Angela, your story about being SkyWest Airline’s youngest female pilot to eventually co-owning The Montana Radio Company is so interesting. Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My mother and I moved around a lot when I growing up, 13 schools in all. We moved because my mom had a vision of the life she wanted. Each time she sought out a new job in a new town, it was to create a better life for us. She took control of our future and never let fear of the unknown hold us back.
From an early age, I’ve tried to follow her example. My high school in Houston had close to 5000 kids. I tried out for the volleyball team, cheerleading, and student council. You name it, I tried to do it. Keyword is “tried.” I never made the team. I wasn’t selected for student council, I wasn’t voted in as a cheerleader.
We knew there had to be something I could do, we just had to find it. That was when I joined a volunteer group called the Civil Air Patrol. Conveniently, this organization was not just for superstars, so they let me in. The only requirement was showing up. Finally, something I was good at, showing up! With the help of the Civil Air Patrol, I soloed an airplane at 16. I was hooked! I landed my first job at a small airport and worked for flight time. I had my private pilot’s license at 17.
I was pretty proud of myself. About a month after receiving my pilot license, I decided it was time to take my mom, step dad and a friend on a weekend trip. The outbound flight was perfect. On our returned flight, however, we ran into some trouble. The flight visibility deteriorated quickly and I became disoriented and lost. I was the only pilot on board, so I had to call “MAYDAY” on the radio for emergency help. After a few long minutes, my call was answered and we received victors to a nearby airport. We landed safe and sound two hours from our original destination with 30 minutes of fuel. Luckily, the weather cleared the next day and we reached our destination safely.
Needless to say, I decided I needed more training. Over the next two years I completed my instrument and commercial ratings. By 20 I was a Certified Flight Instructor and taught others the fun of flying. At 21, I was hired at SkyWest Airlines as their youngest female pilot.
Fast forward a few years. Now I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. My husband found an opportunity to move to Montana and start our own business. I loved my aviation career, but the idea of tucking in my children each night was very appealing. We decided to shift gears and move to Montana.
Our business, The Montana Radio Company, has evolved quickly over the last eight years. Every day seems to have new challenges and new rewards. I love the Helena community and getting to know so many incredible people. I couldn’t imagine raising my family anywhere else. I feel truly blessed with everything I have learned and experienced since we moved to Montana.
Pass along your wisdom! What’s some good advice for your fellow women leaders?
If you just show up and give 110% every day, you can live a life without regrets. The other secret I have learned is to not let your failures define you. At some point we all get disoriented and have to call “MAYDAY,” but if we show back up the next day, that failure doesn’t get to define your future!
When you’re not working, what can we find you doing?
I love to watch my boys play sports, watch them ride bikes, and just be outside. I like to run, which is good because I also love to drink beer!
Tell us about a person who’s had a big impact on your life.
My mother for her spirit, wisdom and strength. My boys who teach me each day what is truly important. My flight instructor pushed me to work just a little harder and to set higher expectations for myself.
If you could meet anyone, past or present, who would you meet?
I would like to meet Oprah, President Lincoln, and Christa McAuliffe (the teacher who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster). Brave folks who took control of their life and made their own path. Life is scary, where did they find so much courage?
When do you most feel yourself?
Playing outside with my boys.
Coffee or tea?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Introvert or extrovert?
Both, just depends on if I remembered my deodorant that day
Rural or urban?
Urban, when I don’t feel like cooking. Rural, the rest of the time
Dress up or dress down?
Cats or dogs?
Sunrise or sunset?
Detailed or abstract?
Classic or modern?
Call or text?
Fiction or non-fiction?
Magazine or podcast?
Salty or Sweet?
Here’s the big question about Montana… tell us why you love living here.
I love the people. Folks in Montana have their own style, pride, and expectations. Montanans respect each other and value integrity. The awesome outdoors are pretty incredible too!
What’s a lesson you are currently learning?
I am learning how to slow down. I like to move fast and see how many things I can get accomplished in a day. I am starting to realize time already flies by too fast. I need to take more time and enjoy the simple moments.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I am most grateful for the people in my life. My family, friends and yes, my co workers, too. I know my life is richer because I am surrounded by wonderful people who make me smile, cry, think, feel, push, pull and play!