March 24, 2021

Last year was the “year of the essential worker” due to the global COVID pandemic, according to Caleb Gibson of Textron Aviation, in an NBAA GO Leadership Summit microsession highlighting the importance of continuously developing in your career.

How do business aviation professionals stay essential to their organizations once the pandemic is better managed and life returns to something near normal?

Gibson spoke with three industry professionals, asking for the “secret sauce” to success. These professionals explained the COVID crisis highlighted the need to be flexible, have the right attitude and be prepared to share the good story of business aviation.

COVID required employees to change where and how they work, made families significantly alter normal schedules and pushed the entire industry to develop and implement new practices.

“You have to be willing to accept change,” said NBAA Senior Vice President, Government Affairs Christa Lucas. “You can’t think of things in a stovepipe fashion, especially in very trying times.”

The challenges of the last year have an upside, though. Kenneth Morris, of the Aviation Community Foundation, said the COVID-19 crisis showed us how we can come together in difficult times. Most importantly, he said , is how you approach challenges, adding, “Practice gratitude – always.”

Matthew Simmonds, of L3 Harris Technologies Inc., explained how important it is for industry professionals to advocate for business aviation as the value-add tool it is, encouraging attendees to tell the story of business aviation as an economic driver.

Lucas encouraged attendees to think about where they want to be in their careers in a few years, then consider what it takes to achieve that goal and to always be curious about the world around them.

Be receptive to feedback, Morris advised. Positively responding and adapting to feedback is critical for personal and professional development.

Finally, Simmonds emphasized the importance of networking in professional development, encouraging attendees to be active in NBAA as well as local and regional industry groups.

Review NBAA’s professional development resources.