Monday, October 25, 2010

Diversity?

At the US SAILING annual meeting last week in Phoenix, AZ, three new appointments to the Board of Directors were confirmed based on their election by US SAILING members. These three individuals came from a pool of five people that had been selected by the Nominating Committee, with all five people based in the upper right corner of the country.

The US SAILING announcement was included in Scuttlebutt 3205, which prompted the following letter from Doran Cushing of Sarasota, FL:

“If there is any one problem with sailing in the U.S. it is the persistent "old boy" network at the senior "management" levels. The latest appointments to US SAILING only confirm that long-standing trend. Where is the diversity? Where is the all-embracing flavor of a huge nation where we end up with microscopic regional "leadership?" Not that these people are not dedicated and talented. But it is a larger universe, even in the U.S. New England is NOT the center of the sailing universe in the U.S. The same old boy attitudes are reflected in the intolerance of multihull inclusion into the so called "real world" of sailboats. Seems like lots of old boys are missing the boat.”

This was the fourth year that US SAILING held elections to determine members of its board of directors. Board members serve for a three-year term in rotation, except for the Executive Director and the Chair of the Olympic Committee. Here is the US SAILING Board of Directors for October 2010- October 2011:

Gary Jobson (President), Annapolis, MD
Tom Hubbell (Vice President), Delaware, OH
Fred Hagedorn (Secretary), Chicago, IL
Leslie Keller (Treasurer), Kirkland, WA
Jack Gierhart (Executive Director*), Marion, MA
Dean Brenner (Olympic Committee Chair), Westbrook, CT
Ed Adams, Middletown, RI
Walter Chamberlain, Bay St. Louis, MS
John Craig, San Francisco, CA
John Dane III, Pass Christian, MS
Susan Epstein, Sharon, MA
Stan Honey, Palo Alto, CA
Maureen McKinnon-Tucker, Marblehead, MA
Dawn Riley, Oyster Bay, NY
Bill Stump, Venice, CA
Jim Walsh (House of Delegates chair*), Brick, NJ
*Non-voting members

It should be noted that Dawn recently moved to Oyster Bay from nearby Detroit, MI. Overall, is this diverse enough?

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8 Comments:

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking at the announcement, the diversity and regionalism is the also the first thing I looked at and thought of check.. I was also sorely disappointed.

 
At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prior to the election, the geographic distribution was thus:

East:
Jobson, Brenner, Epstein

Midwest:
Hubbel, Riley, Hagedorn

South:
Allsopp, Chamberlain, Tichenor, Dane

West
Craig, Honey, Stump, Keller

That's 3-3-4-4, as even a distribution as can be achieved with a 14 member board.

(The non-voting members should not be considered, since they don't have votes.)

Allsopp and Tichenor (both from the south) were the board members who were leaving. (Susan Epstein was re-elected)

The four nominees were:
McKinnon-Tucker - East
Adams - East
Ikle - Midwest (upstate NY)
Brindley - East

So it was pretty predicable that there would be a shift of geographic representation to the East.

Current distribution:

East:
Jobson, Brenner, Epstein, McKinnon-Tucker, Adams, Riley (transplant)

Midwest:
Hubbel, Hagedorn

South:
Chamberlain, Dane

West
Craig, Honey, Stump, Keller

That's 6-2-2-4, and it would have been 5-3-3-4 had Riley not moved, something beyond the Nominating Committee's control.

The Nominating Committee considers a lot more than just the geographic distribution of nominees, since that alone tends to be a poor predictor of performance on the board.

If anybody thinks that Maureen and Ed are not qualified to serve on the BOD of US Sailing, then say so plainly. Otherwise, "lack of geographic diversity" is a red herring.

 
At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Bill Sandberg said...

I have to disagree with Dorian Cushing's observations about the USSAILING Board being loaded with New Englanders. If we eliminate the E.D. and the Chair of the Olympic Committee, as Mr. Cushing suggests, 9 of 14 seats are held by people from outside New England. Even that's a stretch, as two of the five "New Englanders" would include Dawn Riley, who was raised in Detroit and spent many years in California, and Jim Walsh, a non-voting member from NJ. Not many people consider NJ to be part of New England.

As far as not having a multihull representative, the Board never has been, and never should be, meant to represent individual factions. It is made up of people willing to volunteer many hours to do what is right for our sport. As for the old boy network, Board members are usually selected from a group of people who have served on committees for a period of time-a process that many organizations use. It's time to quit griping and instead support US SAILING and get on with reviving our sport.

 
At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Justin Scott said...

Three directors were elected to the board of US SAILING this year. Two were women and one sits in a wheel chair. Diverse enough?

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had assumed that since all of the choices were from New England that this years selections were intended to be from NE. Didn't bother to vote as a result. Now that I learn that they were replacing southerners with exclusivly Yankees I do care.

I recommend that the US Sailing name be changed to Yankee Sailing.

Soon to be former souther member.

 
At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad day when we as sailors put the geographic region ahead of the quality of the candidate. Good for the life style, right?

 
At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US SAILING Board of Directors is supposed to be a leadership team rather than a "house of representatives". To say that the Board isn't diverse enough (it is much more diverse than most corporate boards) is just taking an irrelevant and temporal geographic distribution of addresses and slinging it like mud. Mr. Adams and Ms. McKinnon Tucker are fresh blood, not in the old boy's network. BTW, I'm from California.

 
At 6:36 AM, Anonymous Tom Hubbell said...

Bill, Justin, thanks for your comments. This forum points out a challenge for the Nominating Committee, finding candidates with a new perspective when many of the potential ones seem to have the same name, Anonymous. I welcome suggestions of real names and real people to nominate who have the courage to invest time and effort in leading our sport. (And we pay our own expenses.) We are always, always looking for fresh new faces. My address is on the US SAILING BOD web page. Tom Hubbell

 

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