Celebrating Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week!
It’s Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week and Lioness is celebrating by highlighting a woman making waves in aviation. The week is dedicated to a global outreach initiative that takes place annually during the week of March 8, the anniversary date of the world’s first female pilot license since 1910 and International Women’s Day since 1914.
The week is designed to raise awareness of aviation opportunities available to girls of all ages while celebrating the accomplishments of past and present women of aviation. Today we’re celebrating Benét J. Wilson, owner and editor-in-chief of Aviation Queen LLC, headquartered in Baltimore, Md.
Lioness: How long have you been in business?
Wilson: I’ve been a journalist for 32 years. I’ve been an aviation journalist for 25 years.
Lioness: Why have you chosen to dedicate yourself to this particular industry?
Wilson: I took my first flight when I was six years old. It was during a time when flying was still for the wealthy. My dad was an Air Force officer and we were moving to England. As we were boarding the flight, the pilot let me go into the cockpit and I was hooked. He told me that I could be a pilot when I grew up and that stuck with me. I became an aviation geek and student of the industry. Aviation is a fascinating business and there’s always something to write about.
Lioness: What makes business unique?
Wilson: First, the name Aviation Queen was given to me by the industry, so I made it my brand. I’m a black woman (and one of a handful of journalists of color) covering aviation exclusively in an industry that is still white male dominated. I’ve worked for publications along with two airlines, an aircraft engine manufacturer and two aviation nonprofit associations. I have a network that few people can match. I also have an expertise that people are willing to pay for.
Lioness: You could have worked for anyone and would have been successful, why become an entrepreneur?
Wilson: I did work for the best aviation trade publications and was successful. But journalism is changing and I was laid off. I was able to land, but I got to a point where I decided I could do just as well – and maybe even better – working for myself. I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur, but here I am. It would have to be an extremely tempting company to get me to leave the joys and challenges of entrepreneurship.
Lioness: What was your last, “why did I go into business for myself” moment?
Wilson: Almost every day! There are times when I wonder whether I did the right thing. But then opportunities keep coming, so I keep it moving.
Lioness: Every female professional should have ________.
Wilson: Mentors who keep it real with you and a strong network. Both will keep you sane and keep the business coming in.
Lioness: If you could steal some business mojo from another mogul, who would it be and why?
Wilson: Frankly, I’d steal it from Lioness founder Natasha Clark. She created this magazine offering hope and solid advice for women entreprenuers. She built it from scratch and has hustled to make it – and keep it – successful.
Lioness: What is your business motto?
Wilson: If you can’t get a seat at the table, bring your own folding chair. – Rep. Shirley Chisholm.
Lioness: If you could give other entrepreneurs three tips, what would they be?
Wilson: One, pay for a good accountant. Two, barter with other entrepreneurs for skills. Three, have an emergency fund for tight times.
Lioness: Has there been a piece of technology or software that has been a lifesaver to you?
Wilson: My iPhone/iPad. I can do everything I need for my company with these items and great apps.
Lioness: What is your goal for the next year?
Wilson: Build up the content marketing side of my writing business. I love journalism, but that industry is still working on rebuilding a sustainable profit model. Working with brands allows me to continue to tell my stories, but at a much better rate of pay.
Lioness: When someone is telling their friend about your business, what do you hope they say?
Wilson: I hope they say that I’m a great storyteller who is respected in the aviation industry.