Aviation for Women

MAY-JUN 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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M A Y / J U N E 2 0 1 8 AviationforWomen 17 I t's often asserted that you can learn a lot about someone once you have a better understanding of that person's upbring- ing. And there's no stronger illustration of this point than the story of Tahirah Lamont Brown, WAI 9089. Growing up in Brooklyn, via Flatbush, the FedEx Airbus captain of nearly 16 years will be the first to tell you that while she and her five siblings grew up in an extremely disciplined household, it paid dividends in a va- riety of ways. "My father started out as a correctional officer and worked his way through the ranks to become warden at Rikers Island," Tahi- rah says. "Then he became chief—he was one of the people in the white shirts." Suffice it to say, Wayne Lamont's management style carried over into the home, and as Tahirah will assert, he was not looking to win any popularity contest. Instead, he was intent on raising suc- cessful children, who looked out for one another. "My father basically said, 'You may not like me, but you're going to love your brothers and sisters," Tahirah says. "And he was right. We butt heads often, but, man, my siblings and I…we were close." As the second eldest of the Lamont children, Tahirah readily ad- mits she's truly her father's daughter—driven to succeed, with a heavy dose of "rebel spirit" inside of her. Interestingly, the compar- ison doesn't stop there. "I've always been a focused person and a very caring person, and if I've ever felt that something was unjust, I try to change it and am still doing it today just like my father did throughout his ca- reer in the correctional field," she says. "In a lot of arenas, that made me a rebel, but I just can't stand by and see things, people being mistreated." While Wayne Sr. may have been the overriding influence during Tahirah's childhood, she is quick to add that her mother, Emma, also provided the kind of enduring support that words simply can't begin to capture. "No, Emma didn't stay home to raise the kids, she was out there making a difference as well," Tahirah says. "My mother worked 36 years in the New York City Housing Authority, not only to help put food on the table, but to also set an example for the kids." Naturally, education was strictly enforced in the Lamont home, but it wasn't until high school when Tahirah began to consider a pilot career. However, her relentless motivation to make things right led her to consider another vocation first. "When I originally began researching careers in secondary school, I really thought I'd like to be a judge, because I enjoy listen- ing to people and trying to help solve problems," she says. "But nei- ther my family nor I were politically connected, so I started check- ing out other professions that matched my personality as well." S E L F - A W A R E N E S S B Y M I C H A E L B I E L S K I S PHOTOGRAPHY BY GRAGG HIGGINBOTHAM "The driving credo that has been pivotal for me, and I will tell people this for as long as I'm breathing, 'Do not allow the ignorance, the prejudice and negative actions of others influence and change who you are.'"

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