New ALPA Leaders Head Home and Get to Work

ALPA’s newly elected council representatives and MEC officers literally hit the ground running today as the Association’s annual Leadership Training Conference concluded in Reston, Va.

Unlike most years, the 2012 LTC concluded on March 1—the same day that almost 100 new ALPA leaders began their three-year terms of office. Even as the meeting was wrapping up, most attendees were already preparing to conduct council business once they returned home.

Speakers at the four-day conference told the reps and officers that union service can be hard, exhausting work, but pilot leaders will earn the respect of their members if they focus on planning ahead, setting realistic goals, communicating effectively, and taking full advantage of the Association’s array of resources.

“Doing ALPA work is simply common sense—the pilots you represent want you to be logical, reasonable, and always act with the awareness that you hold their and their families’ future in your hands,” counseled longtime ALPA consultant and pollster Phil Comstock.

Reps from 25 ALPA airlines in the United States and Canada learned leadership strategies aimed at building consensus and running effective meetings. On Wednesday they received a briefing on the role and function of the National Mediation Board by the NMB’s chairman, Linda Puchala, as well as updates on international relations and government affairs, a comprehensive legal briefing, and an explanation of ALPA’s strategic planning process.

Throughout the meeting, ALPA president Capt. Lee Moak stressed the importance of unity, seeing the big picture, and daring to take a new approach to union business and the pilot profession.

“If you’re just looking at your feet, I want you to lift your eyes to the horizon,” he said. “If there’s any message I want you to get out of today, it’s that we need to adapt, we need to pivot, we need to stop doing things just because it’s the way we’ve done it before.”

The leadership conference attendees, as well as the other elected status representatives who make up ALPA’s Board of Directors, will next meet as a group at the Association’s Board of Directors meeting this October.