Author Archives: Sei Fa'Ulao

Black History Month: Community Contributors

In honor of Black History Month, we asked several SkyWest team members to share their unique stories and tell us why this month is so important to them.

Kamia B. – First Officer, DEN

Joining the SkyWest team was a deliberate choice for First Officer Kamia B. She was drawn by our reputation as a top regional carrier, and she had her sights set on a SkyWest career from the beginning of her pilot journey.

“Everyone has always spoken so highly of SkyWest,” said Kamia. “Knowing it is the best is why I’m here. Since joining, I’ve had the privilege to meet and fly with flight instructors that used to teach at the same flight school that I received my training at, and it’s created so many opportunities for me.”

For Kamia, Black History Month means recognizing and understanding the importance of representation, especially in the context of aviation. With only 100 Black women serving as airline pilots nationwide, she believes this is a great time to highlight a career choice that many people deem unattainable.

“I get so many young women asking me how to become a pilot who didn’t realize that they could pursue this profession,” said Kamia. “You can inspire someone to do anything by highlighting the achievements of people who look like them.”

Kamia actively celebrates her culture by volunteering and mentoring aspiring pilots, particularly those who share her heritage. Recently, she participated in the Sisters of the Skies conference, an empowering gathering of Black women commercial pilots. Kamia has also been recognized as the 2024 Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award recipient.

Overcoming the odds to achieve her dream, Kamia sets out to inspire others and now strives to educate and inspire future generations.

TK S. – Flight Attendant, LAX

Almost seven years ago, TK S. began her SkyWest journey as a Detroit-based flight attendant. A career decision that she says has become one of her purpose-driven passions, and a place where she’s been able to accomplish her personal motto: live to give.

“Soon, I’ll have been with SkyWest for seven years,” said TK. “I still love it as much as I did when I started because of all the amazing memories I’ve made, and experiences I’ve had.”

One of her most cherished memories occurred within a few months of successfully completing her new hire training, on an overnight trip in Boston, Massachusetts. Accompanied by a fellow flight attendant, they visited Harvard for a grounds visit, where they stumbled upon an auditorium with a sign announcing a speech by author and Professor of Law, Angela Davis. Professor Davis had been the woman TK admired the most while growing up as a young girl in the 70s.

“I’ll never forget meeting her as long as I live,” said TK. “She was a trailblazer who stood up for what was right and fought tirelessly for the rights of Black Americans. We not only had the privilege of meeting with Angela Davis but also her sister, who invited us to stay for dinner with their team. Because of my flight attendant career, I was able to meet my childhood hero at 48 years old, that’s what I call Black History in the making!”

No stranger to trailblazing acts, TK’s commitment to serving others extends beyond her profession, as she’s made it a point to volunteer at orphanages during her vacations and organize toy drives for the less fortunate. As a former Food Network 2014 Chopped finalist, organizations also ask TK to use her culinary talents to benefit underprivileged children and raise awareness to great causes. Her dream is to coordinate annual trips for flight attendants to places like Tanzania, where they can volunteer and help local communities.

February is Black History Month

This Black History Month, SkyWest is honored to recognize the Black men and women who help to make our airline the best in the industry.

Throughout February, we will be featuring stories and updates from our own SkyWest employees.

Mike M. – MX Admin, SBN

Mike began his SkyWest journey over four years ago. He came here from another airline where he had been working in aviation maintenance. Mike says he was initially nervous to begin a new career at a new company but had only heard great things about SkyWest.

“I’ve been in aviation for a little over eight years now and SkyWest has been the place I’ve enjoyed the most,” he said. “It’s the welcoming atmosphere towards all people of cultures and backgrounds that makes it different from other jobs. SkyWest has been very welcoming from the beginning and my time here has been filled with great memories and some of the kindest people I’ve met.”

Thinking about Black History Month, Mike says he is inspired by Ruby Ridges. She is an American civil rights activist who was the first Black child to attend a formerly segregated elementary school in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis on Nov. 14, 1960.

“Black history month for me is a time to reflect on how far we’ve come as a society,” he said. “Ruby’s experience has shown me that if we can learn to embrace our differences, regardless of the noise around us, the sky can truly be the limit on what can be achieved.”

Myah D. – Flight Attendant, PHX

For Myah, Black History Month is a celebration of Black culture and an opportunity to for everyone to learn more about Black History. It’s also a chance to recognize the remarkable journey of the Black community.

