Go Your Own Way

Lynn Houston inspires through aviation and performance.

Lynn Houston’s ’11, ’16 (Santa Barbara, BA, MBA) path began at 17 years old when she left her home in Missouri to explore the world. She started as an actor working in both San Francisco and New York. A one-woman show brought her to Los Angeles, where Houston eventually changed paths and became a Hollywood photographer. During a photo safari in Africa, she traveled in small single-engine airplanes and fell in love with aviation. Forging yet another path, she became a pilot.

Lynn Houston

Houston began as an intern for a flight school and later became their chief pilot. She was hired as a commercial pilot for Skywest Airlines and ultimately retired as a captain. When she retired as a pilot, she decided that it was time to earn a degree.

“Antioch seemed the best fit for me as I was interested in social justice. I had a diverse professional background and needed a university that was innovative and inclusive,” says Houston, who earned her BA degree at age 57.

The credentials and skills she gained at Antioch were not only for the benefit of Houston’s future, but also for the benefit of Santa Barbara County youth. In 2011, she was inspired to found the nonprofit organization A Different Point of View (ADPOV) which uses flight lessons as a launching pad to empower marginalized youth to see the world from a new point of view.

Through aviation education, leadership, self-awareness training, and mentoring, the teens are shown a world they have never seen before. They receive private pilot flying lessons from professional instructors, interact with airline pilots, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, and other aviation-industry personnel.

“We tell them their lives matter, and the decisions they make matter, and they must learn to become captains of their own lives.”

Lynn Houston

“When I graduated from the MBA program I asked my friend Kathryn Burba ’16 (Santa Barbara, MBA), a retired Army Colonel to head our leadership program. I encouraged Jamie Dufek ’16 (Santa Barbara, MBA) to join our board. When I stepped down as CEO/ED of ADPOV last year we were fortunate to get Ali Cortes ’16 (Santa Barbara, MA in Clinical Psychology) to take over my job. She has been doing a fantastic job of moving the organization forward.”

She remarked that founding the nonprofit “has been the greatest reward of my adventurous life.” The program has inspired more than 600 young women and men, ages 14-19, throughout Santa Barbara County.

In 2018, Houston was named a Local Hero by the Santa Barbara Independent for her work with A Different Point of View.

Aviation Career Program group photo

Houston’s passion for social justice has led her to a singer/songwriter career. She’s had numerous performances at SoHo Santa Barbara where she is trying out songs from a musical she is writing, Rose Diamond & the Social Justice Junkies.

As with all of her projects, Houston aims to continue to share the lessons she discovered at a young age with others.

“I don’t care if our students at ADPOV become pilots, although I am always thrilled when they do,” says Houston. “Our first intention is to empower them, restore their belief in the ability to succeed in life, and give them the tools to make that happen.”