A community of female drone pilots and they’re pretty badass

By November 19, 2018 News

At ShotOnDJI our mission is to bring drone enthusiasts together, however, over the last couple of months we began to notice that there is a gender gap between men and women drone pilots. We began exploring ways to balance our community and bring perspectives from above from everyone. We have reached out to Women Who Drone, a startup based out of Brooklyn, NY to explore what they have been doing to support, educate and empower women and girl drone pilots around the world. Elena, the founder & CEO of Women Who Drone has agreed to help us answer some of our questions.

 

Tell us about yourself and the company and its founders, what inspired you to start Women Who Drone? How did you get introduced to drones? Why drones specifically versus other tech?

I’m Elena, Founder & CEO of Women Who Drone. I started flying drones because I wanted a fresh perspective for my video production work. What really triggered my purchase was my trip to the Great Wall of China. I knew I was going to make a video but I wasn’t sure how to capture such an immense space, so I did some research, learned more about the capabilities of drones and bought one the next day. One week later, I was hiking the Great Wall and flying my DJI Mavic Pro.

It wasn’t until October of 2017 that I realized the lack of community for women in the UAV industry. I chatted about this with my friend, Laura on our way to a rooftop BBQ to fly drones. I wanted to create a space where women could feel inspired, get educated and feel empowered to join the growing drone industry as pilots. I soon met, Heather, our Creative Director and co-founder a month later who understood my passion and felt the same way. She agreed to help build the community and the WWD brand you see today.  

Elena Women Who Drone Great Wall

Elena flying her drone at the Great Wall of China

What’s your mission and vision with with Women Who Drone? Why is Women Who Drone important to the droning community?

Women Who Drone is an online female drone pilot community that inspires, educates and empowers women and girls to join the UAV industry. We do this by providing workshops, one on one lessons, online courses and a global community of women that inspire and educate each other. We believe it is important to have a space where women can connect, educate and inspire each other in a male-dominated industry. Women have reached out to us informing us that our stories have encouraged them to buy their first drone. We believe sharing stories about people you can relate to help encourage others to try something new. We share the stories of women worldwide who are currently flying drones and how technology has changed their lives.

Where do you see yourself in 1 year? 5 years?

The greatest thing about Women Who Drone is that the drone community has embraced us and our mission. In just one year, we have managed to not only create a community with 200 members and 23k followers on Instagram with 50 brand ambassadors in 23 different countries around the world but we have also partnered with the largest visual content distributor in the world, Getty Images as well as DJI, NYC drone film festival, Interdrone, Tiffen and many other organizations. Additionally, we have been featured in Fast Company Magazine, The Verge, Drone life, DJI Creator profiles and so many more.

So, to ask where we will be in one year or even five years is hard to say because I didn’t believe we would have done all of the above in just one year. However, I can tell you what our goals for the organization. We plan to expand our drone education nationwide and work more closely with middle and high schools to introduce drone technology to young kids. Additionally, we plan to create more online courses and tools for current drone pilots looking to expand their aerial skills. Eventually, we would like to be the number one resource for women in the drone industry to learn, connect and find career opportunities within this growing industry.

How do you approach major issues that society faces with drones? (i.e. Government regulations, avoiding other aircrafts, drones, and cyberterrorism?

When it comes to training people how to fly drones, we always stress drone safety first and how important it is to understand the laws and regulations of each location you are planning to fly your drone. We approach this by creating useful information and providing resources to our students and community. Many of the women we have taught have never picked up a drone so we ensure they walk away from our workshops informed about drone safety, laws and regulations and how to find these resources online.

What are some challenges Women Who Drone face? When being a droner? As a company?

Well, as a company that was founded in Brooklyn NY, I would say our biggest challenges right now are finding the locations to teach people how to fly drones. It’s not as easy to fly and train in NYC than other locations in the states. Additionally, the weather can get pretty cold in the winter, which causes some disruption to our door lessons, which is why we are creating an online course for those that cannot travel to NYC as well as expanding lessons to new locations.

Women Who Drone Drone Flight in NYC

Flying drones in NYC

How is Women Who Drone self-sustaining in terms of financials and resources?

As a startup, it’s always tough to begin a new venture without the funding. So far, WWD has been built from our own personal funds and of course the funds we earn from our workshops and one on one lessons. Right now, we are currently crowdfunding on iFundwomen so that we can continue to grow our efforts by expanding our drone education to more women and girls as well as create online courses that we can distribute to women that are outside of Brooklyn, NY. We have been pretty lucky to receive a lot of support from various organizations including Xizmo Media, one of the top aerial drone companies in NYC who has provided the space for our workshops and DJI, who has recently provided us with the products we need to our education.

What does Women Who Drone do on a daily basis? Take us throughout a day of being a founder of Women Who Drone.

My day to day includes lots of phone calls, emails, and meetings, but it wasn’t always like that. Right now, we are busier more than ever after launching our crowdfunding campaign and partnering with several organizations. We are also getting a flood of emails from women asking when we plan to launch our workshops in their cities. We are definitely at an exciting yet overwhelming period, but we couldn’t be happier. I will teach a few times a week and on weekends and plan to travel to new locations to get more one on one lessons launched.

What are some of your current achievements?

In just one year, we have managed to become the largest online female drone pilot community and have built a community of thousands of followers worldwide. We currently have 50 Brand Ambassadors from 23 different countries and 35 different cities who inspire and encourage more women to join this growing industry. We were recently featured in Fast Company for taking female drone operation to new heights.  
We have partnered with the largest visual content distributor in the world, Getty Images to offer female drone pilots the opportunity to monetize their aerial content through our Women Who Drone Collection.
We have been featured in several publications highlighting our mission and education including, DroneLife, Fierce Mitu, DJI, Aerobo, 818 Agency, and UAV Coach. We have had women from around the world reach out to us to connect with other female drone pilots and we have had hundreds of women thank us for inspiring them to buy their first drone!

What are you currently working towards right now? 

We have just 6 days left on our Crowdfund campaign on iFundwomen, and while we are not near our ultimate goal, we are still so grateful for everyone that has contributed thus far! Your contribution will go towards our mission of expanding our drone education to more women and girls. Thank you so much in advance from us all at WWD.

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