Story written by Karlene Petitt
Lily Schwartz is one of most amazing women I know. And I know some pretty amazing women. Lily has confidence, strength and determination. But more than that, she is honest, filled with compassion, and has integrity. Lily is a pilot, a woman, a friend, a mother and she doesn't sacrifice her ethics. Lily has inner strength.
"My first word was plane and my first love was the sky"
"I could think of nothing greater than to pursue to earn my WINGS. I am fortunate enough to have my dream come to fruition but my journey was not an easy one."
Lily grew up in Iraq, where a woman simply did not become a pilot. She excelled in school, and many career options were available. All but the one that she wanted... to fly. Everyone told her that flight school was for boys, but she never believed that. As she says, "I struggled against the current for a while." But she knew her dreams would not come to life in Iraq and had to leave.
"I left Iraq for the land of freedom and opportunity to make AMERICA my home."
Leaving her family was the hardest thing she had to do. Yet, she purchased a one-way ticket, and left not only her family and friends, but the only life she knew. Lily was only twenty years old when she made this journey, but wise enough to know the life she desired was in the land of opportunity. Still, could you imagine moving to a foreign country alone, faced with the unknown? Not many people have that kind of courage.
"I arrived in America with only the clothes on my back, $150 in my pocket, and a DREAM!"
"But soon I had a whole new life I couldn’t imagine having!"
But the truth is, she did imagine having this life. That belief is what fueled her dreams and gave her courage. Today, flying in and out of JKF has an entirely different meaning to Lily than most pilots. This was where she first stepped foot into America, and each time she walks through the terminal she remembers what this country means to her.SIGNATURE
"In a few years, my career in Aviation started as an In-flight Crew Member with JetBlue in October 2000. Nobody at JetBlue told me that a "Woman couldn't Fly" and I received nothing but support and friendship from all the pilots during my 13 years with the JetBlue family.
I left the company to pursue my dream as a pilot but I will always be proud of the work I did and grateful to JetBlue for giving me the first taste of the sky!"
"Meanwhile, I met and married my amazing husband and my strongest supporter, together we raised a family of 5 boys on Long Island, NY while pursuing my Aviation Career as a Pilot.
I started my flight training in 2010 in NY. And from there I went to earn all my Pilot Ratings and became the first Iraqi born Commercial Female Pilot."