US Sailing Leadership Forum

2014 US Sailing Leadership Forum: Saturday

The final day of the US Sailing Leadership Forum started out with James Clark (founder of Silicon Graphics, Netscape) telling us about his j-boat programs and the new 100′ grand prix boat that will be launched later this year.

2/8 Jon with Silicon Graphics/Netscape Founder James Clark

Later in the day I attended sessions on Adult Lear To Sail Programs, Growing Membership and Increasing Participation, and regatta websites.  That was followed by a farewell party by the pool.

2/8 post-forum party

I came to this forum having previously only met 3 or 4 people in person out of the more than 600 attendees.  It was great to finally meet so many of the people I’ve emailed, conference called or worked with in some way over the years.  I’m also incredibly appreciative of all of the prominent sailors and leaders in our sport who I got to speak with for a couple minutes and thankful they attended to provide their insight and guidance.

I have to commend US Sailing on doing such a great job to bring so many people together.  It was informative in all the right ways and I got more out of it than I ever expected I would.

And finally – on the ride back into Richmond we came in directly over the city.  Thanks Delta for allowing us to use electronic devices during all stages of flight!

2/9 flying into Richmond directly over the city.

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2014 US Sailing Leadership Forum: Friday

This was the 2nd day at the US Sailing Leadership Forum with 1 more day left.  It was  really a great day of learning and connecting with people and meeting people in the sport I’ve never been able to meet in person.  I’d name some highlights, but I can’t name a highlight when just about everything from today was a highlight.

2/7 demo sailing

So what did I do today?

  • Listened to the state of the union on big boat racing.  Learned about the rating rules as well as their strengths and weaknesses; the universal measurement rule; keel failures; and the diversity of events.
  • Went to a seminar on creating sailing opportunities: Diversifying through outreach.  Learned about various demographics and opportunities to introduce new demographics to sailing and how to do it.
  • Learned about building and motivating an organization.  This was incredibly relevant for both sailing and my work.  Learned about having clarity, empowerment, excitement, respect and ownership; how to be a good leader as well as a good follower.
  • Found out how the rules apply to the electronic age including how some of the technology used at the America’s Cup for enforcing the rules worked and when it might or might not trickle down to other forms of sailing.
  • Got to see a variety of new boats up close and on the water and how they may fit as tools to bring new sailors to the sport
  • Saw Chris Love’s GoPro equipped quad copter and some pretty awesome shots of the beach front activity.

And to top it all off – there was a pretty kick ass party.

2/7 regatta party

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2014 US Sailing Leadership Forum: Thursday

The first full day of the US Sailing Leadership Forum was started early by west coast standards.  I ran the 1.5mi from my hotel to the beach in front of the event hotel and  we got to do a Stand Up Paddle Board fitness class.

2/6 early morning stand up paddle board fitness class

After running home and cleaning up we started the forum with presentations by Gary Jobson and Ken Read.  It was great hearing their views on sailing as well as it’s challenges and opportunities.  I attended sessions on:

  • Sailing Industry
  • How to Unleash the Power of Social Media
  • Lowering the Average age of Your Sailors
  • Fleet and Club Owned Boat selection

2/6 opening keynote with Gary Jobson on stage

Between the sessions and getting to talk to so many sailors from such a wide background was really a great experience and great way to share ideas and learn from others.  I took about 2 pages of notes from each session and after I get home I distill those down and share some of the biggest things I learned this week.

In the evening was the US Sailing Community and One Design Awards Ceremony held at the San Diego Hall of Champions.  I got to sit next to the President of US Sailing, Tom Hubbell, on the bus there and talked to him about being/having been sailors on Chautauqua Lake among other things. The Hall of Champions is a great sport museum and as a sailor I loved the full-sized Star boat on display as well as all of the sailing history and America’s Cup history in the rooms of sailing exhibits. I also got to visit with my sister and meet her boyfriend who came down from L.A. for the dinner.

2/6 Jon, my sister Cheryl and Dean at the US Sailing Leadership Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony itself was neat to see and hear about all of the amazing and wonderful things that so many others were doing for the sport of sailing.  It was an honor to be among them and it was an even greater honor to receive the 2013 US Sailing One Design Leadership Award presented by my friend Margaret Podlich.

2/6 Jon with US Sailing Executive Director Jack Gierhart and Gary Jobson

2/6 2013 US Sailing One Design Leadership Award

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2014 US Sailing Leadership Forum: Wednesday

I traveled to San Diego California today to attend the US Sailing Leadership Forum.   Getting up at 4am to make my flight made for a long day.  Once in San Diego I met a friend, Karen, for lunch and we toured the USS Midway air craft carrier.

2/5 USS Midway - Karen & Jon

2/5 USS Midway - Jon

In the evening I attended the welcome reception and got to meet a lot of people whom I had heard about or even emailed with, but never met in person.

2/5 US Sailing Leadership Forum Welcome Reception - Jon

Tomorrow starts the 3-day conference.

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