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OWAA Board of Directors Winter Meeting

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President Tony Dolle called the meeting to order at 8:57 a.m.

Secretary Katie McKalip called the roll. Present were Dolle, Mike Walker, Bill Graham, McKalip, Lisa Densmore, Mary Nickum, Jason Jenkins, Matt Miller, Ty Stockton, Mark Freeman, Brett Prettyman, Paul Queneau, Bill Powell, Robin Giner and Jessica Pollett. Kris Thoemke joined the meeting via conference call to discuss matters relating to finance and budget. Bill Hilts Jr. was absent. John Nickum attended as an observer.

Moved (Graham/seconded Densmore) to excuse Hilts and Thoemke. Motion passed.

Moved (McKalip/Jenkins) to approve actions by the executive committee and the board since the last meeting. Motion passed.

Moved (McKalip/Queneau) to approve the June board meeting minutes as published with the correction that the record of the approval of the minutes for the prior meeting reads as follows:
“Moved (Smith/Taylor) to approve the minutes of the previous Board meeting as published.”
Motion passed.

Dolle briefly reviewed the agenda and stressed the need for efficiency during the day’s proceedings. He emphasized the need for follow-through by board members regarding activities in support of OWAA. He stated the necessity of increased transparency to the membership concerning board actions.

Giner presented the executive director’s report, which covered work undertaken by headquarters staff in recent months. She spotlighted partnerships being developed by headquarters and Dolle that should help raise the OWAA’s profile. She closed with a summary of goals for 2011: Sell the condo, expand Goldenrod and educational opportunities for members, balance the budget while sustaining member benefits, and grantwriting and development activities by headquarters.

Giner followed her report with an update of the condo sale.

STANDING COMMITTEES

Board Nominating — Walker summarized the state of the slate of candidates. Seven have been formally nominated. Densmore suggested that future nominees be solicited by methods such as headquarters surveys and that unelected nominees from one year be asked to run the following year.

Conference Program — Taylor reported good progress on the conference program and complimented the efforts of Conference Planner Pollett and Local Chair Prettyman. He cited solid support from Salt Lake City and Snowbird. He mentioned the gorgeous setting and attractive Western location. He pointed to the challenges of fitting the traditional conference program into the new, shorter, three-day format. The slate of sessions is coming together and has a strong focus on hands-on workshops. Breakout Day’s name is being changed to “Demo Day,” and the event will emphasize member participation and opportunities to try out equipment and gear. The shooting range is a top-rate facility that will be open to exclusive use by OWAA members on the day of the event. Prettyman lauded the support of local staff members and proposed a format for pre/ post trips whereby supporters would “sponsor” an already-established trip. Taylor added that a new conference event, a roundtable lunch, will offer informal opportunities for attendees to learn about current events from lunch participants. Various board members expressed support of this activity. Prettyman proposed that headquarters make a point of sharing with the membership articles that result from annual conferences.

Contests — Freeman cited an “interesting” experience chairing this committee. While many agreed to serve as contest judges, other members remain angry about the contest restructuring. Giner stated that numbers of entries are only a third of typical numbers at this point in the year. Prettyman described a frustrating and ultimately unsuccessful initial experience attempting to submit his contest entries; he thanked Giner for extending the deadline in response to member difficulties. Giner responded that headquarters is trying to acknowledge problems and accommodate members’ submissions by whatever means possible. Taylor replied that an ad hoc committee to address members’ concerns has been convened and will work to implement changes to the revised contest rules. Freeman compared the EIC contests to the print OU: Contests are the primary means for a subset of members to connect specifically with the OWAA; their interests should be considered. Dolle affirmed that necessary changes would be made.

Officer Nominating — McKalip reported that candidates for treasurer are being sought, as well as candidates for third vice president (in consideration of the fact that the membership could vote to eliminate this office in May).

AD HOC COMMITTEES

EIC Rules Revision — Dolle reported that copious comments were submitted by members regarding this committee. Additional members’ input and involvement would be sought in the months to come.

Marketing — Dolle solicited comments on John Beath’s proposal for a “citizen journalist” membership category. Board members weighed in with opinions on the pros and cons. Miller re-emphasized the need for an OWAA strategic plan to help answer questions like this that relate to the shape of the OWAA membership; we must define who we want our membership to be. Taylor feels that the OWAA should do a better job of reaching these potential members through the alreadyestablished associate member category. Dolle commented on the growing force that is new media and our obligation as a communicators’ group to utilize this community.

