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Sadler leaving; interim director named

A message from OWAA President Brett Prettyman

Dear OWAA members and supporters,

Tom Sadler came to the Outdoor Writers Association of America four years ago as our organization was facing a challenging time. He is leaving as executive director at the end of the month having helped OWAA navigate a rough patch in our history.

Tom starts a new job in January as the deputy director of the Marine Fish Conservation Network, but he is only leaving his paid position with OWAA. He will remain a member and plans to get involved in our organization in other ways.

Please take a moment and send Tom a note of thanks for his work and wish him well. See below for a personal note from Tom to our members and supporters.

I have already formed a selection committee to find a new executive director, but I’m excited to announce OWAA will not be without an executive director while the committee works on finding our next leader.

The Board of Directors approved Colleen Miniuk-Sperry as interim executive director. She will start Jan. 3, 2017 and work 20 hours a week until we’ve hired a full-time executive director.

You might recognize Miniuk-Sperry’s name. She is currently secretary of the executive committee and completed her three-year term on the board of directors in June during which she was twice named Board Member of the Year. She also serves as chair of OWAA’s Photo Section, the Member Services Committee and the Member Recruitment Committee.

Her recent time on the board and depth of involvement will help Miniuk-Sperry temporarily fill the void by Sadler’s departure.

A job description for the executive director will be shared on when it has been prepared.

Brett Prettyman
OWAA President

Dear OWAA members and supporters,

It has been my pleasure and honor to serve as OWAA’s executive director for almost four years, but the time has come for me to move on. On Jan. 1, 2017, I will return to the advocacy world and join the Marine Fish Conservation Network as deputy director.

I assure you my leaving OWAA has nothing to do with the organization or anyone associated with it, but is solely motivated by my desire to “get back into the fight” and use my advocacy and organizing experience to protect our marine resources and the people that depend on them.

OWAA’s mission has never been more important, but my heart lies elsewhere. I know the organization is stable, has good leaders and will continue quite well without me. With Colleen Miniuk-Sperry taking over my duties, I know the day-to-day operations will continue seamlessly and the membership will be well served. I look forward to seeing and being part of OWAA’s continued success just in a different role as a member and a supporter.

During my time at OWAA I learned that we are a tribe, a guild, the keepers of the flame and take the work as chroniclers seriously. We are, in fact, the Voice of the Outdoors. OWAA is serious about our work as journalists and will vigorously defend the First Amendment. Our Circle of Chiefs are our conservation conscience and continue to remind us of important issues facing the future of the outdoors. And our conference is the best opportunity for liked-minded journalists to gather, learn and share.

Today, more than ever in OWAA’s 90-year history, the work we do as outdoor journalists is critically important, and we need to do it as well as we possibly can. To quote Edward R. Morrow, “We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak, and to defend the causes that were for the moment unpopular.”

I hope to see many of you in Duluth, Minnesota, Ft. Wayne, Indiana, or at future conferences.
Warmest best wishes,


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