Monday, March 01, 2010

Dealing with Downsizing

Ugh. I had this GREAT tie in for a blog entry and it's completely gone south. Forgive me for having a weak link here, won't you?, because I'm going to do it anyway.

So, as a follow on to the Women in Aviation Conference... I was on a panel regarding "Dealing with Downsizing," moderated by Girls With Wings Role Model Laurence (yes, that's a girl's name in France, where she's from).

2:50 pm - 3:40 pm Dealing with Downsizing: Laurence Bonneau - Moderator, Panel - Evelyne Tinkl, Donna Miller, Rebecca Hempel, Jenna Cohrs (Yucatan 3)

Furloughs, layoffs, downsizing…what would you do? Come and interact with outstanding women who have survived it all. Learn from their experiences, and come away a better prepared aviation professional.

No, I'm not on the listing - I was appearing in place of Jenna, who had gotten a job (yea!), representing the recently furloughed (as of January 15th - whereas some of the women had been furloughed at least a couple of years). My angle was that I spoke a lot about my furlough (by definition a temporary layoff) being an opportunity to concentrate more on developing Girls With Wings - as I blogged about previously. I frankly have been so busy in the month since my furlough that I hadn't had time to even think about being unemployed. I wrote Laurence an email the next morning saying "you owe me a night's sleep" because it wasn't til she interviewed me that I realized that I was really in fact sans paycheck. I spent all night making a list of ways to pay my bills and on top of that continue to fund GWW!

So it was interesting that in a phone conversation the next day (the implications of which will soon be announced) that someone mentioned that the fellow who started the Young Eagles program was a furloughed US Airways pilot. It turns out I could get zero confirmation of this. Even the YE office would only say it was a program started by EAA - The Experimental Aircraft Association, an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The home of OSHKOSH! or EAA Airventure, the huge airshow that takes place every year the last week of July. And, yes, GWW is going to have a booth there again this year. Please come on by - it is a blast!

So my tie in was going to be: if a program like the Young Eagles, a program designed to give children between the ages of 8 to 17 a chance to fly in a general aviation airplane free of charge can grow so large in so short a time (launched in 1992 and, by fall of 2009, has flown more than 1.5 million children in 90 countries), then I hope that GWW can see similar growth. I do support the YE program wholeheartedly and in fact give YE brochures to every girl that attends our presentations. We at GWW don't actually give the girls flights, and why would we want to compete with such a successful organization?

So, how about you? Have you participated in any Young Eagles events? As a pilot or other participant?

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