Member Recruitment — Densmore reported that the committee fell short of its goal of 150 new members (70 new members joined OWAA). Board members who did outreach to lapsed members met with some success in recruiting renewals. Freeman suggested that outreach calls be scheduled for late November instead of during the summer. Graham wondered if a renewal deadline scheduled for a less-hectic time of year might facilitate increased renewals. Queneau suggested that we continue this approach in future years. Giner proposed embarking on a renewal drive, following headquarters’ traditional purging of its member files in April, and leading up to the annual conference in July. Giner mentioned a conversation with a supporter during which he expressed his disappointment that members fail to forward clips in which they mention supporters’ products. Giner suggested designating a supporter to be a liaison between other supporters and individual members.

(Dolle called for a lunch break at noon. He called the meeting back to order at 1:04 p.m.)

Goldenrod Writing Workshop — Densmore offered a glowing report of 2010’s inaugural Goldenrod workshop. “I can’t say enough about what a positive experience it was,” she said. Support from instructors and headquarters staff and participation by attendees was superb. Giner reported that the event turned a modest profit ($1,237). Densmore recommended repeating the event in subsequent years, keeping the classes small and the timeframe the same. She inquired about the possibility of accrediting the event; Giner confirmed that Pollett and her intern are investigating this. July 31-Aug. 6 are being considered as dates for the 2011 event.

Moved (Queneau/Miller) to continue Goldenrod for another year. Freeman praised Densmore, her committee and headquarters staff for their hard work and a successful event. Motion passed.

Finance — Thoemke joined the meeting via conference call to deliver his treasurer’s report and present the 2011 budget. Board discussion followed, and questions were asked about details in the draft budget.

Moved (Graham/Nickum) to approve the budget as published. Motion passed.

Thoemke outlined details of the headquarters building loan and board-approved plan to allocate profits from the expected sale of the OWAA property. He also stated that the OWAA does not have the luxury of unlimited time to devise a plan for addressing these deficiencies. He advised that a hard look be taken at the OWAA’s member benefits and how those benefits meet the needs of members as a means of charting a path toward future actions.

Graham asked Powell about the board motion to allocate building-sale profits to a trusteecontrolled fund: Are we locked into this plan, or can we deviate from our previous course of action? Powell replied that any changes to the motion passed last summer should be made in a revised motion before the sale of the property occurs. Densmore wondered why we would not choose to reinvest the profits into a new property to build equity and avoid paying rent. Walker advised against future investment in a condostyle property like the current building. Dolle reminded the board that, upon sale of the headquarters property, a plan for the profits must be in place.

Thoemke responded that the board could decide to reinvest them in another office space or reinvest elsewhere for a higher rate of return that could be obtained via property investment. Powell mentioned the option of replacing the motion passed last June with one stating that the board could retrieve a certain percentage of the fund following a majority vote; retrieval of anything past that percentage would require a super majority.

Freeman suggested changing the name of the fund from “Building Fund” to “Real Estate Fund” to enable greater flexibility for future use of these monies.

Moved (Densmore/Freeman) to replace the motion passed at the June 9, 2010, board meeting pertaining to application of proceeds of the sale of the present headquarters with the following:
“The net proceeds of the sale of OWAA’s headquarters condominium shall be placed with the endowment trustees in a segregated fund to be known as the OWAA Real Estate Fund, to be invested in accordance with instructions from this board or, in the absence of such instructions, in accordance with the trustees’ current investment policy applicable to funds established under paragraph 13.8 of the bylaws. The OWAA board, by majority vote, may withdraw funds annually from the Real Estate Fund to meet expenses of a headquarters for OWAA or other purposes not more than 5 percent of the fund total as of Jan. 1 of that year and by a three-quarters majority may withdraw up to 8 percent of such fund total for such purposes or all of the fund for the purpose of purchasing real estate.”

Discussion followed. Jenkins asked if the monies withdrawn could include principal as well as interest; Densmore acknowledge that principal could be included but that the long-term possibility of “chipping away” at this fund’s principal is unlikely. Taylor asked why the 8-percent figure was specified in the motion; Densmore responded that this figure was chosen exactly to avoid diminished principal. The suggestion was made to include in the motion the condition that, by a unanimous vote, the board could elect to remove the monies in their entirety to be used for a purpose other than purchase of property.

