Tracking ISU and U.S. Figure Skating Events, Issues and Governance
REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT
2017 Board of Directors and Governing Council Meetings
Samuel Auxier, President
Excitement and anticipation are the two words that, for me, describe the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating activities so far this year. Team USA took two of four World Junior gold medals and added a bronze as well. Our junior synchronized skating teams finished well at the World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships, with the World Synchronized Skating Championships just around the corner in Colorado Springs. Having recently traveled to PyeongChang, South Korea, where figure skating’s Olympic warm-up, Four Continents, was held, I have to say the anticipation and the excitement about Team USA’s prospects for 2018 are really starting to build. I am excited not only about our team but also about the many projects and developments that are under way, which you will read about within the following reports and hear more about at Governing Council.
Key Projects Well Underway
Learn to Skate USA — at last year’s Governing Council, you participated in the hyper-excitement of the Learn to Skate USA roll-out. However, the success of this program has exceeded even our most optimistic projections. I don’t want to steal from the following staff reports, but – Wow! The number of rinks adopting Learn to Skate USA continues to grow, introducing many new skaters to our sport.
The Event Management System (EMS) — This year saw new enhancements installed and Phase 3 was approved to add new capabilities with support from the U.S. Figure Skating Foundation. The next set of enhancements will provide additional event planning and scheduling capabilities to further support our qualifying competitions. Congratulations to Mario Rede, Kathy Drevs, our IT development team, the EMS board advisory group and many others on this successful project taking U.S. Figure Skating to the leading edge of sports software systems.
The ‘Get Up’ brand and image awareness campaign was launched during Skate America to rave reviews, and a National ‘Get Up’ Day (February 1) was established. This campaign has touched the emotions of many, skaters and non-skaters alike, who share their ‘Get Up’ moments on social media. This initial roll-out has attracted a lot of attention and is a critical piece of the long-term brand and image strategic initiative.
New Projects Kicked Off
Shortly after last year’s Governing Council, I asked the Strategic Planning Committee to look at the structure of the Board of Directors and the number and alignment of the committees to see if we could reduce overlap of responsibilities, make decisions more quickly and focus resources where needed. For example, how can our discipline groups (singles, pairs, dance and synchronized skating) focus on their specific development and testing needs? Also, putting a coordinated effort around international activities in order to take a more strategic approach and integrate high performance and development activities. This is very important to be successful competitively, plus it is a very large financial component of our budget. Winston Burbank and members of the Strategic Planning Committee will lead a presentation on task force recommendations, with a goal of proposing major rule changes for next year’s Governing Council — with the exception of elevating SafeSport to full committee status to increase the focus on athlete safety and address troublesome social media communications. As we have all read in the news, when issues are not reported or addressed immediately they can spiral into something much worse. As stewards of our sport, protecting our athletes is the most critical part of that stewardship.
Also, after last year’s Governing Council, the Board of Directors directed me to initiate a review of the structure and processes of the Nominating Committee; specifically, to look at how this committee is organized and what the real goal of the committee is in order to serve the long-term needs of our organization. Leadership development is of particular concern as for some of our key roles there is a very small pool of people with the qualifications and experience to fulfill those roles. The board hired a consulting firm with extensive experience around governance, both inside and outside of the sports world. The consultant will present their research and findings at Governing Council. The primary message is that the current structure and role of the Nominating Committee is not integrated with our strategy and does not develop new leaders for our organization. I encourage every delegate to try to attend this presentation on Friday afternoon.
A restructuring of our testing system — moving to a GOE-based system plus allowing our skaters the options of passing their tests at nonqualifying competitions is an exciting proposal to support our skaters. This proposal reduces the need (and expense) for separate programs or to change elements while also reducing the need to secure expensive ice times for testing. Of course, traditional testing will still be an option. These rule changes will also allow us to get closer to standardized judging across the country, update test requirements periodically and provide more options for our skaters to pass tests. This will also help recognize the need for training as well as provide for more consistent judging across the country.
REPORT OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
2017 Board of Directors and Governing Council Meetings
David Raith, Executive Director
It is my pleasure to submit my Executive Director’s Report for the 2017 Governing Council in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am always — and continue to be — truly honored to work with the volunteers and staff of our association — you make this association one of the top sport national governing bodies in this country, and I am proud and humbled to be a part of it. Thank you! As always, the headquarters staff and I are here to serve you by implementing the policies and procedures established by the Governing Council and Board of Directors.
Each Governing Council, the senior staff provides a summary and overview of their areas of responsibility. Below and on the following pages, you will find the reports from each department head.
As you will read in these reports, we’ve had many successes with membership and the success of the Learn to Skate USA rebrand, launch of our Brand/Image campaign and continued development of our Event Management System software. These board initiatives, along with other skating programs and marketing/communication projects, high performance athlete successes and strong event organization, have provided a sense of focus and accomplishment for the staff. As we look to the coming year, we will continue to build on the success of these initiatives and programs, do all we can to support a successful performance at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, and for me personally, continue to guide the staff while specifically working to secure a media strategy for our organization and our many programs for the next Olympic quadrennial (2019-2022) and beyond.
Thank you again for all you do for U.S. Figure Skating, and we all look forward to seeing you at the 2017 U.S. Figure Skating Governing Council meeting in Colorado Springs!
(Read mentioned follow on reports) Here!