Wichita Aero Club
October 9, 2017

September WAC Breakfast Reminds It’s Hip to be a Square (or Circle, or Triangle…)



by Nate Franson  


Held at the Hereford House in Andover, KS, the breakfast was sponsored by and was the opening session of their annual day-long employee retreat. Attending at the invitation of the Aero Club, members of the Cessna 190/195 Owners Association who had flown more than 40 of the vintage Cessna single engine airplanes to nearby Stearman Field for their annual Fly-In, joined Aero Club members and GlobalParts employees for a breakfast buffet, meet-and-greet, and a brief update and welcome message by Aero Club President Dave Franson before being treated to Connie Podesta’s monologue on the importance of  recognizing and effectively leveraging differences in personality and preference when it comes to successfully getting along.

After teasing a 300-slide PowerPoint marathon, Podesta pivoted into her actual presentation, wherein she encouraged attendees to draw four shapes in the air – square, circle, triangle, and “squiggle” – before choosing the one with which they most identify. She then prompted each “shape-group” to stand and be recognized in turn, while offering humorous insight into basic personality traits that each group typically exhibits.

It’s impossible to do justice to Ms. Podesta’s witty repartee during this very active, audience participation segment of her engaging, hour-long opening segment but she basically stated that:  Squares tended to be “square”,  rigid, organized and straightforward. Triangles were likewise typically straightforward, driven and tending toward perfectionism. Circles were the gregarious pleasers, talkative types, while squiggles were the more wild, creative and authority-bucking mavericks. Or, at least, that’s the way Connie described them—and as it turned out, she seemed to possess an uncanny seventh sense that made it tough to argue with her!

The main thrust of such an exercise was to open up dialogue about how different personalities relate to one another and to inspire more effective collaboration between potentially disparate points of view. While such a presentation may eschew the familiar industry-focused discussion of most Aero Club speakers, it served as a welcome and important reminder that regardless of our roles and responsibilities in the aviation community, as professionals we must always seek to understand and overcome our potential differences with colleagues, collaborators, and clients. Fortunately, Podesta was able to do this all in humorous fashion and made for a highly entertaining event. (As an aside,  I couldn’t help but think how her well-supported characterizations of the various types would make for an extremely interesting Cockpit Resource Management session at the next Safety Standdown…especially when you add in her dry humorous descriptions.)

The vintage Cessna 190/195 flyers and their families and friends who made the trip to Wichita for the weekend helped balloon the crowd for the Aero Club/ Employee Retreat Breakfast to nearly 180 people. While the GlobalParts team stayed around for more of Connie Podesta’s wise  counsel, the Fly-in visitors and some of their Aero Club hosts returned to Stearman Field in Benton where the array of 60+ year old shiny Cessna single engine airplanes lined the runway for nearly half of its length. The full cantilever wing, conventional gear, radial engine aircraft were built in Wichita by Cessna from 1947 until 1954 and served as “Businessliners” and in the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard.  Several of the visitors sported military paint schemes and designations. (See pix).

The November Aero Club luncheon is currently being finalized, with details to be announced at a later date. The next scheduled event is the annual On-Air Summit, December 12, at 11:30 AM.




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