Moved (Densmore/Freeman) to amend Desmore’s motion as follows:
“The net proceeds of the sale of OWAA’s headquarters condominium shall be placed with the endowment trustees in a segregated fund to be known as the OWAA Real Estate Fund, to be invested in accordance with instructions from this board or, in the absence of such instructions, in accordance with the trustees’ current investment policy applicable to funds established under paragraph 13.8 of the bylaws. The OWAA board, by majority vote, may withdraw funds annually from the Real Estate Fund to meet expenses of a headquarters for OWAA or other purposes not more than 5 percent of the fund total as of Jan. 1 of that year and by a three-quarters majority may withdraw up to 8 percent of such fund total for such purposes or all of the fund for the purpose of purchasing real estate. In addition, all of the Real Estate Fund may be withdrawn from the endowment trust by a unanimous vote of the OWAA board.”
Motion passed.

OLD BUSINESS

Internet/Blogger Category for Membership — Dolle will convene a working group to research this option and will report back to the full board at a later date.

Supporting Group Classification — Dolle and Walker will survey supporters regarding their views on the topic and report to board in July the results of their outreach. Graham provided his perspective on the history of this nomenclature and voiced the necessity of retaining the current structure.

Youth Writing Workshop — Densmore reported on this endeavor, which was spearheaded by herself and former board member Jim Smith and followed a conversation that took place at the 2010 Rochester, Minn., conference. The workshop, which will be patterned after the OWAA’s Becoming an Outdoor Communicator event, will take place on Feb. 26, 2011. It will be a half-day program to serve as a pilot program for an anticipated future series of similar workshops designed to foster the next generation of outdoor communicators. Giner mentioned that the Safari Club International had expressed interest in potentially supporting future such events.

NEW BUSINESS

Change the requirement of committee chairs and members to be approved by board vote — Dolle opined that, with certain exceptions stipulated in the bylaws, the OWAA president should have the prerogative to approve committees and members without consulting with and obtaining approval of the full board.

Moved (Freeman/Taylor) to adopt revised language as follows:
“The OWAA Board of Directors, by vote on Jan. 15, 2011, proposes the following changes to the OWAA Bylaws, for the purposes of clarifying some language pertaining to committees and eliminating the need for Board approval of the committee members and chairs selected by action of the President, except that Board approval will still be required for the President’s selections for members and chair for the Board Nominating Committee and for members of the Finance Committee.”
[See page 20 for proposed bylaws changes.]
Powell stressed that not subject to this change would be the Board Nominating Committee and the Finance Committee.
Motion passed.

Reauthorize the payment of interest only on the Restricted Endowment/Building Loan.

Moved (Densmore/Stockton):
The interest rate for the money “borrowed” from the trustees would be prime plus 1 percent, never to go higher than 5 percent nor lower than 1.5 percent. The rate would be reviewed, but not necessarily adjusted by the endowment trustees, annually on the anniversary date of the original loan. “Prime” will be determined by the bank where the OWAA holds its accounts.
Motion passed.

Development of college chapters of OWAA for students — Jenkins outlined a proposal to enable universities to establish student OWAA chapters. Local active members would serve as mentors. A pilot program could be launched at the University of Missouri. Giner mentioned that space could be allocated in OU to highlight the communications products of student members. Prettyman is interested in taking the “pilot” program to other colleges as soon as possible.

Moved (Stockton/Nickum) that Jason Jenkins be allowed to start a student chapter of the OWAA at the University of Missouri. Motion passed.

2013 Conference Site Selection Report — Pollett reviewed the selection process that led to Lake Placid, N.Y., being chosen as the site of the OWAA’s 2013 annual conference. Densmore will serve as local chair. A newly built conference facility, low hotel room rates, and customizable transportation options (trolleys), along with unique shooting and breakout facilities, should contribute to a one-of-a-kind event. Airport options include Plattsburgh, N.Y.; Albany, N.Y.; Saranac Lake, N.Y.; Burlington, Vt.; and Montreal.

Membership — Dolle initiated a discussion concerning the need to increase member numbers by pointing to the 2011 budget and the correlation between our financial challenges and our dipping member numbers. He estimated that OWAA needs approximately 1,300 members to be sustainable. The commitment of board members also is critical to bolster recruitment efforts.

Moved (Densmore/Taylor) to adjourn. Meeting was adjourned at 4:31 p.m.

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