Transcript for the NAFA Candidate Chat November 26, 2019

 

SteveCorona

Hi everyone, I'm the NAFA Chairman of the Board and I'm moderating tonight's chat.
Thank you to Elections Committee Chair Emma Mak and Nominating Committee Chair Terry McClean for helping me on the chat tonight.
Thank you to our Board of Directors Candidates: Jonathan Bescher, Cindy Henderson, Leerie Jenkins, Kurt Johnson, Alex Le, and Neil Flood for Executive Director, for putting yourself out there and offering to serve on the NAFA Board.

It's hard to schedule chats where everyone can attend, especially with candidates on each coast.
Tonight is the second of three chats and we have Jonathan Bescher, Cindy Henderson, Alex Le, and Kurt Johnson
Neil is not able to make any of the chats but is available by email at nflood51@gmail.com if anyone has questions pertaining to his nomination.
Leerie sends his regrets. He is unable to make the chat tonight due to work commitments. He can be reached via leerie.jenkins@gmail.com.

SteveCorona

NEW for this chat:
Those wishing to ask questions do NOT need to login/register. Questions should now be posed to the moderator in one of three ways:
1. Private message on Facebook Messenger to NAFA's page
2. Private message on Facebook Messenger directly to moderator (NAFA Chairman, Steve Corona)
3. Email to elections@flyball.org<br>The candidates and moderators will still be using the CBox software to post questions and responses live, and will be the only ones that need to login.

SteveCorona

Candidates please prepare your opening statements

JonathanBescher

Hello, and thank you to everyone involved. Those of you joining us tonight and that are reading at a later date, thank you for your time. I look forward to answering your questions tonight.

SteveCorona

Appears we are waiting for Cindy and Alex to join us. We will start and let them catch up should they join us alater.

kurtjohnson

Hello Everyone! I am Kurt Johnson. Owner of Redline Dogsports in Lethbridge Alberta Canada. I have been playing flyball for 25 years now, judge for 22, supervising judge for the last 19, and am currently a CMJ. I play with my wife and children on our small team. I work as foreman for a construction company, specializing in underground utility installation and renewal.

SteveCorona

Question from Merri Scott
"This year has been good for NAFA's exposure with the coverage on ESPN and the Incredible Dog Challenge. As someone new to the sport, I can see where there may be opportunities to build interest in flyball. What other avenues do you see to increase awareness and interest in flyball in general and NAFA specifically? And what ideas do you have for taking the inquiry from those whose interest was piqued by the TV coverage and getting them hooked enough to turn them into flyball competitors."

kurtjohnson

We all have to take ownership from a grass roots level to promote the sport locally. National exposure is fantastic, but interest has to be grown from within. More links and cross referencing and promotion on the web page can certainly help.

JonathanBescher

Social Media will play a big part of getting people involved. I think trying to get flyers into places like Petco, Petsmart and even the local small pet stores will help out a lot to get people interested. I truly think Flyball gets people hooked once they go to a tournament. Having dogs on a team that can be used to help new handlers or people to the sport are also very helpful. I know at a local tournament, one of the teams invited the ROTC from a High School to help line and box judge. Teams were letting these kids run their dogs. The kids were hooked. Doing demos at local dog events will also peek peoples interests.

SteveCorona

Question from Paula Johnson: could you ask the candidates how much time they have to offer the board?

JonathanBescher

I truly think it is all relative to what is being worked on. I have a full time job, part time job, a flyball judge, but I give it everything 100%. If I didn't think I would have enough time to devote to the board, I wouldn't have run. I think as long as people answer emails or are available for the board meetings, or conference calls, I think they will be able to help out the board. I know I am already on the Judges Committee and try to answer anything that comes up to that area as soon as possible.

kurtjohnson

Although I work full time.. I am prepared to fulfill responsibilities of volunteering for this board.

SteveCorona

Question from Steve Corona: How would you handle a situation either where you feel an individual is not contributing to the best of their ability?

