Three women who inspire share stories about their paths to success, and discuss the common struggles women often have to face.
Our panelists included Allison Tenney, Maghogany Villars, and Erin Benzekein.Kenmore Air Mechanic, Jenn McBeth
Her office -- a hangar in Tukwila.
"My name is Jenn McBeth, and I am an A&P mechanic at Kenmore Air."
Her job -- keeping planes in the air.
"I love it."
Jenn McBeth flew an airplane before she drove a car, thanks to some aviation pioneers.
"Got my pilot’s license in high school, got introduced to flying through the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the first African-American military fighter pilots.”
Flying led her to a fascination with the mechanics of getting airborne.
'"And I do have the aviation bug, I love those airplanes specifically, and I love that what I work on can fly."
She's been at Kenmore Air for one-and-a-half years. When this 26-year-old’s head isn't in the clouds, it's in a pontoon.
"This used to be all disgusting in here, but I cleaned it up,” she commented as she inspected the inside of one of the floats.
"Sometimes we go up to Lake Washington to help out -- I find a lot of spiders there -- which is not okay!” she laughed.
She's encountered worse things than spiders doing this job.
"I've been in situations where I haven't had an ally, or um, being a woman in this field for whatever reason is either offensive or uncomfortable to people."
She quickly adds that's not the case at Kenmore.
"I'm just another employee, in the best of ways.”
Kenmore's maintenance manager, Ira Woyar, just wishes there were more of her, "She's got a fabulous attitude, a hard worker, good attention to detail, shows up at her job every day, does it well. I couldn't ask for anything better. She's sharp."
Per Payscale.com the average pay for an airplane mechanic is 55 thousand dollars a year -- job satisfaction rating is very high -- and there are few women doing it.
This mechanic shared a secret -- she wasn't born with these skills.
"What I've done in aviation, it's all learned, I'm not a natural mechanic wiz,” Jenn said. “I think especially for women you can find the trap of thinking 'I'm not naturally mechanical, so that whole field of the entire world is closed off to me."
Ira Woyar adds: “The skies the limit at this point. She could be director of operations for an air carrier in short period of time. Usually, there are a lot of opportunities for mechanics.”
For now, Jenn McBeth is excited about the future she's building at Kenmore Air, and she says she already is doing exactly what she wants to be doing, "Work on planes fly them and just keep doing that more and better!”