First African American Female Combat Pilot

Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour
Speaking Fee: $30,000 to $50,000

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Primary Topic Category: Inspiration / Motivation / Overcoming Obstacles

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Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour At A Glance:

Leveraging her “Breakthrough Mentality” and “Get Gutsy” mindset, Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour propelled herself from beat cop to combat pilot in a record-breaking three years and became America’s First African American Female Combat Pilot. Combat tests you. Being a beat cop tests you. Life tests you. Three brothers and being the only girl…tests you. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour has been tested her whole life. A gutsy trailblazer, her resume is an impressive collection of “firsts.” She served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine.

Combat tests you. Being a beat cop tests you. Life tests you. Three brothers and being the only girl…tests you. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour has been tested her whole life. A gutsy trailblazer, her resume is an impressive collection of “firsts” including America’s first Black woman combat pilot. She served two tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine. She was also a diversity liaison officer to the Pentagon for Headquarters Marine Corps. After her military service, FlyGirl revved up her career in the private sector as an entrepreneur, consultant to business, and author of Zero to Breakthrough, The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. As a speaker, FlyGirl unleashes hard-hitting advice and amazing anecdotes from her adventures on the battlefield and in business. She helps individuals and organizations Get Gutsy and build a sustainable inner force and conviction, that results in accomplishing significant goals.

In 2007, FlyGirl launched VAI Consulting & Training, LLC. Through that work, she helps individuals and organizations make gutsy moves and create breakthrough results by applying her “Zero to BreakthroughTM” Success Model – a mindset that helped to propel her career and kept her safe in air combat. FlyGirl regularly takes her message to premier meetings and conferences worldwide and is a Gutsy Confidence Mentor for elite senior executive Women in Tech.

As her newest business venture, in 2020 FlyGirl started FlyGirl Construction, a General Contracting Firm in the Atlanta, GA area.

As a Black gay woman and single mom, FlyGirl brings vital experience to her role as a member of the Forbes School of Business & Technology Board of Advisors and COMCAST/NBCUniversal Joint Diversity Council.

FlyGirl has two honorary doctorates and has received numerous awards as a pioneering pilot, including honors for her commanding role in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour’s story has been featured in the media including on CNN, MSNBC, The View, FOX News, Oprah Winfrey and many more, along with being a running back for the San Diego Sunfire professional women’s football team and two-time title holder of Camp Pendleton’s Strongest Warrior Competition.

She is currently working on her next book, The Gutsy Move.

  • ONE MISSION – ONE GOAL – ONE TEAM

    Gutsy Leaders create Gutsy Teams that make Gutsy Moves. Be proactive – not reactive; that’s how the best organizations create the future. It begins by summoning the courage to change tactics and align. Drawing on a distinguished career as a U.S. Marine combat helicopter pilot, Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour unloads valuable lessons learned under the most stressful of circumstances – about leadership, teamwork, resilience, communication, execution, and building a culture of unshakable trust. A compelling storyteller who commands attention – in-person or virtually, FlyGirl inspires audiences and shows them the key steps to achieving more than they ever thought possible.

    SAMPLE TAKEAWAYS
    • Create a culture of trust where everyone steps up, engages, and collaborates
    • How really knowing your people can harness skills, talents & hidden passions
    • Unleash the full potential of diversity to impact the bottom line
    • Disrupt traditional metrics of success (measure more than money)
    • How to decide when to plant and when to pivot

    TAILORED TO THESE THEMES: Leadership, Teamwork, Execution, Inspiration, Creating High Performing Culture, Improving Trust, Diversity, Accountability
  • GET GUTSY – HARNESS A BREAKTHROUGH MINDSET

    How you respond to personal and professional obstacles, adversity, and disappointment is a choice. It also determines your future. Black, gay, and a child of divorce, Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour learned this early. Her incredible journey – from police department to the Marines and becoming America’s first Black female combat pilot – was filled with challenges, adventures, successes, and ultimate triumph. She translates those lessons for audiences, drawing from her book Zero to Breakthrough - The 7-Step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. FlyGirl is a force who will rock the house! Her energy, enthusiasm, and positivity inspire people to Get Gutsy and reimagine what’s possible.

    SAMPLE TAKEAWAYS
    • 7 steps shatter limiting beliefs, unleashing personal and professional breakthroughs
    • Swap a defeating “Zero Mentality” with a winning “Breakthrough Mentality”
    • Delay is not Denial, and to Retreat does not mean Defeat
    • Tactics to ignite your passion and design the path to your dreams

    TAILORED TO THESE THEMES: Inspiration, Positivity, Resilience, Motivation, Achieving Big Goals, Overcoming Obstacles
  • WHO NEEDS A RUNWAY? TAKE OFF FROM WHERE YOU ARE

    Helicopter pilots can spring into action from where they are. They don’t need a runway. Being nimble gives them an incredible edge in battle. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour thinks this metaphor is perfect for uncertain times where speed and agility are survival skills. FlyGirl not only fires up an audience – in-person and virtually – with her energy and memorable stories, she punctuates hard-learned lessons with tactics that can be used to quickly adapt to the forces of change impacting your organization. This presentation is perfect for audiences navigating uncertainty, new regulations, unparalleled market forces, or looking to accomplish audacious goals. Give your group the necessary boost to come together as a team and innovate quickly and confidently.

