The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) Ambassadors Program has grown to 23 companies representing a diverse cross-section of Europe's business aviation community. EBAA communications manager Róman Kok noted the year-old program is an offshoot of the association’s efforts to engage young people in the industry.
"We saw the incredibly positive effects from our professional and ambitious young ambassadors attending One Young World and saw an opportunity to do the same with established visionary leaders within our industry," Kok said. “This is a platform for a plethora of companies within our membership to get together in a new way and work toward the betterment of the industry.”
The program is structured across three pillars of positive leadership attributes: knowledge, persuasiveness, and vision. Knowledge, Kok explained, comes from EBAA providing its expertise on topics at the forefront of industry discussions, ranging from topics like sustainability and carbon offsets to social issues and concerns about illegal charter flights.
"We help our ambassadors gain a better understanding of regulatory and social topics across all the different facets we face as an association when speaking to those outside the industry,” he explained.
To help EBAA Ambassadors be more persuasive, the association recently issued a new messaging guide to help steer their discussions with regulators and the general public across five main topics: connectivity, safety, environmental stewardship, European competitiveness, and productivity gains.
"We think these are the five most important aspects when you talk about business aviation," he said. "We provide ambassadors with arguments and proof points and we say listen, this is where you can talk in such a way."
Similarly, the visionary aspect of serving as an EBAA Ambassador involves going beyond simply finding new ways to benefit their company or enterprise. "The last pillar is to instill in these companies that they have a real responsibility not only to make a profit but to help move business aviation forward," Kok said. “We’ll give you the tools to help you along, and now it's up to you to drive those narratives."
That work is particularly important outside EBAA’s efforts to promote business aviation to international officials and regulators. "We perform this work in Brussels,” he noted, “but we need our allies on the ground, within the different EU member states, to be advocating in support of these issues in the same way."
While the program has developed very well in the Covid environment, Kok emphasized that EBAA Ambassadors will benefit from returning to EBACE, the first to be held in person for three years. Among the group’s activities during the show include an invite-only discussion where EBAA Ambassadors will have the opportunity to collaborate with their peers across the pond in EBACE co-sponsor NBAA's Leadership Council.
Such conversations are important, Kok added, to ensure that the ambassadors always present the best face forward for business aviation. "In addition to tackling issues like sustainability, we also need to communicate the value of business aviation toward anyone who will listen," he concluded. "Our industry talks to itself a lot; we must have knowledgeable, visionary leaders to help us talk outside of the industry, too."