HAI Features Kathryn Purwin for Mother’s Day

HAI Features Kathryn Purwin for Mother’s Day

May 09, 2021

Thank you, HAI, for celebrating rotor moms on Mother’s Day.

As every mom knows, motherhood is a journey that never unfolds as planned. We navigate the curves life throws our way as we go, whether they come to us as joy or as sorrow. I encountered one such curve nearly six years ago with the sudden loss of my husband, Alan.

I went into full mom mode during the weeks following Alan’s death, supporting my kids as we began the process of grieving and dealing with the emotions resulting from so enormous a loss.

The people who make up Helinet, the company Alan founded, were also grieving and faced difficulties of their own.  It wasn’t long before I began hearing from the Helinet team, people I’d known for many years, asking me to get involved. Without their leader steering the ship and charting its course, the company was struggling.

So I stepped into Helinet, my second family.

I had no prior business experience, had never anticipated that I’d one day be running a company. What I did have was a deep connection to the people who make Helinet what it is and a fierce commitment to Helinet’s mission. I walked in with a clear purpose: to keep Alan’s legacy alive, to take care of the people that make up the Helinet family, to maintain the values that it was founded on, and to help guide the organization into a successful future. I knew from the start that none of this would be possible without an excellent team and some experienced and brilliant advisors.

Some of the first advice I received? Play to your strengths, shore up your weaknesses.

My weaknesses weren’t difficult to identify. I addressed them from the start and continue doing so to this day. I took business classes, enrolled in leadership workshops, earned a finance certificate, drew on the knowledge of those with aviation, business and leadership experience. My strengths, however, were more challenging to recognize. The majority of my previous experience consisted of working as a pilot and, yes, being a mother.

It’s easy to recognize that a background in piloting would be beneficial. But the mother part? In the aviation industry?

As it turns out, my mom skills have been invaluable.

Moms understand what it is to take on enormous responsibility. We’re protective. We’re courageous. We take accountability for what happens - or doesn’t - under our watch. When we’re overwhelmed, we regroup and carry on. We’re negotiators, problem solvers and motivators. We choose our battles. We know when to talk and when to listen. We have sleepless nights and worry more than we should but still find the energy to move forward.  Most of all, we never lose sight of why we’re doing what we do, the drive behind our efforts and actions, the purpose that keeps us going.

So, while I don’t have a business degree, I do have a brilliant team and some badass mom skills.

Wishing a very happy Mother’s Day to all the fabulous moms out there!