Youngest Woman to command Boeing 777 joins LinkedIn Influencer Network
Captain Anny Divya, the world’s youngest female pilot to fly the Boeing 777, today joined the exclusive league of global influencers on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. She joins an esteemed group of Indian and international leaders, who are part of the 500+ LinkedIn Influencer program including Narendra Modi, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Priyanka Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Trudeau, Sachin Tendulkar, and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw among other eminent personalities across geographies and fields.
In 2017, Anny Divya made history after she became the youngest woman to command a Boeing 777. Today as a LinkedIn Influencer she shares her story with LinkedIn’s 610+ million members across the world and 55+ million members in India on how she fought societal conventions, language barriers, and family pressure to succeed in a male-dominant profession.
“When I became the youngest woman to command a Boeing 777, I didn’t realise that I had unknowingly become an inspiration to young women around the world, who want to pursue a profession in flying. I am excited to share my learnings and engage in meaningful conversations with the LinkedIn community as a LinkedIn Influencer, and I look forward to inspiring others through my personal story,” said Anny Divya.
“Anny Divya has a strong voice that will inspire our members to go after their dream job. She is a great role model whose success story - of overcoming challenges and embracing victories - has the potential to spark conversations that will help women professionals thrive. As we celebrate International Women’s Day this week, we are thrilled to welcome her as an Influencer on LinkedIn,” said Mahesh Narayanan, Country Head - India, LinkedIn.
In an exclusive video interview and her first post on LinkedIn, Anny Divya shares in her own words how her support system helped her pursue her dream job and how perseverance and hard work have led her to success. Her motto: “It’s okay not to know, but it’s not okay not to learn.” See excerpts below:
On the importance of having a strong and supportive network: “It was difficult for my parents to financially and socially support me through that time to accept and let me go for it. There was a lot of social resistance for my parents. All I said is, "I wanna fly." And they let me actually just fly. My mother was very understanding, she told me I could return home anytime I wanted and not to worry about the fees already paid. There was a lot of comfort and support that I got from my family, which gave me the confidence to go ahead with things and to reach the stage today.”
On pursuing a dream job: “I wanted to become a pilot. I had very little exposure while I was growing up. I was looking out for a way. I got one opportunity to pass the clearance exam for my flying academy, and I got through. Also, one more thing really helped me, maybe getting those marks, high and low, was because I was not bothered about being judged by anybody. I do what my soul says and I just love to learn.”
On the hunger to learn: “When I joined the academy, I realised that there were new challenges coming from a place where I didn’t have exposure. I was facing cultural differences between my batch mates now as most of the people around me had good backgrounds from Mumbai and Delhi. I was not fluent in English conversation, though I could read and write in English, but I spoke the language with an accent and there were grammatical errors. Those were some of the challenges I had to overcome. One thing what I stuck by and helped me to learn in life is, it's okay not to know, but it's not okay not to learn.”
On working hard and standing out: “I would say youngsters today should fit in but should also get better and stand out. That will happen when they start learning rather than copying. You should learn what is best and how best you can do and get the best out of yourself. You have to choose your struggle, and do it well. So once you're passionate about something, I think you'll go beyond your capabilities to work towards it, and that's what happened. I did it. I thought every profession that I go for would have its own challenges and obstacles, so I might as well stay here and fight for my dream.”
On women in aviation, a male-dominated industry: “It's changed a lot from the time I have joined. When I joined Air India, there were hardly any women pilots around. I was the only girl in my batch. Now I'm seeing a lot of women flying, and I can very proudly say that In India, the number of female pilots is double that of the global average. There is still not much awareness in this sector. They have to do a lot to create awareness about aviation and other fields where women are not working.”
On finding inspiration: “Definitely there are women I look up to. I have seen right from my grandmother who has done so much hard work to my mother, who has always been my idol, and my sister who had to go through a lot of struggle to reach where she is in her life. There is a lot of inspiration in my own family to look up to. And it definitely also makes me feel inspired. I always look at becoming a better person than I am today.”