2022 Reflection

Anthony Santanastaso

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2022 Reflection
« on: December 30, 2022, 02:55:26 PM »
Dear VATUSA Members,

As we countdown the remaining hours of 2022 and ring in the new year, I wanted to express my thoughts on the previous year and provide a general preview on all the amazing things to come. While I do tend to write a lot, I wish to keep this relatively short and to the point.

VATUSA had many goals listed in the “VATUSA 2022 Initiatives” post by Mani Manigault, the former Division Director. Although many of these goals haven’t been fully completed, I am happy to report that mostly all of them have seen progress. Of note has been our continued outreach to the pilot and VA community as well as our efforts to work more collaboratively with each sub-division.

Four about seven months, the staff dynamic remained volatile as we continued to explore the dynamic of working with Regional Manager positions. In addition, as our Discord and social media communities actively grew, we experienced growing pains with how best to address a variety of concerns that arose from growing teams and the addition of a new policy. We began to fracture as the end of summer drew near and it was obvious that an adjustment to our trajectory was necessary. Once in the Division Director role, I decided to focus our attention on building a more cohesive and collaborative community that would be built upon a foundation of effective communication and transparency.

To achieve our new goals, we thought that it was necessary to reduce middle management positions. The Regional Manager position, which was by some considered to be a Super Air Traffic Manager role in charge of several sub-divisions, was no longer applicable. In its place would exist a Deputy Division Director of Air Traffic Services position that would share some of the burdens of the Division Director and work together to forge a more productive, meaningful, and efficient relationship with all the sub-division senior staff.

In addition, we saw the removal of two more HQ positions. Integrating both the Communications and TMU roles into the Deputy Division Director of Support Services was our answer to further reduce management while encouraging the use of teams. While we are in the beginnings of this transition, both roles are in the process of earning their wings and are destined to take flight in the new year. In fact, we have just finalized a group of volunteers to assist with our social media initiatives and are looking forward to some exciting new projects that include educational videos to assist both our controllers and pilots.

In November, we launched two surveys and gained some very useful insight. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some of this information with you and look forward to incorporating many of your suggestions into our future objectives. Please be on the lookout for another shorter and more focused survey sometime this summer.

Lastly, I think the most significant and substantial accomplishment of this year has been our ability to lay the groundwork for a more empathetic, sympathetic, and professional environment. Determined to reframe our mindsets and establish a better overall culture, we have begun to listen to each other, respectfully disagree, and show more compassion for our fellow member. We established our Value and Vision Statements that help to guide our decision making and conduct, and we have begun to administratively operate under the Culture of Support and Accountability.

For a detailed summary of the administrative groundwork that took place, please look at the October staff meeting presentation: https://vats.im/usa/octobermeeting.

As we enter 2023, I want you all to know how fortunate you are to be a member of this division. You are witnessing the beginning stages of an amazing journey wherein the division will work in concert with all its constituents to make VATSIM an even greater resource to aviation enthusiasts. The significance of this past year’s accomplishments cannot be adequately stated, and I promise you that it will all be vividly clear in the new year.

I challenge everyone to work together to make all our aspirations and goals become realities. Do not be deterred by the speedbumps along the way. Persevere and overcome all challenges.

To quote Winston Churchill:

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Let’s make this coming year one to remember!

I am proud of you all and will continue to be in awe of your incredible talents. Thank you for your support, friendship, and encouragement. I wish you and your families good health and happiness.

Most Sincerely,

Anthony Santanastaso

(Formatted for distribution: https://vats.im/usa/22reflection)