June 17, 2019
MISSOULA, Montana — Jessica Seitz has announced she will be leaving the Outdoor Writers Association of America, where she has worked the past nine years in a variety of capacities – conference coordinator, membership services director, and Excellence In Craft contest coordinator.
“The people I have met within the organization are most certainly the rewarding part of the job, and I will miss the entire OWAA family,” she said. “I love attending our annual conference each summer – the energy and warmth of this group is unmatched.”
Seitz’s decision stems from a job transfer for her husband, Tucker, who works for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife as a wildlife biologist. They will be moving to the Seattle area, where she plans to pursue full-time employment and provide lots of grandparent time for their daughter, Elizabeth.
“Jessica was fresh out of college when she was hired on at OWAA, but her maturity, professionalism and innate ability to orchestrate complex events showed we made an incredible hire for this outfit,” OWAA President Paul Queneau said. “She quickly became the central cog of every moving part of this organization, and she took every twist and turn with a smile and can-do attitude that made her enormously well liked. We owe her a deep debt of gratitude and look forward to seeing where her career goes next.”
Seitz joined OWAA in May 2010 after graduating from The College of William and Mary with a degree in business administration, specializing in process management and consulting.
“OWAA took a chance on me and afforded me the opportunity for incredible personal and professional growth,” she said. “Through OWAA, I have also had the chance to explore outdoor destinations and treasures throughout the country.”
During her tenure with OWAA, Seitz played a lead role in planning 10 of the group’s annual conferences, including this year in Little Rock, Arkansas (June 22-24). Her conference duties include site selection, contract negotiations for lodging and meals, solicitation of sponsorships, communicating with scheduled speakers, processing registrations, producing the event program and other conference materials, and on-site logistics.
As membership services director, she coordinated annual dues renewal initiatives, processed applications for new members and supporters, facilitated member benefit surveys, and coordinated the annual Bodie McDowell Scholarship, John Madson Fellowship and Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards programs.
Her work over the past five years as EIC coordinator involved gathering hundreds of entries in multiple categories across various media platforms (magazine, newspaper, radio, television, books, blogs, photography, etc.) and distributing entries and scoring materials to dozens of volunteer judges.
“I’ve had the distinct pleasure the past few years to work alongside Jessica on several levels as an OWAA officer, conference program chair, local conference chair, and now as acting OWAA ED,” Phil Bloom said. “Her work ethic is impeccable, her organizational skills top notch, and her insights about all things OWAA invaluable. On behalf of my OWAA colleagues, we can’t thank her enough for her contributions to our group.”
Seitz will be at the Little Rock conference later this week and already is laying the groundwork for the 2020 OWAA conference in Vermont. She intends to be with OWAA at least through July.
Coupled with an ongoing search for a new permanent OWAA executive director, the organization’s leadership is evaluating next steps for replacing Seitz.