ZDC Hosts Wildly Successful Weekly Meetings
Friday, August 02, 2013

Each week, NATCA members at Washington Center (ZDC) get together for conversation and learning about their facility and NATCA in general. ZDC Secretary Wendy Barone is the brainchild behind these weekly meetings.

About four years ago, Barone tried to start up informational NATCA meetings, but with little success. She abandoned the idea until she became part of the executive board in 2012. Once again, she recognized the need for the meetings and now had the resources and support to put them together.

“It’s impossible to learn everything about NATCA in a few months, or even in a few years,” Barone said.

Unfortunately, no one attended the first meeting.

However, Barone was determined to make these meetings a success. She credits the executive board for continuing to encourage her, a few well-respected members for really talking up the meetings, and good old-fashioned guilt to get people to the next meeting.

At the meeting the next week, 30 members came. From there, the number of members at any given meeting varied. The biggest influence, Barone said, is the topic at the weekly meeting. At any given time, however, there are between 10-30 members at a meeting.

At first, Barone had several meeting places but has since narrowed it down to just one location. Every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., members gather at Exeter Clubhouse to discuss anything from contracts to the latest technology.

With the help of ZDC Legislative Representative Kristena Jones-Starkey, the two have planned weekly meetings through September. At the end of the year, Barone said they would reassess the meetings and determine if they should be continued biweekly or monthly.

“Kristena has really been helping me a lot, and it’s good to have someone to support you,” said Barone. “It’s good to have help and another opinion.”

Word of mouth still plays a large part in getting people to come to the meetings each week, as does signage placed around the facility. Last week, Chris Boughn was the presenter at the meeting and was thrilled at how many members came to the presentation.

“[Barone and Jones-Starkey] seriously go above and beyond to drum up people to come to these events,” he said. “I have been watching these two since they became active and am very impressed with their passion and desire to be involved.”

Not only do the meetings give the members a chance to socialize with one another and learn about NATCA, but they also provide the opportunity for the executive board to inform members about emails, check for address changes and give legislative updates.

“It’s a chance to catch everyone at once,” said Barone.

Some of the next meeting topics are: NATCA 101, Office of Worker's Compensation Programs (OWCP), and En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM).

Barone's suggestion to other members looking to start similar meetings?

“Persistence. I knew from the first time I tried it wasn’t going to be easy,” she said. “If you want to give up, don’t. Keep trying.”