Meet Stacey Jackson, a 2005 Sault College graduate who embarked on a 20-year career in aviation. From her early days in the Aviation Flight - Technology program, Stacey's journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. She’s flown a wide array of aircraft globally, from gliders in mountainous terrains to a Dash 7 for medevac missions with the UN to commercial airliners. Today, she soars as an airline pilot for WestJet, flying a Boeing 737 across North America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Stacey's also a dedicated human factors instructor and the founder of her own consulting firm, HF Aviation Solutions.
Married and a mother of three, Stacey hails from Mississauga and is a lifelong learner. Currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Aerospace, her research focuses on human factors in aviation. Despite her ongoing education, Stacey firmly believes that her solid foundation at Sault College laid the groundwork for her professional achievements. She's most proud of her accomplishments here where she faced the biggest challenges, worked her hardest, learned humility, grace - and most importantly, never quit, all preparing her for the demanding field of aviation. Stacey described the program as intense but rewarding, and that it allowed her to stand out in the industry.
Stacey first became interested in flying when her friend convinced her to join the Royal Canadian Air Cadets as a teenager. It was during a glider activity in the fall, with leaves changing colours and crisp, clear air all around her, she remembers thinking 'I have to find a way to do this for the rest of my life'. When it came time to choose a postsecondary school, Sault College stood out as the perfect choice. It offered the program she desired and the credentials she wanted within her desired timeframe. Moving away from southern Ontario was also part of the plan, and her journey in Sault Ste. Marie allowed her to truly embrace her independence, an experience she cherishes.
Words of Advice
Stacey has some valuable advice for current and future Sault College students. She emphasizes that the Sault College name carries weight in the aviation industry and encourages graduates to set an example for those who will follow in their footsteps. To be a leader in your field, Stacey highly recommends choosing Sault College.
As you live a great life with a career in aviation, Stacey urges you not to become obsessed with the next stage, step, promotion, or airplane. Enjoy your current phase of life. She reminds us that life is constantly changing and we should remember to savour the present moment. And, if you find yourself in a phase that isn't so easy, remind yourself that nothing is permanent. Lean on your network. Ride it out. Make some changes.
Her secret to success is leaning on your support network during challenging times, whether it's family, friends, professors, or mentors. Stacey attributes much of her success to the unwavering support she received, and encourages mentorship and outreach at all levels of aviation. She has experienced some devastating losses, both personally and professionally, and without her support network, she knows the outcomes would have been so different. With aviation being such a dynamic industry, she says you never really stop learning, so she's a strong advocate for mentorship and outreach for all levels of aviation.
Stacey still encourages seeking out challenges through different career paths and adventures for professional and personal development and growth. But remember to relish the moments when they're really great.
Achievements Worth Celebrating
Stacey became fascinated with human factors issues since her time at Sault College. Her passion for safety in aviation led her to teach aircraft accident investigation to investigators with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and human factors in postsecondary institutions. Stacey went on to also establish her own educational consulting firm, HF Aviation Solutions, which provides human factors training and consults for companies conducting evaluations.
Her passion, love of the industry and advocacy for mentorship doesn't stop there. Stacey is president of the Upper Canada Chapter for Women in Aviation International (WAI) and is the Canadian representative for the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations (IFALPA) Female Pilots Working Group. She's also a member and instructor for ALPA's Accident investigation Board, the flight-time/duty coordinator for ALPA Canada, and a member of ALPA's President's Committee for Diversity and Inclusion.
Stacey's accomplishments and dedication to the aviation and aerospace industry have not gone unnoticed. In 2020, she received the Elsie Flight Operations Award from the Northern Lights Aero Foundations, recognizing Canadian women who have made outstanding contributions to aviation and aerospace. Nominated by Sault College, Stacey was chosen as the recipient of the 2021 Premier's Award in the technology category, honouring the social and economic contributions of Ontario College graduates.