Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Amelia Rose Earhart, Professional Speaker, Host & Artist
How could you describe your career path in few words?
My career path can only be described as a series of ups and downs, and by that I mean literal ups and downs. My first “real” job in my early 20s was as a helicopter reporter for NewsRadio 850KOA in Denver, CO where I reported on breaking news, wildfires, traffic updates, and anything that could be seen from above. Around the same time, I had begun taking flight lessons to obtain my pilot’s license, so between my career and my new passion, I was spending multiple hours in the air, every single day.
My radio job led to a television position of the same role, where I became a member of the 9News Morning show on KUSA-TV in Denver, Colorado. Being on air allowed me to develop strong communication skills, which helps me immensely today, as a full-time professional speaker for companies like Apple Computers, Boeing, Microsoft, American Express and dozens of others. The beautiful through line of my entire career has been a connection to aviation. In 2014, after years of training and planning, I completed a flight around the world in a single engine airplane, in honor of the American hero I was named after, Amelia Earhart.
What was your most challenging experience, and it has changed your mindset?
The most challenging experience I’ve endured surrounds my name, Amelia Rose Earhart. For the first 30 years of my life, I believed I was related to the original Amelia Earhart, which added a lot of inspiration to my life, believing I shared a distant common connection to her. When I learned that I wasn’t related to her, in a very public and surprising way, I had already planned and fundraised for my upcoming 28,000 nautical mile flight around the world, borrowed a $4.5 million dollar aircraft, and obtained multiple sponsors of my trip. When I learned this new information and found out I shared no common connection, I had to reframe my entire journey.
Critics told me to cancel my flight, stating that I didn’t deserve to recreate her 1937 journey and accused me of trying to latch on to her name for notoriety. Rather than listen to the critics, I decided to take a new perspective, rather than worry about being related to Amelia, I instead, relate to her, as a woman who simply wanted to attempt something great. I’m thrilled to share that I did complete my flight, as Amelia Rose Earhart, in honor of Amelia Mary Earhart.
When you get surprised by unusual or uncertain context, what do you think?
When a surprise comes my way, I now think of it as “turbulence”. In flight, turbulence is a disturbance to smooth air, but most of the time, it is something we can absolutely endure- uncomfortable but not impossible. I believe that the only plane that never experiences turbulence is the one that stays locked up in the hangar, but that’s not what planes were built for… they were built to take flight, and so are we. When we choose to actively work toward our biggest goals and take risk to make our dreams possible, we open ourselves up to life’s challenges, but when we remember that we always have the opportunity to course correct and alter our course, we can stay flexible and adjust to the environment that surrounds us.
Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader / manager?
I believe a key success factor for all leaders is to show up as pilot in command of our own journey each and every day. Even if we aren’t in charge of every project, we are responsible for how we show up each day- we owe it to ourselves and our teams to show up prepared, educated, aware of the “airspace” in which we are operating, and ready to engage with our “flight crew”, the team members who are also attempting to reach the same destination. Personal responsibility and a sense of pride in how we participate is at the heart of showing up as pilot in command. I’ve found that when I enact this practice in my own life, it builds trust, morale and overall success in reaching our goals.
Life is a lot more fun, both professionally and personally, when we learn to love life’s turbulence. When we anticipate, plan for and grow comfortable with life’s shifts and turns and bumps, our confidence builds. Now that I’ve gone through all kinds of turbulence, and even flown that single engine airplane around the world, I feel like I can handle pretty much anything that comes my way. My flight path may not always be a straight line, but the winding path I navigate along will be defined by how I choose to react to what’s going on around me, with a sense of agility and flexibility as new information comes my way.