Who we are / Role Models & Mentors
Duke Moorosi started his career as an airline pilot and flew commercially for fifteen years before getting involved in management. He has been an executive director of airline operations, a vice president of a national airline and managing director of a regional airline. His aviation career culminated in being appointed by the South African government to the position of chairman of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), a regulatory body on aviation.
Duke sits on several boards as non-executive director and is a member of the Air Safety Panel, a body appointed by the South African government's Department of Transport that reviews all aircraft accidents and incidents. One of his recent assignments was as mentor to the SA Express Airways Pilot Cadet Programme.
Sassy N’Diaye was raised in colonial Senegal in a small rural village, and became a senior officer in International Air Transport Association (IATA) and a major force in developing African aviation. Sassy began his aviation career at ASECMA, the Central and West African Aviation Regulatory Agency, where he specialised in the group’s ATC and ATS needs. Mr. N'Diaye was invited to be the Special Assistant to the Director General of IATA for Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East in 1971 and was named IATA’s first Director for Africa and the Indian Ocean in 1977.
In the late 1980’s Sassy's responsibilities were expanded to include the Directorship of Membership Liaison. He was responsible for convincing many of the world’s largest airlines to join IATA, including Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines (now a part of Delta Airlines), US Airways (now a part of American Airlines), Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Korean Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, and Air Madagascar. In addition, he substantially expanded participation by the African airlines in IATA.
Sassy worked to enhance technical cooperation on matters involving safety, promoting the United Nations Commission on Africa in 1989 which led to the Yamoussoukro Declaration, and he was a key liaison between the FAA and Department of Transportation in the United States and African aviation officials on the Safe Skies initiatives.
Moumouni Dieguimde is currently the Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso and West African States on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). He served as Minister of Infrastructures, Road Development and Transport in the Interim Government of Burkina Faso from November 2014 to January 2015.
Moumouni started his aviation career in 1984 as a Space Controller at Air Africa, and was successively promoted to Inspector, Assistant Manager, and then Sales Manager, Public Relations and Airport operations. In January 2004 he was offered an advisory position at the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), an air traffic control agency based in Dakar, Senegal. At ASECNA, he was promoted to Head of the Bureau of External and Diplomatic Relations, and also served as the President of the Association of Expatriates, a key branch of the Central Trade Union Bureau.
In 2008, Moumouni was appointed as Director General of Civil Aviation and Meteorology of Burkina Faso. As Director General, he oversaw and qualified his country as members of the council of ICAO. During his tenure he chaired the committee in charge of relations with Canada (the host country), and the committee on cooperation and assistance between the member-states of ICAO. He has also been a member of the committee in charge of delivering ICAO's prestigious Edward Warner Award to a unique recipient in the world, once every three years.
Starting in 1981, Moumouni studied Mathematics, Physics and Technology at the National Universities of both Côte d’Ivoire and ex Upper Volta, now Burkina Faso. He moved to the United States of America, where he obtained, with highest honours (suma cum laude), two degrees: a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Airport Management from the Vaughn College of Aeronautics & Technology based at LaGuardia airport in New York, and a Masters of Art (MA) in International Relations from the City College of the City University of New York.
Paul Aussendorf has lived and worked in the United States (US) and Germany. For over 33 years, Paul worked at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Chicago; Washington DC; Frankfurt (Germany); and Seattle. The GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the US Congress. Often called the Congressional Watchdog, GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars and advises Congress and the public on important government policy. During his time at GAO, he authored more than 150 public reports on a variety of issues, including aviation and international trade and finance. He also testified before Congressional committees, spoke at numerous industry and trade conferences and received many awards from GAO. Notably, Paul developed new analytical methods to examine how U.S. airports are financed and recommended changes in federal policy that were enacted into law.
In addition, Paul has spent 15 years as a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Aviation Economics and Forecasting Committee. For the last 3 years, he has been the Committee's Chair and a member of TRB's Aviation Group Executive Board. The TRB is part of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a non-profit organization that provides independent, objective, and interdisciplinary solutions. TRB manages transportation research by producing publications and online resources. It convenes experts that help to develop solutions to problems and issues facing transportation professionals. TRB also provides advice through its policy studies that tackle complex and often controversial issues of national significance.
Stephen G. Waller is Professor in the Division of Global Health, Department of Preventive Medicine, and in the Department of Surgery, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. He has authored over 100 publications, including two books and 12 book chapters. He has given over 60 invited lectures on all six continents, and performed and taught eye surgery in 16 countries. His current global health projects include the establishment of eye banks in Tibet and Guyana and capacity building in Vietnam and Burma, and as consultant for four other international non-profit global health organizations.
