Everything happens for a reason. Lynn Houston is living proof.
She was a teenage runaway who’s been transformed by her myriad experiences and is now inspiring young people to see life from “a different point of view” as well.
After working as an actor, Lynn became a professional photographer covering theater, television, movies, and concerts for 13 years, interaction with such luminaries as Diana Ross, Mick Jagger, and Francis Ford Coppola. A trip to Africa caused her to shift gears, so she became a pilot and instructor for a flight school in Santa Monica, eventually achieving the rank of captain with more than 8,000 North American hours. In 2007, she joined the marketing team of the Santa Barbara Airport.
All of these experiences are culminating in her ultimate life mission: the nonprofit A Different Point of View, which she founded to mentor teens and ready them for careers in the aviation industry. Hands-on learning, self-awareness, and leadership training give these kids confidence while they learn about what opportunities exist to fly for a living. Many come from low-income families or the juvenile justice system, and the nonprofit partners with the Santa Barbara County Probation Department and Peoples’ Self Help Housing, among other organizations.
Being a runaway herself who thought her career choices were limited, Lynn felt empowered after becoming a pilot and saw the whole world open up for her. It’s that philosophy that powers A Different Point of View, whose true goal is to inspire youth to live a full and meaningful life.
Here, Lynn takes a break from the runway to answer the Proust Questionnaire.
Who do you most admire?
Anyone who has picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and started all over again. If you want names: Thanya, Lucas, Joanna, Ashley, Jenny, Rudy, Jacob, Chenoah, Eduardo, Zach, to name but a few of our students from A Different Point of View.
What do you like most about your job?
I love my job because I get to go heart-to-heart with the students we serve. They send in an application, I set up a time to meet with them and their parent/guardian, and we go from there. Once they are in the program we have opportunities to change the course of their history. What an honor and privilege to work with youth on the brink of potential greatness.
What is the most difficult or exciting project you’ve ever had?
A Different Point of View.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Besides the talent to raise $5 million dollars for A Different Point of View, I would like to be talented enough to master my electric guitar.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Joan of Arc. Not that I envision getting burned at the stake, as that kind of thing is of no interest to me whatsoever. However, Joan was a woman who believed in herself and her passion to make right the wrong in her country.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Peace on earth is what I have wished for every birthday as long as I can remember.
What is your greatest fear?
I don’t think in those terms actually. I only think in terms of possibilities.
What is your greatest extravagance?
A meal at Opal Restaurant and Bar.
What is your current state of mind?
What is the quality you most like in people?
The ability to say I love you and a sense of humor.
What is the quality you most dislike in people?
Blindness to others.
What do you most value in friends?
Their ability to make me laugh. Their ability to speak their minds in a kind and loving way. Their ability to challenge me with new ideas and points of view. Their ability and willingness to support A Different Point of View.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My laugh. I laugh like my father. I remember when my whole family went to see The Graduate when it first opened in 1967. When Dustin Hoffman goes up to get a hotel reservation for Anne Bancroft and himself, my father burst out laughing so loud that all my four sisters and I and my mother stood up and walked to the back of the theatre as we were, at that time, mortified. Now as an adult when I see that movie, I laugh at that same place…for several reasons.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Extraordinary and Awesome. I am looking for other words to replace those currently but they are pretty hard to beat.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would like to look like Sophia Loren when she was 40.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
A Different Point of View.
Where would you most like to live?
By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea — preferably a clean one with a diverse population of humans who respected each other and worked together for the betterment of themselves, their family, the community, and the world.
What is your most treasured possession?
Myself. Only thing I truly own.
Who makes you laugh the most?
When my four sisters and I get together and talk about our childhood. Our dog Luna and my wife Susan. My friend Paul as our aviation experiences together had some pretty hilarious episodes.
What is your motto?
Attitude + Power = Performance
On what occasion do you lie?
To my FAA physician when she asks me, “How much do you weigh?”