OWAA is governed by the organization’s officers and board of directors. Members of the board are elected annually by the active membership, while officers are elected annually by the board. Dozens of volunteer committees, staffed by OWAA members, also provide a foundation for OWAA’s prosperity and growth. The executive director and headquarters staff handle the day-to-day operations of the association, including the production of the magazine and other publications.


Ken KefferPresident 
Amy Kapp, First Vice President 
Erin Merrill, Second Vice President
Ruth Hoyt, Secretary (through 2025)
Russell Roe, Treasurer (through 2026)


William Jay Powell, Legal Counsel

Grant S. Lipman, M.D.; Founder and CMO, GOES Health, Medical Counsel

TBD, Supporting Group Liaison


Chez Chesak, Executive Director
Suzanne Downing, Communications Manager & Outdoors Unlimited Editor
Emma Mares, Membership Services Manager
Amber Silvey, Event Producer

Board of Directors

Terms expiring in 2024
Matthew Dickerson
Amy Grisak
Kelsey Roseth

Terms expiring in 2025
Robert Annis
Ashley Peters
Drew YoungeDyke

Terms expiring in 2026
Chris Paparo
Jill Rohrbach
Ashley Stimpson

With thanks and gratitude to our board members
whose terms expired in 2023

Bill Brassard
Steve Griffin
Matt Miller

Endowment Trustees

Endowment funds are accepted, managed and disbursed by the Endowment Trust. OWAA has five Trustees: the OWAA Treasurer and four people selected by the OWAA Board.

Russell Roe(Chair)
Terry Brady (2024)
Dennis Scharadin (2025)
Lisa Ballard (2026)
Phil Bloom (2027)


Bylaws-Mandated Committees

All committees must have at least three members, at least one of whom is a current member of the Board. The President serves as an ex-officio member of all committees except the nominating committee.

Awards Committee

Chair is immediate past President.  Selects Ham Brown, Jade of Chiefs, Excellence in Craft, award recipients. Each award has its own subcommittee, consisting of all living past recipients of that award. Awards may be added, re-named, or terminated by the Board. The Board has prescribed written procedures and deadlines for this committee’s work each year. Suggestions for these awards may be made to the committee by anyone.  The Jade of Chiefs subcommittee also has responsibility for selecting annual recipients of the John Madson Fellowship, which may be members or non-members of OWAA, as described in the bylaws.

Chair Katie McKalip, Ham Brown subcommittee chair TBD, Joan Wulff Enduring Excellence subcommittee chair TBD, Jade of Chiefs subcommittee chair TBD.

Conference Committee

Chair is First Vice President, who is to be assisted by Second Vice President. Responsibility is to plan annual conference and other in-person and virtual conferences and similar presentations by OWAA.

Amy Kapp (chair), Christine Peterson, Kate Morgan (mini conferences), Ashley Stimpson, Colleen Miniuk, Matt Miller, Mark Taylor, Gary Moore, Carmen Alex, Rob Taylor, Amanda Zerebko, Katie McKalip, Steven Schwartz, current President (ex officio), current Executive Director (ex officio)

Contests Committee

Administers all contests conducted by OWAA except those assigned to the Education Committee

Howard Fox, Lisa Ballard, Mark Taylor, Brian Geiger, current Membership Services Coordinator (ex officio), current President (ex officio), current Executive Director (ex officio)

Education Committee

Establishes criteria for and selects recipients of OWAA scholarships, establishes and judges youth contests, seeks increased involvement of student members.

Matthew Dickerson (chair), Amy Grisak, Chris Paparo, Candace Dantes, Holly EndersbyRuth Hoyt, Ann Simpson,  Emily StoneRob Taylor, Mic Crenshaw, Emily Louina Cook, current President (ex officio), current Executive Director (ex officio)

Executive Committee

Comprised of all OWAA Officers (as noted above), with duties and authority described in the bylaws. Meetings may be called by President or any two Officers. Primary responsibility for reviewing ED performance and terms of service is assigned to this committee, with all of its actions and decisions being really recommendations to the Board, which may overrule or revise them.

Finance Committee

Chaired by Treasurer. At least four other members nominated by the President at the first Board meeting of the term, and they begin service as committee members only after Board approval. Duties are to supervise finances, oversee annual review of records or audit ordered by Board, develop and maintain sound financial practices, help the ED prepare and present annual budget, support strategies to insure long-term financial health of OWAA, support fundraising and development efforts for OWAA, recommend fiscal actions, administer the Operating Fund and all property of OWAA except that within control of the Endowment Trustees. Committee may consult with financial advisors, including any Investment Counsel appointed by Board. Committee must annually establish investment policy for Operating Fund’s assets not needed to meet current obligations. ED and legal counsel serve as additional non-voting members of this Committee.