Growing up as one of the few Black students in her school, Myah struggled with self-consciousness, always feeling the need to prove herself. This struggle persisted even after completing school, and until she decided to break away from her work-from-home routine.

“I felt like there was more, so I started job hunting,” she said. “My search led me to apply as a cabin agent/cleaner for Alaska Airlines. It was in this job, that I was introduced to the world of aviation: gate agents, ground personnel, and flight attendants.”

A newcomer to aviation, Myah grew up with a fear of flying. Mostly due to her limited experience of flying, her perception slowly shifted during her shifts, witnessing professional flight attendants she interacted with. Despite initial reservations about her suitability for the job, the sight of Black flight attendants and pilots inspired her to apply. Walking into the SkyWest group interview, she felt a sense of belonging.

“Watching flight crews and getting to interact with them made me realize that becoming a flight attendant was my dream,” she said. “I was nervous about how young I was and if I was experienced enough in the industry. When I saw Black crewmembers, I felt so much pride and knew that I needed to apply.”

Contrary to her earlier assumptions, the airline industry, particularly SkyWest, proved to be more diverse than Myah anticipated. While the journey wasn’t without challenges, she is grateful she has been able to secure her dream job of becoming a flight attendant.

“I am so proud to be a SkyWest flight attendant, and I hope anyone who thinks that their dreams are out of reach will one day just go for it like I did,” she said.

Myah encourages everyone to pursue their aspirations, emphasizing that representation matters. This month in particular, Myah wishes everyone a joyful celebration, hopeful for a future where dreams are within reach for all.

SkyWest Celebrates #NationalComplimentDay

Today is #NationalComplimentDay and we want to celebrate the amazing work that SkyWest people do each day! From emails, phone calls, notes and letters, people love to compliment our incredible team.

Here are just a few examples:

Cheyenne, Wyoming (CYS)

A supervisor with United Airlines’ Airport Operations team acknowledged the exceptional performance of Scott H., Cheyenne, Wyoming (CYS) cross utilized agent, for his “AMAZING” care and handling of military luggage. On one flight, Scott helped organize and manage more than 70 military bags within the limited storage space of a CRJ200 aircraft.

John Heath, the United ramp service employee, said, “I have never seen anyone stack like that with that many military bags in that plane.”

Eagle, Colorado (EGE)

I have been meaning to reach out and tell you how grateful I am to the crews that travel into EGE. Both flight deck and flight attendants. They have been unbelievably supportive to my ground teams on even the most challenging days. Please remind them any chance you get how much we appreciate our EGE inflight teams. They are the best and we recognize it!

Palm Springs, California (PSP)

Hi SkyWest, My name is Patty and I have been a flight attendant with American Airlines for over 39 years. I was recently traveling on a SkyWest flight from Phoenix, Arizona (PHX) to Grand Junction, Colorado (GJT) and had a great experience with your crew. Your flight attendants, Susann R. and Russell K., were beyond exceptional! Not only did they greet my husband and I with smiling faces, but they made us feel so welcomed. They provided top-notch service and treated every passenger as if they knew them for years. This type of service is above and beyond!

South Bend, Indiana (SBN)

Solomon is a wonderful asset to SkyWest! He was right there at the gate ready to board and to assist with our maintenance issues. Solomon was kind and reassuring. He took charge and listened to our captain & flight attendants and promised to look at everything. He was just a joyful, solid gentleman.

Every day our amazing SkyWest teams are providing exceptional service to thousands of passengers on 2,000. If you’re ready to join our team, click here to see the open positions that are available right now.

SkyWest Santa Visits Honduras

CRJ Captain Zelaya Amaya grew up in Honduras and never experienced the traditional magic of Christmas. His family always celebrated the holidays with new clothes and fireworks, but with two brothers and four sisters, his parents had a lot of mouths to feed and Christmas presents weren’t in the budget. He always hoped that Santa Claus would stop by his house to drop off some presents, but it never happened.

At nine, and no longer believing in Santa, Captain Zelaya Amaya moved to the United States where he began a new life. He eventually became interested in aviation, enrolled in flight school, and joined SkyWest in 2021.

Over the years, Captain Zelaya Amaya has continued to think about his home country and how he could give back. In recent years, Honduras has faced numerous natural disasters, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and wiping out crops, infrastructure, and homes. Additionally, Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the region with over 50% of the population living in poverty.

