Mari welcomes Courtney Schoch to How to #KeepGoing. Courtney is a pilot, runner, mentor, and inspirational speaker. Driven by a turbulent past, Courtney encourages others to harness the energy of fear and doubt into meaningful action and stresses the importance of mentorship by honoring everyone’s story regardless of their circumstances. She’s also the author of the wonderful book, This Is Your Captain Speaking: Reaching for the Sky Despite a Lifetime of Abuse, Depression and Fear. In part one, Courtney shares why she believes your past shouldn’t define your future, and why she’s brutally transparent about her self-esteem issues and abusive relationships.
About Courtney Schoch: Captain Courtney Schoch’s journey is about owning her story and not letting it own her. Her mission inspires growth and discovery in others through education and stresses the importance of mentorship by honoring everyone’s story regardless of their circumstances.
As Courtney will tell you, a violent childhood in Atlanta, followed by a decision to drop out of high school, led her down a path of poor decision-making that continued for years. But, since earning her GED in 1992, Courtney has overcome some insurmountable obstacles in both her professional and personal life.
Setting the bar high, she overcame her fear of flying and became a pilot in 2002. Two years later she was certified to teach aspiring pilots how to fly and follow their passion. In 2008, Courtney began her professional airline pilot career, in an industry where fewer than 4% of pilots are women.
Within six years she earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Aeronautical Science with specializations in space operations and aerospace safety systems from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. A 2012 Women Future Leaders Scholarship award fueled her determination. In 2014, Courtney moved to Nicaragua and started a nonprofit, Runucate (run+educate), to provide educational scholarships and teach English in the local community while she continued to work as a pilot. She unexpectedly relocated full-time to the United States in May 2018 after political unrest erupted in Central America.
Although being a pilot is her profession, Courtney’s passion is her nonprofit. Through Runucate, she runs marathons globally to raise awareness and funds for organizations that fight illiteracy and provide education. A renewed focus on local communities led her to partner with and support Seeds of Literacy, in Cleveland, Ohio.
Her inspiring life story garnered national attention and she was asked to deliver the Keynote Address at ProLiteracy’s Annual Conference (2019). She received a standing ovation from more than 700 educators and Lancôme cosmetics took notice. Shortly after, Lancôme — in partnership with ProLiteracy, Redken, L’Oréal Paris, and Lancôme International Makeup Artists — invited 40 women adult learners for an amazing day of beauty (inside and out), featuring Courtney as the special guest speaker.