BY MARK TAYLOR
I make my mother-in-law a little jumpy. “There are no flies on you,” she likes to say as she watches me stay in pretty much constant motion.
Yet there is one place where I am able to pretty much shut it down: when I am sitting 15 feet up a tree.
For some reason, when I am bowhunting whitetails I can be content just sitting for hours. If you are a deer hunter you get this, knowing that the woods are alive even when deer aren’t moving.
In recent years I’ve started cheating a little bit. I carry my smartphone. It’s there for emergencies — such as the time I had to call a landowner to have him pull my stuck truck out of the mud with his tractor! — but also so I can keep tabs on emails and the like.
When the phone buzzes with an incoming call, I almost never answer it.
But when it buzzed at 5 p.m. on a Friday in late November, I knew it was a call I’d have to take.
The caller ID said the call was from OWAA Executive Director Robin Giner.
Robin and I are in touch often, but usually by email. She doesn’t call unless it’s important.
Even though answering would alert any wary whitetails within earshot, I took the call.
Robin filled me in on a couple administrative issues, then got to the biggie: She had decided to leave OWAA.
I was surprised, but not shocked.
People move on.
Just a little less than three years prior, the members of OWAA’s executive committee got a similar pronouncement from then-director Kevin Rhoades.
Kevin’s departure had opened the door for Robin, who had been working as OWAA’s conference planner and membership services director.
Losing a key member of the team is rarely easy, and it can be especially daunting when the team is only three strong at full complement.
Although Robin was offering her resignation well in advance of her planned departure date, I knew there was no way OWAA would have a new executive director in place by the time she left. The process of filling the position would take at least a couple of months, time during which staffers Ashley Schroeder and Jessica Pollett would have to absorb more duties.
Members of the board and committees also would need to commit even more volunteer hours to their duties.
While it can be tempting to focus on challenges that a leadership transition can create, the key is to focus on the opportunities.
The OWAA executive director has some firmly established duties, some even mandated by our organization’s bylaws. But there is some flexibility.
As the board undertakes the hiring mission, we have the advantage of not only looking for a candidate whose skill set matches the job’s requirements, but we can tailor the job to match special skills that the next OWAA executive director possesses.
What are those key skills?
Clearly, the executive director must be able to handle necessary administrative duties. I think it can be easy to take for granted all the work that goes into managing OWAA’s vast and varied programs and offerings.
Recruiting and retention, as well as fundraising, will remain critical. The executive director must be an active ambassador for the organization.
With clear goals established by OWAA’s strategic plan, the executive director’s performance is measurable.
As we move through this transition, I am confident we will find a new leader who not only will meet those specific goals, but will possess the kind of enthusiasm about outdoors communication that will further contribute to making OWAA stronger. ◊
— OWAA President Mark Taylor,
BY MARK TAYLOR