"I worked my butt off," said Markham, who also said that learning the reference codes to airports and airlines was part of the challenge in making the step from the head of human resources to the head of the airline.
Most presidents of airlines started as pilots or maintenance experts, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday. Markham's 11-year stint with Cape Air began with running the human resources department.
When she started at Cape Air, the airline had 300 employees and served fewer than 20 cities. It is now one the country's largest regional airlines and has 1,000 employees and serves 47 cities, the newspaper said.
"Once you get bit by the bug, it's really hard to leave," Markham said about the airline business.
Her promotion will help keep Cape Air's reputation as an airline that allows for in equal opportunities for women.
The management team at Cape Air is half men and half women and 11 percent of its pilots are women, three times the national average, the Globe said.
"Regardless of gender or any other factor, people get ahead who deserve it," said the airline's founder and Chief Executive Officer Dan Wolf.
Cape Air announced Feb. 14 that Markham would replace Dave Bushy, who is retiring as the airline's president. The appointment is effective March 18.