The aviation sector is seeing an emergence of Black female talent, which is pretty telling for an industry typically dominated by white males. A young woman from the Bahamas is now the youngest to ever assume the role of manager for the region’s largest Black-owned airline.
Meet Sherrexia “Rexy” Rolle, the 29-year-old Vice President of Operations and General Counsel for Bahamas-based Western Air. The aviation company was founded by Rolle’s parents, Rex and Shandrice Rolle, in 2001, but their daughter has been successful in keeping the family firm on the path to success. The business has since expanded, thanks to Rexy, and boasts a net worth of more than $90 million, according to Face2Face Africa.
The idea for what would become the Bahama’s largest privately-owned airline came about after Rolle’s parents realized folks on certain islands were having trouble traveling as they wished, as some airlines weren’t very convenient.
” … Even though we have a very efficient government airline in the Bahamas, there were certain islands that were not being targeted for our consumers to have a convenient way to travel,” Rolle said in an interview with baucemag.com. “This is where our airline comes in and once we recognized those gaps in the market, we were able to convince our investors why our airline is needed.”
“Western Air Limited was a dream that is now a reality,” she added.
It wasn’t smoothing sailing when the company first got its start, however. Rolle said the airline had major difficulties with time management and delays, pushing her team to find what was causing the issues and how to rectify them.
“Once my team and I began fine-tuning arrival and departure times, our performance began to improve,” Rolle explained. “Our ticket sales increased also.”
Young Rolle has joined the ranks of various Black women holding senior-level positions across several industries. However, sexual harassment and discrimination are still issues plaguing women in the workplace, particularly in male-dominated spaces. But Rolle has her own way of handling it.
“The minute I sense a meeting has turned beyond the level of business, I shut it down immediately,” she said. “I learned that if you want people to take you seriously, especially in this industry where I have to constantly negotiate claims and deal with serious regulations, you must be confident in what you know and only do business with people who are focused on the mission in sealing the deal.”
According to the airline’s website, Western Air operates daily scheduled flights between Nassau, San Andros, Congo Town, Bimini, and Freeport, Grand Bahama. The company also has a charter division that offers on-demand charters across the Bahamas and Caribbean.