A helping hand

One of Julie Beverstein’s first mentors was her father, a now-retired airline pilot who explained the many paths she could take to achieve her goal of working for an airline one day.

Porter Airlines has been a pioneer in bridging the gender gap through Women Soar at Porter. The Northern Lights Mentorship Program is seen as another step in that process. Porter Airlines Photo
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The most important advice he gave was that aviation would not be easy, said Beverstein, who is now a Bombardier Q400 pilot with Porter Airlines.

“But it would be worth it,” she said in a speech on Sept. 29, 2018, at the Northern Lights Aero Foundation (NLAF)’s 10th annual gala in Richmond Hill, Ont.

“In his eyes, it was the best job that anyone could have. I took his advice seriously, and believe my work ethic today brought me to where I am.”

Beverstein is now assistant chief pilot in charge of recruitment and retention at Porter Airlines, and a leader in Women Soar at Porter, an organization devoted to bridging the gender gap.

Now, Beverstein and other aviation and aerospace professionals are giving back to the industry through the Northern Lights Mentorship Program.

“This … is a way for Porter and the Northern Lights to pay it forward,” said Beverstein.

“Mentors, both male and female, can motivate and inspire women to pursue opportunities in aviation and aerospace while enhancing their own leadership and communication skills.”

Porter is sponsoring the program, with the goal of reaching young women at various stages of career development.

The first phase is “Imagining,” and it aims to connect women who are considering a career in aviation or aerospace with a professional who can offer advice.

Julie Beverstein speaks at the 2018 Northern Lights Aero Foundation gala. Andy Cline Photo

“Training” is the second phase, aimed at women who are already working in the industry or training in their field.

The third stage is “Developing,” aimed at women within the industry seeking guidance about how to advance their careers.

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“Mentors and mentees can move through these stages while progressing through their own careers,” said Beverstein.

“Porter and the Northern Lights have the task of building a unique mentorship program that anyone within the industry could benefit from.”

Along with practical career advice, the program is expected to broaden mentees’ professional networks and support them as they progress through their careers.

Organizers plan to continue building the program for the rest of 2018, with a kick-off networking event early next year.

Those who attended the 2018 NLAF gala were encouraged to sign up to become a mentor or a mentee, or both.

Beverstein noted there were airline CEOs, chief pilots, directors of operations, engineers, military pilots and air traffic controllers in the room at the time.

“We’re truly excited about the possibilities this mentorship program will bring to women all over the country,” she said.

“Next year our hope is that a participant of the program is standing here, telling you their story of how the community in this room helped pave her way in this industry.”

More information on The Northern Lights Mentorship Program can be found here.

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