America’s First Latina Fighter Pilot & STEM Advocate
The first Latina to complete U.S. Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training and graduate in the top 5% of her class (of 48) with a fighter qualification to fly the T-38 as an instructor pilot, Olga E. Custodio points to three principles that have helped her become successful in a profession dominated by men: overcoming self-doubt, staying open to possibilities, and seeing herself as an equal. Read More >
Lieutenant Colonel Olga Custodio’s Quest to Democratize the Sky
Persistence, Passion, and Patience
35th Hispanic Heritage Awards | Lt. Col. Olga E. Custodio receives 2022 STEM Award
WGU 2020 Dallas Commencement Address from Olga E. Custodio
Holding the distinction as the first Latina to complete UPT and become a pilot, Olga has proven that gender is never a hindrance to be successful in a profession that is dominated by men. Overcoming self-doubt, staying open to possibilities, and seeing oneself as an equal to be relevant are just some of the principles she believes in, and have driven her to be successful in her chosen career.
Olga considers her sheer determination as one of the essential assets that propelled her to succeed as well as understanding how her actions and feelings as an airline Captain and crewmember affected her crew. Identifying her responsibilities as the authority in charge of the aircraft’s flight operation and safety helped her manage and understand the value of listening to each crew member’s needs to assist them in fulfilling their duties. Her perseverance and tenacity drove her to accomplish her duties regardless of the situation. In all the tasks she has undertaken, Olga has always demonstrated her strong motivation to achieve results that would deliver positive impacts and inspire others.
Overcoming self-doubt, staying open to possibilities, and seeing oneself as an equal to be relevant are just some of the principles Olga believes in and has driven her to be successful in her chosen career.
Starting her aviation career as a wife and mother, Olga developed a work-life balance that helped her succeed in her aviation training and profession. Identifying her definition of success, she managed a fulfilling aviation career and 46+ years of marriage with two children. Understanding the most critical keys to the work-life balance.
"Thank you so much for joining us today! You truly are inspirational and amazing. I’ve already received some positive feedback from others who were in attendance and I know that everyone walked away with some great advice and tips. I know I took lots of notes – including 'Querer es poder.' Gracias – Thank you .. for your service to our country, for all that you continue to do for the community and for being so gracious and inspiring. I appreciate you!"
"Olga Custodio’s visit was nothing short of fantastic. We had the pleasure of hosting Olga, a trailblazer and aviation pioneer who has shattered ceilings and soared to new heights. The event was an absolute success, and Olga's examples of how she persevered through many obstacles captivated and resonated with students, faculty, and staff."
"On behalf of UKG Vets and Unidos, the employee resource groups at UKG, we would like to thank Lt. Col. Custodio for her presentation this week. We really enjoyed hearing about her triumphs, how she overcame adversity, loved hearing about the things she is still involved in today, and really appreciated all the advice she provided our resource group members. We loved hearing that 'querer es poder' and that the power is within us. Please extend our gratitude and appreciation."
"Everything went marvelously on my end. She was at her best talking to people individually, both at dinner and for a long time after the talk (since of course a large number of students and local community members wanted to chat with her). She was gracious, friendly, and inspiring. I definitely look forward to working with APB in the future. Thanks for all you do."
"Overall, the event was a great success! From start to finish, working with Olga Custodio and APB was a great experience. Olga’s ability to captivate the audience using her mantra of 'Querer es Poder' was magnificent. Hearing her story of diversity and equity is a must for all experiencing adversity in their own lives. Olga is an exceptional human being that I would gladly work with again!"
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