BETTENDORF, Iowa – Hundreds of people in the Quad Cities are learning what it takes to be a leader.
For Vernice ‘FlyGirl” Armour it’s all about that gut feeling.
“Talking with all the ladies and the few smart men always reminds me why I got started in the first place,” says Armour.
She talked with men and women at the Women Lead Change conference at the Waterfront Convention Center. For Armour, she wouldn’t be where she is now if she hadn’t crossed paths with one woman.
“I saw a black woman in the flight suit,” remembers Armour. “What got me started was seeing the tangibility and the possibility.”
That possibility led her to be the first female African American combat pilot in the Marine Corps where she completed mission and made a name for woman kind.
“She is amazing being the first woman pilot,” comments Dee Neff, a conference attendee. “And those missions are just so inspirational that we can do it, women can do anything, so I loved it.”
Some people in the crowd felt a personal connection with the “FlyGirl”.
“I was excited to see her, because I am also a military retiree also a helicopter pilot,” says Jennifer Roach, a conference attendee. “I was really able to connect with what she had to say today from the mission while you’re in the military to the mission in life while you continue through that service.”
Whether they were a member of the armed forces or not anyone who attended the conference walked out with a message Armour learned long ago.
“I was talking to a friend of mine and she was asking for some advice,” Armour remembers. “I said, “Girl, just do it – make a gutsy move,” and I was like, “That’s it! The gutsy move!””
Now, with fans following her she’s empowering women each day and reminding them to trust their gut.
“Women lead change, and we have to own it,” comments Armour.
Armour will spend the rest of the year traveling and speaking at different places. She is heading to Grand Rapids next.