Filipina Chezka Raumae Gonzales-Garrido, 30, is a registered nurse and mother of two. She’s also a commercial airline pilot and living proof that women can do pretty much anything they put their mind to.
Chezka began her vocational career as a nurse before becoming a flight attendant but dreamed of one day graduating to the cockpit to pilot an Airbus A-320. Today, she pilots for AirAsia, and her tales from the skies are inspiring women the world over.
Chezka initially earned a Bachelors degree in nursing from Far Eastern University in the city of Manila in the Philippines. She served as a flight attendant for AirAsia for seven years before pursuing her ultimate dream: to pilot the aircraft.
The ambitious young mom earned her private pilot’s license in 2015. “It was not easy juggling school, work, and motherhood to get this license,” she posted on Instagram. “Thank you Lord for this wonderful blessing! Step 1: Private pilot license, done!”
This is the closest i can get to the beach because of my busy schedule and commitments. Who else here needs a vacation? Happy Independence day, Philippines!
Two years later, Chezka had truly achieved her dream. “I am literally crying with tears of joy now!” she posted. “After all the sleepless nights, all the sacrifices, I passed my Airbus rating. Best feeling ever! Thank you Lord!”
Since qualifying as a commercial airline pilot, Chezka has devoted a huge amount of her free time to advocacy, regularly taking part in events, commercials, and conferences on the topics of inspiring people to reach for their dreams and women empowerment.
I will never get tired of this view. My office at 36,000 feet.IG: filipinapilotchezkaYoutube: Filipina Pilot…
In March of 2018, Chezka took part in a San Mig Light sponsored round table series for Women’s Month using the hashtag #PhilippinasCAN, with four other trailblazing professional women, as per CNN Philippines. The group discussed female advocacy and shared their advice for other women in front of a live audience.
Chezka is also vocal on her online platforms, calling herself a “Women Empowerment Advocate” on Instagram and regularly posting motivational captions and inspiring pictures of life above the clouds.
The young pilot even has a brand-new YouTube channel dedicated to sharing her life at 30,000 feet and inspiring others to feel empowered.
On April 4, 2019, Chezka posted a selfie to Facebook that perfectly exemplified her pilot’s pride. “Three bars on my shoulders,” she wrote, “pershing cap on my head, and wings on my chest. These accessories that I wear entail a lot of responsibilities.”
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Chezka (@filipinapilotchezka) on Feb 6, 2019 at 3:26pm PST
“But I am more than grateful for all the accessories that I am wearing right now,” Chezka continued, “because they are symbols of all my hard work and sacrifices.”
Just six days later, Chezka posted a “now and then” photo comparison on Facebook to celebrate how far she’s come. “Picture on the left was taken 6 years ago when I asked the co-pilot if I could sit on his chair, borrow his cap and take a picture,” Chezka wrote.
Picture on the left was taken 6 years ago when I asked the co-pilot if I could sit on his chair, borrow his cap and take…
“Six years later it’s the same chair,” she continued, “but the cap is now mine, no need to ask permission to sit, and I can now take unlimited photos. Do you think it’s time someone borrows my cap?”
Perhaps Chezka’s wish to pay it forward will soon be coming true; according to Good News Pilipinas, as of summer 2019, AirAsia Philippines is giving aspiring Filipino pilots a chance to study for free. The AirAsia Cadet Pilot Program will award up to two years of technical and leadership training to successful cadets.
Speaking to Caravan Nation, Chezka offered some advice for other aspiring pilots, “Strike whilst the iron is hot. Let your passion roar like the engines of an airplane.
“Turn your energy into productivity and the reward would be all worth it. I’m telling you, it only gets better and the learning process is fun, so do not falter; keep your head up and keep inspired!”