OWAA Board of Directors Meeting

President Mark Taylor called the meeting to order at 9:29 a.m.
Secretary Katie McKalip called the roll. Present were Taylor, Mark Freeman, Jack Ballard, Tim Mead and McKalip. Bill Graham, Jeff Williams, Paul Queneau, Bruce Cochran, Mary Nickum, Chris Hunt and Bill Powell participated via conference call. Brett Prettyman and Peter Schroeder were absent. Ashley Schroeder and Jessica Pollett attended as observers.
Moved (Mead/Freeman) to excuse Prettyman’s and Schroeder’s absences. Motion carries.
Moved (Mead/Freeman) to approve the minutes from the September board meeting. Motion carries.
President’s Report — Taylor noted that the executive director search was the primary focus of his report. The topic would be discussed more in depth later in the meeting.
Headquarters Report — Taylor referenced former Executive Director Robin Giner’s report and reasons for her resignation.
Randy Zellers joined the meeting via conference call.
Board Nominating — Rory Aikens, Patrick Baker, Brent Frazee, Colleen Miniuk-Sperry, Paul Smith and Jacob Van- Houten are candidates for OWAA’s board of directors.
Conference Program — Freeman stated that the conference program will feature craft improvement topics and include speakers located in the Adirondacks region.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo had been pursued in participating in the conference program, but due to several factors (including his advocacy of sweeping gun control measures) the decision to continue to actively pursue his presence is being re-evaluated. Board members weighed in whether the governor should be invited to speak and under what circumstances. The suggestion was made to “balance” the governor’s presence with the addition of a speaker such as the NRA President David Keene.
Pollett said that New York state gun laws will prevent the use of handguns in the shooting program. She will be seeking sponsorship and participation by crossbow, rifle and shotgun manufacturers as well as alternate opportunities for the traditional ladies’ shoot. Ballard commented that evolving gun control measures in New York dictate the need for continued awareness.
Contests — Nickum reported that judge selection for the 2013 contests has been completed.
Development — Ballard advised that the committee’s charge should be expanded to encompass funds raised via wills and estate planning. Queneau seconded this approach.
Finance — Ballard summarized his report to the board, emphasizing the high rate of member participation in the “$85 for 85” campaign; he recommended that similar strategies be employed in the future. He referenced the 2013 budget; it includes no margin for error. He described OWAA’s current financial management approach as “paying today’s bills with tomorrow’s income,” which in his view is neither viable nor wise. The only remaining way to cut costs would involve eliminating staff positions. Increasing member numbers is the best way to bolster funds.
Marketing — Hunt referenced notes from the committee’s recent meeting. Topics covered included organizational branding, reaching into the digital world to increase member numbers and adding “iconic” outdoor writers as an attractant to other potential members. Social media practices employed by headquarters were discussed, and ways to expand and improve them were considered.
Taylor remarked that the executive director search has spurred discussion of compensation for that position. He believes that performance incentives should be part of that compensation package. Further, he said that they should be considered for the compensation packages of all staff members. He cited the value of tactics such as cold calls.
McKalip asked how committees with similar charges (such as Marketing and Membership) should best work together, dovetail their efforts and avoid duplicating efforts. Discussion occurred regarding ways for these committee chairs to communicate and build on each others’ activities.
Officer Nominating — Taylor thanked Cochran for his work in compiling strong slates of candidates for both officer positions.
Sections — Freeman expressed dissatisfaction with some of the sections’ lack of involvement in organizational activities. He has been working with headquarters staff to establish email outreach among members of individual sections. He criticized the organizational structure that calls for the second vice president to commence serving as head of sections and as supporter liaison immediately upon that individual’s election.
McKalip suggested that the position of a stand-alone supporter liaison be reestablished (rather than being designated as a duty of the second vice president). The position was formerly eliminated by the board in a budget-cutting measure. Ballard agreed strongly that the need for this role exists. McKalip mentioned a new section she has been working to establish – the media relations section – and the potential role of this section in reinvigorating the supporter-OWAA relationship. She volunteered to work with Freeman in outreaching to supporters and better engaging them in OWAA.