    SAMPLE TAKEAWAYS
    • Recognize and take decisive action to capitalize on a defining digital moment
    • The situation is never perfect – gain momentum from where you are
    • Decide, Commit, Execute
    • Recognize and harness the skills and talents of everyone around you
    • Create a “Zero to Breakthrough” culture

    TAILORED TO THESE THEMES: Change, Inspiration, Overcoming Adversity, Innovation
  • A NEW CONVERSATION: ACTIVELY TRANSFORMING A COMPANY, CULTURE AND COUNTRY

    This isn’t about politics; this is about being proactive. This is about coming together and deciding what we can do as an organization to create an equitable culture for employees, stakeholders, and customers that serves all involved. Where ALL can feel like they belong. Where all feel like they are part of the team. This is about establishing rules of engagement for civil, productive conversations that find solutions, not fault. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour was a diversity officer for U.S. Marine Corps HQ and liaison to the Pentagon. As a gay, Black woman she brought valuable personal experience to her work, driving diversity policy for a 200,000 personnel organization. When you bring people together, you will have differences and similarities that result in tension and complexities...THIS IS NORMAL! How you MANAGE diversity is the key!

    SAMPLE TAKEAWAYS
    • Why it’s time to turn THE Conversation into a NEW Conversation
    • Ways to face uncomfortable issues without playing ostrich
    • How to prevent a counter-productive herd mentality
    • Set an example of civility and motivate people to respond in kind
    • Create a culture that values and respects all team members

    TAILORED TO THESE THEMES: Belonging, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Organizational Culture, Teamwork
As the first African American female combat pilot in U.S. history, I am certain your journey has not been an easy one. I am also certain that your presentation will influence VA employees because it speaks to a commitment to succeed. Your focus, your passion, your purpose, and your positive attitude are the necessary tools to handle obstacles and help you overcome any barriers. Your message will inspire all to do his or her personal best.

— Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs

It was a pleasure working with you on this event. Your professionalism and desire to deliver an outstanding presentation made a tremendous difference in the overall quality of our event. I would highly recommend you as a speaker for other organizations, particularly those who want to provide a 'real life' example of leadership in action.

— Director, Education & Program Development, Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT)

The audience was absorbed by your stories of grit, determination and your lessons learned; you clearly connected with every individual as I could see how engaged people were...thank you for demonstrating that we can make dreams happen and seize the joy that awaits us in this life adventure.

— Managing Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Americas, UBS Investment Bank

We have worked with many speakers over the years, and Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour is among the absolute best. She was more than efficient and capable, and truly exceeded our expectations, from the pre-event prep call, until she walked off the stage into an audience of freshly motivated and energized employees. She absorbed and addressed their challenges and concerns as if they were her own, and expertly incorporated an impressive command of our internal language, culture, and objectives. All while infusing bits of humor and contagious energy. She's on top of her game and industry trends and understands our current corporate climate as it parallels with leadership strategies. Her step-by-step breakthrough mentality model is relatable, and what is more, executable. And we're off to the races getting gutsy because of her. She gave my team permission to engage, and I'm excited and braced for a no limits 2018.

— Group Vice President, Evanta, a Gartner Company

Your energy and message started the event off on such a high note, and we are so grateful for that! The attendees felt so empowered and motivated after listening to your story—they definitely feel gutsy now!

— Stanford Women in Business (VIRTUAL EVENT)

You have been beyond an inspiration! You are so engaging, motivational, unique, and powerful. We all felt your energy through the screen.

— Iron Mountain (VIRTUAL EVENT)

You are engaging, thoughtful, funny and genuine. Immediately following our virtual session focused on how to actively transform a company, culture and country; C-level executives were raving about how they felt engaged the entire time and felt like they walked away with specific actionable items. The level of passion and customization of your message targeting their specific challenges and leadership level, were a pleasant surprise for many.

— Senior Program Manager, Evanta (VIRTUAL EVENT)

I can’t thank you enough for joining our Senior Leadership Forum and sharing your incredible energy with us! When I reflect on your messages – and there were so many great ones – what really stood out for me – especially given the past year – is ‘Acknowledge the obstacles - do not give them power.’ Pause, be curious and have the courage to overcome those obstacles, without letting them overtake you. It’s a clear, simple and relevant call to action as we continue to live in uncertain times. I was also impressed by your authenticity; despite being online, you created an experience that connected us all --- and left us inspired and motivated.

— EVP & Chief People Officer, Element Fleet Management (VIRTUAL EVENT)

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