This year, Captain Zelaya Amaya had the idea to fulfill his childhood dream by bringing the Christmas spirit to the children who, just like him, had never experienced a visit from Santa.

“I wanted to help the kids forget what they’ve been through these past few years,” he said.

He started a GoFundMe to raise money for toys and other goodies. Then, dressed in a big red suit with a fluffy white beard and boxes of gifts, he flew to Honduras.

“I am very thankful for the job I have here at SkyWest,” Captain Zelaya Amaya said. “Without it, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

During his trip, Captain Zelaya Amaya says it was thrilling to hand out toys and food to the struggling community called Rio Blanquito. The children jumped around, beaming with joy and excitement as their dreams came true. Memorably, one child ran up to him, hugging and thanking him for his new toy car.

In total, he estimates that over 1,000 children received a toy. Additionally, 40 kids received a backpack filled with school supplies and 50 families received a bag of staple groceries.

Captain Zelaya Amaya plans to return to Honduras again next year, spreading the Christmas cheer to even more children.

Native American Heritage Month: Embracing Heritage and Culture

SkyWest is home to incredible people. This includes First Officer Emmalee G., and Flight Attendants Nicolette S. and Valerie S. who each shared their thoughts about Native American Heritage Month and how their background and experience has been a part of their careers at SkyWest.

Nicolette S. – SLC Flight Attendant

For Nicolette, becoming a flight attendant meant taking a chance on a career that was totally unknown to her. She joined the SkyWest team as the first class of 2017, an experience that she calls transformative.

“I can’t imagine leaving the aviation industry,” said Nicolette. “It’s allowed me to explore many opportunities. I only wish I had gotten my foot in the door a lot sooner, as I’m so grateful to work for a company that recognizes diversity and community.”

In celebrating Native American Heritage Month, Nicolette emphasizes the importance of acknowledging the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, success, and contemporary representation of Indigenous People. She is also very happy to be in a position of strong connections to her roots, highlighting her pride in working for a company that recognizes diversity.

Nicolette considers it an honor to represent the Dine’ (Navajo) spirit while flying. She aims to make her community proud by raising awareness about topics close to her heart and strives to contribute to increasing opportunities in the aviation industry for Indigenous People.

“I’m blessed for all the love and support from family and friends,” said Nicolette. “It’s an honor to spread the Dine’ spirit while flying.”

Looking ahead, Nicolette looks forward to returning to Dine’tah (Navajo Nation) to spend time with her family and friends. Engaging in family activities like cooking, beading, and winter storytelling by a warm fire are things she finds grounding and that hep connect her to her identity and aspirations, both in the air and on the ground.

Emmalee G. – DTW First Officer

Four years ago, Emmalee was motivated by her brother – a fellow SkyWest pilot – into transitioning from flight instructing to apply as a SkyWest pilot. It’s a decision she considers among the best in her life. Flying alongside her brother and sharing the flight deck with other Native Americans “has added a unique dimension to her aviation experience.”

In recognizing Native American/Alaska Native Legacies this month, Emmalee believes it’s very important to share with others the historical impact of these communities.

“It’s important to recognize these present-day heroes,” said Emmalee. “Native Americans/Alaska Natives have a rich history of contributing positively, and breaking barriers. We are here, proudly representing our cultures throughout the world.”

Learning about her heritage and culture through books and conversations with family members, Emmalee is excited to become a mouthpiece of her history and looks forward to following her family’s footsteps. Her mother, in particular, crafts Kuspuks (similar to hoodies) for family members, a talent she said inspired her to learn Iñupiaq, a native language fluently spoken by only about 2,000 people. Despite the initial challenges of learning due to limited resources, Emmalee finds joy in finding new learning tools, and credits the guidance of a family friend from Nome, Alaska.

For Emmalee, this month is all about learning. Learning more about her ancestors and about her native language becomes a meaningful way to celebrate and connect with her heritage and culture.


Valerie S. – DEN Flight Attendant

A proud member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibway Tribe on the Cass Lake Indian Reservation in Northern Minnesota, Valerie’s heritage reflects a blend of an Ojibway mother and a Norwegian father. She got her start at SkyWest thanks to a friend, Jill Roundy, a SkyWest flight attendant, who encouraged her to attend a group interview.

“When I realized Skywest is contracted to fly into the Bemidji Regional Airport (BJI), which is only 16 miles West from Cass Lake, I was excited,” Valerie said. “I could now visit my family more often, and I could also give them the opportunity to travel the world.”