Russell Roe (chair), Terry Brady, Dennis Scharadin, Ashley Stimpson, Colleen Miniuk, current President (ex officio), current legal counsel (ex officio), current Executive Director (ex officio)

Development sub-committee: Ashley Stimpson (chair), Rich Patterson (vice-chair), Kevin Rhoades, Dan Small, Mike Zlotnicki, Glenn Zinkus 

Membership Committee

Works with ED and Board on efforts to recruit and retain members and to provide services for members such as a mentorship program. Chair handles any ethics complaints as described in paragraph 3.8 of bylaws, including maintenance and enforcement of Code of Ethics, and in accordance with prior policies and procedures and confidentiality established by the bylaws and the Board, with involvement of the ED and Legal Counsel.

Carmen Alex (chair), Ashley Peters, Amy Grisak, Kelsey Roseth, Glenn Zinkus, Colleen Miniuk, Matt Miller, Bill Brassard, Edgar Castillo, Sandra Foreman, Joe Klementovich, current President (ex officio), current Executive Director (ex officio)

Nominating Committee
All Board members in the second year of their terms as Director are automatically members, and the President designates one of them to be committee chair. President nominates five additional members, none of whom may have served on nominating committee within the prior five years.  These nominees assume membership on the committee only after approval by the Board, which must be sought at the first Board meeting of the President’s term. Duties are to make nominations to the Board for Second Vice President annually, and for Secretary and Treasurer when those terms are expiring.  Also, the committee is to make nominations annually to the membership for election by them of new Directors to full three-year terms. At least two nominees are required to the Board for each Officer position and at least six nominees are required to the membership for new Director terms each year. Committee may accept suggested nominations from any source, but no one except the committee chair is to ask nominees about their willingness to serve until all suggested names have been (1) checked with the Executive Director (ED) and Legal Counsel to determine qualifications and whether there are known confidential matters that ought to be considered by the committee, and (2) the full committee has ranked all potential nominees. The chair is then to call potential nominees in the committee’s ranked order until a sufficient number of nominees is obtained, then report those nominees to the Board.

Membership in this committee does not disqualify someone from nomination for Officer or Director.

Procedures and deadlines for each step of this committee’s work are prescribed by the Board.

Drew YoungDyke(chair), Ashley Peters, Rob Annis, Mark Taylor, Paul Queneau, Bill Graham, Edgar Castillo, Christine Peterson, current President (ex officio), current legal counsel (ex officio), current Executive Director (ex officio)

Ad Hoc Committees

100th Anniversary Committee

Plans and executes all elements of a centennial celebration in 2026-2027. Includes chairs of key committees such as Membership, Development, Conference, and DEAI as well as members of the Past Presidents’ Council.

Colleen Miniuk (Chair), Amy Kapp, Erin Merrill, Carmen M Alex, Matt Miller, Kelsey Roseth, Bill Brassard, Edgar Castillo, Lisa Ballard, Kate Morgan, Mark Taylor, Katie McKalip, Ashley Stimpson, Lori Litchman, Phil Bloom, current President (ex officio), current Executive Director (ex officio).

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Committee

Comprised of the organization’s top leaders and members of key committees, this body: manages our membership in four minority journalism organizations, serves in an advisory capacity to various key committees, helps ensure that our community is a welcoming one, and directs the organization’s efforts to connect with more outdoor storytellers from marginalized communities.  This committee invites outdoor storytellers from marginalized communities engage with and further enrich the OWAA community as a whole, attend annual conferences, speak at events, help educate the rest of our community (when appropriate) and hold leadership positions in the organization. 

Kelsey Roseth (chair), Ken Keffer (President), Amy Kapp (1VP & conference chair), Erin Merrill (2VP), Ruth Hoyt (Secretary), Russell Roe (Treasurer), Howard Fox (Contests Committee), Matthew Dickerson (Education Committee), Carmen Alex (Membership Committee), Drew YoungDyke (Nominating Committee), as well as legacy members, Glenn Sapir, Tom Carney,  Julia Hubbel, and current Executive Director (ex officio)

Supporter Relations Committee

Keeps Supporters informed about OWAA initiatives and programs. Acts as a liaison between Supporters and the Board. Recommends to the board ways in which OWAA can better encourage the involvement of Supporters in OWAA. Helps recruit and retain OWAA Supporters.

Dan Nelson (chair), Clay Abney, Jill Rohrbach, current President (ex officio), current Executive Director (ex officio)

Style Guide

Danielle Phillippi, Drew YoungDyke, Katie McKalip, Kevin Rhodes, current President (ex officio), current Executive Director (ex officio)

Speakers present at an OWAA conference.

Past Presidents Council
Chaired by the immediate Past President and comprised of all living past-Presidents of OWAA, it acts as an advisory council to the Board.
Katie McKalip (chair), all other OWAA Past-Presidents



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