Did you know that as of 2017 only 7.01% of pilots were women? With such a minimum number of women within the airline industry, AeroStar is a shining exception.
Since 2015, the CEO of AeroStar has been a woman: Deidra Toye. Under her leadership, AeroStar has gained recognition as one of the finest aviation-training providers in the world, by serving the needs of individuals as well as flight schools, colleges/universities, government agencies, and airlines across the globe.
In addition to her success in the flight training industry, she is Owner and Chief Operating Officer of Spectrum Aero Maintenance Services, also located in Kissimmee, FL (KISM). Deidra is not only AeroStar’s CEO, she is also mentoring her former mentor.
Around 12 years ago, Deidra worked at American Flyers as a Customer Service Rep with Jason Gledhill. Gledhill went above and beyond his boss duties to help mentor Deidra about the aviation industry. When looking back on those days Deidra stated “I was super excited about aviation, and with that excitement, I wanted to learn all I could. Jason never stopped teaching me along the way.” With Gledhill’s invaluable advice, Toye was able accelerate her success advancing within the industry to own and operate a both leading aviation training and an aircraft maintenance organization.
In a twist of fate, Deidra is now mentoring Jason by offering him an A320 Type Rating course through AeroStar, which he has now successfully completed. In response to her transforming from the mentee to the mentor, she said “To me, what’s satisfying, and I think Dave (Santo) would say the same, with us at AeroStar where we’re training so many pilots every day, all the time, as we travel across the world and we’re going to trade shows, and we’ll look up in the cockpit as board an airplane and there have been so many times where we’ve been like, hey, we know you; you graduated from AeroStar!” “it’s an amazing experience”. In addition, Toye spoke on the basics of her mentoring relationships. “It takes dedication on both sides. There have been times where “I’ll see a diamond in the rough, and be like, you know what, this person has so much potential, so much raw talent. And I’m just drawn to want to mentor them. But if they’re not a hundred percent into it and they’re not dedicated to it, at the end of the day, no matter how great they could be, if they’re not wanting to apply themselves to do it and they don’t have that passion for it, it’s not going to work out in the long run”.
At AeroStar Deidra has been able to utilize her mentoring expertize to help organize her team into becoming the best mentors for their students. In speaking of what she has learned from her mentor Toye stated “(Gledhill would) show me the fun side of aviation. How he mentors other people and how it’s important to mentor people throughout your aviation career. And from there I just really took it to heart and I adapted and adopted that mentality. And now I am delivering the same kind of message to my team and customers here at AeroStar.” Operating and growing two amazing companies, Deidra is becoming a prominent role model for Women in Aviation.
If you’re at Aerostar’s Kissimmee campus, you may find yourself in a casual conversation Deidra Wilson, having a great conversation about ATP CTP certification, type ratings, mentorship and pilot careers.