Drawn by the proximity to BJI, she accepted the job offer and began training. For her initial five months at SkyWest, she was based in Minneapolis, Minnesota but a transfer back to Salt Lake City, Utah came a month before the passing of her father. Grateful for the moments and memories her employment with SkyWest provided during this challenging time, she cherishes the ability to spend those precious last moments with her father.

For Valerie, this month is a great reminder of what her heritage has done for her life. Her tribe’s support played a crucial role in her earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. As a Social Worker, she dedicated her time to giving back, focusing on services tailored for Native Americans, including mental health counseling for LDS Social Services.

Beyond academic pursuits, Valerie represented her tribe in athletics, qualifying for the First Women’s Olympic Trials in 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials. Her tribe’s support, demonstrated through a “Blanket Dance” at a local Pow Wow, helped fund her participation in these events. Valerie’s achievements include winning the Salt Lake City Deseret News Marathon three times, securing second place at the St. George Marathon, and induction into the St George Marathon’s Road of Fame.

Throughout her career with SkyWest, she has cherished four-day trips that allowed overnight stays, offering precious moments to visit family. Her travel privileges also allowed her to attend a surprise birthday party for her mother and to be together with all her siblings for the first time ever. It became a cherished memory, especially since one of her sisters passed away not long after.

“I’m grateful for the opportunities SkyWest has provided me to travel the world and visit my family,” Valerie said. “I’m thankful for my Native American heritage, and I will continue to live to make my tribe proud of me.”

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Giving Tuesday: SkyWest People Leading by Example

SkyWest people are known for providing reliable air service to millions of passengers every month, but our work often goes beyond the airports we work in. Throughout 2023, SkyWest people have regularly gone above and beyond to give back in the communities where we live and work.

In honor of #GivingTuesday, here are a few examples of how SkyWest teams are having a positive impact:

Southern Utah Food Bank
This week, several dozen SkyWest employees volunteered at the Utah Food Bank’s Southern Distribution Center. There they organized and packed over 2,000 pounds of food to help those in need living in Utah’s six southernmost counties: Beaver, Iron, Washington, Garfield, Kane and San Juan. Through the Distribution Center, 46 local pantries and other partner organizations in Southern Utah are receiving products more directly and frequently from Utah Food Bank.

Across the state, employees are also helping to fight hunger by contributing to SkyWest’s virtual food drive. This year we are hoping to raise $4,000. Every dollar donated will become $8.36 toward food and necessities for Utahns in need, allowing us to strengthen our positive impact.

Special Olympics Plane Pulls
Teams of SkyWest employees in Colorado Springs and Chicago “pulled” out all the stops to help support the Special Olympics Colorado and Special Olympics Illinois at two different plane pulls. Both organizations exceeded their fundraising goals and can continue providing year-round sports, competitions, health screenings, and leadership opportunities to nearly 21,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Spirit of SkyWest
The SOS: Our People in Action program is unique in supporting the causes and groups that our employees are most passionate about. Just this year, more than 30 employees have participated in a non-profit event. In each case, SkyWest donates to the charity on behalf of the employees involved. This includes events to raise awareness for tuberous sclerosis complex research, accessible healthcare for communities in Texas, and the Special Olympics plane pulls.

American Red Cross 
The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors. Together, SkyWest people have donated more than $10,300 this year alone to help those affected by natural disasters and other humanitarian crises.

SkyWest Supports On Board with Autism
Nearly 30 kids and their families boarded a SkyWest aircraft in Erie, Pennsylvania (ERI). Unlike a typical flight, though, the plane never left the ground because the flight was part of On Board with Autism, an event organized by the Autism Society Northwestern Pennsylvania. Read how airport officials and SkyWest crew assisted in creating a positive and memorable experience for all involved.

Thank you to all of our people for the many ways you contribute to make your communities and our world a better place! We encourage you to keep finding ways to give back, no matter how small. Together, we can continue to make a positive impact.

Native American Heritage Month: Culture and Tradition

Native American Heritage Month, observed every November in the United States, is a time to honor and celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and contributions of Native Americans. This month-long commemoration serves as an opportunity to raise awareness about the history, struggles, and triumphs of Indigenous peoples in the Americas.

Here is what a few of our people had to say about how their cultural background shapes their everyday lives.

Faye C. – HDQ Crew Scheduler
“Halito (hello)!” said Faye, a member of the Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma.

