Aviation Meta-Leadership Summit Held at Boston’s Logan Airport

Addressing the need to meet emerging threats through a “whole of airport community” approach to security, Massport—in partnership with the NPLI and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)—presented the first Aviation Security Meta-leadership Symposium on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at The Hilton Boston Logan Airport. The event brought together more than 160 leaders from federal, state and local agencies and organizations, including representatives from police, fire and emergency medical services, Airlines For America (A4A), the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles World Airports, numerous airlines, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and others.

L to r: Todd Smith (Massport), Eric McNulty (NPLI), Michele Freadman (Massport), Leonard Marcus (NPLI), Lee Kair (TSA), and Richard Serino (NPLI)

Aviation security leaders of today face rapidly evolving safety and security threats, workforce challenges, and customer service concerns. In furthering Boston Logan’s commitment to innovation and leadership in airport safety and security, Massport, in cooperation with the TSA, worked with the NPLI to create a symposium designed to foster leadership development, collaborative thinking and problem-solving, and cross-agency communication. To achieve this goal, conceptual frameworks and pragmatic tools were interwoven with Meta-leadership lessons from the field  by NPLI executive education alumni, and with interactive crisis leadership scenario sessions to foster discussion and practical application of lessons learned.

The day began with opening remarks from Ed Freni, Director of Aviation Security for Massport. For the morning session, NPLI faculty Dr. Leonard Marcus, Eric McNulty, and Richard Serino introduced the core concepts of Meta-leadership and their application to crisis preparedness, response, and recovery. Following a networking lunch, a panel discussion moderated by Serino and Marcus, engaged panelists William Evans, Commissioner of the Boston Police Department, LT. Colonel Francis P. Hughes, Deputy Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, Marcy Donnelly, Deputy Federal Security Director at Logan International Airport, and Lee Kair, Acting Chief of Mission Support at TSA gave participants real world, practical examples of Meta-leadership at work in safety and security.

The NPLI then presented three crisis leadership scenarios based on recent events and current threats to aviation security. Participants chose scenarios by table and worked through an evolving threat as a group, applying Meta-Leadership strategies and practices learned earlier in the day. This prompted lively discussions and reports of lessons learned with suggestions to enhance preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities in the face of such threats.The day culminated with participant feedback on how they envision employing Meta-leadership strategies and practices to build an even more connected and resilient airport community.

The NPLI would like to thank all of the attendees for their participation and engagement. Special gratitude extends to Massport CEO Tom Glynn, Director of Aviation Security Ed Freni and Deputy Director of Aviation Security Operations Michele Freadman for their leadership, and to their entire Massport team for all the hard work in planning and executing this event, as well as to TSA for its partnership. Also, many thanks to the staff at the Hilton Boston Logan for their professionalism and hospitality.