Challenges aren’t meant to break you, but to shape you, says Amanda Devine, manager of the Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) Product Assembly Team at NAV CANADA. Surviving, recovering and now thriving after a brain injury, Amanda draws from her own life experience to empower and support her colleagues.
“Perspective is everything,” says Amanda. “How you choose to see your challenges day to day will define your path.”
Here’s how Amanda leaves ordinary behind.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING AT NAV CANADA?
I joined NAV CANADA in September 2007 and have worked in a variety of roles. I began my career with the company as a flight dispatcher with the Flight Inspection team. I also worked with the Aeronautical Information Management (AIM) group as a data collection specialist, the AIM Planning team as a supervisor/master scheduler, the Level of Service and Aeronautical Studies team as the manager, and I am currently the manager of the AIM Product Assembly team.
Prior to joining NAV CANADA, I worked as a pilot, flight instructor and a flight dispatcher for one of Canada’s major airlines.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING TO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
The leadership part of my role is straight forward: my purpose is to be truly helpful in guiding others to discover and embrace their natural talents, abilities, and brilliance for contribution to the highest good in their current and future roles.
As for the aviation part, most people know about the air traffic control function of NAV CANADA (some have seen the movie Pushing Tin), but most people don’t know about the foundation required for all air traffic movement, which is the service AIM provides: routes, approach & departure procedures, data, etc. If they have a really puzzled look on their face, I say we “build” highways in the sky.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO WORK AT NAV CANADA?
What excites me about my role is the opportunity to help others feel heard, understood, and valued. I hold the space for my colleagues to connect to their voice, sharing their uniqueness within our little piece of the world. Some of the questions I ask myself and my team is how can we be vulnerable today so that we can set the stage for others to feel safe to contribute? How can we challenge our perspectives, blow our own beliefs wide open, grow and evolve today? And how can we create more fun, laughter and silliness so that people feel uplifted?
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU ABOUT THE CAREER PATH YOU HAVE CHOSEN?
I’m surprised at the numerous opportunities within NAV CANADA for someone with a background as a pilot. I believe we make our own success and having a growth mindset everyday leads to new opportunities.
HOW HAS COVID-19 IMPACTED YOUR WORK?
The Product Assembly team adapted incredibly quickly to this new challenge. We are learning how to fill the void of not seeing each other. I’m still developing a new sense of reading the “energy in the room” given the lack of non-verbal communication. I’m a single mom who has balanced homeschooling, leading a team, and post concussion syndrome recovery, which has been challenging, but NAV CANADA has been incredibly flexible and compassionate to my current reality.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING A CAREER AT NAV CANADA?
There are many opportunities within the company that you may not know exist. Be curious. Reach out and ask questions. NAV CANADA is a company that focuses on upholding its values, giving back, and providing a safe, effective, and efficient air navigation service that benefits every traveller flying in Canadian airspace. I like to say we provide the foundation for hugs, handshakes, and adventures. It’s why people travel, and it wouldn’t be possible without our service.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I suffered from a concussion while playing hockey November 2018, and then was diagnosed with post concussion syndrome. I was completely off work for five months, then gradually returned to work over a six month medically supervised and led plan, and now I’m re-learning how to accomplish tasks with my new reality. Meditation is a necessary skill and habit to be successful in my day. I recently completed my Yoga teacher training in Bali. Yoga and meditation are a key part in my ability to thrive in my leadership role, while being true to my well being.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?
Surviving, reframing, and now thriving after a brain injury is my biggest achievement to date. Before my concussion, I would have said past awards and success in difficult roles. But completely rebuilding from a rock bottom is absolutely my most challenging life experience. As someone who was fit and active prior to the concussion, there were physical, mental, emotional and spiritual lessons that were learned through this life experience. NAV CANADA has amazing health and disability benefits that I never thought I would need to draw on, but I’m incredibly grateful I had access to them. I know my recovery and quality of life would not be what it is today without this wellness support.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF AS YOUR CAREER PROGRESSED?
Perspective is everything. How you choose to see your challenges day to day will define your path. I draw inspiration from my favourite Wayne Dwyer quote: Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
Looking back at all my work and life challenges, I see how they were not meant to break me, but to shape me.
I’ve also learned that we all have incredible untapped power within us. I will choose vulnerability, courage, belief in myself, and take the risk. There is no such thing as failure, only more cool things to learn about myself and our world.
Leave Ordinary Behind is an ongoing series that shines a spotlight on people who have pursued unique careers at NAV CANADA.
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