In the second half of the General Session, US Equestrian CEO Bill Moroney elaborated on how the organization continues to develop for members as the vision and mission statements remain at the forefront. “Everything we do is for our members and their horses, otherwise, we should not be doing it,” Moroney said. He added that challenges and member feedback in the past year have brought about positive changes that have and will continue to bring improvements for US Equestrian’s future. Moroney outlined the 2019 priorities with the senior staff team providing more clarity into the following focus areas:
Sonja Keating, General Counsel, reiterated that Safe Sport education would remain a top initiative. Moving into 2019, US Equestrian will:
- Implement minor protection policies
- Roll out SafeSport training directed at youth athletes by the end of the first quarter
- Provide training opportunities to key staff members involved in Safe Sport claims unrelated to sexual misconduct: bullying, hazing, and emotional and physical misconduct
Drug and Medications
In 2018, US Equestrian announced an intent for a partnership between the USEF laboratory and the University of Kentucky, and they aim to finalize this agreement in 2019.
Rule Enforcement and Hearings
The US Equestrian rule and hearing process remains complex for many members. As a result, they will work on education outlining how the process works in an effort to increase transparency.
Finance and Operations
In an effort to reduce costs to US Equestrian members, David Harris, Chief Financial Officer, stated that they want to simplify financial reporting and automate post-competition reports. In addition, the Finance Department is working to implement paperless credit card transactions, an automatic member call-back service, and a telephonic membership renewal process for the US Equestrian Customer Care Department.
Competition and Athlete Services
Lisa Owens, Managing Director of Athlete Services, discussed the need to reduce the barriers for organizers and members by
- Refining the competition management program
- Providing FEI Online Entry system training to athletes
- Automating online entries
Justin Provost, Chief Information Officer, ran through the Information Technology Department’s 2019 goals, which include:
- A document library project to help with transitioning to the new building
- The development of a Flex Membership Concept in an effort to remove the Show Pass burden from organizers
- Improving member and athlete electronic transactions through the US Equestrian website
- Automating in any area possible, including the US Equestrian Rule Book, post-competition reports, and prize lists
Moroney spoke highly of the improvements made thus far by the Licensed Officials Department. Increased functionality of internal processes, a new online application system, a new clinic info request system with affiliates, and clinic calendar promotions are the top aims in 2019.
Marketing and Communications
Vicki Lowell, Chief Marketing and Content Officer, explained that the Marketing Department initiatives would build on the momentum of a growing membership and sponsor pool. Initial plans include:
- Evaluating competing and fan membership benefits
- Continuing to move USEF Network into a content model that invests strategically for exclusive distribution
- Expanding and optimizing sponsor programs to maximize impact
Drug and Medications
Protecting horse welfare and ensuring fairness across the sport guides the Drugs and Medications Department each day. Keating mentioned enhancing sample collection training for veterinarians and educating athletes on sample collection and supplement research. In line with the organization’s automation goal, the department will work on implementing an online-only filing of Medication Report Forms.
Moroney described the updated focus of the Compliance Department in 2019. Hiring a new director, increasing venue evaluations, conducting town halls and forums, educating others on the compliance program, and working with affiliates to develop and refine competition standards are on the table.
International Sport Development and Success
US Equestrian Director of Sport Will Connell recapped the achievements of the U.S. athletes and defined the goals aimed at sustaining this success in the future, including:
- Setting performance indicators for each athlete
- Achieving identified targets, reviewed on a four-year rotation
- Identifying, confirming, and assisting in the development and recognition of young athletes
- Developing world-renowned coaches, managers, and chef d’equipes, licensed officials, and an effective competition calendar
- Enhancing Sports Science and Medicine programs and development programs
- Launching an Equestrian Coaching Academy
- Fundraising against a communicated vision and plan, including Para-Dressage Coach Certification Program
- Creating a four-year operational plan and budget that supports the achievement of goals
National Breeds and Disciplines
Lori Nelson, Senior Director of National Affiliate, Competition and Alliance Partner Relationships, discussed plans to strengthen the national breeds and disciplines, such as
- Promoting and enhancing USEF National (Non-FEI) Championships
- Simplifying the USEF Lettering program
- Further developing the Saddle Seat Young Riders Team development and preparing for 2020 Saddle Seat World Cup Team Trials
- Increased promotion at National (Non-FEI) Championships
- Expanding the work with the affiliates to emphasize growth opportunities
Affiliate Status Issues
Moroney hopes to remedy affiliate status issues by having open discussions and working together. Developing clear recognized affiliate status requirements, completing affiliate agreements, and establishing regular progress meetings are on Moroney’s radar in 2019 and beyond.
Staff & Volunteer Development
Building a strong staff and volunteer team is important for continued success. Moroney noted that training, developing employee processes, implementing recommendations of human resource assessments, and incorporating predictive index assessments in hiring and team-building will be focuses for the future.
Moroney closed out the General Session by commending Kessler for his Strategic Plan and its flexibility in allowing the organization to meet the initiatives. “It is an exciting time for equestrian sport,” Moroney said. “As I said earlier, we have some challenges, but out of those challenges always comes the opportunity to be better, to improve, to grow, to elaborate, and to partner on things. That has always been my philosophy in life, and I think it is a philosophy of the organization.” Learning from experience and the input of members has set up a bright path for US Equestrian in the year ahead.