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BOARD CANDIDATE PROFILES

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Six OWAA members are running for three seats on OWAA’s Board of Directors. All active, senior active and life members are encouraged to vote. An email with a link to the online ballot was sent on April 1. A paper ballot will be sent via postal mail to those members who don’t have an email address listed in OWAA’s database. All ballots must be returned by May 1. Three elected candidates will begin serving three-year terms on July 18, 2016, at OWAA’s board meeting. Results will be published in Outdoors Unlimited and on the OWAA website. Candidates are listed alphabetically. They were asked to submit a short biography and answers to the same five questions, which were drafted by OWAA’s Board Nominating Committee. Their responses have not been edited.

Questions:

1. What are your qualifications for a position on the Board of Directors? Have you served in a decision-making
position before?
2. Why are you running for the Board and what do you hope to achieve if elected?
3. What do you think are the most important services OWAA offers to its members and how should we market
those benefits to potential members?
4. The annual conference is OWAA’s biggest outreach effort, yet many members rarely attend. How do we turn
conference into a “can’t miss” event and how do we ensure newer, younger members return after attending that
first conference?
5. What is your vision for OWAA?

 

DAWN FAUGHT

Residence: North Dakota
Years of OWAA membership: 10
Conferences attended: Four
Committees: Excellence in Craft Contests judge three times, Photo Scavenger Hunt judge 3 times, Excellence in Craft Contest co-chair.

Dawn Faught is a freelance writer, photographer and author. Credits include Cowboys & Indians, Western Horseman, AAA Living, Trail Rider, Trail Blazer, USA Today, Todays Horse Magazine, Draft Horse Journal, ND Horizons, Persimmon Hill, and other publications. A graduate of North Dakota State University, Dawn enjoys hunting with her Springer Spaniel, fishing, hiking and horseback riding. She lives and works with her husband, Steve, and son Kyle on the family farm near Amenia, ND.

1. What are your qualifications for a position on the Board of Directors? Have you served in a decision-making position before?
My husband and I are continually making decisions as to when to plant, when to harvest, purchase land, equipment and supplies and market our crops. Sometimes we even manage to get Mother Nature to work with us; unfortunately, the markets aren’t as easy to convince.

2. Why are you running for the Board and what do you hope to achieve if elected?
I am honored to have been asked to run for the board. Now that my son is starting to take over some of my farming and tractor driving duties, I have a little more free time. I’m looking forward to a new challenge in life and the opportunity to expand my horizons. It is also important to give back to the organization which has helped me throughout the past years. I hope to help the OWAA membership not only retain its present members but also to bring in fresh blood – so vital to the growth of OWAA. I hope to help make the conference an event all will talk about and that will keep members returning year after year.

3. What do you think are the most important services OWAA offers to its members and how should we market those benefits to potential members?
Networking amongst members, and making long lasting friendships is the most important benefit to being a member of OWAA. I recently had a question concerning writing a book for hire and I was amazed and extremely grateful for the responses I received. Seminars offered during the annual conference and meeting editors, sponsors and others face to face are also extremely valuable services. We should market OWAA benefits through social media and by reaching out to potential members by sending them a personal invite to check out OWAA.

4. The annual conference is OWAA’s biggest outreach effort, yet many members rarely attend. How do we turn conference into a “can’t miss” event and how do we ensure newer, younger members return after attending that first conference?
We need to bring in an attention getting keynote speaker each year and follow that up with seminars and activities that will spark those creative juices and get everyone to step out of their comfort zone. Challenges enhance your craft and revive your spirit. Offering numerous pre and post conference trips, which could lead to potential income through articles and photography, can help offset the expense of attending a conference, especially for freelancers who have to pay their own way.

5. What is your vision for OWAA?
I would like to see OWAA grow both in membership and in its resources offered to its members. I would like OWAA to continue offering its excellent tools which help members enhance their skills and relationships with the outdoor world.

