Transcript for the NAFA® Candidate Chat December 1st, 2015
EmmaMak: Welcome everyone, this is Emma Mak. I’m part of the NAFA Election Committee and the moderator for tonight’s first candidate chat for the 2015/2016 NAFA Election. Kyle Mankes, head of the NAFA Nominating Committee is assisting. The Board of Director candidates are: Jennifer Bell, Steve Corona, Kim Davis and Dana Hanson.
EmmaMak: Steve, and Dana are currently participating in this chat. Hopefully Kim join us soon.
EmmaMak: Jenn Bell is unable to attend tonight.
EmmaMak: If you have questions for the candidates, please send them in a private message to me – to do this, there is a link in the Instructions section above this chat window. I’ll then queue the questions and provide them to the candidates. We’ll now take opening remarks from the candidates.
SteveCorona: Hello everyone. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to attend tonight's chat. I'd like to thank NAFA for hosting the chat and look forward to a great discussion with my fellow nominees tonight.
DanaHanson: Thank you everyone for taking time from your busy lives to join this evening or to read the published notes from tonight's chat. It's your interest in this organization that has allowed NAFA to grow and flourish as it has. While participation historically has been limited, I hope tonight provides an opportunity for me to share a little about myself, including my experiences and my love for this sport.
EmmaMak: First question from Leerie Jenkins: If you were to serve on the board, on which committees would you think you might be best suited, and why?
EmmaMak: 0 questions in the queue...
DanaHanson: My background is accounting and finance, and I have served not-for-profit organizations for more than 20 years of my career, so I believe this is an area where I have much to offer. Still I don't consider myself a typical accountant. I have a creative streak at times that could also be helpful in the marketing aspect of NAFA. Our own club has been successful in obtaining some underwriting for our tournament even though we are not a not-for-profit. We've enjoyed the support of Merial for many years. We've also developed our July event into a weekend of fund beyond strictly flyball.
SteveCorona: I believe my strengths lie in the Judges and Rules Committees. Being an Approved NAFA judge naturally plays into my deep understanding of these 2 committees. I have served as a non-board member on these committees and currently also serve on the Marketing committee as a non-board member. I have been exposed to the system in this capacity and understand what concerns the NAFA community views as important as well as working closely with current Board members to discuss and implement initiatives.
EmmaMak: Next question from Dirk Elber: Where do you see your strengths working in a team environment with 8 other elected individuals?
EmmaMak: 2 questions in the queue
DanaHanson: Not to say that I don't have strong opinions many times, but I believe that I am open minded. I support the concept that whatever discussion you have in arriving at a decision - including all of the arguing that might be a part of that - it is important to present a unified front once the decision is made and to represent the group's position. I believe I can do that.
SteveCorona: Before owning my own small business for the past 10 years, my business background was with large corporations where teamwork is a critical component for success. I believe in lively, strong discussions and see value in points that are backed by rational thought and bring the most benefit to the majority. Even if the idea is not one you are in agreement with, you must be willing to be flexible and support ideas that may be contrary to your own (within moral and ethical constraints)
DanaHanson: I also am comfortable with the fact that in working groups, people have different strengths and different availability based on other life commitments. I am comfortable with the fact that not everyone can always give the same effort, although my perception is that our board works very hard.
EmmaMak: Next question from Kyle Mankes: What are your plans to grow our sport in terms of number of competitors and technological advancement?
EmmaMak: 2 questions in the queue
DanaHanson: I'd like to first address the number of competitors and say that you are right on, Kyle. Hosting more tournaments that compete for the same participants' dollars will not be as effective as generating interest from new people. Something I'd really like to see is a formal program to offer assistance to areas where there is no flyball. . . perhaps identifying used equipment that might be lent to someone to help them get started or development of funds to seed startup. On the technology side, this is not my strength. There are folks in NAFA who are doing incredible things already with technology. While I may not be able to help with the excecution, I have ideas and can certainly help develop a list of more would-be-nice enhancements to improve the sport. On technology I'm more ideas than execution.
SteveCorona: I have been, and continue to be a huge proponent of the Junior Handler program. I truly enjoy engaging with the youth in our sport and imparting tips to the younger generation. I also take any opportunity possible outside of a tournament weekend to participate in demonstrations to help get the word out about our sport and attract new people to NAFA. I support the technological advances we are seeing in the sport such as the cameras used during the finals at CanAm this year. I believe providing teams with support such as the scoring software will assist the smaller clubs in hosting their own tournament. But I also want to state that I appreciate the human element of the sport and would never want to reach a point to where judges are just pushing buttons to make everything happen.
