Natalee Johnston

Natalee Johnston Safety Specialist and Retired Royal Australian Navy Helicopter Pilot

Natalee Johnston has 24 years of military experience as a qualified helicopter instructor, operations and safety leader. Natalee is passionate about safety and how an organisation’s culture and resilience can positively contribute to the welfare of all employees, their families and the community as a whole.
Natalee has been part of the Royal Australian Navy’s and the wider Defence Forces’ cultural transition from an operational and a personnel perspective. As the first female Naval helicopter pilot she understands the challenges of trying to break into an established organisational culture. Being part of a minority for her entire career, she has a personal insight into how people change to fit in and the difficulties in trying to break this evolution.

As the first woman in the RAN to return to flying duties post having children, she understands the stressors of modern life, the challenges and strain on managing time and responsibilities between work, family, friends and yourself and the guilt that can accompany it. Having sacrificed time with her children to continue on her career and gain qualifications in Accident investigation and piloting the MRH90 Maritime Support Helicopter she knows the importance of support networks and developing resilience, understanding and a sense of what can be achieved in her children.

Natalee grew up in the Western Australian Wheatbelt and is the second daughter to a farming family. Her parents struggled through with little to start with and high interest rates, moving around the locality to save before they could buy their own. They taught Natalee a key lesson that has stayed with her throughout her extensive career that is persistence and a good work ethic. The ability to not give up in the face of adversity, to use the defiers words to spur you on was something that she needed from the start of her career with her own extended family expressing negativity towards her joining the military and trying to become a pilot.

Natalee is an engaging story teller who has an ability to connect and take the audience on a journey. She tells a story of personal challenges, resilience and will compel the audience to reconsider how they communicate and think about workplace safety and culture.

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