The dream of becoming a flight attendant and pursuing her career in aviation followed Gelmina Vadapalaite, Sales Manager at Enginestands.com, Avia Solutions Group subsidiary, from a very young age. Though Gelmina had to put a pause on her dream for a little while, she eventually found her way back to aviation.
While Gelmina has always dreamed of becoming a flight attendant, after graduating from English Philology studies, she had to put her pursuit on hold. Instead, she took on a Back Office Operations Officer position at a banking company operating across Northern Europe. Having spent just a little over three years there, Gelmina realized that, while the position was interesting and challenging to work in, she still found herself drawn back to the open skies above.
Making a decision to finally get back to her childhood dream, Gelmina joined the ranks of airline cabin crew. Talking about her experience as a flight attendant, she highlights some of the most enjoyable things about working as a cabin crew member. “It gives such an amazing opportunity to meet so many different people, coming from all types of backgrounds. Aviation is truly a diverse and multicultural place, where you can learn so much about other cultures, customs, and way of living.” Same goes for passengers she would meet on every flight, “Each with their own story and destination,” she adds. Because of this sort of lifestyle, Gelmina was able to make many amazing friends, some of them – for life.
Being able to complement work with travel was also something that brought Gelmina a lot of excitement working in aviation. Knowing that you could visit the most remote places in the world and still be earning a living doing so was an exciting idea for her.
Unfortunately, Gelmina’s career as a flight attendant was cut shorter than expected. After two years of being part of cabin crew, countries worldwide shut down their borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I sort of took it as a sign to finish my career in this particular sector,” explains her decision Gelmina.
Before joining Enginestands.com, she took on a couple of other positions in the Customer Service department, before coming back to aviation – this time as a Sales Manager. Her typical day at Enginestands.com starts with emails. “I always check if there are any new requests from potential clients or any requests from the existing ones,” notes Gelmina. “Afterwards, I go on to check the status of the engine stands. Some of them need to be returned soon, others need visual checks, or their yearly inspection is coming up, or they might need maintenance. If any of these things are needed to be done, I arrange checks, inspections, or maintenance, accordingly, scheduling these procedures with the aircraft maintenance services.”
Among other types of responsibilities and tasks, Gelmina also is on an active lookout for new clients that she searches for through various different sources. She notes that her previous experience in Customer Support helps in her current position. “Some of the tools I’ve used previously come in very handy when looking for new leads for the engine stands leasing.” She enjoys working in her current position a lot and is very happy to be a part of the Enginestands.com team, adding that “The work culture here is very professional, positive, and, importantly, open-minded.”
Working both as a cabin crew member and Sales Manager, Gelmina describes aviation as a dynamic and ever-changing industry. “It’s important to be flexible and well-prepared,” she explains. “Especially, when you come face-to-face with such force majeure like a global pandemic. It’s definitely a tough challenge to work through.” But things she learned as a flight attendant, like working under pressure, remaining calm in stressful situations are very helpful when dealing will all sorts of challenges, day-to-day or long-term.
Overcoming these challenges brings quite a few proud moments and achievements for Gelmina. “One of the truly memorable moments from my time as a flight assistant is probably the time when I provided medical assistance to the passenger during a flight. It was a serious, high-stakes situation, and I was able to keep my cool and give assistance,” she remembers.
However, like many other young women working in aviation, Gelmina does notice that globally, there aren’t as many women taking part in this industry. “It is a tough business, that’s true,” she notes. “But I think that by sharing more of our stories, it might encourage more women to become professionals in aviation.” It might be scary to take the first steps into this industry, but Gelmina believes that understanding how truly resilient and strong women are is key to realizing their dreams.