It’s Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, a global awareness week that promotes women’s advancement in the aerospace industry. It takes place annually during the week of March 8, which is the anniversary date of the world’s first female pilot license and International Women’s Day.
As in many other industries, women representation in aviation is grim; only 6 percent of pilots are female, while females account for just 2 percent of all aircraft mechanics. Of the few Latinas in this profession, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato is a highly decorated decorated and inspiring military US Air Force veteran, accomplished entrepreneur and children’s book author. As a sought after speaker of innovation and entrepreneurialism at universities, events, webinars and conferences, she now shares her expertise and knowledge across the globe.
Daughter of Mexican immigrants, after graduating as a distinguished student from Berkeley University of California, she joined the Air Force, achieving her Undergraduate Navigator Training in Sacramento. The only female in her class, she graduated in the top 15 percent of 25 students.
Her Air Force deployments included Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, Hawaii, Okinawa and Japan, clocking over 1,000 flying hours across her ten years in the military.
Her key Air Force achievements included enforcing the No Fly Zone after Operation Desert Storm, which earned her a high status Air Medal award while protecting Iraqi civilians. Graciela was one of only a handful of women in Vicenza, Italy serving on the NATO Battlestaff. She also led a team of technicians to deter narcotics activities in Ecuador for the US Embassy. She was then promoted to wing contingency planning officer, after working as an instructor and navigator.
For her achievements, she was awarded the title of Woman Military Veteran Leader Champion of Change in March 2014 from The White House.
Ms. Tiscareño-Sato is not just a highly-decorated military veteran but also an accomplished entrepreneur. After obtaining her a Master’s in International Management from Whitworth University in Washington DC, she founded Gracefully Global Group, a publishing firm that specializes in marketing communications.
She’s been honored with LATINA Style Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award and the National Business Women’s Week Award from the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation.
Graciela plays a key role in hosting the annual Silicon Valley Latino Leadership Summit each year at Stanford University, mentoring students to improve their levels of education and developing their careers. She is a bilingual STEM consultant for K-college educators serving diverse student populations.
Her book, Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them, has won five awards. This book emphasises the entrepreneurialism and innovation of Latinos in the rise of a sustainable, green economy. She’s also been published globally, featuring in Hispanic MBA, Environmental Leader, the New York Times, LATINA Style and the Huffington Post.
As a fluent speaker of both English and Spanish, Graciela has also published a bilingual bestselling children’s book called Good Night Captain Mama/Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá, which will be part of a series. This is the first of its kind in explaining to children why women serve in the military.
Graciela explains her inspiration: “The night before Veterans Day in 2009, my three year-old son and I had a bedtime conversation that my husband recorded because it was the first time our little man was seeing me in uniform. I was preparing to visit his preschool the following morning.”
“Immediately after our conversation, I wrote the first draft of what has become the first book in a bilingual, aviation travel adventure series, Good Night Captain Mama/ Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá.”
The book has won four awards including the “Best Educational Children’s Book – Bilingual” at the International Latino Book Awards in 2014. Her second book, a part of a series, will be released this year.
Graciela and her husband were blessed with three children, including a Braille-literate daughter with dual-sensory impairments. As such, Graciela is a forceful education advocate for children with special needs and other children who face low expectations.