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'You inspire me'

BY TOM SADLER
As the new executive director, this is my first chance to introduce myself to many of you and I look forward to meeting more of you at the annual conference this year.
It is an honor and privilege to hold this position and I am very excited about the future. We are a strong and storied organization with a bright future. It is bright because of you, our members.
I want to share with you some thoughts on the future.
When was the last time you looked at the OWAA mission statement?
Here it is: “The mission of Outdoor Writers Association of America is to improve the professional skills of our members, set the highest ethical and communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and be mentors for the next generation of professional outdoor communicators.”
Hold that thought.
As the new executive director I know full well the challenges we face. Top of the list is improving our financial position. Being financially healthy gives us the ability to innovate and be flexible in our decisions. To improve our financial position requires a laser focus on retention and recruitment of members and supporters. It means we need to have a successful conference.
These are serious challenges that will require serious commitment as we address them. Rest assured, the team at headquarters focuses on them every day.
Those are the challenges. What about the opportunities?
The opportunity is in our mission. Our mission has not changed. It continues to describe why OWAA exists. OWAA is still relevant to outdoor communicators, especially new communicators in the online space. We still inspire people to improve their professional skills, set the highest ethical and communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and to be mentors.
Why is important. Brett Prettyman noted that in his article in the April/May edition of Outdoors Unlimited. He notes that four of the five W’s are easy to get at during an interview. But, as he writes, without why, then “no one knows why the crook stole the apple pie.”
Our mission is our why; it inspires people to join OWAA and that is the opportunity in front of us.
Please take 20 minutes to watch the YouTube video of Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, “How great leaders inspire action” (http://youtu.be/qp0HIF3SfI4) and you will see why OWAA’s mission is important, why it is our why.
WHY is what I will be talking about when I ask people to join or support OWAA.
As we move forward and tackle the challenges and opportunities before us, I ask you to think about the why of OWAA. When you talk to others about OWAA make sure they know about the why of OWAA. Because if they know why as I know you and I know, then they will want to join us and inspire others to be a part of OWAA.
I leave you with this: If you will inspire just one other person to join OWAA this year, imagine how strong we would be, how grateful that person will be for being inspired to join us, and how much better outdoor communications will be for your effort. ◊
— Tom Sadler,
OWAA Executive Director,
tsadler@owaa.org

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