EmmaMak: Next question from Leerie Jenkins: What “pet issue” (no pun intended), interest, or idea do you have, that you would like to work on introducing/exploring/advancing, were you elected to the board?
EmmaMak: 2 questions in the queue...
DanaHanson: I like the idea of having some exhibition events that explore flyball in another light -- such as a new facet to the sport or a modification that might be done at a large event but without the stakes of competition to try out new ideas and see how they are received. . . . something that might be tucked away in the corner of a large event and be done as a non-sanctioned trial run. I also thing there is much untapped potential for sponsorship. I have no problem asking for money. They can only say no.
SteveCorona: I would like to explore a solution to reduce the number of false starts in any given tournament. Not only does this lengthen the racing day, it also puts extra stress on the start dog. I understand this is a delicate subject and there is no simple solution based on the conversations I have had with a number of competitors but I do believe it is worth taking a look at as a group and possibly coming up with a solution.
EmmaMak: Next question from Leerie Jenkins/Dirk Elber: Are there any rules/policies/procedures, that you would like to see changed, enhanced, etc.,...? Or any overall change you’d like to champion in your first term, given your strengths?
EmmaMak: 2 questions in the queue
SteveCorona: The first thing that comes to mind is the Judges training program and I'd like to look into a way to have upcoming judges spend more time in the ring, either in the back run or near the head judge, so their first time out isn't such a "deer in the headlights" experience.
DanaHanson: I'd like to see a requirement that at least one dog running on an Open team be a dog foreign to the club that it's running under. There have been many efforts by NAFA to promote Multibreed, and I believe that while Open is a great opportunity for many, it has hurt Multi. Our own club chose not to offer Open at one of our events just to test that theory. Thirty percent of our entries at that tournament were from Multi. It has not happened since that time, which I presume is because of Open.
EmmaMak: A follow up to the previous question from Dede Crough: I'd like to know what new facets/modifications Dana has in mind.
KimSDavis: I'm here - I apologize for the delay.
EmmaMak: Hi Kim...would you like to jump in at this question please: question from Leerie Jenkins/Dirk Elber: Are there any rules/policies/procedures, that you would like to see changed, enhanced, etc.,...? Or any overall change you’d like to champion in your first term, given your strengths? (JUST KIM)
EmmaMak: Although this would not be Kim's first term...
DanaHanson: Let me first say that I love flyball as it is currently played. I have no ambitious plans to revamp flyball. I have some ideas i'd love to toy with on a demonstration basis to draw people in. An idea I'd really love to see once in my life is four lanes of competition with single dogs that have been certified as running cleanly. Again, this is just a fun demo idea.
EmmaMak: Okay...we'll move on to the next question. Hopefully Kim will join us again soon
EmmaMak: Next question from Karen Oleson: The board generally meets face-to-face in January, May and August. Do you anticipate commitments that would interfere with your availability during these months?
KimSDavis: Thanks Emma ,,, I agree with Steve that new judges do need more experience or at least more exposure to how other judges conduct themselves in the ring. New judges could see different "techniques" on signaling end of heats, end of races, etc. And then have a better idea of how to convey that to their time in the ring and come up with their own technique.
DanaHanson: No. as my current boss is a teammate, I believe she understands my commitment to the sport. I attended CanAm less than one month after accepting my new position and negotiated that during my interview.
SteveCorona: I do not foresee any issues being able to attend board meetings during those months. I have very high confidence in my management team to run the operation in my absence and they have proved themselves time and again during tournament weekends and CanAm.
KimSDavis: Thankfully, I've had enough vacation time, understanding bosses and pet-sitters so that I've been able to manage the board meetings as well as CanAm in the past.
KimSDavis: sorry - "meetings as well as CanAm in the past."
EmmaMak: It's not your fault, Kim. The chat software is bleeping out some words...we'll have to fix for next time
KimSDavis: Not sure why that changed it twice, but I hope you take my meaning!
EmmaMak: Next question from Dede Crough: What in your opinion is the most urgent issue facing NAFA flyball? You can only pick one.
EmmaMak: 2 questions in the queue
SteveCorona: The continued growth of the sport is an issue that I feel needs immediate attention. We need ways to increase exposure, generate interest in those States with no or very limited clubs, and spark the interest of the younger generation.