 

BOB FORD
Residence: Pennsylvania

Years of OWAA membership: Four

Conferences attended: Four

Committees: Board nominating committee.
Bob Ford is a contributing editor at Hounds & Hunting and a columnist at Better Beagling and The American Beagler. He is also a blogger and the author of the Beagle Tales series of books. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Renee, and trains beagles for hunting and field trials.

1. What are your qualifications for a position on the Board of Directors? Have you served in a decision-making position before?
I currently serve as an officer for two AKC beagle clubs, including a position as a member on the Board of Directors

2. Why are you running for the Board and what do you hope to achieve if elected?
I feel that I have benefited greatly from OWAA. I arrive at each conference ready to learn and expand my horizons. I have gained new markets, expanded my readership, and sold more books because of things I have learned through OWAA. I want to give back to our organization. I am humbled that I was nominated and if I am elected I would be honored to serve my fellow outdoor communicators as a member of the Board.

3. What do you think are the most important services OWAA offers to its members and how should we market those benefits to potential members?
The annual conferences provide opportunities to learn from fellow outdoor communicators and improve our craft. The Outdoor Market (on the OWAA website) is an excellent resource for employment and new markets. Friendships developed with fellow OWAA members are an invaluable resource for peer review and sharing information regarding developments in the industry.

4. The annual conference is OWAA’s biggest outreach effort, yet many members rarely attend. How do we turn conference into a “can’t miss” event and how do we ensure newer, younger members return after attending that first conference?
I do not have a definitive answer to this question, though it resonates with many other questions that are currently very crucial, such as “How can we get more people involved in________?” The blank may be filled in with hunting, fishing, hiking or some other gerund that denotes outdoor activity. I see the problem in terms of a culture which does not emphasize outdoor activity (including outdoor communication) as it once did. I can only promise to work diligently to find answers.

5. What is your vision for OWAA?
The OWAA mission statement clearly states the vision of the organization (http://owaa.org/about/). I like to think that our ongoing task is sharing the story, being masters of our content, and artisans of our craft. I see OWAA as the preeminent voice ensuring that in a world where technology changes as fast as we can learn it, the underlying passion and truth remains constant as changing media dictates that we remain relevant.

 

KAREN LOKE
Residence: Texas

Years of OWAA membership: Eight

Conferences attended: Five

Committees: Television Section Chair and Craft Improvement Committee Co-Chair

Karen Loke is a Television Producer for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department where she shoots, writes, edits and narrates video stories for the agency’s PBS series as well as short video news reports for statewide distribution to media outlets. She graduated from the University of Texas with degrees in both Broadcast Journalism and Television Production not knowing if she would land a job in front of the lens or behind it. She has won three regional Emmys for her photography and storytelling on a documentary about the last of the Southern Plains Bison capture and relocation. She has been a state employee for 23 years prior to shooting news for an NBC affiliate in Austin, Texas. Prior to her career in television, she worked for an affiliate of the Galveston Daily News for three years as photographer and writer. She is the single mom of one son, Eli, 20, and is engaged to Phil Plata. They live in Austin, Texas.

 

1. What are your qualifications for a position on the Board of Directors? Have you served in a decision-making position before?
My qualifications include helping to find speakers for the Texas OWAA conference in 2014 as well as presenting at both the New York and Texas conference on Crewless but Not Clueless with Kris Millgate and a session in Texas on Video Editing (not as good as the one with Kris!)

2. Why are you running for the Board and what do you hope to achieve if elected?
I would like to be on the Board of Directors to become more involved with the people who make things happen and I hope to reign in my experience in some way to help all the members of OWAA.

3. What do you think are the most important services OWAA offers to its members and how should we market those benefits to potential members?
OWAA provides the opportunity to learn from your peers and share your knowledge as well. Writing craft improvement articles for OU is not something I can say I eagerly await but each time I do, I remind myself that I do have some things to share and it’s a great feeling. I want every member to feel the same way.

