Behind the wings: Gráinne O'Keeffe, First Officer

Meet #DreamTeam member Gráinne O'Keeffe, First Officer

Aviator since she was 17, first officer at GlobeAir since 2018.

Our #DreamTeam is made of the people who work with us. To celebrate the importance of our team members, we are releasing a series of profiles for you to get to know the people of GlobeAir. Coinciding with Women's Day 2020, we are presenting Gráinne O'Keeffe, one of our bright first officers.

Dream team

When did your passion for aviation begin?

A passion discovered very early in life.

I did a lot of travelling with my family as a child, going on month long holidays every 4/5 years to destinations like Peru, Thailand and Borneo. This definitely sparked my love for exploring and experiencing different cultures.

"As for aviation, this is something I only started to get interested in when I was about 17... and once I started I knew it was for me."

I started my training first in Florida, but after a few months, the school went bankrupt. After that, I completed all of my training and licenses in Weston in Ireland, which gave me a much better appreciation for flying in bad weather!

What’s your current role at GlobeAir?

Tell us about your experience as a #DreamTeam member.

I’ve been here 2 years now. There’s many things I like about Globeair, the destinations, interaction with the passengers and the the unpredictability of the our kind of operations. Flying into major airports as well as small, VFR airfields in the alps.

Dream team group picture

The job is never boring so there’s no fear of listlessness! And of course, the team. I have an amazing bunch of colleagues who make the job extremely gratifying.

What’s your future aspiration in aviation?

To progress in my career, become a captain and continue learning, experiencing and developing professionally.

What does the expression "Women in aviation" mean to you?

What does it mean to be a female pilot?

It’s not something I think about very often. I grew up with only brothers and a lot of male friends so I have always been comfortable being one of the few females (although it is always a delight when I get to fly with another female!) As for my training, I was never treated any better or worse so I never felt neglected or scrutinised in any way. Lucky me!

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Grainne free time
Grainne free time 2

My mother is a huge role model to me. As an intelligent, resilient woman, she taught me to be strong, considerate and capable. She always encouraged me to work hard, strive in life and ensured that I always had the same opportunities and advantages as my brothers.. if not more! So with a mother like that, I was shaped to never see myself as a ‘female pilot’, just a pilot!

What does the expression "Women in aviation" mean to you?

When I think about "Women in aviation", I think about excellence. Everybody knows that women can be very detailed so, of course, the female point of view is precious and a good chance for aviation to grow. We need more and more women with the dream and passion for this profession.

I work in a team of men. I collaborate with three office colleagues and five technicians, and I am the only woman, let alone being in constant contact with pilots – who are mostly male. The fact that I am a woman has never affected the way people look at me or judge the job that I do.

How did you experience living during the COVID-19 lockdown, and how did it make you grow professionally?

If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught me, it is greater flexibility. I used to use zero social media in my daily life, and then, all of a sudden, I was isolated! I felt forced to change to be in contact with the people I love and to be able to work well. Being at home during spring made me realise that working from home made no difference to my productivity because I had learnt how to work remotely.

GlobeAir is international, what do you like and what can you learn from it?

I like working at GlobeAir because, even though I left my family and friends in Italy, here I found a new family. We are very international, and all the different cultures are melting well together thanks to our shared love for aviation and performance.

The future of aviation is ….?

Paperless and focussed on digitalisation. I believe in adapting the way we work to the new technologies. There is so much to do when it comes to being greener, and this includes the use of technology to waste less paper. All maintenance documents should be digitised soon. We believe that digital twin maintenance will be the future for aviation too.

Gráinne's Bio

Gráinne is Irish and has joined Globeair in 2018. She studied for her pilot training in the Ireland and obtained her licence in 2015. During her free time, she loves music, travelling, baking, spending time with friends in London and going home to Ireland to visit her family and her niece. Gráinne has been living in London since 2018.

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