Women of Aviation - Meet Grace Tsai

Interview    /    March 24, 2022

Grace Tsai, another amazing client and part of the Corporate Safety Division of STARLUX Airlines gives us an insight into her career, her journey into the aviation industry and shares her personal experiences and thoughts of being a woman in the aviation world.

  • Hi Grace, thank you for joining us.
    Tell us a little about yourself. What is your current profession?

    I have been working in the Corporate Safety Division as a Cabin Supervisor at STARLUX since 2018. Combined with my experience of being a cabin crew before STARLUX, I now have over ten years of experience in the aviation industry.

  • What are the cornerstones of your career?
    Being very passionate about the aviation industry and my current job, I would say joining STARLUX is certainly a highlight. As part of a team that shares the same values and attitude towards safety, I enjoy the teamwork and growing together with my colleagues. It has made a big difference in my professional life and continues to bring me great fulfilment.
  • Is there something you are immensely proud of?There are actually a few things I am very proud of. As mentioned before, I have a great passion for the aviation industry, especially the safety aspect. It makes me very proud to see our team achieving goals and growing together. Before I joined STARLUX, I basically didn’t have much knowledge regarding the system of monitoring safety and risk issues, let alone safety management systems (SMS). But when I joined the Corporate Safety Division, I had to learn everything about SMS, which was quite a challenge. But I learned a lot and I am very proud to have overcome all the obstacles. Last but not least, I consider this a very unique opportunity to join a brand-new airline. I am proud to be part of a team that continues to grow with the challenges and supports each other.

Grace Tsai
Cabin Supervisor, Corporate Safety Division at Starlux Airlines

Although the environment for females to work in the airline industry has improved a lot, women are still relatively underrepresented, especially in leadership positions.

Grace Tsai, Starlux Airlines

  • What was our initial spark to enter the aviation industry?
    In my senior year of college, to be honest, I really did not have much idea about what kind of a career I wanted to pursue. Some of my classmates applied for airline cabin crew jobs, which was considered pretty fancy at that time — you travel all over the world and the salary is usually higher than the average entry level position. As a result, I applied as well. That is how I got into the industry and my enthusiasm for aviation was ignited.
  • What do you love the most about your job?
    There are some aspects that I really like about my job and my position. First of all, I feel lucky to be part of such an inspiring team. I really like the atmosphere. The Chief of Safety Officer, who is the top manager of our division, gives me a completely free hand and always encourages me to do my best to achieve the goals we set. Moreover, in the aviation industry every day is unique. But the thing I like the most about my job is also the most challenging — working with iQSMS. Challenging because when I started in the safety department, I did not know much about the Safety Management System (SMS) and at first, I thought I wouldn’t be able to work with what seemed to me a complex technical system. But now I am even an SMS trainer and have the opportunity to teach other people and to pass on the safety culture. As safety is the top priority an airline should pursue, it is important that every employee is thoroughly versed in the concept. With iQSMS, the reporting channel in the training is always updated, which I like very much, so that we are always kept updated on safety issues.

Women in Aviation

  • How has the aviation industry changed for women during your career?
    As a matter of fact, there are more and more female pilots nowadays. The growing number is a good sign, meaning there are more and more options and opportunities for women who have dreams of flying. The information is easier for them to access. They are able to explore more about the possibilities and difficulties they might encounter when pursuing a career in the industry. When I joined the airline industry, most women worked as cabin crew, service agents or administration staff, but now more and more women are working in the safety department, being air traffic controllers or pilots. Gender equality has massively improved nowadays.At STARLUX, there are more and more women involved in different work areas. There is a growing number of female pilots, maintenance engineers and dispatchers. Take our division as an example, the gender ratio is 1:1. STARLUX gives women a lot of opportunities and a friendly environment in the workplace regardless of gender.
  • Generally speaking: What should we be telling younger generations of women and why should we encourage the next generation of women to work in the industry and what can be done to do so?
    In my opinion, we should encourage woman to pursue the career of their choice. Although the environment for females to work in the airline industry has improved a lot, women are still relatively underrepresented, especially in leadership positions. According to a CNN report, females in the airline industry leave their jobs at an average of 5 years because they put family over career and there is no work-life-balance. The fact that there are women who continue to work indicates that the reason so many women leave the field is not due to a lack of ambition or passion for aviation but is more due to a lack of support for working women who are also involved in raising a family. Women should be more confident, and companies should acknowledge work-life conflicts. With a focus on work-life-balance, more woman will remain working in this field.