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Consensus Emerges from Affiliate Roundtable

by Glenye Cain Oakford | Jan 11, 2019, 10:12 PM EST

US Equestrian President Murray Kessler and CEO Bill Moroney joined 29 leaders from US Equestrian's breed and discipline affiliates on Friday for the Affiliate Roundtable at US Equestrian’s 2019 Annual Meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla. 
The meeting began with a closed session, where discussions resulted in eight areas of consensus, covering a wide range of topics, including Safe Sport, the affiliate agreement process, national breed and discipline representation on US Equestrian councils, and more.

Eight Areas of Consensus
“We had robust and great discussion,” Kessler said at the open meeting that followed the closed session. “I think everybody got to express their points of view, and it was truly a partnership discussion. There was a lot of good input.”
Together, the group defined eight areas of consensus that Kessler said fell broadly into two categories: items that will require change and items that need more communication. 
1. Safe Sport
“Everybody agreed that it was the right thing to do,” Kessler said of the Safe Sport initiative. “But there needs to be sharing of all the resources and tools in the toolbox to talk about it, answer questions, and communicate it at a better level.”
Kessler said that Moroney and US Equestrian General Counsel Sonja Keating would spearhead those efforts.

Affiliate leaders asked for more information on the U.S. Center for SafeSport’s investigation process that they can share with their members, which will be provided to them following the Annual Meeting.
2. Affiliate agreement process
Kessler said there was a “strong concern” over aspects of the affiliate agreement process and general agreement that the process should take less time. Kessler said that US Equestrian intends to rework that process and work with the affiliate leadership to create a better process going forward.
3. Diversify affiliate representation on the National Breeds and Disciplines Council and committees
“There was a discussion and an agreement that there needs to be more representation from the breeds and disciplines on some of the committees,” Kessler said, adding that he will work with the group to get more recommendations from them for committee appointments consistent with US Equestrian bylaws.
4. Sharing fan membership data with affiliates
The group agreed that there could be more synergy between US Equestrian and affiliates in exchanging data from people who sign up for free US Equestrian fan memberships and affiliate members who are not US Equestrian members. 
5. Annual reporting tailored to affiliate needs
Annual reporting of data analytics, expenditures, and similar information for breeds and disciplines will allow affiliate leaders to assess more clearly how much they are receiving from their US Equestrian membership—and give them information to share with their own members.
6. Continued work on staff/affiliate relationships and communication
US Equestrian and affiliates expressed a mutual desire to strengthen ties with key contacts and more regular processes and consistency in those relationships.
7. Representation on the Member Services Council

US Equestrian and affiliates agreed that there should be a connection between the affiliates and the new Member Services Council, and Moroney will work on a method to accomplish this task.
8. Regular meetings of the affiliate roundtable group
These would include regular metrics and scoring to measure progress on the issues identified and on agreed initiatives. The process would begin with a facilitated workshop. “This won’t just be over a couple of hours, but over a couple of days, so we can really crystallize these issues,” Kessler explained.
Participants in Friday’s Affiliate Roundtable also discussed and shared information on a number of other topics, including improving the group’s collective buying power, comparing governance practices, and identifying resources for best practices at non-profit organizations.

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