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  • Writer's pictureBy Akshata

Empowering Women in the Skies: The inspiring story of Girls Who Drone


A group photo of girls and adults with drones
A group photo of girls and adults with drones | Credit: girlswhodrone.org

Girls Who Drone is a non-profit organization that is leading the way in inspiring girls and women to pursue their passion for drone technology. Founded in 2017 by Elena Buenrostro, this organization has been dedicated to empowering women and girls in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Through their various initiatives, Girls Who Drone is fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the drone industry. She recognized that women were underrepresented in the drone industry and wanted to provide a platform for women to connect and learn from each other. Elena started Girls Who Drone with the belief that women have unique perspectives and skill sets that can contribute to the drone industry.



Grils Who Drone team photo
Grils Who Drone team photo

Since its founding, Girls Who Drone has been making waves in the industry, and it has become a hub for women in the drone industry. The organization has a team of passionate and dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to achieve its mission. The team is led by founder and CEO Elena Buenrostro, who is a Video Producer, Photographer, Part 107 Certified Drone Pilot and Instructor. Elena's passion for drones stemmed from her trip to the Great Wall of China, and since then, she has turned her hobby into a career.

Chief Technology Officer Eliza Sarobhasa is a drone enthusiast who uses her DJI Phantom 3 for robotics, 3D mapping, geospatial, and satellite imagery projects. Her upcoming project involves using her drone for wildfire prevention, fire surveillance, and search and rescue. She is also involved in researching aviation, aerospace, space robotics, satellites, and internet history.


Yasmin Tajik is the brand ambassador of Women Who Drone, and she is a professional photographer and drone pilot based in Arizona. Yasmin has been traveling internationally since she was five years old, which sparked her deep-seated interest in exploring new and exciting corners of the world, especially meeting new people. She has a passion for documenting social causes and civil rights, including stories on refugee resettlement, asylum seekers, and international stories covering gender equality in Iceland and the rise of Islam in Cuba.


Dr. Catherine Ball is an advisor to Women Who Drone. Catherine is an associate professor, author, founder, executive producer, executive director, company director, and diversity advocate working across global projects where emerging technologies meet humanitarian, education and environmental needs. She works globally across a wide range of projects from creating documentaries and world leading conferences and events, to advising on the use of drones across environmental and humanitarian projects.


Ella Sophia is a Certified Drone Pilot & Instructor who is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in business Entrepreneurship and Film. Ella found herself in the world of drones when she decided to buy her first drone and took a college course that ended with her obtaining her Part 107 drone certification. Ella joined the Women Who Drone team in the summer of 2018 and has since become a driving force behind Women Who Drone as a Certified Drone instructor, Drone Pilot, and Social Media Coordinator.


Psyona Williams is a Certified Drone Pilot & Video Intern who has always loved photography and filmmaking since she can remember. She purchased her first drone in 2017 and went on to obtain her PfCO in 2018. Psyona graduated from university in Film Studies in 2018 and now works as a freelance drone operator and video editor.

Loretta E. Alkalay is a Drone Instructor and an aviation attorney and regulatory consultant to airmen, aviation entities and foreign civil aviation authorities, specializing in issues related to compliance with federal aviation regulations, including drone rules. She is also an adjunct professor at Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology, where she teaches drone laws, aviation safety, and other courses both in New York and abroad. Loretta holds a B.A. from Cornell University, cum laude and with distinction, and a J.D. from the NYU School of Law. She holds an FAA remote pilot certificate with sUAS rating.

Girls Who Drone has a wide range of initiatives aimed at inspiring, empowering, and educating women and girls. One of its flagship programs is the Girls Who Drone Ambassador Program, which is a mentorship program for girls aged 16-24. The program is designed to equip young girls with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the drone industry. The Girls Who Drone Ambassador Program pairs each participant with a mentor who guides them through the program and provides support and encouragement along the way. Another initiative is the Girls Who Drone Scholarship Program, which provides financial support to women pursuing degrees in the drone industry. The scholarship is awarded annually, and it covers tuition, fees, and other expenses related to their education. The scholarship program is open to women from all over the world who are passionate about the drone industry and who are committed to making a difference in the field.

Girls Who Drone also offers workshops, events, and online courses that provide women with the skills they need to become successful drone pilots, engineers, photographers, and videographers. The organization’s events are open to women of all ages and backgrounds and provide opportunities for women to connect and learn from each other. The online courses are self-paced and cover a wide range of topics, from drone basics to advanced drone flying techniques.

One of the things that make Girls Who Drone unique is its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The organization recognizes that women from different backgrounds and experiences bring unique perspectives and skill sets to the drone industry. Girls Who Drone is committed to fostering a culture of inclusivity and supporting women from all backgrounds and experiences. Girls Who Drone has received numerous accolades for its work in promoting diversity and empowering women in the drone industry. The organization has been featured in various media outlets, including Forbes, Fast Company, and Mashable. Girls Who Drone has also won several awards, including the 2020 Top Non-Profit of the Year Award from Drone Industry Insights.


Fun Facts

  • Girls Who Drone has a strong presence on social media, with over 30,000 followers on Instagram and a large following on Facebook and Twitter as well.

  • The organization has partnerships with several major companies in the drone industry, including DJI and Parrot.

  • Girls Who Drone has a team of over 50 ambassadors from around the world, who represent the organization and its mission in their local communities.

  • In addition to its other initiatives, Girls Who Drone also hosts an annual Women to Watch in UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) awards program, which recognizes women who are making significant contributions to the industry.

  • Elena Buenrostro, the founder of Girls Who Drone, has been named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in the Manufacturing & Industry category for 2021.


Women looking up in the sky | Credit: girlswhodrone.org
Women looking up in the sky | Credit: girlswhodrone.org

In conclusion, Girls Who Drone is an inspiring and innovative organization that is making a significant impact on the drone industry. With its various initiatives, Girls Who Drone is inspiring, empowering, and educating girls and women from all over the world. The organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is commendable, and it is creating a positive change in the drone industry. Girls Who Drone is definitely an organization worth supporting and following.

 

Akshata is a writer based in Bengaluru, India. She is known for her deep passion for drones and her ability to overcome challenges in this rapidly-evolving industry. She has spent countless hours researching and experimenting with various drone models, honing her skills as a pilot and innovator. She continues to inspire others with her passion for innovation and her commitment to pushing the boundaries of what's possible with drone technology.

LinkedIn: @akshata Topmate: @akshata


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