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US Sailing Board of Directors announces new leadership at Stakeholder's Summit

by US Sailing 15 Nov 2021 17:49 PST
Rich Jepsen, new US Sailing President © Allison Chenard / US Sailing

During the US Sailing Annual Meeting and Stakeholder's Summit this weekend in Jamestown, Rhode Island, the US Sailing Board of Directors introduced new President Rich Jepsen, along with two re-elected Board Members, Charlie Arms and John Schoendorf, and one new Board Member Stan Honey.

Jepsen will serve a three-year term as President and Chair of the Board (Nov. 2021-Fall 2024) and concurrently Arms will take over as Director Secretary for a three-year term as well. Schoendorf will continue as Director Treasurer for a four-year term (Nov. 2021-Fall 2025) and Honey will serve a one-year term as Elected Director (Nov. 2021-Fall 2022).

Additionally, two Sailor Athlete representatives were nominated by the Sailor Athlete Council and elected by athletes qualified to serve on designated committees, Sarah Lihan and Justin Shaffer. Lihan will serve a four-year term (through 2025) and Shaffer will serve a two-year term (through 2023). With these Sailor Athlete elections, the Board now has five Sailor Athlete representatives as a part of its leadership team as Lihan and Shaffer join Briana Provancha, Maggie Shea, and Judge Ryan as Sailor Athlete representatives on the US Sailing Board of Directors.

Sailor Athlete representatives, all elected by designated athletes, are a vital part of US Sailing's leadership, and the addition of Lihan and Shaffer allow US Sailing to meet the USOPC requirement of 33.34% A or B Athletes. "Over the last 2 years the US Sailing Board has strengthened the voice of the athlete," said outgoing President Cory Sertl. "Including athletes who are most active across our sport as well as those with recent Olympic experience has been valuable to the work of the Board. These are the future leaders of the sport and the experience of having athletes fully integrated into the Board has been tremendous. We are fortunate to have within our sailing community a number of athletes who speak effectively who are willing to volunteer time to make our sport stronger."

During her three-year tenure, Sertl has focused on three strategic pillars: Olympic and high-performance sailing, membership experience and value, and organizational effectiveness. "It has been an honor and privilege to serve as President of US Sailing's Board for the last 3 years," said Sertl. "I am confident that Rich Jepsen will continue to lead the Board and US Sailing on the journey towards excellence. Rich brings a breadth of experience and knowledge of the array of items US Sailing must tackle and a dedication to improve our programs and customer service."

"In the last three years US Sailing has been through one of the most transformative periods in its history," said incoming President Rich Jepsen. "Now, with a deeply skilled leadership team installed, we are poised for international competitive success, a greatly improved service to members, and operational excellence. My Board colleagues and I will stay the course plotted under Cory's leadership, following the tenets of our strategic plan."

Jepsen's plans for US Sailing during his tenure will build upon the Board's ongoing strategies while also introducing new and important focuses. While paying close attention to actions consistent to the Strategic Plan, Jepsen plans to encourage transparency and lead with curiosity. Jepsen aims to support the excellent leadership of the US Sailing Team and the US Sailing Foundation as they continue the biggest transformation in American Olympic Sailing History, as well as continue the support of staff leadership's efforts to transform the organizational culture, effectiveness, and accountability started under Sertl's presidency. "This will be especially important to our mission of service to our members," said Jepsen. "We must provide value and promote that effectively to our membership and we must also clearly and continually articulate our efforts to improve sailing for everyone, so they see their dues making a difference."

Jepsen also plans to focus on increasing diversity, from the grass roots to the board room. "Our sport needs to be more popular and there is an entire demographic that is under the misapprehension it is not for them," said Jepsen. "We'll have to work from the top of the organization to the grass roots. We'll recruit for the leadership and, using our public access sailing organizations, recruit for the base."

Ending her three-year term as President, Cory Sertl will be staying involved as a member of the US Sailing Foundation Board of Directors. Katie Pettibone has completed her term as Select Director and will be rolling off the Board, and Martine Zurinskas, whom Jepsen noted as "the best Board Secretary of any Board I have ever been on" during his first Board address as President, will be ending her two terms as Secretary.

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