In Celebration of Women’s Month

04 Sep 2015

Starlite’s equal opportunity policy has given rise to a generation of professional and successful women, in their chosen field within aviation.

Starlite has, since its inception been a company that advocates equal opportunities for all its employees. In a largely male dominated business sector, the Company encourages women to excel and claim their place in the dynamic business of aviation.

Starlite’s International Aviation Training Academy, the highly acclaimed professional helicopter and fixed wing pilot training school, is headed up by Kate Odendaal. Kate’s pedigree is impressive. After graduating in Bio Chemistry, Kate followed her passion for aviation and in 2008 rose in the ranks to become Starlite’s Director of Training and CFI. She has won numerous woman’s awards, the most notable, the 2013 South Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government awards in the General Services sector and more recently, the 2014 Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government award, in the Aviation sector. She is on the Board of SAIWA and is dedicated to promoting the emergence of women in aviation. 

Starlite’s Director of Aero Sales, Klara Fouche too, has made her mark in the aviation industry. She is responsible for the sale of both new and used aircraft for the Group. Aero Sales is a registered dealer and service centre for the Robinson Helicopter Company, Guimbal Helicopters, Elite Simulators and represents Airbus, Augusta and MD Helicopters. Klara’s working career began in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1989, where she held a position in the accounting and human resources business sector. It was here that she displayed her flair for business. Klara joined Starlite Aviation Group in 1999 and held the position of Training Coordinator, Test Centre Supervisor and Sales Administrator. She rose to the position of Administration Manager for both Starlite Aero Sales and Starlite Africa Aviation. 

In 2012, Klara was promoted to Director of Aero Sales. Since 2004, she has sold in excess of 107 Robinson, 11 Guimbal Cabri G2, 2 Airbus and 2 MD helicopters. Klara is recognised and respected in the Aviation industry, as a highly successful business woman, owing to her knowledge of aircraft, professional business acumen, high volumes of aircraft sales and the outstanding after sales customer service that she provides.

Starlite’s Director of Strategic Programs and Business Administration, Claire Walsh, based at the Group Head Office in Dublin, Ireland, has made her mark in the aviation industry. She has a Bachelor degree in Economics and Political Science and went on to graduate with honours in her MBA from UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business, where she was placed in the top 5 candidates.

Starlite has in the past 5 years achieved a number of firsts. Last year, the Company’s International Aviation Training Academy trained their first ever Kenyan female helicopter pilot, Nismat Mutua. Alice Kerubo from the Kenya Airforce as well as Jacinta Emanikor, Loise Muraya, Caroline Kibuchi and Ruth Rotiken from Kenya Police are currently in training.
Starlite celebrated a further first, when Samantha Dunbar, trained by mother Kate Odendaal, recently went solo. Starlite employs two of SA’s top female pilots. Laura ILunga and Skye Ralls both accomplished commercial pilots, trained by Starlite, fly the Company’s ‘big birds of the sky’the Puma aircraft. Laura has further accolades to her name, having achieved a place in the finals of the 2013 South Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business Woman and Government awards. She went on to win a Whirly Girl Training bursary, at a gala evening hosted in Anaheim in the US in 2014. It is true to say that for women today…’the sky is not the limit…’. They continue to make their mark and bring a new fresh look to the Aviation Industry.