there being a huge disparity between male and female pilots still today, don’t let that intimidate you. In addition, make sure to do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions no matter what stage you are in your piloting career. Throughout the journey be willing to adapt to the ever-changing industry and continue to develop your professional and personal skills. As long as you have the passion, drive and heart there’s ultimately nothing in the way that’s going to stop you from succeeding and becoming a pilot.