Cochran left the meeting to attend an appointment.
Strategic Planning — Taylor referenced Committee Chair Matt Miller’s report and progress made toward achieving established goals. Taylor said that the plan will be a useful tool for the new executive director.
The Diversity Committee report was included in the meeting’s consent agenda.
Madson Fellowship — Powell had conferred with both Chris Madson and Joel Vance, as was decided at the last board meeting, and determined that they both support changing the bylaws to expand the eligibility of applicants for John Madson fellowships to include non-members. Powell presented language for a proposed bylaws change to the board for consideration.
Editor’s note: The proposal is that paragraph 13.7 of the bylaws be amended as published on page 18-19.
Board members discussed the need to adjust language on the fellowship application to correspond with the bylaws changes.
Endowment Trustees — Ballard reviewed his report and referenced the finance report for specifics concerning individual funds.
Accepting high school students under student membership class — Ballard suggested that the student member class be combined with the associate member class. He said this makes sense logistically and from a marketing perspective. Taylor cautioned that streamlining member classifications should not come at the expense of communicating clearly to students that they are welcome as OWAA members. Discussion continued regarding the protocol involved in changing the bylaws to reflect these changes. Queneau sees the value in maintaining a student segment of the OWAA membership and thinks that the $10 fee for students helps attract and retain student members. Powell, Mead, Graham and Ballard volunteered to formulate revised bylaws language for consideration by the board; they will commence work post haste.
Member Retention — Taylor broached the issue of ease of dues renewal, and board members weighed in on ways to facilitate the process.
2015 Conference Site Selection Report — Pollett referenced her report and said that since she filed the report prior to the board meeting, the site has been chosen. McAllen, Texas, will be the location of the OWAA’s 2015 conference. The conference will take place toward the end of May, when temperatures are lower and bird migrations still are under way.
Section Approval — McKalip has accumulated 26 member names in support of establishment a new section, the Media Relations Section.
Moved (Ballard/Mead) to establish the Media Relations Section. Motion carries.
Ad Hoc Signatories — In the absence of an executive director, Ballard and McKalip will serve as signatories on official OWAA business and finances according to a resolution submitted to the board for consideration.
Moved (Mead/Queneau) to adopt signatories as recommended. Motion carries.
Knoxville, Tenn., contracts — Powell summarized the current state of affairs concerning the 2014 conference contracts. Four of the five contracts were in order; the fifth would expose OWAA to unacceptable liabilities and expenses, he said. At the time of Giner’s resignation, the problems with this contract had not been resolved. In the absence of an executive director, Powell will be overseeing finalization of this and the other contracts.
Approval of 2013 budget — The board must vote to approve the 2013 budget. Ballard drew the board’s attention to conference attendance numbers and projected sponsorship income (conference sponsors, contest sponsors), as well as revenue from directory ads. He requested input from the board regarding ad rates and ways of expanding ad revenue. Registration/participation at the Lake Placid conference and expanding member numbers are two key potential areas of increased revenue.
Freeman complimented the presentation and coherence of the budget that was prepared by Giner.
Moved (Mead/Freeman) to approve the 2013 budget as prepared. Motion carries.
Executive director job search — Taylor reported on the status of the hiring process. The search committee consists of the executive committee, Madson and Kevin Rhoades. Approximately 15 resumes had been submitted to date; an initial review narrowed that pool to four candidates. Additional resumes were anticipated; the position was set to close on Jan. 21. The overall quality of the candidates is very good, Taylor said. He said the absence of the requirement that the executive director be based in Missoula has attracted in a higher caliber of applicants.
Based on board members’ feedback, the search committee will share with the entire board the short list of applicants who will be interviewed. Their input on and knowledge of these candidates will be solicited by the committee.
Powell complimented the efforts of headquarters staffers Schroeder and Pollett to stay the course in absence of an executive director.
Moved (Ballard/Mead) to adjourn. Motion carries. Meeting adjourned at 11:44 a.m. ◊

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