Meridian pilot Joanna Brinkerhoff went back to school recently, but not to renew her pilot’s license. She went to Clara E. Coleman elementary school in Glen Rock, NJ, to speak to a local Girl Scout troop about her career in aviation and the opportunities available today for women. Joanna is a charter pilot for Meridian Air Charter based in Teterboro, NJ, and she flies business jets for a living. Captain Brinkerhoff wanted to ‘give back’ because she was once a Girl Scout herself, and this was a great opportunity for her to share her professional experiences with the Girl Scouts of today.
Among the scouts was Hanna Liliebladh, daughter of Lisa Liliebladh, a charter sales representative at Meridian for over 19 years. Lisa was very excited for her daughter and the other Girl Scouts because they would get to learn firsthand about her chosen career path in aviation directly from a female pilot and fellow colleague. “Joanna was great. She arrived in uniform and talked to the girls about how to become a pilot, and then she spoke about her experience as a woman pilot. She told the story of how she first became interested in aviation at a young age when her father’s friend flew them in his small piston airplane. At that point, she knew immediately that she wanted to become a pilot. Joanna did some show-and-tell as well, bringing her headset, plotting charts, pilot’s license and aviation maps. As a bonus, she even brought her old Girl Scouts uniform, and her mother’s uniform too!”
Assisting her was her husband, Sean Falzarano, who is also a pilot. Sean is a commercial pilot flying for Express Jet Airlines. After the aviators gave their presentation to the Girl Scouts, the children of Daisy’s Troop 96867 wrote letters and drew pictures to show their appreciation.