The U.S. Air Force career of Colonel Waller spanned over 30 years. He served as an optometrist, flight surgeon, medical planner, ophthalmologist, and commander. As an optometrist, he prescribed glasses and contact lenses for aviators and support personnel. His duties as a flight surgeon included responsibility for the health of a squadron (about 25) pilots and their families while he was stationed in the Philippines. He deployed with his squadron to several East Asian countries, and was the physician on multiple life-saving flying missions in both airplanes and helicopters. His work as a medical planner was to bring together appropriate medical personnel and gear in forward locations to support large-scale air operations in the Middle East. As the senior ophthalmologist in the U.S. Air Force, he helped to create policies for laser refractive surgery for pilots and other U.S. Air Force personnel, so they would not require glasses to safely accomplish their duties. He performed the first such eye surgery in an Air Force hospital. He came to South Africa three times during his military career, twice as part of a disaster response course teaching team and once to speak at a worldwide military medical conference.
Gift Kgadima is a product of the Aero Club’s T&D team and was one of WOA’s first Award Winners. He demonstrates the leadership we hope to see in all our team. He has been given leadership positions at Cornerstone College where he learned to fly drones. He has been given responsibility for some of the Aero Club’s activities and was responsible for the 2017 collaboration with CSIR in organising the Wind Tunnel Tour.
Gift is a Schenk Family Award Winner, was elected Secretary of WOA in 2017, and has been awarded a bursary by WOA to help him pursue his pilot training. AASA sponsored his attendance at their Annual General Assembly in 2017. He also spent time flying drones for Air Shepherd an organization supported by the Lindbergh Foundation that uses drones to protect elephants in Africa.
Thenysia Krishna was born in Durban and spent most of her life in Benoni Johannesburg. She attended Boksburg High School from which she matriculated in 2009 with a distinction in Travel and Tourism. Ms. Krishna graduated from Standford Business and Computer Design College in Durban in 2013. She also received her cabin crew licence at Skyy Aviation in May 2013, after which she was accepted on a Learnership at CDK Learning Academy.
Thenysia’s professional career at Comair Limited began with acceptance by Comair Limited to complete a Workplace Experiential Learning assignment. In 2014, she was offered full-time employment as a Customer Services Agent. In 2015 she was appointed the Ground Staff Uniform Ambassador, and in 2016 she was promoted to a flight attendant position domiciled in Cape Town, which was her dream.
Keanu Schubert’s life-long goal of helping people has evolved from wanting to teach children, to include wanting to help adults, since she has learned about the aviation industry and how it benefits the world. She entered Comair Limited on a Customer Services Learnership where she was awarded the top student accolade.
Keanu was selected as Comair Limited’s second Wonders of Aviation prize winner, and was subsequently employed by Comair Limited on a full-time basis as a Customer Service Agent at OR Tambo International Airport.
Keanu was nominated as one of Comair's Empower Champions in 2017 where her job was to help staff navigate the new system, and to make use of it for their career path and growth at Comair. She is currently a Comair flight attendant.
Orifha Mbedzi is a great example of the power of WOA. His dream was to become a pilot and Don Schenk mentored him as best he could from 13,000 miles away.
At the end of his matric year, Orifha and Don discussed his options, one of which was to attend the University of Pretoria and study computer science or set university aside and try to find a way to become a pilot. They decided that he was being given a wonderful opportunity to attend this university, where he started last year. He has done so well that he has been invited to teach a first year computer course.
Orifha is an existing WOA mentor, and has offered to provide a leadership development course in computers to WOA.
Frans Monakisi grew up in Mamelodi dreaming of becoming a pilot. However, he has been unable to obtain the funds to begin training. Don Schenk has spent a lot of time mentoring him on what he should do and what he should know in order to make an informed decision. In the mean time he has continued to develop his skills as a poet, attend outreach events where he provides inspirational talks, and mentor award winners.
In his 8th grade Frans was selected to be a part of the the US State Department's English Access Microscholarship Program which improved his English writing skills, he also worked on its magazine called Mzansi Journal Magazine where he met his editor Sam Gibb who was my editor. It was during this period that Frans met another mentor, the author of Being Positive in a Negative World, Sy Tshabalala, who inspired him and made it possible to publish his first book of poetry, Poet in Me, a journey of love, self-discovery and awakening. He is using the profits from the sale of his book to pay for his flying lessons.