Faye joined SkyWest in 2022 in search of a new career opportunity and new friends. Now more than a year later, she knows it was meant to be, she loves the career she’s in, and her colleagues are considered family.

“The thing that keeps me at SkyWest is my Crew Support team,” she said. “I have the honor and privilege of working with people who respect me and my culture.”

For Faye, her heritage is integral to how she lives her life. She loves to celebrate Native American Heritage Month because of her tribes’ rich history of resilience, unique experiences, and historical importance.

“The Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma was one of the tribes that were forced to walk the trail of tears and were displaced from their ancestral homes,” she said. “So, for me, Native American Heritage Month is about retaining that history, remembering our stories, and keeping them alive. This is important to pass on to future generations.”

Faye’s favorite parts of her culture are passing on traditions through oral history, bead work, music, powwows, traditional dances, and food!”

“I celebrate my culture by keeping our traditional stories alive,” Faye said. “This is something that’s done every day, not only this month. I’ll continue to honor it by strengthening my knowledge in the traditional language of the Choctaw people. yakoke! Chi pisa la chike (Thank you, until we meet again)!”

Patrick M. – OKC Mechanic III
For SkyWest Mechanic Patrick, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, celebrating Native American Heritage Month means that everyone can explore the history and culture of different groups. It’s also important to him that people take time celebrate and recognize their own background and culture too.

“This is an opportunity for all of us to come together,” he said. “For those of us celebrating and for others to gain a valuable point of reflection. Being a Native American isn’t a constant point of our conversations, but I know that I’m valued by my team, and I respect that.”

Celebrating his culture is very important for Patrick. He celebrates this month by attending a multi-day gathering that is hosted by tribe leaders, for every tribal member across the country to meet. There, tribe members enjoy crafts, and learn more about their language, food, and ceremonies that would otherwise go neglected the rest of the year.

Patrick joined the SkyWest team on encouragement from his instructors in A&P school. He reviewed his career options and knew that he needed to join the team. “I looked at my options and I saw my options for quality of life; pay, training opportunities, and ability to advance,” he said. “SkyWest beat the other local options.”

Honoring Our SkyWest Veterans

Veterans Day is a time to honor the brave individuals who have devoted themselves to serving America. It’s a chance to recognize their sacrifices, dedication, and their unwavering commitment to our country. Among the countless heroes who have selflessly served are many SkyWest people. 

Command Master Chief Neal J.

Neal, a Scottsbluff (BFF) cross utilized agent, served in the U.S. Navy for 32 years. When enlisting in 1982, he was aiming for a career in aviation, but vision constraints led him to serve 20 years on submarines.

“I became a sonar technician, which I call an air traffic controller under the water,” Neal said.

In the ‘80s, he completed a tour in Japan, was deployed in the Philippines where he met his eventual wife, Minda, and then spent 12 years in Hawaii. Neal did tours in Kings Bay, Georgia; Bremerton, Washington; San Diego and Ridgecrest, California; Fallon, Nevada; El Paso, Texas; and Patuxent River, Maryland.

One assignment on the U.S.S. Maine was to do deterrent patrolling.

“We make sure that our enemies — Russia, China, all of them — know that we’re out there and we’ve got 24 ballistic missiles with 10 warheads pointed at them if they decide to do anything,” Neal said. “We always said if we ever actually had to launch, we failed our mission. We didn’t ever want to launch.”

Although they launched a test missile, his subs never launched a ballistic missile for war. His longest submarine deployment lasted 124 days underwater in the western Pacific.

“The best way to summarize a submarine is that you would have weeks of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror, especially if you actually had a real accident or real casualty,” he said.

Over the years, Neal worked his way up the ranks to the Chief of Boat (COB) and a trainer for sonar staff. With 20 years under his belt, Neal was selected to join the Command Master Chief program, releasing him from submarines to switch to aviation.

“Once I got my eyes corrected, they let me go flying. I joined the Navy to be in aviation, and I got there, it just took me 20 years to do it in a roundabout way.”

Neal spent his last 12 years in senior leadership positions in aviation commands. After a family emergency scare, he decided to retire as a Command Master Chief in 2014 and moved to Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

“It was a job, and a job I loved,” Neal said. 

When SkyWest began operations at BFF, Neal jumped on the opportunity to work in the commercial aviation industry and now works as a cross utilized agent.

Infantry Soldier Josh M.

