Inspiring Siza Mzimela - First Black Woman To Own An Airline

12/17/2015

While it’s common to see women working check-in counters and airport lounges, it’s less likely to see one giving an interview about airline stock and strategy. That’s because women make up less than 5% of of the industry’s CEO’s worldwide, according to Skift.

Former CEO of SAA, Siza Mzimela, has proven that anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it. She's flying high now as the first black woman to own an airline.

Mzimela paid her dues working for other airlines, learned the industry and launched out on her own. She’s an inspiration of how one day the company you work for can be your company that works for you.

Siza, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, launched Fly Blue Crane in September.

The airline services cities in South Africa including Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Kimberly and Nelspruit. It has two 50-seat aircrafts and also offers affordable flights to underserved South African communities.

Not only is she running her own airline, she is also the founder and Executive Chairperson of Blue Crane Aviation, an aviation service company that specifically focuses on African airlines and that provides specialist airline consulting, aviation legal services and aircraft management services. She also serves on the South African Tourism Board and the board of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.

After the launch of the airline, Siza did an interview with CNBC Africa. We picked a few nuggets from the interview:

Here is what she had to say: 

I wanted to be in aviation because it's such a challenging industry. I mean we are kicking doors every day.

- Forget about the fact that you are going to be the first because that tends to hold people back.

- Refuse to give up. And let me assure you, it's not going to be easy.

- Don't allow anybody to tell you that it can not be done.  Just don't allow it.

- There are no limitations on how you can get things done.

- It's about identifying those opportunities or being innovative in dealing with those existing way of doing things.

- I surround myself with people who are good at executing a lot of ideas that are in my head.


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