Deborah Hecker originally had no intention of becoming a pilot. She graduated college with a degree in International Relations with the intention of becoming an attorney, went backpacking through the Middle East, and returned to study for her LSAT (Law School Admissions Test). On her birthday, a friend gave her a present of an airplane introductory flight, and she was hooked.
She bought a used Cessna 172 and pursued her ratings. She built up her time and got her first flying job flying automotive parts around the northeast. She later was hired by Piedmont, and eventually ended up flying for American Airlines.
Deborah performed management duties for American in addition to her flying, and worked her way up to Chief Pilot.
Deborah also has created several scholarships, all under the umbrella of Women In Aviation International (WAI). These scholarships are open to men as well as women - the only requirement is to be a member of WAI: