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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Jennifer Lesher

Friday’s Fabulous Flyer


“Don’t ever let yourself believe you don’t have choices. You always have choices.”

Jennifer Lesher

What kind of person gives up a six-figure salary to follow a passion? Who would be willing to walk away from the benefits, first class tickets, insurance, and the security of a career with a company like Microsoft? Jennifer Lesher, that’s who.


Jennifer did not walk away from one job to accept another. She walked away from her career to follow her passion—aviation. She left it all behind to attend A&P (airframe and powerplant) school at South Seattle Community college, with the dream of becoming an aircraft mechanic. At 48 years young, Jennifer is a full time student embarking on a new career.

Aviation has always been a passion of Jennifer’s. She was one of those people who loved to watch air crash investigations. But while the thought of what if hung in the back of her mind, her career took off in another direction—the direction of being successful, making money, but not really loving what she was doing.

How many people are in that same situation—going through the motions of life because it pays the bills?

While she had gone to the community college to check out the program, and talked to an adviser a few times, she still toyed with the idea for years. Then two years after her visit to the school, she had an epiphany and decided to take the plunge. 

While you might be thinking Jennifer was leading with her heart following her passion, it was actually her head that logically put things into perspective.

I believe she was on a flight to Chicago when she thought about the most important thing to her—freedom. And to her, freedom equaled money. Money enabled you do whatever you wanted providing freedom. But the problem was—how free were you, if you did not enjoy what you were doing?


At this point she made her decision and, “started closing doors.” Opportunities that were in the works—she called and turned them down. She gave her notice. She put life in motion so there was no going back. Jennifer says the scariest part was,  

“That one moment you step off the cliff.” 

And while I was in awe with the courage it took for her to give up her security, she told me it was more than the money. The loss of status and identity shift was huge. She went from saying, “I work for Microsoft” to “I attend a community college.” 

There is a little more to this story. Jennifer is also the author I spoke of, first of the week. She had always dreamed of writing a book. And during her time of reflection, contemplation, and wondering what to do with her life…she wrote an amazing story, Raising John. Not a book about aviation, but one about life and our human struggles.

As Jennifer says, “Life is hard, but it’s still good.” She could not be more accurate. This is our one and only life. 

It’s never too late, until it’s too late. 
What’s holding you back? 

Follow Jennifer at her website:
Twitter @JenniferLesher
And Facebook

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene


  1. Wow, what a story! Jennifer, major applause for following your passion. Congratulations on this new adventures, and on the book!

    1. Julie, Thank you so much for your comment. I agree..such a story!

    2. Thanks Julie!

  2. Love this as well. So impressive that she is so courageous. Only people of integrity are will to leave the comfort of safety to take a chance on themselves.

    In something like this there is never a failure. There is only id didn't go as well as planned. Failure would be not taking the chance.

    I salute you Jennifer.

    1. Rob, isn't that the truth. I just wrote a chapter on Failure today... and for me, that's the ultimate failure to get to the end of my life and say "I wish I would have."

      With determination like this, there is nothing she can't do! Thanks so much for your comment!

    2. Rob, thank you for your kind words (and sorry for the late reply). I'm really excited about what's to come - it will be an adventure no matter what :)

  3. The world of aviation is enriched with people like this. What an inspiration! Jennifer, I wish you the very best for your new career.

    Pete Wilson

    1. Pete, Thank you for so much for the comment. We're all wishing her the best for sure.

    2. Thank you Pete!

    3. Thank you Pete - you are very kind :)

  4. Thanks for the post, very inspiring. I to am on the cusp of making such a decision. I have a very high paying job in Private Equity (golden handcuffs) that I am contemplating walking away from to pursue my life long dream of becoming a professional pilot. Currently have my private (170 hours) and working on instrument, however, work leaves very little time to fully pursue on the side as a hobby or tryout as a career. I am 33 with wife, family, mortgage, etc. - its my fear of being able to provide for them that keeps me from fully committing or better said, "stepping off the cliff".

    1. Wow... you have a big decision ahead of you for sure. When you have a family depending on you there is much more of a complication. Unless your wife works too. But this is a huge decision for sure. Good luck on this very huge life challenge.

    2. I wish you all the best in making this decision. I hope you can find a way to do it.


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