4. The annual conference is OWAA’s biggest outreach effort, yet many members rarely attend. How do we turn conference into a “can’t miss” event and how do we ensure newer, younger members return after attending that first conference?
Attending the annual conference is the where members really gel. Facebook and social media are both great tools for keeping up with the industry but relationships are made and careers broadened when you can talk to people in person. I would like to encourage more attendance by pitching this philosophy.

5. What is your vision for OWAA?
My vision for OWAA is to keep it strong with members who have a passion to protect the outdoors and its resources. I was not born an outdoors person but the outdoors has helped make me the person I am today.

 

BECKY JONES MAHLUM
Residence: North Dakota

Years of OWAA membership: Eight

Conferences attended: Two

Committees: Excellence in Craft Contests judge.

Becky Jones Mahlum is the regional communications manager for Ducks Unlimited’s Great Plains Region, headquartered in Bismarck, N.D. A farm girl from Webster, N.D., Mahlum has been a journalist for most of her career, working as a reporter and news director, and as a producer and executive producer for Prairie Public Television. She served as the public information officer for the City of Bismarck before joining Ducks Unlimited in 2005. Becky and her husband, Mike, have three children.

 

1. What are your qualifications for a position on the Board of Directors? Have you served in a decision-making position before?
I have served on the boards of a number of community, professional, church and school organizations. Sometimes I have been the person organizing the board’s activities, or the one cleaning the floor after an event. I enjoy supporting an organization’s work either as a leader or minion.

2. Why are you running for the Board and what do you hope to achieve if elected?
If we enjoy the benefits of an organization, we all need to take our turn at helping the group take care of business and govern itself. If elected, I would do my best to support the work of outdoor writers in whatever capacity they are working, whether they are freelancers, students, staff at a publication or they write for an organization like I do.

3. What do you think are the most important services OWAA offers to its members and how should we market those benefits to potential members?
I enjoy the Outdoors Unlimited magazine where members can share their stories, skills and wisdom. The conferences offer training, the latest outdoor tools and toys, and time for members to learn from each other. The competitions allow writers to be judged by a group of their peers and recognized for their efforts. There are a lot of inexpensive options out there to advertise the organization on social media site popular with outdoor writers. Also, OWAA sharing regular posts of member’s stories and pictures can encourage others to join.

4. The annual conference is OWAA’s biggest outreach effort, yet many members rarely attend. How do we turn conference into a “can’t miss” event and how do we ensure newer, younger members return after attending that first conference?
Marketing on social media is a great place to start, especially sites where younger members hang out. OWAA could emphasize its associate and student memberships and their prices. Publishing the stories from the Youth Writing Awards should be a draw. Other groups give first-time conference attendees a special pin and ask regulars to welcome them warmly.Offering webinars or other training opportunities throughout the year at a small fee or no fee would keep people coming to the OWAA site where the conference is highlighted. Trainers may be members who share their skills as a way to mentor or break into public speaking. Any way you can offer members something additional is a draw.

5. What is your vision for OWAA?
I see a thriving cooperative for sharing and learning where writers can grow together; trying on new skills. It’s a place to network and an avenue for writers to get their work published. At OWAA, a person’s dreams of becoming an outdoor writer can have a fighting chance of becoming reality. The organization can help shape the future of outdoor writing at a time of great change for many publications. OWAA can help writers’ learn new venues for making a living while practicing the craft they love.

 

CHRISTINE PETERSON
Residence: Wyoming

Years of OWAA membership: Four

Conferences attended: Three

Committees: Conference Planning Committee

Christine Peterson is a freelance writer and the managing editor and outdoor editor for the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s statewide newspaper. She lives in Newcastle, Wyoming, with her husband, Josh, and their yellow Labrador, Tuco.

 

1. What are your qualifications for a position on the Board of Directors? Have you served in a decision-making position before?
I am qualified to serve on the Board of Directors because I have been a member of OWAA for four years, and have either attended and/or been involved in planning conferences for several years. I supervise reporters remotely and make daily news decisions as a managing editor of a statewide newspaper. I also bring a slightly different perspective working in the evolving newspaper industry.

