Michelle MACE Curran

Tagline: Inspirational Speaker

Talent Highlights

  • The Distinguished Flying Cross: Awarded for her exceptional performance as a Thunderbird pilot and her contributions to aviation.

  • Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame: Recognized for her pioneering efforts in breaking gender barriers in aviation.

  • The National Women’s Hall of Fame: Inducted for her inspirational journey and her role in motivating women to pursue careers in aviation.

Keynote Topics

How Vulnerability Fuels Success

In a world where we’re expected to excel at hiring, team-building, and high-performance, success often comes down to our ability to take bold actions and step outside our comfort zones, and gaining a new perspective is sometimes what we need to make that happen.

Even the most seemingly unshakeable individuals have faced doubts and obstacles, and seeing that they’ve overcome them can be the catalyst for change that an audience needs.

In this 30 or 45 minute keynote, MACE takes her audience on a surprising and compelling journey through her career as a Fighter Pilot, culminating in her role as the Lead Solo Pilot for the Air Force Thunderbirds.

MACE’s transformation from struggling with fear of failure to flying inverted only inches from other aircraft at 500 mph will inspire audiences to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Drawing on over a decade in high-performance aviation, MACE teaches audiences what they are capable of when they let go of fear, lean into vulnerability, and make bold choices despite facing self-doubt and imposter syndrome.

Are you ready to take flight and overcome your fears?

Going To War With Your Inner Critic

We all feel the pressure to conform, gain approval, and meet expectations, regardless of our confidence and independence.

This pressure can make us self-critical and hinder our success.However, our inner critic can be transformed into our biggest advocate by understanding its workings and gaining a fresh perspective, thereby reducing its power.

In this workshop, MACE uses her valuable perspective on channeling her inner voice to work for her in a high performance environment to help you do the same. Participants will develop a better understanding of their inner critic and learn how to use it to tackle future goals.
Everyone Has A Callsign
Fighter pilot callsigns tend to sound at least kind of cool. However, they don’t get to choose them. They are given based on a mistake that was made as a young pilot. From that point on, they are worn on their name tags as a badge of honor.

This tradition is based on humility, in celebrating the obstacles overcome, and to shape a productive view of failure. They help create a culture where mistakes are viewed as opportunities to learn and improve and where people feel safe to fess up when they misstep.

In this workshop, MACE takes participants into the world of a fighter squadron, where admitting errors and using them as learning opportunities is the norm. Participants will develop a new perspective on past failures that they can use to grow from future ones, culminating in earning their own callsign.

Travels From:

  • Las Vegas, NV

Fee Range:

  • Fees: $20,000 - $35,000



Video 1

One such remarkable individual is Michelle Mace Curran, a former Thunderbird pilot, the only female pilot who defied all odds to excel in a traditionally male-dominated field. Her journey from a dream to reality serves as a powerful testament to the strength of determination, resilience, and passion. In the world of aviation and military excellence, […]

One such remarkable individual is Michelle Mace Curran, a former Thunderbird pilot, the only female pilot who defied all odds to excel in a traditionally male-dominated field. Her journey from a dream to reality serves as a powerful testament to the strength of determination, resilience, and passion.

In the world of aviation and military excellence, there are few individuals who break through the barriers of gender bias and rise to become symbols of inspiration.

Michelle Mace Curran’s journey towards becoming a trailblazing pilot began with a childhood fascination for aviation. Born and raised in a family with no prior military background, her interest in aircraft and flying was evident from a very young age. Growing up, she often watched aircraft fly overhead, and her heart soared along with them.

Despite the absence of a direct path towards her dream in her early years, Michelle’s determination to become a pilot only intensified as she got older. The challenges she faced as a young girl aspiring to enter a field predominantly occupied by men only fueled her ambition.

Breaking Barriers

One of the pivotal moments in Michelle Mace Curran’s life was when she decided to join the U.S. Air Force Academy, an institution that traditionally had a male majority. Her decision to enter this esteemed institution marked the beginning of her relentless journey to break the gender barrier in the world of aviation.

Michelle faced numerous hurdles during her time at the Air Force Academy. Not only did she have to cope with the demanding academic and physical training, but she also had to navigate a culture that was not entirely welcoming to women in aviation roles. However, her determination and dedication to her dream allowed her to overcome these challenges and emerge as a role model for aspiring female aviators.

Thunderbird Pilot Selection

After successfully completing her training at the Air Force Academy, Michelle Mace Curran’s career took a dramatic turn when she was selected to join the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the prestigious demonstration squadron renowned for its exceptional aerial acrobatics and precision flying.

