Women’s History Month Spotlight: Christina Brun
In honor of Women's History Month, Bristow is shining a spotlight on the women who make Bristow soar.This interview features Chief Pilot Christina Brun from our UK oil and gas operations.
Talk about your role at Bristow and what are you currently working on?
I am the chief pilot for Aberdeen and Sumburgh, and I ensure the safe management of flights operations for the bases.
What is a recent success you're particularly proud of?
I am proud of constantly meeting the challenge this role presents me with every day – it is very satisfying solving problems successfully and being in the privileged position of being able to help the younger pilots progressing through the ranks.
What in your background prepared you for this assignment?
My background in corporate account management, as well as the excellent guidance training, I have had throughout my career in Bristow have formed my management of the pilot workforce.
What are some challenges you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome them?
Before my aviation career, I was in IT, so I have always worked in male-dominated industries. When I first began my career, it never crossed my mind that sexism would be an issue. Unfortunately, a number of years ago, I encountered a male leader who made it clear he despised women and used bullying tactics against women. It was a horrid and confusing situation when he targeted me, and I wasn’t sure what I had done to warrant such unkindness. It knocked my confidence and made me reconsider my career choices. I had always been treated with equality throughout my career, so this situation took me off guard. Thankfully, I had the support of excellent training, fabulous colleagues, and other members of leadership who acted with integrity and compassion. I spoke up – I raised my concerns to the company and took advantages of resources to help me overcome the situation. Thankfully, the man has since retired.
Who inspires you (work, personal and / or historical)?
My sister is truly an inspiration to me. She is an UK National Health Service (NHS) consultant anesthetist who has worked tirelessly throughout her career treating and saving lives without a single complaint. In the last year, her grit and resilience has been highlighted, working in grueling conditions while wearing stifling PPE for long hours, day in and day out. She is an inspiration and a reminder of what we can all achieve with a positive approach and determination.
What advice do you have for women just beginning their career?
Set your goals, ignore self-doubt and follow your passion. Make a start and just keep on working away – any step forward, however small or large, will be a step closer to where you want to be. You will fail along the way, and you will meet resistance, but with a positive attitude and determination you will make it. You just will.
I had an action plan with an accompanying timeline to ensure I kept on track to meet the smaller goals, which then ensured I would reach my overall goal of becoming a professional pilot. Some weeks I had very little time to study; however, even just spending 30 minutes studying was better than nothing because it was a step in the right direction.
What is unique about your journey to your current role?
The journey to becoming a pilot is always unique. There are sacrifices to meet your ambition to becoming a pilot. I had an entirely different career as an account manager with long working hours and pressures while studying for my pilot exams. I spent evenings and weekends studying while my friends were out and about, but it wasn’t a sacrifice because I was making steps towards a career I wanted – the trade-off was worth it every step of the way.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time outdoors, cycling dog walking, gardening – Scotland is the perfect place to do these things. Most of all, I love spending time with my little boy Rafferty, who is two and a half years old and absolutely loves exploring the world.