2. Why are you running for the Board and what do you hope to achieve if elected?
I care deeply about OWAA and about its future. I attended my first conference to receive an EIC award, but immediately realized the value of both the conference experience and OWAA’s network of members. I want to help OWAA offer that same experience to even more members. If elected, I hope to continue OWAA’s outreach efforts to outdoor communicators in and outside of the organization and help it grow and address the challenges of an ever-changing industry.

3. What do you think are the most important services OWAA offers to its members and how should we market those benefits to potential members?
OWAA’s greatest value is in its membership, and its ability to connect communicators from every part of the country and subject area with each other. We need to continue to reach out to other outdoor communicators through both evolving social media outlets and traditional emails and phone calls.

4. The annual conference is OWAA’s biggest outreach effort, yet many members rarely attend. How do we turn conference into a “can’t miss” event and how do we ensure newer, younger members return after attending that first conference?
The annual conferences provide an incredible value to those at any point in their careers. We as an organization, and as a board, need to reach out more to college campuses. We also need to use social media, emails and phone calls to connect with freelancers and other communicators who might be interested but don’t yet know the value of the organization. We should promote free classes offered online to members as a way to gain interest and show them that conferences can and do offer even more in a productive weekend of learning and networking. We should also promote the newsmaker sessions as a way for writers and photographers to gain story ideas to ultimately offset the cost of the conference.

5. What is your vision for OWAA?
OWAA should be the place for all outdoor communicators to not only learn more about their craft but find comradery and inspiration. I want to see OWAA grow to include even more communicators of every age and demographic. Our industry improves with support and help we offer each other. As traditional news outlets change and others emerge, it becomes even more important to reach out and include as many in our craft as possible. I ultimately want every budding or veteran outdoor communicator in the country to feel as welcomed and inspired by the group as I was years ago and continue to be.

 

JONATHAN STUMPF
Residence: Washington

Years of OWAA membership: 11

Conferences attended: Zero

Committees: None

Jonathan Stumpf is the Manager of Communications and Online Engagement for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. He also serves on the board of directors for the Wild Steelhead Coalition and does some freelance writing for fly fishing magazines when time allows. He lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife, Suzy, and two children, Eliza, 4, and Alex, 9 months.

 

1. What are your qualifications for a position on the Board of Directors? Have you served in a decision-making position before?
I serve on the board of a regional fish conservation organization and thrive working with other leaders to advance the mission and vision of great organizations.

2. Why are you running for the Board and what do you hope to achieve if elected?
It would be a great honor to be elected to the OWAA board. I owe a lot in my professional career to OWAA, from grad school to my current position with TRCP. This would just be an opportunity to give back to this stellar association and contribute to growing the membership and overall reputation.

3. What do you think are the most important services OWAA offers to its members and how should we market those benefits to potential members?
I think in terms of networking opportunities and connecting with those in our industry, OWAA is top-notch. I’ve met some great folks and colleagues during my 10 years as a member. However, I feel that unless you’ve attend a conference, the ability for professional development is very limited. I know we have some of the most outstanding communicators in our field and I’d love for OWAA to look at ways to share that knowledge outside of the conference.
4. The annual conference is OWAA’s biggest outreach effort, yet many members rarely attend. How do we turn conference into a “can’t miss” event and how do we ensure newer, younger members return after attending that first conference?
As a member who doesn’t fit the bill as a traditional writer or journalist, I think there is room to improve the breadth and depth of the topics and presentations. I’d like to see more topics and presentations for new media and members who work on the media relations side of the table. It’s OK to have concurrent sessions for the various membership types and I think this might help to attract more members to conferences.

5. What is your vision for OWAA?
Becoming the go-to association for all outdoor communicators, not just journalists and writers. ♦
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