Hello, my name is Joy Ekakitie and I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria.
As a young girl, I was fascinated by aeroplanes and would watch them intently as they flew overhead, but I wasn’t dreaming big enough. I was just happy to watch them, I limited myself to a “woman’s place” and I never spoke with anyone about my dreams.
I spent 14 years of my life in Lagos, until 2013 when my family moved to the USA for a better life. After graduating school I pursued a career in nursing, as my parents are both in the health care field. It’s a rewarding career, but it wasn’t my dream so I decided to go explore one of my forever interests - aviation.
I took my first flight in 2018 and it was amazing, it gave me a better appreciation for the earth and life as a whole! I quickly realized how expensive flight training is and even though I was working two to three jobs at the time, I was struggling. I was physically drained all the time from lack of sleep and I barely made enough to have more than two flights per week. My progress was zero to nothing.
A few years down the line I found out about L3Harris Flight Academy and I applied, I got accepted! They had a Scholarship at the time that was up to $25,000 and there wasn’t a single minute I didn’t think about it. I was so grateful when L3Harris awarded it to me – to this day it’s my greatest accomplishment!
I entered into a field I knew nothing about and with little support from my parents, it was difficult time, but I kept the dream alive. The training is challenging, but we get great support from our Flight Instructors.
I would love to fly for Delta one day, to see the world and enjoy it. Professional goals aside, I would love to be the person I needed. In a few years when I am an airline pilot, I would love to offer my own Scholarship so I can inspire a new generation of women, especially women of color.
It’s really important to believe in yourself, as cliché as it sounds. On my worst days when even my parents didn’t believe in me… I believed in myself! It’s also very crucial to have someone you can always talk to and that person is my twin, Praise Ekakitie (she is the sun). Lastly, I hear people say horrible things about female pilots, but you have to use it as fuel. Don’t get intimidated by the fact that it is a male dominated field!
Fly safe, fly smart… Fly like a girl!