Last month I reminded you that this is an election year for the Board of Directors in six of our nine regions. One of those regions is Alberta and Northwest Territories, my region, which means it is time for me to reflect on my time on the Board and make a decision about running again or not.
I was first elected to the Board in 2001 in a by-election to replace former Chair Ken McNeill when he retired mid-term. I had no idea what I was getting into. I only knew I wanted to contribute some of my time to helping COPA keep the private sector of general aviation viable.
In my first year on the Board I don’t think I contributed very much. It took that long for me to really get my mind around things that were going on and start to feel comfortable with the governing process. I did, however, start getting to know our COPA Flights right away and made myself available to meet with the Flights and potential Flights in my region. This helped me to get up to speed quickly on the issues and concerns of our members.
As many of you know I got involved very early with the struggle to keep the Banff and Jasper airstrips open for emergency and diversionary use. This struggle began long before I joined the Board and is still not settled. (See my December column for an update on their status). But I am please to have been able to contribute a lot of my time to this challenge and I hope I have made a difference.
In 2006 the Board elected me to the position of Chair. I was honoured to take on this job and once again faced a steep learning curve. This immersed me even more in the functioning of COPA and the Board.
One early project was to review and modernize our by-laws through the creation of a By-laws Committee and to establish a set of Board Policies. This got me up to speed pretty quickly on governance.
Then again in 2010 we did a complete review of our governance processes and made improvements that are still being implemented. Add to this the on-going job of organizing and looking after the work the Board and its committees do and I can say I have had a very fulfilling few years as Chair of the Board.
My background has been in business all my life so getting immersed in a large not-for-profit organization like COPA has been a very enlightening and rewarding experience for me. I only hope that my contribution to COPA has exceeded what I am able to take away in experience and learning.
I am telling you this because this is an election year and I want you to know there are tremendous rewards for contributing some of your time on the COPA Board. Not the least of which are the many thanks received from members who appreciate so much what we are doing to keep them flying.
Being able to work with and learn from our very dedicated staff and our exceptional President and CEO is equally rewarding. Understanding what goes on behind the scenes to service our members and keep Canadian skies open to us is truly eye-opening.
My current term on the Board is up in June and with eleven years on the Board and six years as Chair it is time for me to step aside and make room for others. The friendships, memories and experiences I take away will be treasured the rest of my life.
I thank you, our members, for giving me this opportunity to give something back to personal aviation, that I love so much.
Please give some thought to running for the COPA Board in your region. It is rewarding.
Please see page B-9 for the nomination form and more information on the upcoming election.
Meanwhile, keep your prop spinning.