JonathanBescher

I would first email them privately to make sure everything is alright. You never know what is going on in someones life. If everything is fine, then ask if they have any input on the situation being worked on, and stress that we need everyone's input, especially on a time-related matter.

kurtjohnson

Everyone should be held accountable for their actions or lack thereof. I expect everyone, myself included. to pull their own weight. You also need to ask for help when needed, and offer help when recognized.

SteveCorona

Question from Steve Corona: What "pet projects" would you like to bring to NAFA? In other words, are there any ideas that you would like the board to take action on?

SteveCorona

There is 1 question in the queue.

kurtjohnson

I would like to see an end to perceived "regional differences" through consistent NAFA wide application of the rule book.

JonathanBescher

The first thing for me would be "How do we get Town Halls going?" Where a board member can go to a tournament as a Board Member, and get feedback and talk to the competitors in person about their concerns or things that they like and would like to see more of. Second thing would be, how can we use technology to get rid of the C2 Forms. There are plenty of programmers out there that can write a web app, or even an app for IPad or Android device that can act like the C2, bring in the race and then send back to the scoring application. It would save a lot of headache, both during and after racing. It would allow the line judges not to have to cross the lane and get rid of the "where is race X?" that always seems to hold up racing where there is more than 1 ring.

SteveCorona

Question from Dave Strauss: Sometimes it feels like Flyball is splitting into two communities - people who want to run really fast teams, and people who just want to have fun with their dogs. How do we make NAFA flyball attractive to both groups of people?

kurtjohnson

I celebrate all accomplishments. Our team has run mid 15's. Our family has run 16s. Our team beagle has run 5.4 and also 8.4. Our team chihuahua has completed a heat!! I believe in fostering acceptance of all flyball has to offer.

JonathanBescher

I agree with Dave that there are both type of people and that is going to be in every region. I think the tournament hosts can help with some of the issues by talking with the teams and understanding what certain teams/clubs are looking for. I know in some regions the Division 1/2 teams prefer less heats and more 3/5, where the other divisions prefer more heats. I think it is very hard to please everyone, but as long as the tournament hosts make it clear what they are planning to offer the tournament will be popular. Also, having different things/themes during the tournament is always a draw and as a judge adds a nice touch to a tournament. I rarely stay/listen to awards, but when tournaments have special awards, I always try to stay around and listen to them because I think each award has an interesting story.

SteveCorona

Candidates we will have one more question shortly.

SteveCorona

Question from Karen Oleson: Are you familiar with NAFA's revenues and costs? Do you have an opinion on how NAFA can increase revenues and decrease costs?

JonathanBescher

I don't know much about NAFA's financials, mainly because I have trusted those on the board to keep an eye on the profit and loss and make sure that NAFA is stable financially. I know for CanAm they are always trying to make sure that we are not losing money, and this year they cut out everything that they could. The biggest thing is to help regions find venues that are suitable both in ring space, but financially to offer more tournaments or bigger tournaments. I think this goes back to the first question that was asked, as how do we get more people involved. The more people involved means more tournaments/bigger tournaments. However, if we have to limit the tournaments because there is not enough space to run a 2-ring tournament, then it doesn't matter how many people are interested. I know in Florida they only have one viable place to hold a tournament and it can only hold 1 ring. Also, shipping the EJS is very expensive. I know in our region and certain others, we hand carry the EJS to help shipping. If we could have enough EJS' around so we could hand carry them to the majority of the tournaments, that would be a huge money saver.

kurtjohnson

I am familiar with NAFA's revenues and costs to some level. Streamlining shipping of lights would be something I would like to look at. R12 teams currently transport lights whenever possible. Grass roots growth of entries/CRN's would help increase revenue.

SteveCorona

Question from Emma Mak: Is there something that you'd like readers of the chat transcript to know that hasn't been asked yet?

