By Mzukona Mantshontsho
DARE TO DREAM is a non-profit organisation formed seven years ago by the aviation enthusiast Captain Kgomotso Phatsima with the aim of inspiring the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals, encourage STEM education awareness and equipping young people with business and entrepreneurial skills in the field of aviation.
The Women and Aviation Initiative recently spoke to one of the first female officers in the Botswana Defence Force Captain Kgomotso Phatsima about her professional journey as the founder of Dare to Dream.
Tell me about your early life, work history to date, professional development over the years, and your role today!
I have a Master of Science degree in Strategic Management from the University of Derby with a focus on aviation safety. I have nine years’ experience in military aviation. I underwent basic military flying training.
What does the role of being Founder of Dare to Dream mean to you?
I founded Dare to Dream with the aim of empowering the next generation of aviation professionals, STEM education awareness and equipping young people with business and entrepreneurial skills – it was my brainchild.
Objectives of Dare to Dream:
- To inspire and motivate the young upcoming generation to consider aviation as a career of choice when they finish secondary school,
- To set up aviation awareness camps, providing relevant information and building passion for different aerospace and aviation careers,
- To expose youth to the possible business opportunities that are not untapped in Botswana and the African aviation industry,
- To expose the girl child to non-traditional career choices as well as contribute in encouraging STEM careers,
- To set up aviation clubs in schools that youth can use to share ideas, gain knowledge and carry out aviation quiz competitions across the African continent,
- To publish an aviation magazine and documentaries of activities that youth in rural areas can use to get the latest developments in aviation and aerospace locally and globally,
- To motivate the establishment of an Aviation Research Unit in collaboration with University of Botswana, BIUST, CAAB and Ministry of Transport and Communication as well as Ministry of Youth, Sports Empowerment and Culture to provide the latest aviation research, innovation and technological advances in the field of aviation and aerospace,
- To host aviation career shows and provide a networking and internship opportunities between the youth and the business aviation community,
- To provide scholarship opportunities and career placements assistance in the aviation industry, and
- To further motivate the establishment of an aviation museum to capture the rich history of the country.
Have you had any challenges as a woman professional that you think differ from your male counterparts? How have you tackled them?
Luckily for me, the military training that I underwent prepared me for any challenges in this industry!
What advice do you have for younger professionals who are looking forward to joining the profession?
This is a profession which requires a high level of integrity, passion, commitment and discipline, and to be on top of your game with the latest aviation advancements.
What would you like to have achieved by the time you leave the company?
I would like to acquire an aircraft and fly to other parts of Africa more especially rural areas to empower the upcoming generation.
What makes you tick or keeps you awake at night with respect to your position as Founder of Dare to Dream, specifically?
Flying. …I am passionate about flying, it completes me!
How do you take part in mentoring others?
We have traversed across the country doing motivational talks, hosting events, impacting communities. As recently as last week we were in the Hub of Aviation in Botswana – Maun. This is one of the busiest airspaces of non-scheduled flights in Africa and young people wake up to the roaring sound of an engine of a flying machine every day!
If you had to relate a couple of experiences, what would be the highs and what would be the lows of your working career?
The highs would have to be when I won the Botswana Youth Awards Best Female of the Year Award 2017 for my exceptional contribution in advancing aviation and aerospace STEM education awareness in Botswana.
Are there any accolades that you have received recently or your organisation during your leadership?
Yes, I have been recently named one of the Goodwill Ambassadors of Aviation and Aerospace African Continent by Captain Judy Think Global program.
In your view, how has the firm fared in terms of achieving its non-profit making growth objectives?
We are a non-profit organisation, I am very proud the organisation has grown tremendously, we have managed to cover most parts of Botswana even to rural areas, as well as build strong partnership across the African and international aviation community.
In your view, through what means does the organisation ensure that the firm maintains elevated levels of ethics and integrity?
We have a team of young people who provide accountability in our day to day operations
In your view, is transformation considered a key objective at Dare to Dream, and if so, how is it attended to?
I am also a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Outreach program, we keep up to date with the latest aviation research and development so that our efforts are best aligned with the international aviation community.
Kindly highlight some recent contributions by you and your organisation to the community and to the relevant professions your professionals are a part of.
We are currently hosting a Pink Paper Plane Challenge for 1000 students in commemoration of the International Women in Aviation Botswana.
How do you and your organisation ensure that professionalism and good customer service are upheld?
We train the Dream Team members and keep them abreast with good customer skills.
When you not at work, what do you get up to and where can people follow you online?
I love travelling. I am Kgomotso Phatsima on Facebook and on LinkedIn.