Hi lovelies, this month our new “interview series” will be career-focused and promote empowerment through our work and professional journeys.
The aim is to uplift and provide a sense of purpose, by virtue of interviewing inspiring figures who will share their stories and professional achievements with us.
Our next interview of the series is with the inspiring Sherrexcia ‘Rexy’ Rolle, VP of Operations of Western Air. The company, led by the young executive, is one of the most successful Black-owned airline companies in the world, with an estimated networth of $90 million.
Recently, the Bahamian beauty’s remarkable rise to the top of the aviation industry has been highlighted by a few notable media outlets, including a feature in the iconic Essence magazine, applauding her accomplishments as a young Black corporate leader.
Her online platforms showcase a dynamic, brilliant and creative entrepreneur who beautifully represents #BlackGirlMagic in a male-dominated industry with dignity and class.
Rexy is truly a symbol of excellence in a world that doesn’t always reflect diversity in positions of leadership and where the fight for equal opportunity is still ongoing.
Everything an inspiring Lovely Icon is about!
Hello dear, please present yourself and share a bit about your current work.
Hello everyone, I am Rexy Rolle and I’m currently VP of Operations & General Counsel at Western Air Limited, which is the largest privately owned airline in the Bahamas. We operate scheduled flights throughout the Bahamas as well as on demand charters throughout the Caribbean and Central & South America.
What inspired your journey into the business of aviation?
My parents are the leading factor for my passion and continuous journey in aviation. With my Dad being involved in aviation and pilot by trade all my life, I have early childhood memories of sitting behind the flight controls as he flew. The idea of Western Air was developed when I was 11 years old, so I literally grew up with the company (in the startup days we had aircraft parts in our dinning room! ha) and fortunately enough I was never shielded from all the work it entails, which prepared me for my position now as an Aviation Attorney and also as an Exec in the airline industy.
What was one of the most empowering experiences you’ve had in your career so far?
There are alot of moments, but one that sticks out is defending the airline in a dispute that threatened our ability to open up our Freeport Passenger Terminal. Pushing forward and standing up for the company rights, allowed us to proceed with the grand opening of the passenger terminal, which served to offer our passengers significantly better traveling experience.
As a young woman leader in a male dominated industry- what are some challenges that you face and how do you stay grounded? As a young woman, one of the challenges that I’ve experienced on multiple occassions is men (usually older gentlemen) questioning my personal knowledge of the industry in a way, they do not to my male colleagues. Recently, I was in a meeting with a Board of a government agency. After the meeting, I expressed my disappointment of one of the board’s member position on an ongoing court matter, I stated my reasoning based on industry wide precedent, regulations and the fact that the Court found in favor of our position. The room was crowded but quickly became silent as we spoke, once noticing that the conversation was on display, the gentleman seemed to get defensive and instead of arguing his reasoning and difference of opinion. He instead went on to say well “you must not know your procedures”. Not only was that incorrect, it was personal and a failed attempt to dismiss my aptitude on the subject simply because the dynamics of a younger woman, telling a much older man about an aviation procedure, isn’t always comfortable for people. We’ve come far, but we’ve got a long way to go.
What words of advice or encouragement would you have for other professional women ?
Know that you are able, qualified and needed. Be confident in whatever you do and allow your natural gifts to be seen in your work product. The work place is not always easy and there are always so many dynamics at play but be resilient and creative with solving problems by taking use of the resources around you and learn from people’s past experiences (your own or others!), thorough research, etc.
Thank you for sharing those encouraging words! What’s next on your “journey to lovely” (future goals and aspirations)?
I’d love to continue to lead the further growth and development of Western Air by continuing to streamline our operations and expanding throughout the Caribbean. We also look forward to offering flights to the US. Personally, I’d also love to eventually share another passion of mine which is music and performing.Being able to balance it all may be a challenge but I welcome it!
Thank you so much for your time! Where can we keep up with you online?
Thank you for having me! Follow me on my Instagram @rexyisland and to keep up to date and in contact with me stop by rexyrolle.com. Also, if you’re ever in the Bahamas and would love to travel to the outer islands visit westernairbahamas.com to book your next island hop!
Hope you all enjoyed this lovely exchange. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for our next interview!