Headed the right direction

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Winston Churchill once said, “There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.” As spring unfolds and nature begins blossoming for a new season, OWAA will be making some changes, and we think we are definitely moving in the right direction.
An important change that involves input directly from members is the upcoming annual OWAA election. You will be able to weigh in on who next will serve on the OWAA Board of Directors and decide whether to ratify two bylaws changes that will help operations of the organization run more efficiently. Ballots for the 2011 election were mailed in late March to all Active, Senior-Active and Life members.
The two proposed changes to OWAA’s bylaws were printed on Page 20 of the March issue of OU. Take a few minutes to review candidate’s biographies and visions for the future of OWAA, printed on Pages 16-19 of the March issue, and select your choices for the three that best represent your own vision for the organization. New board members will start their three-year terms of service at the July 11 meeting in Salt Lake City. Please exercise your voice and help direct the organization. Ballots are due to headquarters by 5 p.m. MST on May 2.
We’re doing a “take-two” on updating OWAA’s website. During the past few months, headquarters staff realized that the site needed to be better organized for members seeking info that OWAA provides online. And until recently, the interface to update content rested solely on the shoulders of one employee. So Ashley Schroeder and Jessica Pollett spearheaded a project to revamp the website and develop a format that will allow for growth of content, greater member usability and the ability for any OWAA staffer to update content as needed.
Full disclosure: when we began the update the first time around in January, the results were less than satisfactory. Due to problems with our site’s hosting service, databases and high-tech things that make no sense to me, we ended up having to restore the old site until we were able to devise a new plan for implementation. Our apologies to any member who had trouble accessing the site or contacting us during that time. This second go-around appears to be progressing more smoothly, thanks to the proactive research and back-up plans created by Schroeder and Pollett. By the time you read this April issue of OU, the new site will be up and running.
Changes to the website include a overhauled user-friendly online store where members will be able to pre-order commemorative 2011 conference moisture-wicking T-shirts, purchase other OWAA logo wear and publications, and renew annual dues.
We’ll also be returning to a password-protection system we tried when OU was first put online in 2009. Rather than headquarters an- nually handing out one password to all members for the members- only portions of OWAA’s website, members will be able to create their own username and password. It will be easier for everyone to remember their own login credentials. It is a more secure process, too. This setup is also more like other member-driven websites that require individuals to create their own login information.
Certainly one of the most exciting changes coming our way is the announcement that OWAA headquarters will be moving. The Board asked us to sell our current space – a condo style office suite – located in downtown Missoula, Mont. We’ve secured a deal, and intend to close mid-May when we’ll be moving into a smaller office that better fits our needs and budget. The move will include (obviously) a new address and an upgraged phone system. While retaining the phone number we’ve had for the past 12 years, the new phone system will enable callers to reach any of the staff mem- bers directly, and pretty much at any time. We’ll have the ability to take our phone system with us when we leave for conference each summer, and can forward lines whenever we’ll be out of the office during normal working hours. So, we’ll never miss a call from our members! Stay tuned for our new address.
A recent change that may not have made all members particularly happy were the revised rules for the Excellence in Craft contests. Rest assured that a committee appointed by Tony Dolle is hard
at work fine-tuning those rules. In a couple of months members will have the opportunity to review the changes and give feedback before the rules are presented for final approval by the Board and published for the 2012 contests.
The best way to keep on top of the changes coming down the pike is to sign up for RSS feeds from the OWAA website, find us on Facebook and Twitter, and watch both your inbox and mailbox for news from headquarters. Our intention is to make changes that will enhance your interaction with the organization and increase your membership benefits – changes that take the organization in the right direction.
I’m curious to know what you think. We’re always looking for input from our members so we know what changes will benefit you most.♦
—— Robin Giner, OWAA Executive Director rginer@owaa.org

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