Transcript for the NAFA® Candidate Chat November 9th, 2012

moderatorOk, we'll go ahead and get started. This is Dana Nichols moderating tonight.
Kim DavisThanks to everyone that's taking time out on a Friday night to join us! My name is Kim Davis, and I am privileged to have been nominated for the Nafa Board of Directors and look forward to talking with everyone.
Karen OlesonGood evening everyone and thanks for coming. Let me know if there are any questions I can answer for you.
Dirk_ElberGood Evening. First I would like to thank Nafa for hosting these chats as a means of letting the flyball community meet all four of the candidates for this year’s Board of Director’s election. Let me be the first to say to say that I am very excited to even be considered for this position, especially with three other candidates who have given so much of their time to the Board and on the Executive Director’s staff. Given the time I have worked with each of these candidates I am very confident that no matter what the outcome of this year’s election are, our organization is in good hands for the years to come. For those of you that do not know me, my name is Dirk Elber. Compared to the other three candidates I am very new to this sport, as I am just completing my fourth year of competing in flyball. The draw to flyball was immediate and 3 weeks after first being introduced to the sport, I was box loading at my first flyball tournament. Since that point I have become increasingly involved as competitor, as a trainer for beginning flyball classes taught by my club, as Nafa Approved Judge, and for the past two years as a non-elected member of the Nafa Judges Committee. I am looking forward to answering your questions in regards to how I think I can be of continuing assistance to Nafa.
leerie.jenkinsGood evening . I’m Leerie Jenkins, and I’ve served on the board for the past 4 years and am excited at the prospect of serving again. Thank you to all who are participating, both in real time, and via transcripts. Thanks Dana for moderating and Dave for assisting. I also want to thank the other 3 candidates for running. I know each of them personally, have worked with them all, and would be happy for any three of us to be honored to be elected and serve. I know each of them also already works very hard for Nafa and to improve the sport of flyball. And that’s what this is all about…the chance to work and improve this sport we all love so much…to give back. I’m honored to be running alongside them.
moderatorThank you for joining us. Thank you to Dana Hanson for chairing our nominating committee this year & scheduling the chats.
moderatorHere is our first question: Chris_vanwert: Sportsmanship - Voting members of the Nafa Board set an example for standards of ethical behavior and sportsmanship. During the Canam, someone posted in the live feed chat window that they were glad that "club Xyz and Club 123 were not at the Canam". Do you think that public statements deriding a specific club promotes Nafa Flyball competition? If elected, what would you do if you learned that such a remark was made by a member of your flyball club? What would you do if you learned such a remark was made by a member of any other Board member's club?
leerie.jenkinsIt's unfortunate. I personally prefer to focus on the positive and do what I can to promote good sportsmanship and class, by trying to lead by example.
Chris_VanWertWould you talk to that person directly and discourage such behavior?
leerie.jenkinsAnd to answer your question more directly, I would handle it privately.
Kim DavisI would also opt to handle something like that privately.
Dirk_ElberI dont think it is the roll of a Board of Director to tell anyone, even someone on their own club, what they can or can not say on a public internet chat. Somehow I believe that is beyond the scope of the personal standard of ethics. I would personally not make any comment like that as I want every team to want to be at Canam And as Leerie just pointed out hope that leading by example would be better than trying to actually tell people how they should act.
moderatorWhile the other candidates are writing, I've got one question in the que currently.
Chris_VanWertWould you talk to another Board member about members of their club "behaving badly"? or would you turn a blind eye?
Karen OlesonI do not think that derogatory statements made in public promote any competition. I am fortunate to have chosen to be a member of clubs where members are not likely to participate in that type of behavior. In my opinion the situation is best handled by the club owner.
moderatorHere's our next question: dave.walt: What makes you a good candiate for the board and why should my club vote for you?
Chris_VanWertthere is a perception that Board members clubs ae "elitest" and act "entitled". How do you react to that perception? Especially,if you handle it privately?
moderatorIf you have further questions, please send them to me privately so they can be put in line.
Karen OlesonIf I felt the need to talk to someone about their club members "behaving badly" I would choose to talk to the club owner. I feel it is the club owner who sets the tone and leads the club by example.
leerie.jenkinsThat too, is unfortunate (i.e. that there is that perception). I think it is a mistaken one. The board members I know come from "all walks of flyball." Again, I personally try to handle that by leading by example, by promoting and participating at flyball at all levels.
