Wendy Sue Knecht is based in Los Angeles, USA
When Wendy became a Pan American World Airways flight attendant after graduating from college, she couldn’t wait to see the world, and it proved to be a life-changing experience. She was fortunate to have held many positions at Pan Am, including that of in-flight recruiter and trainer in Bombay, India. It was there that she met Neerja Bhanot; her heroism and grace continue to inspire her.
Her world travels also sparked her entrepreneurial spirit and gave her the inspiration for many products – a gift item made out of dolls from Guatemala, a fitness product, a line of travel bags, and a bag for hospital patients. Her communication skills developed over the years, and she sold many of these products and others on television shopping channels. She loves “invention” and once served as TV Sales Director for an inventions company.
Pan Am has an active “family” of former employees, even though the airline itself is long gone. She currently serves as V.P.Charity on the Board of Directors of the alumni charity, World Wings International. The fundraising supports over 30 charities worldwide.
She is also an enthusiastic supporter of Planeterra Foundation, a charity that connects social enterprises to the tourism marketplace by providing catalyst funding, capacity training and a market link for small businesses supporting women, youth and indigenous communities. She says that she will be honored to take a position on their US Board of Directors in the near future.
Life is never without challenges. When both her step-daughters were diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, she learnt that cancer was something you could overcome. The right treatment, the right attitude and the right support system are key. She believes in being proactive in one’s health and is an ardent advocate for patient rights.
Wendy also believes in not tolerating any injustice. Very recently, Wendy took up a fight for justice regarding her medical situation. Not only did she ensure that the doctor involved was penalised, she is now helping to enact some changes with the California Medical Board and is working with the California State Legislature to enact a law that would make disclosure of Financial Conflicts of Interest by doctors mandatory.
She wrote her memoir ‘Life, Love and a Hijacking’ about the glory days at Pan Am. She continues to write about travel and life and is a firm believer not to create limitations for either.