INDIANAPOLIS – USA Track and Field CEO Max Siegel and President/Chairman of the Board Stephanie Hightower welcomed constituents from across the country to the 2013 Annual Meeting with a message of change, progress and the pathway toward organizational and competitive excellence.
USA Track & Field’s 2013 Annual Meeting, a four-day event beginning Thursday, Dec. 5 and concluding Sunday, Dec. 8, is officially underway at the J.W. Marriott in Indianapolis, which is home to the organization’s national office.
The Annual Meeting brings together committees, subcommittees and task forces for once-a-year, face-to-face meetings. In alternating years such as 2013, the organization also considers revisions and modifications to its bylaws and rules.
PRESIDENT REPORTS ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE
During Thursday evening’s Opening Session, Hightower and Siegel offered welcoming remarks to the constituents in attendance, focusing on the theme of organizational change in business practices as well as culture.
“This has been a long and exciting year,” said Hightower. “As always, all the action on the track and the success of our amazing athletes spoke for itself. But the achievements, accomplishments and, frankly, the change beneath the surface at USA Track & Field, organization-wide, is what marked 2013 for me.”
Due in large part to significant, organizational restructuring in the last 12 months, USATF has redefined business practices and evolved both internal and external interactions with constituents and the general public.
Hightower then introduced the change agent and the resilient face of leadership, Siegel, who has served as CEO since May 2012.
RAMPING UP BUSINESS
Siegel addressed the USATF’s changes in business and financial policies over his tenure, including $295,000 of savings related to television broadcasts in 2013 and a gain of over $250,000 in revenue and cost savings to the organization in the last year gained from new investment policies.
With that, Siegel noted the doubling of prize money at national championships for elite athletes for the first time in 13 years and announced USATF’s intention to continue and further that in years to come.
Siegel went over the growth of the organization in the last year, including USATF’s partnership with Neustar in hosting the .US National Road Racing Championships, as well as the establishment of a for-profit entity, USATF LLC, to handle USA Track & Field’s commercial ventures, including broadcasting, licensing and other revenue-generating projects.
“With our collaboration with Neustar, we were able to produce our biggest single-event sponsorship in 11 years, the .US National Road Racing Championships,” Siegel said. “In our first year, it was a success and built a foundation for years to come.
"In June, USA Track & Field launched USATF.tv, which significantly improved all of our event broadcasts, but more importantly expanded the type of content we webcast, including creative content and features," Siegel continued. "USATF.tv not only enhances the coverage of the sport but allows the organization to feature stories and events that may not be told elsewhere."
GUEST SPEAKERS DETAIL CHANGES
Siegel was followed at the podium by USATF business partners and leaders, who gave personal accounts of the positive change they have witnessed.
Hall of Famer and USATF board member, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Hall of Famer Dan O’Brien, Senior Vice President of Programming with NBC Olympics Peter Diamond, Vice President of Global Running and Track & Field Sports Marketing for Nike John Capriotti, USATF Associations Chair Karen Krsak, 2013 .US National Road Racing Champion Aaron Braun and four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross spoke about their experiences with USATF in 2013.
Capriotti discussed USATF's previous relationship with Nike and impressively stated that "the relationship between Nike and USATF is the best it has been in my 21 years at Nike."
Krsak discussed her many roles within the organization and spoke to the true growth she has seen since Siegel’s hiring. Krsak acknowledged "no one is going to agree all the time but there is a mindset where the committee is truly at the table and a partner in USATF. That is a first for us and I truly think Max Siegel is the right leader for USATF."
Braun addressed the room and recapped his participation in USATF’s flagship road race, noting that it has kept his 2016 dreams alive to compete in Rio. Braun also acknowledged the dedication Siegel and USATF has shown to the long distance running (LDR) community and expressed his appreciation for their support of distance athletes.
"The creation of the .US National Championships proves to me and the long distance running community that Max is supportive of us and invested in supporting all divisions of USATF, including athletes like me," Braun noted.
The last to speak at the Opening General Session was Richards-Ross, who admitted that she was naturally skeptical about another change in USATF leadership.
"When USATF came to me about the USATF:36 show for USATF.tv, I was absolutely on board but was still a little skeptical about Max," Richards-Ross said. "When I signed on to do my reality show, I called USATF and asked if someone could represent them at the premiere. You can imagine my surprise when Max himself showed up.
"But it wasn't until Max came to the Elite Athlete Summit that I understood why USATF was truly poised to make some really big changes," Richards-Ross continued. "He sat in the back and listened to us for two days straight. When it came time for him to address us, I knew he was the right man for the job.
"Great leaders can't do their jobs without great support and I support Max 100%," Richards-Ross finished.
The Opening General Session was capped off with the 2013 Year in Review, which highlighted the best moments of the 2013 season. Attendees then got the chance to mingle at the Welcome Reception, which was held in the gorgeous Grand Ballroom at the JW Marriott Indianapolis.
USA JUNIORS JOINING WORLD JUNIORS IN EUGENE
212 Countries, One Ticket: In keeping with the site of the IAAF World Junior Championships, the 2014 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships return to Eugene, Ore., giving American athletes the best opportunity for success by competing at historic Hayward Field. Saturday and Sunday, July 5-6, Eugene welcomes the best American athletes under 20 in anticipation of World Juniors.