Chris_VanWertYou make a good point, Karen. Which of the candidates are also Club owners?
moderatorChris, please send new questions to me privately.
moderatorThe question currently for the candidates is: dave.walt: What makes you a good candiate for the board and why should my club vote for you?
moderatorI currently have 2 other questions in the que.
leerie.jenkinsI feel I have shown I have a strong work ethic, been extremely available and responsive, and have given my best effort over the last 4 years as a board member, the chair of the board, and an active member of all committees (when and where appropriate). I will continue to work hard to make flyball and our organization better! I hope you will vote for me if you agree.
leerie.jenkinsI also feel I have a lot of experience, from the “real world,” from flyball, and with Nafa itself, and can “hit the ground running,” and fill whatever role is needed from me.
Karen OlesonI've been active in Nafa for 17 years and feel that I can contribute to the success of the organization as a whole. I communicate with flyballers in all (active) regions and feel I can look at how board actions will affect the Nafa community as a whole, rather than how it affects a smaller area.
Kim DavisDave, for me it’s my love for this sport. I have been playing flyball for over 10 years now and can think of no better reason to run for the Board than to try and make this sport even better. I’ve been involved in almost every aspect of a tournament, attended the Agms and Board meetings to become even more involved in Nafa. I have a wide experience of seeing flyball in and around the country. I have marketing and journalism experience to bring to the table. I’m excited about being involved in any and all of the other committees. Being involved with Canam has also given me great respect for not only those involved in creating this event, but also for all those people traveling there to attend. I want to help further this sport in any way I can.
Dirk_ElberDave to answer your question. I believe a good candidate is one that understands that this is a national organization where the participants have greatly different reasons for participating. And the Board member must be able to work with everyone involved to understand the issues involved and work to resolve them. Not just for one portion of the sport, but for all that participate.
moderatorOur next question: dave.walt: Any particular issues in the sport right now that you would like to see changed?
leerie.jenkinsI’d like to continue improving our systems, procedures, and processes, and continue working towards making it easier and more accessible to host/play/score tournaments. I think there’s a lot of improvements in technology that will continue to be integrated into Nafa flyball. I find the prospects exciting!
Kim DavisI know there have been strides to make hosting tourneys easier on clubs that haven’t done that before and personally, I’d like to see how well those have worked. Coming from a small club, I know what it was like to take our first tourney on! And in our region, we have had some success with more clubs taking on that task and hosting tourneys.
Karen OlesonI cannot identify any specific issues that I’d like change; rather improve some of our current processes.
moderatorI just have one more question in the que. If anyone has any questions, please send me a private message.
Dirk_ElberI can not think of any off of the top of my head.
moderatorLast question I have for now: dave.walt: Being a board member means lots of hours of work, why do you want to do this?
moderatorI've got two more questions in the que now.
moderatorIf anyone else has questions, please get them in to me.
leerie.jenkinsI’ve always been one to want to be really involved in things I care about. Flyball is my main hobby. I enjoy spending my time giving back to the sport, and trying to improve things, however I can. It also means I have gotten to meet lots and lots of really great people and their awesome dogs, who share my passion for flyball.
Dirk_ElberDave, I think the long hours pay off when you see people coming from all over to compete and going home happy at the end. Whether it is the effort to host a local tournament, a tournament on the scale of Canam or the organization that makes it all possible.. the reward is that people want to come and play the sport we all enjoy..
Kim DavisBecause this sport deserves our best effort; and sometimes, that best effort requires that extra time, or our commit to an event or long teleconference calls. It’s why we’re here – for flyball.
Karen OlesonI think that Nafa has the best Flyball game to offer. The hours spent working on the board to set Nafa on a path to success is worth it to me. I want Nafa to experience long term growth throughout North America.
moderatorNext question: Chris_vanwert: Representing all of flyball - Two nominees were nominated by Region 9 competitors. The other two nominees were either nominated by or compete in Region 5. While things maybe running just great in these two Regions, 5 & 9, some Regions are struggling significantly. As an example, Region 1 has experienced a 66% drop in Nafa sanctioned events over the last 5 years. If elected, what will do to understand the problems declining Regions are facing, even if those Regions are far from away from where you live and compete? What will you do if you learn that some Nafa policies may be the cause of such declines?
moderatorI have one last question after this one.
leerie.jenkinsListen, learn, and do the best we can. I’d like to think region 1 is on a path to growing again. I have hope.