The Thunderbirds had never had a female pilot before Michelle, making her selection a groundbreaking moment in the history of the squadron. Her inclusion in this elite team marked a significant milestone in the efforts to promote gender equality in the U.S. Air Force and the aviation industry as a whole.

The Thunderbird Experience

As a Thunderbird pilot, Michelle Mace Curran’s responsibilities were nothing short of extraordinary. The Thunderbirds are known for their incredible aerobatic displays, which require pilots to demonstrate unparalleled skill, precision, and teamwork. Michelle’s role in this high-profile team meant that she had to perform challenging maneuvers and acrobatics at high speeds and altitudes, thrilling audiences at air shows around the world.

Michelle’s presence on the Thunderbirds not only showcased her incredible talent but also sent a powerful message about the capabilities of female aviators in military roles. She quickly became an inspiration to countless young women who aspired to follow in her footsteps.

Impact on Aspiring Female Aviators

Michelle Mace Curran’s journey from aspiring young fighter pilot during her years to Thunderbird aviator in the united states air force had a profound impact on aspiring female aviators. Her story became a symbol of hope, resilience, and the limitless possibilities that await women in the field of aviation. Her achievements inspired many to pursue careers in aviation, proving that gender should never be a barrier to achieving one’s dreams.

The presence of Michelle and her success as a Thunderbird pilot encouraged the U.S. Air Force and other military branches to actively work on increasing opportunities for women in aviation and eliminating gender bias in the selection and training processes. Her legacy continues to pave the way for a more inclusive and diverse aerospace industry.

Michelle MACE Curran | Inspirational Speaker

Post-Thunderbird Career

After her tenure as a Thunderbird pilot, Michelle Mace Curran continued to contribute to the field of aviation in various capacities. Her experience as a Thunderbird pilot provided her with unique insights and expertise that she could use to benefit the industry.

She became an advocate for diversity and inclusion in aviation, often speaking at events and engaging with organizations to promote opportunities for women in aerospace. Her passion for flying and her determination to create a more welcoming environment for female aviators have left a lasting impact on the industry.

Awards and Recognition

Michelle Mace Curran’s remarkable achievements as a thunderbird lead solo and her dedication to advancing the cause of gender equality in aviation have not gone unnoticed. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her contributions, both as a pilot and as an advocate for gender diversity in the field. Some of the most notable accolades include:

The Distinguished Flying Cross: Awarded for her exceptional performance as a Thunderbird pilot and her contributions to aviation.
Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame: Recognized for her pioneering efforts in breaking gender barriers in aviation.
The National Women’s Hall of Fame: Inducted for her inspirational journey and her role in motivating women to pursue careers in aviation.

These awards serve as a testament to Michelle Mace Curran’s exceptional achievements and her significant impact on the aviation industry.

Continuing to Inspire

Even after her retirement from the Thunderbirds and active military service, Michelle Mace Curran continues to inspire and empower aspiring female aviators. She often shares her experiences and insights through speaking engagements, interviews, and mentorship programs. Her commitment to fostering an environment where women can thrive in aviation and military roles is unwavering.

Michelle’s story is not only a tale of personal triumph but also a symbol of what can be achieved when passion, dedication, and talent come together. Her journey from a young girl with a dream to a Thunderbird pilot exemplifies the idea that with the right mindset, no challenge is insurmountable.


Michelle Mace Curran’s life and career as a former Thunderbird female pilot represent an extraordinary journey of breaking through gender barriers and achieving excellence in a male-dominated field. Her achievements have not only left an indelible mark on the U.S. Air Force and the aviation industry but have also inspired countless young women to pursue their dreams in aviation.

As a pioneer, advocate, and role model, Michelle’s legacy continues to influence and shape the future of aerospace, ensuring that aspiring female aviators have a more inclusive and supportive environment in which to chase their dreams. Her story serves as a beacon of hope and a reminder that the sky is never the limit when it comes to determination, passion, and the pursuit of one’s dreams. Michelle Mace Curran will forever be remembered as a trailblazer who reshaped the skies and the lives of those who aspired to follow in her flight path.

Michelle MACE Curran’s remarkable journey as a a fighter pilot continues to inspire and empower aspiring aviators. Her enduring legacy encompasses advocacy for inclusivity and support, paving the way for future generations. As her time with the Thunderbirds concludes, Michelle now shares her wealth of experiences, imparting valuable lessons of grit, perseverance, determination, and teamwork.

Michelle has written her first book called upside down dreams

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