Influencing positive change in communities throughout the world
Written by 2022-2023 Pilot International President
Rhona Rhea Espinoza
Excerpt taken from the 2022 Annual Convention and Leadership Conference
Pilot International's mission is to influence positive change in communities worldwide. To do this, we come together in friendship and service, focusing on encouraging brain safety and health and supporting those who care for others. This is our mission statement. This is what we do. And we do it well.
But as you know, we are at a crossroads in our organization. We must make growing our membership our priority. I realize every service organization has these challenges. If we are going to exist well into celebrating our next 100 years, we must step up and commit to growing our organization.
Therefore, my priority is challenging each of you and those unable to attend to dig deep and share their Pilot story with as many as possible. A button has been designed with a 777 and the hashtag I would ask each of you to use in your social media postings. The 777 is my challenge to all of us. To grow our Pilot membership to 7,000, our Anchor membership to 7,000, and our Compass membership to 70. That’s the 777 challenge. But I am sweetening the challenge: Every time you successfully bring in a person to join Pilot, your name will be placed in a drawing for a trip to the 2023 International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque or a $500.00 cash prize. Many of you have shared that going to the balloon fiesta is on your bucket lists. My Co-Pilot Rudy and I will take the winner to the Balloon Fiesta’s fun activities and many other beautiful sites around New Mexico. What do you think? The drawing will be held at Bellevue's 2023 Pilot International Leadership Conference.
The second priority of my service as President, and with our stellar incoming Executive Committee's assistance, is to hire an Executive Director. I will also brainstorm with our Executive Committee about the possibility of creating a position to manage operations and events instead. Or maybe it will be an executive director. I am thankful that I bring twelve years of executive director experience and fully know the depths of responsibility of an Executive Director and what it takes to serve a non-profit as an executive director where your Board President and Board are not in the office daily. A person with drive, love for our unique organization, and integrity to do the right thing when their direct report is not there to oversee them on a daily basis. Our Pilot Headquarters team has been without this type of leadership for a very long time. I will also encourage our fantastic Pilot Headquarters Team to enroll in professional development courses with incentives that are meaningful to each of them. Courses include grant writing, public speaking, fundraising for non-profits, time management, best practices in their areas of responsibility, and much more. There are many of these courses offered at the local community colleges that are free or offered for a nominal fee. This will accomplish twofold: developing our Pilot Headquarters Team into more well-rounded employees and sending a much-needed message to each of them: They are valued and appreciated for all they do in making our organization run smoothly.
Another of my priorities is creating a Marketing Pilot Taskforce from our organization's talented pool of Pilots. This priority, of course, is closely related to our membership growth challenge. How can we better market our unique organization so we aren’t the best-kept secret in service organizations? When we can show our communities the outstanding and selfless work we do through better marketing, they will want to know more about our focuses and how they can get involved. A part of this marketing Pilot priority will be using the hashtag: # Spreading Pilot Sunshine on all the Pilot related posts our clubs and districts share on social media. Also, I would like for us to continue wearing our Pilot shirts on the first Saturday of the month and with an added request that it would be to share Pilot with community members on that day purposely. We all have a unique and beautiful Pilot story. This is our testimony. How has Pilot impacted your life? If you haven’t put together your Pilot story, I challenge you to think about it and begin sharing it. And don’t forget that WE ARE THE HELMET PEOPLE. And our BrainMinders program has proven to be a very effective marketing tool.
As the Executive Director of two non-profits, I see the great opportunities for revenue development that we have not aggressively pursued. Therefore, a task force vital to revenue development and strengthening our financial future will be focused on legacy giving and pursuing grant opportunities available to non-profits such as Pilot. Many members of our organization have these skills. Please contact me if interested in serving on this vital task force. It’s the low-hanging fruit that we have not taken full advantage of. The Envision 100 program, which has proven to be highly successful, will be continued with perhaps some different focuses.
The work of the Pilot International Expansion Committee is an exciting new program that I know is going to prove to be a massive benefit to the many clubs in our district that are struggling to grow. I thank Past President Connie Moore and the Expansion Committee for a brilliant, well-thought-through program. This program will be launched this year, and we can all appreciate the significant progress they will make this year. I thank you.
In scripture, a passage states in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I want to apply this to our Pilot organization. Without a vision for Pilot, our organization will cease to exist. We must all catch the vision, embrace it, believe it, and live it. And when we do, our organization will grow and flourish.
I challenge each of us to Spread Pilot Sunshine everywhere we go, share our Pilot story, and fill social media with all the wonderful and heartfelt sunshine we are spreading. I know, I know, I know we will grow and flourish this coming year, and it will be so contagious; it will continue so we can witness our children, our children’s children, and beyond will have a Pilot story to share.
I want to thank the Pilot Club of Albuquerque for sponsoring the buttons and membership challenge cards for us. Two thousand have been purchased, and extra bags of 10 for you all to take back to your clubs and districts. I want them all to be taken back to your clubs and districts. Wear the pin as a reminder of the challenge!! And the hashtag for the year.
I wish each of you the very best. I am so honored to serve you as President. It has been a joy and blessing to get to know Rhona’s Rays of Sunshine through our monthly zoom calls this year, and we will continue to brainstorm on accomplishing the many focuses of our organization. I love you all. I look forward to working with the incoming Executive Committee and congratulate you. We have significant and vital work to do, but when a group loves Pilot like I know each of them does, it will be a light burden and a blessing. I speak for each of the newly elected Executive Team in saying thank you for entrusting us with the governance of our organization. We commit to giving our work 100 percent of our effort.
Now let’s get to work….
Now for an adaptation of the Clap, Clap, Rick Flair: Clap, Clap, Woohoo!!! Clap, Clap, Woohoo!!
Rhona Rhea Espinoza