Growing up in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Tarah Ernest wanted to become a psychiatrist. “I was fully convinced that my family was crazy and that perhaps that would be the best way I could help them,” Tarah shared. During her senior year, however, it wasn’t until Tarah was at a local fair of all places, that she realized her dream of becoming a pilot.
“I got on a hang gliding ride and instantly fell for the sensation of flight. I became so enamored with how liberating and empowering defying gravity felt– becoming a pilot seemed like the only logical decision.” And that she did. Tarah celebrated her two-year anniversary with Republic this June, and it isn’t lost on Tarah how her journey could have looked much different.
“I almost never became a pilot not because I didn’t like flying but because I never knew I could become one.”
“Knowing how much I love my career now, it saddens me to think that it almost didn’t happen simply because I had never been exposed to it,” she shares, “I almost never became a pilot not because I didn’t like flying but because I never knew I could become one. I had never met or even seen any pilots that look like me, so aviation was never something I considered.”
Tarah’s journey sparked a passion to promote diversity in aviation by representing underrepresented groups in the industry. Volunteering with groups whose missions are to promote and diversify aviation such as Sisters of the Skies, Organization of Black Aerospace Professional, Women in Aviation and Fly For the Culture, Tarah takes any chance she can get to be a role model for aspiring aviators. “I’ve learned that the biggest tool in changing the paradigm of the industry is representation…any chance I get to talk to young women about my story, I do.”
“When you’re able to see yourself in a position, it becomes less of a far-fetched idea and more of an attainable dream.”