Entrepreneur Leontyne Anglin has never forgotten her grandmother’s advice


Tell us about yourself and your background

You know… there is this invisible population of highly talented seasoned professionals who are quietly in the midst of career transition.

Years away from retirement, they’re silently watching their savings and 401ks dwindle. They’re plowing through long days of relentless online applications and enduring unreturned replies from prospective employers.

Some muster up the courage to reach out to their networks just one more time — praying for just one person to help open just one door so they can get their lives back on track.

Others have accepted the fact that they may never get hired ever again and are totally overwhelmed trying to figure out how the heck to get a new business off the ground.

I’m starting here because that’s the exact population I was targeting when I was introduced to drones.

How did you get started in the drone industry?

Throughout my 16+ year career as a corporate executive and another 10 years in nonprofit management, I had always had my own business on the side. It was my ‘self-imposed exit strategy’ in case the company or organization ever decided to go in a new direction and pull the rug from under my feet.

The seed of entrepreneurship was planted early. I still vividly recall my grandmother asking me at 9 years old what I wanted to be when I grew up and I responded a teacher just like my mother. She said, “that’s fine Leontyne but what about opening YOUR OWN SCHOOL?” Those words stayed with me my entire life. I didn’t only have to work for someone. I could own and run it myself.

I started my first business as a 19-year old college student – in network marketing. While most of my friends were spending spring breaks on the beach, I was travelling to different arenas standing in ridiculously long lines to hear millionaires talk about residual income, strategies for securing repeat business, and surefire prospecting techniques to recruit complete strangers to your team.

The day did ultimately come when the organization I was with decided to head in a new direction.

The Media Production & Design firm (Staging Executives) that I started and had been running part-time suddenly had to pay the bills. To stay relevant and land new clients in a highly competitive media space, I knew it was time to learn something completely new.

Drones changed the game and helped chart a whole new course for the next chapter of my life.

Tell us about your organization and your role there.

Staging Executives LLC is a team of multimedia professionals with varied backgrounds in different aspects of film and television production. I started the company was created with one purpose in mind — to help small business owners and entrepreneurs leverage media to get their shows on the air and businesses on the map.

I provide consultation to public and private sector clients seeking to increase their online visibility through commercial television broadcasts, interactive digital media, and live video streaming. When aerial footage is needed for a segment or promotional video, I recruit a team and serve as Pilot In Command for drone flight operations.

As an Executive Producer for public broadcasting network in Princeton, I also host and produce a show “In the C-Suite” that features C-level executives and business leaders who share tips, tools, and resources for professionals looking to “start up or scale up” their businesses. Shows air nationally on Comcast, Verizon, Roku and Apple TV broadening our reach to a diverse audience across the globe.

As an FAA Certified UAV Remote Pilot, I’ve created a new segment and workshop entitled “Switching Gears” to share information on getting started in the rapidly growing drone industry and uncover other viable opportunities that may exist.

It’s been an ideal way to provide real tangible information to people in real need — where every day without answers can feel like an eternity.

Industry Experience

What do you like most about being in the UAV industry?

What I like most about the UAV industry is the many doors of entry into the field. As I thought about which direction I wanted to take after receiving my certification, it really began to unfold naturally to just integrate what I had learned about the process into my existing role as a consultant.

Since entering into this new field, I have crossed paths with some of the most interesting, energetic, and innovative people that I have ever met!

From entrepreneurs blazing new trails on missions around the world … to instructors helping people ace the FAA Part 107 aeronautical exam … to entrepreneurs getting in on the sports side of drone racing … and commercial pilots that want to collaborate on new initiatives centered around Aviation.

I learned that there’s so much more than just flying drones to capture beautiful aerial images.

The space is vast and incorporates several other related industries. Business Insider mentioned that the drone market is expected to be worth between $50-$100 billion by 2020.

If you think about it … someone has to build, sell, repair and code drones to get them in the air. From engineering, manufacturing, programming and training to disaster recovery and military ops, they all represent viable opportunities for anyone in pursuit of new challenges.

What’s your favorite type of project and why?

One additional project that I’m excited about is for an awesome nonprofit organization which I help lead (Beyond Expectations, Inc. ). We’re looking to grow our STEAM education programs for middle and high school students by incorporating drone technology and introducing them to future career and business opportunities in Aviation.

We’re in the midst of collaboration with a great team of local fixed wing pilots through the Civil Air Patrol, and future sights ahead with ASGI, a consortium of UAS pilots across the US and Caribbean who focus on Training, Education, and Deployment of aerial systems technology.

What excites you most about the potential for women in the industry?

I came across this statistic reading a Women and Drones article.  “Since the enactment of the small drone rule in August 2016, more than 100,000 people have obtained the FAA Remote Pilot Airman Certificate to fly commercially and for recreation. At the end of 2018, just 6,188 (5.8%) of those certifications are held by women.”

Back when I was in corporate america, I worked on the trading floor knee deep is swaps, derivatives and foreign exchange transactions. It’s no surprise that all these years later I would venture again without hesitation into professional territory with mostly men.

l see the minimal representation as a challenge for women at any stage of their lives to consider the realm of possibilities in a space that is so wide open — prepared to hit the ground running and embrace the excitement of something completely new!

What’s your current favorite drone to fly? 

My favorite drone right now is the one I learned how to fly first — my DJI Phantom 4 Advanced — which I’ve used primarily for my business capturing aerial video and photography. As I continue to pursue additional interests of insurance inspections, real estate and thermography, I’m eager to come up the learning curve on new equipment.

What You’ve Learned

What has been your most significant “lightbulb” moment since you entered the industry?

I’ve learned that life sometimes brings you back full circle.

Very early in my career, I worked a second part-time job at Trans World Airlines (TWA) at JFK International Airport in New York. It was one of the most challenging, fast-paced jobs you could ever imagine. I was completely fascinated by the complexity of airline operations … the unbelievable synchronized teamwork required to get just one flight off the ground for an “on-time” departure … and the entire team effort required to safely navigate thousands of flights in the air on a daily basis.

I didn’t think that I would have a career in Aviation long term but it’s been great to get back to the excitement of working as part of a team of ‘people who fly’ that few ever get a chance to experience.

Is there a tip you learned you would like to share with other women in the industry?

I have 3 Quick Tips:

  1. Reach out to other professionals — men and women — for guidance and support. For anyone who makes the decision to venture down this new path, don’t feel the need to ‘fly solo’ and go it alone.
  2. Leverage LinkedIn. Particularly if you don’t have a circle of people to forge connections with in the region where you live. That’s where I make the majority of my professional connections and most people are willing and eager to lend a hand.
  3. Seek out information from professional associations including Women and Drones and tap into the wealth of resources the different organizations have to offer.

The Final Word

Is there anything else you would like to share with the Women and Drones Community?

Sometimes the issues facing us everyday can be daunting and feel overwhelming.

I’m just one person but it’s been nice to simply share what I’ve learned to help professionals who may be suffering in silence as well as a new generation of young talent to take advantage of the massive growth in the drone industry.