Celebrating Great Women In History-Amelia Earhart

Daniel Mead
WWR Staff

WWR Article Summary (tl:dr) In honor of Women’s history Month we take a look at the life and career of one of the most empowering women in history Amelia Earhart. There’s plenty of inspiration for women in business and future leaders here in the WWR community

New York

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” Amelia Earhart

Spoken like a true entrepreneur, this quote captures Amelia Earhart’s drive, focus and her influence on empowering women around the world. Her flying achievements are extraordinary, however her accomplishments outside the world of aeronautics further demonstrate her strength and spirit as a pioneer in the women’s movement.

Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean amongst many other records throughout her career. Her disappearance in 1937 during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe devastated admirers across the United States and around the world. Her public career lasted less than a decade (from 1928 to 1937), but she used her fame to promote two causes dear to her: aviation and the empowerment of women.

Pioneering Entrepreneur
Amelia Earhart wasn’t paid a dime for her first transatlantic flight, the offer she received was that she could go BUT she couldn’t fly the plane and she would be accompanied by two male chaperones who were well compensated.

A little offensive no? Sure, but what was Amelia’s answer…YES, I’ll go! And that’s how people become great entrepreneurs—seeking out/accepting opportunities that may be less than ideal and then turning those experiences into worthwhile endeavors. Whether its incorporating a new process or ignoring gender stereotypes…they just do it. Once they get started, they make it work.

It’s never been easier to start a company, publish a post on the internet (as I am!!!) or create your personal brand in today’s digital world. Let Amelia’s example be your blue print and motivation. Fearless and driven-she is what every woman entrepreneur should strive to emulate.

Amelia Earhart became one of the most famous and respected people in the world less than five years after she was the first woman to fly solo nonstop across Atlantic. She capitalized on her brand awareness and this was her key to success. She overcame any fears, doubts, financial concerns and found a way to press on. A true heroic entrepreneurial hero to women, and all who aspire to set out on their own.

Her well documented experiences include the following:

• January 3, 1921 – Began flying lessons with Neta Snook
• July 1921 – Bought first plane, the Kinner Airster (named “The Canary”)
• October 22, 1922 – Broke women’s altitude record when she rose to 14,000 feet
• June 17-18, 1928 – First woman to fly across the Atlantic; 20hrs 40min (Fokker F7, Friendship)
• Summer 1928 – Bought an Avro Avian, a small English plane made famous because Lady Mary Heath, Britain’s foremost woman pilot, had flown it solo from Capetown, South Africa, to London
• Fall 1928 – Published book, 20 Hours 40 Minutes, toured, and lectured; became aviation editor of Cosmopolitan magazine
• August 1929 – Placed third in the First Women’s Air Derby, also known as the Powder Puff Derby; upgraded from her Avian to a Lockheed Vega
• Fall 1929 – Elected as an official for National Aeronautic Association and encouraged the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI) to establish separate world altitude, speed, and endurance records for women
• June 25, 1930 – Set women’s speed record for 100 kilometers with no load and with a load of 500 kilograms
• July 5, 1930 – Set speed record for of 181.18mph over a 3K course
• September 1930 – Helped to organize and became vice president of public relations for new airline, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington Airways
• April 8, 1931 – Set woman’s autogiro altitude record with 18,415 feet (in a Pitcairn autogiro)
• May 20-21, 1932 – First woman to fly solo across the Atlantic; 14 hrs 56 min (it was also the 5th anniversary of Lindberg’s Atlantic flight; awarded National Geographic Society’s gold medal from President Herbert Hoover; Congress awarded her the Distinguished Flying Cross; wrote The Fun of It about her journey
• August 24-25, 1932 – First woman to fly solo nonstop coast to coast; set women’s nonstop transcontinental speed record, flying 2,447.8 miles in 19hrs 5min
• Fall 1932 – Elected president of the Ninety Nines, a new women’s aviation club which she helped to form
• July 7-8, 1933 – Broke her previous transcontinental speed record by making the same flight in 17hrs 7min
• January 11, 1935 – First person to solo the 2,408-mile distance across the Pacific between Honolulu and Oakland, California; also first flight where a civilian aircraft carried a two-way radio
• April l9 – 20, 1935 – First person to fly solo from Los Angeles to Mexico City; 13hrs 23min
• May 8, 1935 – First person to fly solo nonstop from Mexico City to Newark; 14hrs 19min
• March 17, 1937 – Amelia and her navigator, Fred Noonan, along with Captain Harry Manning and stunt pilot Paul Mantz, fly the first leg of the trip from Oakland, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, in 15 hours and 47 minutes
• June 1, 1937 – Began flight around the world June 1937; first person to fly from the Red Sea to India

Some other Interesting Facts:

• Idea of Flight- After attending a state fair as a child she decided to fly. In December 1920 she took her first lesson in California. And when her lesson was over she said to her instructor ”as soon as I left the ground, I felt myself I had to fly”.(
Read more about this at: (

• Academic Life- Like many entrepreneurs – Amelia never found great fulfillment in diplomas. She was an action woman. Earhart graduated from Hyde Park High School in Chicago in 1916-primarily because she felt it had the best science department. She kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful women in predominantly male-oriented fields, including film direction and production, law, advertising, management and mechanical engineering.[18] She began junior college at Ogontz School in Rydal, Pennsylvania (later a branch campus of Penn State University)but did not complete her program.[ By 1919 Earhart prepared to enter Smith College but changed her mind and enrolled at Columbia University, in a course in medical studies among other programs.[37]She quit a year later to be with her parents, who had reunited in California. Ultimately Purdue University established the Amelia Earhart Scholarship, first awarded in 1940, is based on academic merit and leadership and is open to juniors and seniors enrolled in any school at the West Lafayette campus. After being discontinued in the 1970s, a donor resurrected the award in 1999.

• Personal Life- After substantial hesitation on her part, Amelia married George Putnam on February 7, 1931, in Putnam’s mother’s house in Noank, Connecticut. He had proposed 6 times before she accepted. Earhart referred to her marriage as a “partnership” with “dual control.” In a letter written to Putnam and hand delivered to him on the day of the wedding, she wrote, “I want you to understand I shall not hold you to any midaevil [sic] code of faithfulness to me nor shall I consider myself bound to you similarly. Quite progressive for a woman in the early 30’s!!!

• Mr Earhart-Amelia kept her own name rather than being referred to as Mrs. Putnam. When The New York Times, per the rules of its stylebook, insisted on referring to her as Mrs. Putnam, she laughed it off. GP also learned quite soon that he would be called “Mr. Earhart.”[78] There was no honeymoon for the newlyweds as Earhart was involved in a nine-day cross-country tour promoting autogyros and the tour sponsor, Beech-Nut chewing gum.

• Eleanor Roosevelt Bond.-Amelia was very close to Eleanor Roosevelt-as both shared deep passions and interests in women’s causes

• Disappearance- On July 2, 1937 Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan depart from Lae, New Guinea. Their destination is Howland Island, a tiny island in the Pacific only 13,200 feet long and 2,650 feet wide. Amelia and Noonan cannot find the island, however, and they lose radio contact with the Coast Guard cutter Itasca , who can hear that they are lost but cannot return communication.
They disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. President Roosevelt issued a massive search for Amelia and Noonan, and George Putnam financed his own search until October 1937, but their efforts were unsuccessful.

• Legally dead- On January 5, 1939-Amelia Earhart is declared legally dead in a court in Los Angeles.

“Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail their failure must be but a challenge to others.” Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart -A true brave, original hero, and powerful inspiration to all women and all who inspire to break boundaries on the continued road of women empowerment.

Sources: Wikipedia, Upstart Business Journal and BrainyQuote

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