NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference

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NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference Continues to Pay It Forward

Feb. 7, 2018

For nearly a decade, the NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference (SDC) has included a Pay It Forward Initiative, which each year grows in reach and scope.

This year, in addition to the annual clothing drive, the event included a pre-conference Fit 4 Charity Fun Walk/Run along the shoreline that raised money for the Long Beach, CA-area charities supported by SDC2018 attendees.

“We wanted to take advantage of the fact that we’re here in beautiful, sunny Long Beach, CA,” said Jo Damato, CAM, NBAA’s senior director of educational development and strategy, and staff liaison to the Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee.

“I’m hoping that throughout all of our NBAA events, we can take into account where we’re going to be, and what kind of fitness we might be able to incorporate, to encourage people to get moving, and possibly have a charity element assigned to it,” she added.

The inaugural event was capped at 100 participants, with each paying $20 to take part. Everyone who walked or ran received a t-shirt and a medal. Though no “winner” was named, the money raised – along with the clothing donated by attendees – will benefit three charities:

  • Dress for Success – a national organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
  • Pacific Gateway – a local group that works with men and women in the Long Beach community.
  • Clothes the Deal – a non-profit organization that provides business attire to low-income individuals to “empower them to interview with dignity and confidence.”

Debbi Laux, of MedAire, who helped co-found the Pay It Forward program at SDC, said at the first clothing drive held in Savannah, GA, 70 pieces of clothing were donated. Last year, at NBAA’s SDC event in Fort Worth, TX, more than 3,000 articles of clothing were donated.

“These are people who just need a hand up in getting back in the community with a real job, and helping with the economic development of the community,” she said. “It’s an incredible feeling of giving. We can leave our mark.”

Men’s and women’s business attire will be collected at SDC2018 through Feb. 8, said Laux.

Paying It Forward Through Education

This year’s SDC Pay It Forward initiative also included, for the first time, an educational component.

Partnering with the Long Beach Unified School District, the Schedulers & Dispatchers Advisory Council planned activities on Feb. 5 and 6, prior to the opening of SDC2018. On Feb. 5, the council arranged for around-the-world pilot Shaesta Waiz to speak at a local high school, and on Feb. 6, a group of about 30 students toured the general aviation area of Long Beach Airport (LGB) to learn more about career opportunities.

“We have the most giving industry, we’re blessed to call it work,” said council member Amber Finchum, of State Farm, who planned the educational initiative. “It’s amazing what people are willing to do and to share with these students who have no idea that business aviation exists.”

Peter Davis, assistant superintendent of high schools for the school district, said, “We’re always trying to give kids work-based learning opportunities, so this is an excellent opportunity for them to learn about aviation.”