Haley Myers – From flight school to a career in aviation safety

During Women’s History Month, we will be talking with a few of our female Associates to discuss their journeys to aviation and the work they are currently doing.

This week we talked with Manager of Safety & Regulatory Compliance – Haley Myers. Learn more about Haley’s journey to her role at Republic, her trailblazing mother who is her role model and advice for other women interested in a career in aviation.

What is your current position and how long have you been with Republic?

Haley Myers: I am the Manager of Safety & Regulatory Compliance and I’ve been with Republic for six years.

What (if any) other positions have you held that led you on your path to your current role?

Haley: I started at Republic as a Safety Evaluator working for the Manager of Safety & Regulatory Compliance. Part of my role as a Safety Evaluator was to help manage Republic’s Fatigue Risk Management Program. After helping develop Republic’s fatigue programs, I was able to move into the role of Fatigue Program Manager. About a year after I took that position, the Manager of Safety & Regulatory Compliance position became available and I thought it would be a fun and exciting new challenge, allowing me to help shape Republic’s safety culture, so I applied and got the role.

Describe your current position at Republic.  What are your responsibilities and what does a typical day look like?

Haley: Together, my team and I manage Republic’s Internal Evaluation Program and Safety Management System (SMS). Each quarter, we complete internal evaluations of our operational departments, where we ensure each area is in line with both Federal Regulation and Republic’s internal processes and procedures. Our goal is to find areas of improvement across the organization to help make our airline as safe as possible. We also help run the SMS by facilitating risk assessments and implementing continuous improvement initiatives, that allow SMS to be more approachable and easier for our associates to use and understand.

We’ve recently implemented a new safety reporting tool that can be used for a lot of different safety functions. I’ve been assisting different departments in developing process and procedures that work for them in the new system. As a manager, I also work a lot with my team members to make sure our internal evaluations are going to plan and help them navigate any roadblocks they run into. We’re always working to improve the effectiveness of those evaluations so we also spend a lot of time together brainstorming better ways to do that.

Aviation has historically been an industry with a mainly male workforce. What inspired you to begin your aviation journey?

Haley: I didn’t grow up around aviation, but my first ever flight was a scenic tour of Lake Placid in a Cessna.  My dad let me sit up front in the right seat. It was the first time I had seen the world from that perspective, and for it to be in upstate New York was icing on the cake. That experience inspired me to seek out collegiate aviation programs and I eventually become a pilot at Purdue University. I never felt any hesitation about aviation being a male dominated industry because I had my mom to look up to. She followed her dreams and became a firefighter at the age of 40 after the local volunteer fire department turned her away because she was a woman. She didn’t let anyone stand in her way and broke down barriers for women in one of the largest cities in Connecticut, including becoming the first female firefighter in the city to be on the search and rescue squad. My mom led by example and accomplished some remarkable things along the way. I knew I could do anything I set my mind to because of her.

What have your experiences as Safety Manager at Republic been like? How is it different now vs. when you started?

Haley: When I started working at Republic in 2015, I was fresh out of college and had recently lost my medical certificate, meaning I couldn’t fly airplanes anymore. I didn’t know what my career goals were anymore because I had been working the last four years to build hours and join an airline like Republic as a First Officer. One thing I did know was that I was very passionate about aviation safety from my time as a flight instructor. After starting at Republic as a Safety Evaluator, I found a community of people with the same passion for safety. I learned so much about safety and was lucky enough to be surrounded by people that took the time to mentor me, allowed me to bring ideas to the table and who trusted me to implement them. That support structure paved the way for me to achieve a management position and later, a position leading other people. Now, I am able to support my team and help set them up for success in their careers by empowering them to develop continuous improvement initiatives within safety.

What about your job at Republic makes you feel fulfilled?

Haley: My team. Being on a team who cares about what they do, helps each other succeed and also makes time to have fun together, makes the hard work worthwhile and enjoyable.

What are you most proud of in your career at Republic so far? What are you looking forward to?

Haley: I think I’m most proud of the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) we completed in July of 2020. This is a 900+ page audit Republic is required to be in conformance with to be on the IOSA Registry. For reference, airlines on the IOSA registry had an accident rate nearly three times better than that of non-IOSA airlines in 2020.

My team and I are responsible for completing the audit and working with the operational departments prior to an auditing organization coming in to complete the audit and officially renew our place on the registry. Not only was this the first time I was completing IOSA as Manager of Safety & Regulatory Compliance, but my team and I were completing it during a pandemic. This is a huge undertaking. The whole safety department came together to help us complete it. After it was complete, we even received compliments from the auditing organization for being so prepared. I was so proud of myself for leading our organization through the audit and even more proud of my team members and our operational groups who put in so much work to make it happen.

What advice would you give to young women interested in pursuing any career in aviation?

Haley: Don’t listen to the people who tell you that you can’t. Surrounding yourself with people who support you and empower you to achieve your goals is the key to accomplishing them.

 

Haley Myers (left) and Rachel Borsa competed in the Women’s Air Race Classic in the summer of 2014.