2019_San Diego PL Conf_SecondaryPg_banner1636917937307929752

Keynote Speaker

Captain Courtney Schoch’s journey is about owning her story and not letting it own her. As Courtney will tell you, a violent childhood in Atlanta, followed by a decision to drop out of high school, lead 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 less 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 and support Seeds of Literacy, in Cleveland, Ohio. 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.