OWAA 2019 Membership Meeting Minutes

Little Rock, AR

June 22, 2019


President Paul Queneau called the meeting to order at 4:50 p.m. CDT.

43 members were present.

Miniuk reviewed the names of the deceased members. Queneau also recognized the passing of Bob Lindholm. Attendees took a moment of silence in their honor.

Queneau also thanked the outgoing board members, Bob Ford, Karen Loke, and Christine Peterson, for their service in the past three years. He also thanked outgoing Secretary Colleen Miniuk for her contributions.

Bloom introduced the newly elected board members: Jack Ballard, Nick Lowry, and Emily Stone.

Bloom introduced and thanked 1st Vice President Tim Mead, 2nd Vice President Pat Wray, Secretary Miniuk, and Treasurer Tom Sadler.

Bloom introduced Tom Wharton as the Secretary-elect and Christine Peterson as 2nd Vice President-elect

Queneau said the Executive Committee had taken no official actions since June 2018. He reviewed the four actions the Board of Directors had taken outside of board meetings since June 2018, including approving:

  1. A wording change to OWAA’s bylaws for voting rights and officer qualifications.
  2. Brandon Shuler’s resignation as Executive Director and to approve Bloom’s contract as interim Executive Director.
  3. A conference registration discount for supporting groups.
  4. Allocating $400 in the budget for speaking fees for webinars.

Linda Nelson/Ruth Hoyt moved to approve the Board of Director actions. Passed unanimously.

Queneau thanked Bloom for taking on the interim Executive Director position. He also shared Jessica Seitz’s recent shift to part-time and her intentions to move to Seattle and relinquish her OWAA role in late summer. Queneau thanked her and all those involved in the conference programming efforts. Attendees applauded Seitz and her service.

Bloom provided the Executive Director’s report. He shared how administrative tasks were extensive and prevented a significant focus on the more critical activities like membership recruitment (a sentiment shared by previous Executive Directors Sadler, Miniuk, and Shuler). Bloom indicated the energetic and robust discussions being held among the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors in regard to reshaping this and Seitz’s positions. He looked at the current staff challenges and financial difficulties as an opportunity to streamline tasks and make OWAA better.

Bloom said membership was down, due in part to the staff transitions. He said a membership campaign and reinstatements are in progress with the board’s support.

Bloom announced Grand County, CO, as the site of the 2021 annual conference. He encouraged everyone to visit with the Jay Peak and Grand Country representatives here at conference to see what activities each has to offer.

Miniuk reviewed the OWAA roadmap and the process in which it was developed and refined by the board in the last board meeting. She and Queneau highlighted several new ideas. Powell asked if members could get a copy of the roadmap. Bloom suggested we could post it on the OWAA website in the Members Only area. Miniuk said the roadmap was a living document and if anyone had any additional ideas to please share them.

Miniuk reviewed the new mentorship program which is intended to support the professional development of our current members and assist in mentoring the next generation of communicators. She reviewed the process, guidelines, evaluation, and recognition.

Tom Huggler asked if we could extend the mentorship to prospective candidates. Miniuk suggested we start the program internally first to ensure stability and success, then look at how we can extend beyond OWAA.

Danielle Taylor asked if a person could be a mentor and a mentee at the same time. Miniuk responded yes.

Queneau introduce OWAA’s new Communicators Manager Suzanne Downing. Downing said she appreciated any feedback on Outdoors Unlimited.

Queneau read the names of OU Contributors. He then conducted the OU Contributor drawing. Shawn Perich won the one-year free membership in the drawing.

Last year, a Committee Volunteer of the Year 2018 was named, but the recipient Ann Simpson wasn’t at last year’s conference to receive the award. Queneau recognized Simpson and gave her the award. He reminded attendees that the 2019 Committee Volunteer of the Year award would be awarded at the Honorary Awards Banquet on Monday.

Sadler/John Kruse moved to approve the membership minutes from June 2018 in Fort Wayne. Passed unanimously.                                 

Gary Moore shared more details about Jay Peak, the 2020 conference location. Queneau said all were invited to attend the conference planning meeting tomorrow. 

Queneau called for Other Business. None was raised.

Queneau called for the Good of the Order.

Dan Small shared that Glenn Heglin had fallen ill and wished he could be at conference. Small said he encouraged people to call or email him to say hello. Bloom responded that a card would be at the registration desk for people to sign.

Michael Furtman suggested outdoor communicators needed to get in front of more children at an early age but was disappointed that OWAA had eliminated children’s books as a EIC category. He encouraged OWAA to reconsider such decision.

Simpson mentioned the Education Committee would meet onsite on Monday where they’d be discussing ideas about encouraging kids to get outside more often.

Wray invited everyone to attend the History Committee meeting onsite tomorrow morning. He said the committee was in the second phase of the process, which started off with the Presidents’ memories. He said he needed more information from the membership to fill in the body of the document. He hoped to include photos and videos.

Loke said she just signed up to produce a WOW video for the Member Recruitment Committee. She needed short clips of communicators working in the field and invited all to send her videos and photos.

Peterson invited attendees to contribute their ideas for conference programming for both Vermont and Colorado.

Dennis Scharadin asked if attendees were going to get a Treasurer’s Report.

Sadler suggested OWAA has a balanced budget, but needed to ensure we continued to grow our revenue. He indicated conference revenue was at 57% of budget, as of May 31. He also said EIC came in below because sponsorships didn’t come through as expected. He also reviewed the dues renewal process and the estimated income we could expect from it starting in October.

Tom Huggler asked if the financial status of the OWAA funds was available online. Bloom responded that the financial statements of the organization posted on the OWAA website.

Jim Low asked if attendees could see financial information now.

Lisa Ballard asked if attendees to see the current memberships status. She added that in the membership meeting, attendees expected to see membership and financial information during the meeting, even if it was available online.

Bloom provided the membership numbers and compared them with the May 31, 2018 status.

Susan Ebert said there were a lot of great minds and people who love this organization. She said members needed to see detailed financial information and membership trends so we could work together and take advantage of the collective brain power.

Matt Miller thanked the current Board of Directors for shouldering a tremendous load with the recent complete staff turnover. He challenged all members to pitch in to help.

Queneau encouraged attendees to volunteer to support the committee work. He apologized for not having detailed financial and membership information prepared for this meeting.

Tim Mead/Linda Nelson moved to adjourn the meeting. Passed unanimously.

The meeting concluded at 6:11 p.m. CDT.

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