Michael, a mentor helping his mentee fly high
Published November 18, 2021.
“The mentoring engagement is not a lot of commitment in terms of time, but it could potentially make a huge difference for the person you’re working with, and that’s the value proposition to me. Windmill provides microloans that can change somebody’s life, and these micro-timeengagements could have the same impact.”
The aviation industry has always interested Michael. So much so that he started his studies to become a commercial pilot. However, towards the end of the program, he changed course. He entered aviation management with a specific desire to work in airports. For over 20 years, Michael has been working in his profession, and he’s now the Director of Aviation Safety, Regulations and Performance at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority – GTAA.
When the GTAA promoted Windmill’s Mentorship Program among their staff, Michael was interested. “Someone mentored me when I first started my career, and they helped me navigate opportunities. I thought this was a good time to help mentor someone looking to get into the aviation industry, support them on their journey and answer the questions they may have.”
Michael and his mentee, Wadah, started working together in early 2021. At that moment, Wadah was beginning the same aviation management program Michael had completed. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to become a commercial pilot or get into aviation management. He was training to be a commercial pilot but also wanted to understand more about other opportunities in the aviation sector. “Very quickly as we worked together, Wadah galvanized his opinions on what he wanted to pursue, and it was to be a commercial pilot. I think that was one of the early successes we had,” indicates Michael.
Once Wadah made his mind, they focused on planning how he’d finish his commercial pilot license and how he’d balance that with the aviation management program he was attending. Since Wadah had some previous flight training experience, he was exempt from taking some classes. This allowed them to arrange his school schedule to create more time to focus on his flight training.
Even though the initial commitment through the Mentorship Program has ended, the pair continues working together. They don’t speak as frequently as they did before, but Michael continues supporting Wadah in any way he can.
Michael’s greatest satisfaction in working with his mentee has been helping him realize what he wanted to do. That clarity helped focus their attention on his objectives and informed almost every discussion they had after that.
“Michael is a really great guy. He’s knowledgeable and helped me with everything I asked. Michael was the right mentor for me, and he’d be for anyone looking to get into the aviation management field. He gave me everything I needed to start my career in Canada,” says Wadah.
For his contributions to the Mentorship Program, especially to his mentee, we want to recognize Michael as Windmill’s Mentor of the Month.