It was a chance for adventure that made school counselor Cheri Royal decide to change careers and begin training to become a flight attendant.
Prior to this, the Siksika Nation member had been working in the social science field for most of her adult life.
“I was a school counselor, and also had my own class, ran social clubs, coached and tutored elementary and junior high students,” said Royal, a 42 year old single mother. “I have also worked with many children and families by assisting them with supports to better help themselves.”
Royal said the thought of a career change was always in the back of her mind and working for the airline industry was an enticing opportunity.
“I didn’t really consider it until now because my children are all grown up,” said Royal. “Therefore, it gave me the opportunity to pursue it with my kids’ full support. Plus, I needed a change in my life. I needed adventure!”
Royal moved to Vancouver in October of last year to begin her eight month training program and earn a Flight Attendant Diploma with the Canadian Tourism College.
She said the intense training is a compilation of many disciplines: First Aid Level 2, firefighting, self-defense, traveling with a disabled person, leadership skills and food handling, which includes how to serve food properly.
“The most exhilarating part is learning how to prepare for a crash or ditch landing. The thought of this scenario is an adrenaline rush!” said Royal. “You don’t realize the problems an FA (Flight Attendant) has to deal with in all sorts of situations. We are being trained in every area because at 38,000 feet FAs are all the passengers have for help.”
Royal said she is looking forward to the traveling and being an ambassador of the sky.
“I think we need more Natives in the air, whether it be pilots or flight attendants,” said Royal. “It’s a great industry to get into and comes with many benefits.”
Royal discussed her family background and what keeps her grounded. “I am of Blackfoot descent. I come from a close-knit family and I am very blessed to have such an amazing family,” said Royal. “I love my community and the area I grew up in. I enjoyed my time there and became very resilient because of how I was raised. Mom and dad were always traveling, and me being the youngest of five, I was always with them. My dad was a very intelligent, creative, loving, kind and humble man. He had many people that looked up to him and helped anyone in need. My mother is also very kind and gentle. If not for them and their love and support all my life, I don’t know where I’ll be. I have an older brother that I look up to now, he’s my role model my best friend. He has accomplished so much in his life and sets the bar high for me. The Siksika Nation has shaped me into who I am today. They are my people, my culture, and my identity. I enjoy Vancouver with all its’ possibilities.”
Royal will complete her training this May and is looking forward to her new career travelling the world and helping people enjoy their journey.