417 Squadron has a new Honorary Colonel

417 Sqn HCol Investiture Ceremony
417 Combat Support (CS) Squadron Commanding Officer, Major Alexia Hannam (right) and Incoming 417 CSS Honorary Colonel, Kendra Kincade salute for the National Anthem during the HCol Investiture Ceremony held on March 1, 2019. Photo: AB Erica Seymour, 4 Wing Imaging

Bio provided by HCol Kendra Kincade

Speaker, philanthropist, air traffic controller, there is no doubt that Global Woman of Vision award winner, winner of the NAV Canada Chairman’s Award, and Honorary Colonel, Kendra Kincade is a true inspiration, a beautiful reminder to us all that it is possible to intentionally change your life and live your dreams.

Overcoming a decidedly challenging early life which left her dejected and disillusioned, a single mother raising four children, Kendra discovered quite by accident that the pathway to her own salvation lay in helping others find theirs.

“The three things I have learned that I want to leave with you are:
1. Don’t let anyone try and stop you from doing what you believe in.
2. Find a mentor, be a mentor or volunteer.. they can all change your life,
3. Don’t let YOU stop you from doing what you want, from creating a life you love. I discovered my biggest enemy was myself, my own fears and my voice inside my head that told me I couldn’t do what I really wanted to do.”

She enthusiastically embarked upon her quest to make a difference, fundraising for worthwhile organizations, even climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for a local hospital. Soon, she was heading up her own non-profit organization, Changing Stories, and choosing her own projects such as the construction of a sports playground in El Salvador.

Her long time career as an Air Traffic Controller broadened horizons for the aspiring young woman, literally as well as figuratively, when Kendra, recognizing the negligible female presence in the industry, set out to remedy the situation with Elevate Aviation.

As a testament to their belief in Kendra, in 2018 Status of Women awarded nearly half a million dollars to Elevate to fund a three year national project which aims to empower women to secure profitable careers and to create inclusive work environments in aviation. With Kendra’s leadership, the project will initiate cultural change through collaboration with stakeholders and industry professionals to dismantle barriers that females encounter in aviation.

On March 1, 2019 Kendra’s contributions to the aviation community were ceremoniously recognized by the Royal Canadian Air Force as she was appointed Honourary Colonel of the 417 Combat Support (CS) Squadron.

On March 8, 2019 Kendra, with her team by her side, cut the ribbon for the first ever Elevate Aviation Learning Centre, based at the Edmonton international airport. The Elevate Aviation Learning Centre will devote weeks to high school students, indigenous peoples, and women, to experience an incredible week of hands on learning of aviation – To ignite passion and open a world of possibility.

Kendra’s passion for giving began with the smile she brought to a little girl’s face, through the Make A Wish Foundation, which lead to an enlistment with the Royal Alexandra Hospital foundation to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. To raise funds for the climb Kendra created a calendar profiling twelve amazing women in aviation, the genesis of Elevate Aviation.

Kendra Kincade is proof positive that when you direct your energy towards your goals, you can make miracles happen. “You just have to imagine it and go after it,” as she would assure you. “You CAN ‘elevate’ your life.”