Dirk_ElberChris as I mentioned earlier, this is about understanding that this is a national organization. I cant speak to the specifics of your region at this point as I have not been involved up there. However, having any region drop in participation is not a good thing when other regions are flurishing.
Karen OlesonI live in a region that has seen a significant drop in Nafa tournaments. There are some Nafa policies that affect tournaments in areas that have a large number of clubs and tournaments much differently than they affect areas in which there are fewer. If a policy which negatively affects declining areas is brought to my attention, I’d certainly review the policy to see if there is a way to make it more effective in a positive manner for all areas.
Kim DavisIf a region’s events are declining and there are discernible reasons for it, then discussing with the Rd and club owners about those reasons would be foremost. If a specific policy is suggested to be a reason, then reviewing that policy and its effect would be a priority.
moderatorI'm not going to take any additional questions. Have 3 to finish now. Dana Hanson: We've seen some creative changes in Akc in rolling out new "products" to gain participation in their organization and generate new dollars. What might Nafa do to grow its own organization?
Dirk_Elbersince Nafa already was open to all breeds, I thought the ties to Akc's Canine Partners was a great step. That was followed up last year by having Akc recognizing 3 titles. For people that are interested in that level of recognition this was a great step to opening the door for more participation.
Dirk_ElberOn the technology level, I think having professional live feeds at tournaments to share the event over the internet has been a great plus for Canam. Combined with the pass calling system that Dave Thomas had at Indy (and other sites here in the east) it is making the sport more viewer friendly .. and creating more excitement.
leerie.jenkinsI think we try to offer the best product, innovate, and grow. And listen to our competitors. We get lots of great ideas from our competitors. I can’t tell you what the next “open class” or “vets class” will be (e.g. two “new products” that have been successful); but, I have no doubt they will come. So, we keep on thinking proactively, listening, and adapting.
Karen OlesonNafa grows at the club level. The best way for Nafa to grow is for local clubs to recruit new members. No amount of board action can take the place of local clubs hosting tournaments, getting the public interested in flyball and recruiting. Rd’s the Ed and members of the board can and do offer assistance in the form of advice to people starting clubs in new areas. As always, being responsive to new ideas from competitors is paramount.
Kim DavisDemos and training by local clubs is a really good way to get more involvement. By reaching these trainers, and them reaching their client base, our sport can grow in numbers. With the Akc Canine Partners program, as well as being able to record Flyball titles, I’m hoping a lot of agility competitors might come into the ranks.
moderatorOk two questions left. This and one other. Chris_vanwert: Leadership Chats- Dirk Elber, your resume states that you have been " active participant in many of the Nafa leadership and judges chats in the last 3 years." When I checked chat transcripts over the last three years, you only appear in one Leadership Chat and one Candidate Chat. Do you think that it is an accurate claim to say "many Nafa Leadership chats?" To the other candidates, over the last three years there have been only 6 Leadership Chats in total and not a single Leadership Chat since July 17 of 2011, a period of 16 months with no Leadership Chat. If elected, what will you do to make Leadership Chats available more often and become more effective as a tool for communication to the Nafa community?
Kim DavisAnd by local clubs, i meant obedience and agility clubs, not just flyball clubs!
Dirk_ElberI believe leadership chats are important when important issues arise. However, I also understand how difficult it is to schedule this chat and it was only four of us that had to reply so just to have chats to say that we have had them may be a waste of everyones time. I know that there are plenty of avenues for people to have their questions answered via emails sent to Nafa. As for my participation, If you just reading the logs it only shows who was asking question not who was logged on. I personally do not need to address every issue publically.
moderatorWhile the candidates are typing, let me make a plug for doing the online verification for voting. We are distributing all ballots via email. We'd like to confirm that we have an accurate email address for you. This verificaiton process also allows you to confirm your number of votes and catch any errors ahead of time. The link for the online verification is on the Nafa web page - and will remain live through November 19. Ballots will be distributed via email on approximately December 3.
