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Pro Tips

Young Professionals: Are You Management Material?

Good character and the ability to let it shine via a strong work ethic are keys to climbing the management ladder in business aviation.

“Adaptability and flexibility,” says Helen Hagg, corporate pilot and director of operations at GrandAir Aviation. “Flights are always changing. Being able to make decisions on the go and thinking of every aspect of the flight is important.”

“Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded there,” says Jeremy Valcich, C.M., ACE, IACE, director of regulatory affairs with the American Association of Airport Executives. “It’s a favorite quote, motivating you to be a well-rounded professional.

“Get out of your comfort zone,” he adds. “Relocating for a new job, working non-traditional hours, putting in extra time for an advanced degree or for industry certifications.”

“Leadership is a perishable skill that requires commitment, constant learning and improvement.”

Felipe Alfaia Director of Marketing, CRM & Customer Experience, Embraer Executive Jets

“Learn to be a leader,” advises Felipe Alfaia, director of marketing, CRM & customer experience at Embraer Executive Jets.

“Leadership is a perishable skill that requires commitment, constant learning and improvement,” he says. “You become the role model. Your behavior sets the tone for your team. Being professional, respectful and empathetic towards others is very important.

“Being a good communicator is extremely important in management – aligning a group of diverse people towards the same vision or goal,” says Alfaia.

“Organizational skills are essential,” says Valcich. “Utilize a to-do list to your advantage. Not only can you visualize what needs to be accomplished in a timely manner, you can also better prioritize your work.”

Consider mentorship. “Practice being a lifelong mentee, but don’t forget to give back and reverse roles for the younger generation,” Valcich says.

“Learning can happen anywhere or anytime, not only in a classroom,” says Alfaia. “Traditional education, online courses and research are great tools to help you stay up to date with your craft and sharpen your skills. Have a thirst for knowledge. Take the time to ask questions.”

“Gaining new certifications is a great way to keep learning,” says Hagg. “Showing initiative and asking your company to sponsor specific training shows how valuable you are.”

Other key traits: “Drive and joy,” Hagg says. “Loving your job lets you flourish and succeed. Don’t ever lose the awe or enthusiasm for aviation either. We’re in the most amazing industry in the world!”

Review NBAA’s resources for young professionals at

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