JonathanBescher

Nice question Emma. I really haven't thought about it. I guess when I get involved into something, I dive in 110%. There is no just doing, to do it. I am very loyal to things I care about. I have been at the same Company since I graduated college. I have been coaching for the same swim team for 15 years. Although I am a part time swim coach, I do more behind the scenes work and coaching than some of the full time coaches. I have been a manager/coach for the NC Open Water Select Camp, and Open Water Zone teams for many years now. I have also been a manager for the USA Swimming National Open Water Select Camp. I have asked Dave Thomas to keep me involved in the design of the next generation EJS, so I know what is going on and to be able to add any input from a judges standpoint.

kurtjohnson

NAFA flyball is my dog sport. I will do whatever I can to promote and strengthen NAFA. Hopefully, open and honest communication with all participants will help facilitate this.

SteveCorona

Candidates, please make your closing remarks.

SteveCorona

NAFA 2019/2020 Election ballots will be delivered to your email inbox on or about December 1st if you are a Club Owner, Regional Director, Approved/Supervising Judge or Board Member.
So please make sure you've updated NAFA with your latest email address if it's changed since last election.
Polls open on or about December 1, 2019. Results will be announced January 18, 2020 at the NAFA AGM in Baltimore, MD
Our last candidate chat is scheduled for Thursday, December 12 at 9PM EST

kurtjohnson

Thank you all for participating live, and reading transcripts later on! Thanks Emma and Steve for all your work! Thanks Jon! Too bad we live so far apart!

JonathanBescher

Once again thanks everyone for your questions and your time. If you would like any follow up to my answers, I can be reached at jjbescher@gmail.com. I hope that everyone that reads these chats either talks to the person who is casting the delegate votes and makes sure that others you know cast their votes. As with any election/vote, your opinion matters and the way to be heard is to vote. Good Night and look forward to the next chat.

SteveCorona

Thank you to all the candidates and the members of the NAFA community for their participation this evening. This concludes tonight's chat. Good night.

CindyHenderson

My apologies for missing the chat tonight. I see from the transcript there were some great questions. I will try to provide a brief summary.

CindyHenderson

National Coverage: I think these events are important as there are still so many folks that don't even know what flyball is and this is a way to gain exposure especially since we are competing with all the other dog sports. I agree however that we need to ensure there are grass roots efforts at the local level. Most important is finding ways to get new folks involved in joining and even starting new clubs/teams. Perhaps a mentorship program to help new clubs form . We have to get new people involved.

CindyHenderson

How much time do I have to devote? Well this is something that I thought about long and hard as many folks know I have a job that keeps me busy and I travel a lot for work. I wanted to be sure I would be able to devote the appropriate amount of time to the sport if elected. I am prepared to commit to attending board meetings, helping with CanAm, I would like to visit other regions to better understand how things are handled in other regions and learn what is happening there

CindyHenderson

NAFA Finances: I have to admit I don't know the details but I do believe that NAFA needs to consider ways to run more like a business from a financal perspective. I know it is a non-profit organization but in order to compete we need to ensure that we are fiscially responsible and strong. We will have to consider ways to cut costs for the organization so we can keep the sport reasonable for the competitors

AlexLe

Much thanks again to Emma and the election committee for putting this together and to everyone for attending and taking an active part in the election. Also, an early Happy Turkey Day from all of us out here in California. I apologize for the schedule conflict but I can provide my answers here in summary. My name is Alex Le. I’m from Region 16, but I am an active flyball participant from all over the NAFA map. I look forward to contributing to the organization and am very excited and humbled by the nomination for BOD to get some much needed representation from the West coast.