Karen OlesonMy email and phone number will be (and are) published on the Nafa website. The Nafa community is welcome to contact me at any time. It might be nice to have a set time/date (eg. 2nd Tuesday of the month) for chats to occur on a more regular basis noting that all board members do not share the same schedule and may not be able to attend, however based on the attendance of chats over the past few years, they don’t seem to be something the Nafa community wants to use as a communication tool.
Kim DavisThere have been leadership chats once a quarter in the past. I’m hoping we can keep with at least that number in the coming year. Promoting participation has always seemed an issue and while notifications have been sent out repeatedly, numbers have been low. I’m hoping through Nafa’s Facebook page and the Nafanews, we can help reach more people when the chats are scheduled and we can truly use them as an effective communication tool.
leerie.jenkinsI have an “open door policy.” I get phone calls, emails, Ims, texts, facebook messages and chats from competitors most every week. I feel that since the leadership chats have been so poorly attended, and I haven’t heard anyone mention them until now, I guess I felt they weren’t really that necessary/desired/important to people. I have instead tried to focus on being uber responsive to the flyball community as a whole, and on a more personal level. If people feel they are something in which they’d like to see more of, then please mention it to a board member. But I feel like I have leadership chats most weeks.
moderatorHere's our last question for the evening & then we'll allow each candidate to write a brief closing statement. dave.walt: Being on the board means working with 9 other individuals, everyone has their strengths and weakness, what do you feel are yours and where do you think your strengths would be best used if you got voted in?
moderatorI want to thank all of our candidates for attending this candidate chat. The transcript will be posted for voters to read who were unable to attend. Our final chat will be on Friday, December 7 at 8pm central time. If anyone has any trouble with the verification process or questions about voting, please feel free to email me at or send an email to
moderatorThank you very much to our Nomination Committee Chair Dana Hanson. He's done a ton of work on this year's election and had the tough task of getting the candidate chats scheduled. Thank you!
leerie.jenkinsDave, I apologize for being so “american” with my answer <grin>, in using a baseball analogy…i feel like I’m more of a utility infielder. I feel comfortable taking on whatever roles seem needed by me at that moment. I feel comfortable with most every aspect of flyball, jobs to do on the board, and working together in a group and independently in a business setting. I find successfully working towards common goals to be very gratifying.
Dirk_ElberDave.. I believe my strength are in the judges/rules portion of the board, as that is what I have been exposed to the most in my workings with the Board. But that is not enough to carry a fair share of the work load required of the board. I can say that finance and technology are not sectors where I am strong and would feel that my time and efforts would be better suited in other areas.
Karen OlesonI’m pretty strong at troubleshooting, streamlining and making things more efficient. The board chairman determines what committees each member will be on, so wherever they decide to put me is where I will work to the best of my ability.
Kim DavisStrengths – loyal, trustworthy, smart, hard worker, personable, reachable. I’ve always been part of a team in my work life and know what it’s like to combine efforts to achieve a goal. I know how to listen and I respect others on my team for their experience and their knowledge base. I don’t see the Board being any different. While on a more ‘material’ end, my work in technology and support, as well as marketing will all be a great asset to several committees.
moderatorWhile the candidates are preparing their closing remarks, a few final election reminders. The election will close on January 24, 2013 and will close at midnight central time zone. All ballots must be submitted electronically before that deadline. And, another big thank you. Emma Mak is also on our Election Committee and has been fielding the large number of emails and corrections to emails and voting corrections. She deserves a big thank you too!
Karen OlesonThanks to all who showed up for the chat and all who are reading the transcript. If you have further questions of me, please feel free to contact me via email.
leerie.jenkinsThanks again everyone for spending your time here and for caring. Thanks again to Dirk, Kim, and Karen; and also to Dave and the Danas. If I am honored to be re-elected, I will continue to work hard to improve the sport and this fine organization. As always, my phone and inbox are always open, please call or write me ( anytime if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to talk about flyball. Thanks and goodnight!
Dirk_ElberI would like to say thank you for all that participated in this chat this evening. Hope that this and subsequent chat are helpful in making a decision in this year’s election.
Kim DavisI'd like to say a special thanks to the election committee for all they do!
Kim DavisAnd to all that attended, thanks for doing so. And for providing us with really good questions! Thanks to my fellow candidates!
moderatorThank you everyone. The chat transcript will be posted on the Nafa web page - Chat transcript ends here.