Ciara Wolfe earned her driver’s license the same day she piloted her first solo flight. PHOTO COURTESY CIARA WOLFE

On the horizon

Ciara Wolfe’s surprising history with flight and her quest to help Big Sky

Ciara Wolfe is not shy in board meetings, in her career, or in life. She has never allowed herself that luxury. The way she sees it, everyone has a responsibility to live up to their full potential. People have an obligation to use their talents to better the world, to better themselves and to fully live.

“I really feel grateful for every day I’m given. I’ve had so many people invest in me in different ways – my parents, role models, bosses. I think it’s important to give as much as you can give in life. You’re not really learning, working or growing unless you’re stretching yourself to your capacity,” she said.

Ever since she was a little girl, she has viewed the possibilities of life as limitless. Even the skies were attainable. The gift of flight is a bit of a family tradition with her father being a private charter pilot and her parents owning a business at a small airport, but she chased that dream early. By 13, she was flying planes. On her 16th birthday, instead of just getting her driver’s license, she also soloed an airplane for the first time. By 17, she had her pilot’s license.

She can push herself to that uncomfortable zone – force herself to new levels of learning. In a way, ever since signing-on for flying, she has become comfortable with discomfort.

“I learned a lot at a really young age – doing well under pressure and under stress, checking things – can’t screwup, have to have everything put together. It taught me some real strong processes and ways of approaching difficult things that I have used for my entire life,” she said.

Tenacity, bravery, intelligence and honesty are all traits she admires and strives to cultivate within herself.

She is not afraid to ask questions at work, in board meetings or of herself. She listens to people, asks questions, researches, and constantly feels the pressure of preparation.

“How I look at things is the truth is kind. Not telling the truth is unkind,” she said. By asking questions, she is giving people the opportunity to tell their side of a situation “and that is the kind and respectful thing to do.”

She views the art of asking questions as a gift in her life – a gift given by one of her role models.

“To be able to ask good questions you can sometimes help bring [people] to answers themselves. It’s not about me telling people what to do, but being able to recognize and ask the good questions so people can figure out what their next steps are.”

At the end of the day, what you see is what you get with her – “good or bad; like it or not. I’m authentic to myself and I’ve always been a strong believer that you don’t talk the talk unless you walk the walk,” she said.

A skier, a water skier, and a book nerd, she is embracing those hobbies as she and her husband raise their two children. Flying is the retirement plan, she said.

Five years into life in Big Sky, Wolfe is now transitioning from her leadership role with Big Sky Community Organization to the Yellowstone Community Club Foundation.

“I am thrilled to take on this new role because I can spread my wings and make a greater impact by doing what I love to do 100% of the time. That includes strategic planning, fundraising, creating collaborations, partnerships – Trying to find out how to get stuff done and finding the people to invest in it,” she said.

Big Sky has a lot of big dreams, she explained.

“I’m thrilled to be able to work in that capacity to figure out how to make those dreams grow and not feel restricted.”

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