AlexLe

From a national coverage perspective, I would love to see us improve our comms and really utilize social media and technology. There’s a huge gap here for us to improve and get ahead to let all NAFA participants, both current and future, know what we’re thinking and how we are moving and modernizing the organization. My co workers ask me all the time about why they don’t see more flyball when the see events like the Incredible Dog and in a few weeks, the premier of American Ninja Dog…. All of this is exciting and I think we can use social medial and better comms to convert interest into new participants. The creation of the NAFA Blog was a much needed addition to help us improve our touch points with our participants and potential new flyballers. But I did see it as a reactionary move rather than a forward thinking move… It should have been done much earlier to help pull the organization together and would have really helped with messaging with the spash ball issue, height dog measurement, etc. that we faced last season. My skillsets would have been of value in moving these items ahead and added to the agenda much earlier so that we can be more agile in our execution. I know the folks I’ve been talking to and communicating with would like to see a less reactive organization and I can bring needed social/tech ideas to help in this area.

AlexLe

From a time perspective I am coming into this understanding that there’s a lot of work ahead. Am I busy? Yes, I think everyone is. BUT I really love flyball and I always find the time to make it happen. As a new club owner, I spend a lot of time putting practices together, helping new flyballers train their dogs, working with team members to schedule tournaments, and spending tons of time doing everything possible to help Region 16 new members to grow. Its just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle… I will make the time to actively participate on the BOD.

CindyHenderson

I believe that flyball is a sport that should be for everyone - sub 15 second teams and over 24 second teams, people with height dogs and those without, junior handlers as well as adults. The only way we will grow this organization is if it continues to be accessible for everyone. Part of that will also be controlling costs for competitors so it can be viable for as many to participate as possible and most importantly for host clubs to minimally break even and even have a chance to make a small profit at tournaments. I really woudl like to see a survey done broadly to everyone that plays flyball to really understand what the masses are thinking. I would like to see town hall meetings in regions with board member participation so we can hear the issues they face. I would like to see the AGM have greater attendance. I would like to see the RDs get together minimally via teleconference but ideally in person to receive training as well as voice their opinion on issues in their regions. I would like to see a more consistent training for judges with a re-certification program every few years to ensure they are keeping up with the changes in the sport and that we have consistency across all regions. I would like to see improvements to our technology - the website and database as well as the EJS. I have been playing flyball for over 20 years and I am passionate about the sport but I feel there are improvements to be made to ensure we are able to compete with all the other dog sports out there. I would like to bring my leadership skills and the skills I have gained from running IT, Finance, Data Management, Sales and Marketing organizations in my professional life. Most importantly I would like to LISTEN - this is a critical skill and component to being a BOD member in my opinion. Thank you to everyone for your time tonight. I am happy to answer any additional questions and can be reached via Facebook. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US!

AlexLe

With regards to participation and “pet projects”… I find that if an individual is supported and feels that they are heard and that their needs and concerns are being addressed, that individual will open up and contribute and participate more freely. As a board member myself on several dot coms here in the valley, I’ve found myself face to face with individuals in these circumstances from time to time over the years. But, at the end of the day, we need to make sure that we always represent the best interest of the organization while reflecting changes that the community is calling for. What would I like to see in the future? I would love for NAFA to provide more transparent comms and actively drive consistency across the different Regions. There are so many different views on how NAFA implements rules, it would be great to stabilize this and bring us together. I come back to my 3 key tenants (1) Forward thinking modernizing the organization (2) Transparency / Comms – Listen, respond, adapt (3) Partnership / Commitment to the organization

AlexLe

I am not familiar with NAFA's revenue and costs, but I am a detailed oriented individual. I also come from a strong finance background, working with a VC here in Silicon Valley, my job is to ensure that we optimize our investments in the companies that we invest in. I can bring my skillsets to the board to help drive revenue, offer up creative ideas that we might not have considered yet and work on partnerships with decrease our costs.

AlexLe

I wanted to thank all the folks that have reached out to me directly and those that have used my site to ask questions and offer their views and perspective on the status quo. I am so excited about this opportunity and am very much looking forward to working with everyone in the flyball community. Know that I take this very seriously and will continue our dialog in a very transparent manner. Please continue to reach out and get in touch with me or go here: https://alexanderple.wixsite.com/website to see all the questions I’ve answered from people around the different regions about how I will serve on the NAFA Board and to share your vision on what we can do to work together and make NAFA a great flyball organization.