July 1, 2016

President’s Corner – July 2016


A New Look

This is it. The new format of COPA Flight. For many years the newsprint, yellow then white did us right. But it was time to move on and until (if) everything goes digital, this is as good as we can get.  Go ahead, give me your feedback.

Looking Back On A First Year – Lots of Changes And a New Mission

Exactly one year ago, I took the role of President and CEO of COPA. The board gave me the mandate to lead this organization and make it grow, thrive and be the pride of its members. In order to do so, all the while integrating its history and diverse membership, I had to make some changes. The first I did was to set the tone: ban the words competition and confrontation from our vocabulary and replacing them with collaboration.

It also meant getting some feedback. How is COPA perceived by our members, our sister associations, the regulator (TC), service providers and the public in general? We went out and did some work to get a sense of that perception. The verdict?  The different tone was certainly welcome but we also need to be more modern, more agile and as a national organization, be able to deal with the differences with the various needs and expectations from our members across our nation.

Among the other changes that have taken place in the months, there is the new COPA Lifetime Membership to which has seen 24 die-hard wonderful members join its cohort. I’ve also worked with Breitling who has proudly decided to partner up with us, introducing the beautiful, limited-edition Navitimer World COPA watch for which you can see an ad in the magazine. I also took some money-saving steps by moving the office out of our existing premises and doing away with the in-house publishing business.  You are holding the result of this last move in your hands right now.

I was also fortunate to meet members and Flights from almost all over the country and got some great feedback as to how they feel and what they want from their organization. All this has served as input to our Strategic Plan review, which has been going on since last fall.  And what has come out of that? The most important point may be an updated mission, which is to: “Advance, promote and protect the Canadian freedom to fly”.  I hope you can relate to that, that it resonates with you as it does with me.

Last but not least, I also set out on the task of working with a COPA believer, someone every aviator could identify with and someone that believes in our mission, someone that could be the public face of COPA. I invited Chris Hadfield not long after I came on board to discuss and a year later, the cover of the magazine speaks for itself.  Make sure you read his interview with Russ Niles in this issue.  Thank you Chris!

Looking Ahead After The First Year

After a year in the Captain’s chair and introducing some significant changes, I think I’ll keep it in cruise mode for a while. What the next year has in store for us is to get closer to the rest of the general aviation (GA) community and as I’ve stated many times, I want to get closer to all of COPA Flights.  More aviation services and, as many have asked for, this obvious change: watch out for the new web site.  All this will be part of the whole, integrated communications package – magazine, Web and e-newsletter.  All for you.  Give us your thoughts.