DanaHanson: Perhaps more serious than urgent, but in our area, the number of affordable venues and clubs willing to find them has shrunk. I believe it's important to be supportive of any club wanting to take a turn hosting and to help them. I view hosting a tournament as “taking our turn." It's not about making money because we typically don't do that. I have experimented with reciprocal host discounts for entry fees to our event, which lets clubs that host pay less. Unfortunately, this didn't really provide incentive for nonhosting clubs to begin hosting.
KimSDavis: Tournament attendance. In my region, while we average a tourney a month, class entries have been down. Along with this goes, finding venues that are willing to let 200+ dogs in a building. And finding the venues in areas where clubs from all over our region can attend and not spend 7 hours on the road. I would hope that more clubs could step forward to host tourneys throughout NAFA. Advertising our sport and our tourneys draw more people in, which should help to promote the sport which in turn raises attendance.
EmmaMak: Next question from Dirk Elber: This year the board faces some serious shuffling as two of our executive committee members are facing Term limitations. If you were elected, and given your strengths, would you feel comfortable filling one of those positions? If so, which one?
EmmaMak: One question in the queue
DanaHanson: In all honesty, I expect I will have a lot to learn. I believe it is more likely to be a smooth transition with experienced board members moving to executive committee. Still I am willing to serve in whatever capacity I may be called upon.
SteveCorona: I would certainly like to get my feet wet first but then again there is nothing like trail by fire. Due to my current strengths in operating a small business I believe the Treasurer position would be the best fit. I'm sure there would be a huge learning curve involved but I have confidence in my abilities and am a quick study.
KimSDavis: My first term, this is exactly what I was asked to do, fill the position of Secretary when that executive committee member 'termed out'. If re-elected, I would hope to continue in that position if chosen to do so or any other position if that is what was needed,
EmmaMak: This is the final question this evening
EmmaMak: Next question from Matt Goodyear: Do the candidates have any ideas about how to specifically attract more youth to flyball?
DanaHanson: I believe having more measured levels of achievement and structure to the junior handler program could help encourage continued participation by our junior handlers. I also believe it could be worth exploring or trying partnering of some sort within the community, targeting groups that have a captive audience of kids . . . kids with some parental oversight . . . such as recreation centers, schools, clubs etc. I believe one Florida club years back helped a kids group run.
SteveCorona: It was great this year to have the Junior Handler Pin designed by one of our young handlers. Children enjoy being involved and I support when children, with adult supervision, want to box judge. I also make myself as available as possible to answer any questions they may have. I'm a big fan of participating in demos at schools, fairs, sporting events, etc. that draw large crowds with children present. We always introduce the dogs to them and let them know how to get started.
KimSDavis: I think demos at some of our larger shows, like the Houston World Series of Dog Shows, where kids possibly could actually 'run' a dog in an exhibition race. Of course, this would require solid dogs that would be used and quite a few other logistics to work out. Demos at schools, fairs, etc, where races could be set up. Advertising would be key to draw crowds,
EmmaMak: Candidates please prepare your closing remarks.
EmmaMak: Reminder: ballots have been emailed out today, December 1st and polls close midnight CST January 13th, 2016 (NOTE: that’s one day earlier than originally announced). Club Owners, Regional Directors, Approved/Supervising Judges and Board Members are eligible to vote. The email will be from Big Pulse (the election company). If you didn’t get the ballot email, please check your junk mail folder, and if not there please contact email@example.com.
DanaHanson: I thank you all for participating this evening. It's not easy to learn much about the candidates in such a compressed period of time, and I appreciate your trying. I look forward to another opportunity to chat with you later this month.
KimSDavis: Thanks to all that attended and thank you NAFA for allowing us this time to put forth our ideas and thoughts on contributing to the sport of Flyball,
SteveCorona: Thank you very much to Dana and Kim for the exchange and I enjoy reading their opinions as I hold them both in high regard. Thanks again to NAFA for hosting and to our flyball community for taking the time to join us tonight or read the transcripts in the future. I look forward to serving NAFA and being a part of the sport we love so much.
EmmaMak: Thanks to the candidates, and to Kyle Mankes for assisting, and everyone that participated in this chat. Any questions or concerns about the election should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The next and final candidate chat will be held on Wednesday, December 16th, 8pm EST. Have a good night!