We spoke with airline pilot Maria Pettersson to hear more about her bold journey and her path to flying big, commercial planes. A Swedish native currently residing in London, Maria is never in the same place for too long. Her job has given her the opportunity to travel the world, all while flying the flag for female empowerment in the aviation industry. She launched her blog, @pilotmaria, in 2016 to share her adventures with family and friends. She now has a passionate global audience who wants to follow her world of aviation, travel, and motherhood. Here, she tells us what being bold means to her and how Birdies make her feel bright, bold, and confident.
1. What is your definition of bold and how do you incorporate this into your day-to-day?
My definition of bold is confidence. In my everyday job as an airline pilot, I must have confidence in myself to fly big jets carrying hundreds of passengers on board.
2. What’s a bold move you’ve made in your life?
Deciding to become an airline pilot. It is an expensive and tough investment. I put my everything into reaching my goal to be able to one day fly the big jets around the world.
3. Who or what inspires you to be bold?
Strong Women. I think nowadays, with the media and especially social media, I have the opportunity to follow so many strong women. Strong women that show boldness, willingness to take risks, women who set an example that gender is never a limit. I look up to so many of them and it motivates me to inspire others.
4. What advice would you give future generations of women to live boldly and with purpose?
I would tell them not to let gender limit them because of stereotypes. Only five percent of all airline pilots are women, yet, there is nothing in flying an airplane that makes it easier to do so because you’re a man and nothing in flying an airplane that makes it more difficult to do so only because you’re a woman.
5. How do Birdies make you feel bright, bold, and confident?
The comfort and the posture that I experience when wearing my Birdies speaks to boldness—a straight, upright back and my head held high. Our feet are the first things to touch the ground, carrying the load of our bodies, and I definitely feel that my Birdies help me walk with confidence. (In these photos, Maria is wearing The Heron in black suede.)
Maria is part of our Bold Women series, featuring and celebrating women who embody what it means to be bold inside and out. In this series, they share their stories of success and how Birdies help them soar.