We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Gragg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monica, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
I’m a woman and a person of color. If I believed what people said or thought about me solely based on my gender or race, I would have never applied for the jobs I wanted or asked for what I know I deserved.
I’ve had supervisors, now friends, tell me years later that they almost didn’t hire me because they heard that Black women would be difficult or that they didn’t think a woman could handle the role.
So I learned early in my career to never let stereotypes, ignorance, or people’s words dictate my career.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Black Women Drone offers community, training, and scholarship. Our goal is to increase the number of certified pilots in the drone space and to ensure that we can fly high without having to question who we are or how we look.
The droning industry is rapidly evolving and growing, but with an extreme lack of gender and racial diversity. We started 2.5 years ago and have found roughly 50 Black women pilots which is extremely low when there are 689,331 drone pilots in the U.S. as of December 2020 and only 11,000 are women. (FAA and Women in Drones).
As you can see, we have a lot of work to do! We started a membership, launched a career guide, and had our first meet-up in July 2021. But our ongoing challenges are awareness and helping Black women feel like they belong in this industry. That’s hard when everything from business owners to thought leaders is typically white men.
Some of the key things we have learned with building a social impact is content marketing. Instagram is our best way to reach people and representation matters. Our posts featuring Black women pilots and their drone footage always has the highest reach and interactions.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I just moved from Miami to Charlotte last week so I’ll use Miami for this question.
– A drone selfie photoshoot is a must, either at the beach or a Wynwood, the best art district.
– I’m obsessed with being on the water, so I always rent a 6 passenger boat (I have to ball on a budget!) and make that a day trip.
– Casablanca on the Bay is a great seafood restaurant by my house and has a nice view of the marina. We’ll go on Wednesdays for the free oysters.
– I love dive bars! The oldest bar on South Beach is Dueces. It’s a true dive bar -cash only and you can smoke inside. I only go to South Beach when I have visitors, so we can walk down Collins and people watch while we’re there.
– Next up, we’re going to the nude beach at Haulover Park! Something about sun and skin is exhilarating.
– Wynwood is also great at night. Lot’s of food trucks, restaurants, and of course, art! We’ll start with happy hour near Wynwood walls and make our way down.
– We’ll make another trip back to South Beach for a drag show at the Palace. Come back to my apartment and chill on the day beds by the pool.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My sister, Mavis. She showed and taught me how to go after what I want.
Mavis Gragg, Monica Gragg