Getting Ready to Turn a New Page My Tenure as Head of COPA Coming to an End

Sadly, for me at least, this is it. This should be my last column; my final President’s Corner. Back in the March 2020 edition I had time to reflect on some of the accomplishments from over my last five years, so I won’t dwell on them again.

It’s time to look ahead and see what’s left to do with our organization over the next years. Obviously, our mission to Advance, promote and preserve the Canadian freedom to fly is still very much the driving force and should be the focus, the reason, for each and every action we take. It’s not only the board’s job, the upcoming CEO’s job, or the job of the great team in place – it’s the job of all of you too.

COPA started its existence in the fifties to serve a handful of individuals having issues with hangars in Ottawa. We still exist to serve our community of members for their individual needs but, above all, for the communal good and the underlying mission applicable across the country. We’re witnessing more and more very individualistic people who only want their own personal takeaway from COPA. These people don’t see the bigger picture and the good of being together, the strength in numbers and the work we do that serves ALL AVIATORS of the country.

Passionate about flying? Take someone up. Share your photos, talk about your flights, go to your kids’ or grand-kids’ school for an hour and talk in front of the class with pictures, a few videos, bring a headset or two and watch the eyes light up. Not just about piloting, but all that surrounds flying and aircraft like the engineering, the science, the industry, anything. Each individual member needs to be an aviation influencer to those around. Each one needs to share the feeling of flight, spread that joy and let others know what binds us together. We are all for flight.

As I look back to my first President’s Corner in the September 2015 issue of COPA Flight, New COPA President Sets the Tone, in what was then a newspaper, my initial thoughts were to ban the words competition and confrontation from our vocabulary and replace them with collaboration. It worked well back then and still does to this day, even when we sometimes encounter some speed bumps. It’s got to stay like that.

Last but not least, I need to sincerely thank my whole COPA team, dedicated to serving you: Tanya, Jean-Claude (JC), Angela and our latest addition Lauren, who just started officially on May 4 and is getting the younger generation on board. Thank you for your confidence and support. I also need to thank our close collaborators and their teams who have made COPA the success story it is today: Magnes (Belinda) and AIG (Greg) for insurance, McMillan (Glenn) for our legal counselling and Canadian Aviator Publishing (Steve) for the magazine and our excellent weekly newsletter with unequaled readership in the industry.

As always, if you have any questions, please give me a call or write me at: bgervais@copanational.org.