Josh, a cross utilized agent in Prescott, Arizona (PRC), joined the U.S. Army Infantry in 2007. He was stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska and served one combat tour in the Diyala province of Iraq, serving as a grenadier and radio telephone operator (RTO). His bravery and dedication were recognized with the Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.

In 2010, Josh used the G.I. Bill, a program created to help finance school or training for American military veterans, to become an English teacher. After eight years in public education, he transitioned to aviation.

Josh is currently utilizing the Vocational Readiness and Employment program from Veteran Affairs to complete his master’s degree in aviation safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He joined SkyWest in July.

“Upon finishing my degree, I would love to advance my career with SkyWest and serve in a safety role,” he said.

As we observe Veterans Day, we extend our deepest gratitude to Neal, Josh and all of our SkyWest Veterans for their sacrifice, resilience, and unwavering commitment to the United States and the many freedoms we enjoy.

Thank you for your service and happy Veterans Day.

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Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month and SkyWest is proud to recognize our people and their varied backgrounds and cultures. Watch for stories throughout the month featuring some of our people, including Penny M., parts manager in South Bend, who is part of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina, and DEN-based First Officer Maria M. who is part of the Leach Lake band of Ojibwe tribe in Minnesota.

Penny M. – SBN Parts Manager

For SkyWest Parts Manager Penny, being Native American is something that she is proud of and holds close to her heart. She is a member of the Lumbee tribe, made up of tribal nations from the Algonquian, Iroquoian, and Siouan language families, including the Hatteras, the Tuscarora, and the Cheraw. Recognized as Indian in 1885 by the State of North Carolina, the Lumbee continue working to educate others about their right to be federally recognized, a movement that Penny holds dear to her heart.

Growing up in Michigan and far from her tribe in North Carolina, Penny credits her father for the knowledge and appreciation she has for her heritage and culture.

“I have a lot of pride in my heritage,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in learning more about my culture since I was 11 years old, and my dad instilled in me a love of where I came from and who my tribe was. Just ask my family, I’m the go-to person for tribal information and family history.”

Before coming to SkyWest, Penny worked as a JCPenney corporate manager for 20 years. There she gained experience working with teams and helping showcase the value of recognizing diversity and fairness. In 2022, a family member convinced Penny to take a break from retirement and join the SkyWest team where she has seen how our diversity has helped us be successful.

“I’m grateful that SkyWest gives us opportunities to share our stories with each other,” she said. “It shows that we can have different backgrounds and share with each other the best parts of ourselves. I think this is why my team has been so great to work with and for me to lead. We all understand each other and have learned from each other’s stories.”

Penny is devoted to sharing her heritage with her family members too. She’s been able to fly with her grandchildren to attend powwows and cultural celebrations along the Lumbee River in North Carolina, where her tribe originated. She also visits local tribe festivals where she can connect with other Native Americans and learn more about their history.

Penny’s favorite part of this month, “Recognizing each other!”

“My native heritage has helped me immensely in my career and has brought my family closer,” said Penny. “I love being able to share that with others and to learn more from their stories. Not only does this recognition help us become more aware as humankind but it’s a freedom that we can all learn from.”

Maria M. – DEN First Officer

Denver-based CRJ First Officer Maria has always wanted to become an airline pilot. As she was training and flying with mentors, she learned about SkyWest and knew the airline is exactly what she was looking for. 

“What really piqued my interest was the culture of SkyWest that I had always heard about,” she said. “Whether it was the Pilot Pathway Program, an interview, or at my instructing job, people would mention SkyWest. They convinced me it was the best learning and working environment out there.”

Maria joined the SkyWest Pilot Pathway Program in 2021 and she recently completed her first flight as a first officer.

“Once I got to my first day of training, I knew I had made the right choice,” she said. “Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful and I’m happy I made the decision to continue my career with SkyWest.”

Maria is proud to be celebrating her Native American heritage throughout the month and is excited for others to recognize and connect with her great culture. She is a member of the Leach Lake band of Ojibwe tribe in Minnesota, a tribe known for their preservation of heritage.

“It is important to recognize Native American Heritage Month because it makes people feel more comfortable and welcome, especially in their workplace,” she said. “Being able to share my story is so encouraging and ensures that representation for the culture and community stays alive.”

Maintaining her connection to her heritage is very important for Maria. She celebrates her culture by spending time with family, sharing experiences, and attending various traditional events. Maria’s advice for those wanting to recognize this month is to support indigenous artists!