WAI 2017 Keynote Speakers

Vernice "FlyGirl" Armour

Inspirational Speaker, Author

Known simply as “FlyGirl”, Vernice has leveraged her inspirational “Breakthrough Mentality” mindset, to propel herself from beat cop to combat pilot in a record-breaking three years and became the United States Marine Corps’ first African-American female pilot, and shortly after, she was recognized as America’s first African-American female combat pilot by the Department of Defense.

Within months of earning her wings, she found herself flying over the deserts of Iraq supporting the men and women on the ground. After serving two tours overseas, she returned home realizing that many people wanted to create breakthroughs in their own lives, they just didn’t know how.

From her experiences, she created a 7-step process called the Zero to Breakthrough™ Success Plan. She now travels extensively sharing this message through her keynotes, coaching and seminars. An honorary Doctorate of Laws was conferred on Vernice from Chancellor University in 2010. Vernice has also received awards as a pioneering pilot, to include her commanding role in STEM. She was also the first African-American woman on the Nashville Police Department's motorcycle squad.


Mark Baker

AOPA President and CEO

Mark Baker is the fifth president and chief executive officer of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. He is a long-time GA pilot. An aircraft owner, Mark enjoys flying everything from light seaplanes to turbines to helicopters, but his favorite airplane continues to be his Piper Super Cub.

A native Minnesotan, Mark earned his pilot certificate in his 20s and has logged more than 7,500 hours of flight and holds numerous ratings and certificates, including a commercial pilot certificate, single- and multi-engine seaplane ratings, rotorcraft rating, and type ratings in the Cessna Citation 500 and 525s.

An enthusiastic advocate for general aviation, weekends find Mark enjoying the company of his fellow pilots at airports and seaplane bases around the country. He believes strongly in making general aviation accessible to more people and has welcomed numerous friends and family members, including his father, son, and two sons-in-law, into the pilot community. 

Mark is also chairman of AOPA’s Political Action Committee, CEO of the AOPA Foundation, president of the International Council of AOPA representing pilots in 72 countries, and publisher of AOPA Pilot magazine.


David Bronczek

FedEx Corporation President and COO

A 40-year FedEx employee, David recently was promoted to a new role as president and COO of FedEx Corporation, effective February 1, 2017. He is now responsible for marketing, sales, and all FedEx operating companies. Previously, he spent 17 years as president and CEO of FedEx Express.  Joining FedEx in 1976, David held positions in operations and sales before being named a managing director of operations in 1983. He was named vice president and general manager of FedEx Express Canada in 1987 and senior vice president of the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region in 1993.

He is a member of the board of governors of IATA, a member of the board of directors for A4A and International Paper, and vice chairman for the board of visitors of the University of Memphis. He was appointed to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council and also serves on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Board and is a current member of Memphis Tomorrow.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, David graduated from Kent State University in 1976.


Yvonne Darlene Cagle, M.D.

Col., USAF, Space and Life Sciences Directorate

Yvonne reported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in August 1996. She completed two years of training and evaluation, and is qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist.

Initially assigned to the Astronaut Office Operations Planning Branch, supporting Shuttle and Space Station, followed by a special assignment to NASA’s Ames Research Center. Dr. Cagle is currently assigned as the lead ARC Astronaut Science Liaison and Strategic Relationships Manager for Google and other Silicon Valley Programmatic Partnerships.

Dr. Cagle’s medical training was sponsored by the Health Professions Scholarship Program, through which she received her commission as an officer with the U.S. Air Force, and subsequently was awarded her board certification in family practice. During her initial active duty tour in the UK, she was selected to attend the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. She became certified in April 1988 as a flight surgeon and logged numerous hours in a diversity of aircraft. In 2012, Dr. Cagle shared her experiences during TEDxBrussels.


Catherine Fish

CFI, GA Pilot, Professional Speaker