Captain Christine Klimkowski: ‘Positive Visibility is Important’

Captain Christine Klimkowski

Captain Christine Klimkowski, a pilot trainee with Southeast Alaska Pilots, said she’s not really thought about the term “role model” before. What she tries to do is be “positively visible.”

“I try to… [not only be] a good example to others, my other shipmates or my other colleagues but also do that in a more visible way,” she said during a ‘women in cruising’ discussion, part of a virtual trade event. “Whether it’s speaking at conferences, on social media, being around different groups, or talking to classes.”

According to Klimkowski, , apart from demonstrating good behavior, it’s important to not engage in negative things and stop other people when they do so.

“I try to be assertive when I hear negative comments – whether it’s racist, sexist or any gossip-type of language happening around me – even if it’s happening in the classroom. I’m very quick to shut it down,” said Klimkowski who also serves as an instructor and curriculum developer at MITAGS's West Coast campus.

“I think it’s important that we, as leaders and role models, set the tone for how we’re going to treat one another.”

Klimkowski acknowledge d that welcoming failure is another important aspect in every leadership role. People should strive to learn from those who failed many times, she said, but had since recovered.

“That’s something about being ok with failure… and being ok with being vulnerable,” she explained. “We’re all humans learning, growing, and developing. And part of that learning and development is failure. But then recovery as well.”

Another crucial aspect of leadership, according to Klimkowski, who – apart from being a pilot trainee – has assumed seven leadership positions at Toastmasters, is to be publicly supportive of others.

“When you see somebody who’s doing [a good job], say ‘keep that up, that’s awesome’ or ‘she’s doing an awesome job’… That then signals to others that… this person’s doing a good job, this person is a role model,” the pilot trainee said.

“So I think it’s those things of being visible and positive visibility and then recognizing others who are doing that [which matter the most].”



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