USAV Board Strategizes for the Future

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Feb. 02, 2017, 3:04 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 2, 2017) – USA Volleyball held its winter Board of Directors meeting Jan. 29-30 following a 1.5-day strategic planning session in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as members from various segments of the organization planned for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic quadrennial with new USAV CEO Jamie Davis taking part.

USAV Board Chair Lori Okimura introduced Davis, hired on Jan. 3, 2017, to the leadership during both the Board Meeting and the strategic planning session. She pledged full support and backing from the Board as Davis begins to formulate and implement the plan for USA Volleyball’s new direction.

“USA Volleyball is experiencing a timeline moment in our history,” Okimura said. “Jamie Davis has hit the ground running full speed ahead, and it has been incredibly energizing to witness his first weeks on the job. In finding someone from outside our volleyball world, Jamie has reminded us all of what is good about USA Volleyball, what our assets are, and has also shown us already how to address our challenges. He has the Board's full support in making necessary changes to our structure that will enable us to further capitalize on the competitive success gained over the years, and to maximize opportunities to grow our business from a financial standpoint to generate new revenue streams that can be invested back into our programs and personnel.”

The strategic planning session engaged members from all leadership positions from within the National Governing Body. As part of the four-year plan, the Board heard from select athletes, staff and Regional Volleyball Association members.

“Change is a good thing and will create new opportunities for us to strengthen our business model,” Okimura said. “We hope to find new resources for our Regional Volleyball Associations to continue providing extra benefit to members. We hope to position ourselves among the leaders in professional sport with new event and league properties across all disciplines, to give our national team athletes in beach, indoor and sitting volleyball a home-court advantage. And, we hope to continue providing a pathway to increase membership and participation.”

USA Volleyball welcomed several guests to take part in the Board Meeting to help illustrate trends that are significantly impacting USA Volleyball and the sport. Peter Diamond, NBC Olympics executive vice president of programming, shared his views on the success of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games programming and ratings for beach and indoor volleyball. He also shared some perspective on Rio 2016 Paralympic sitting volleyball and the hopes for increased programming in the future.

Chester Wheeler, USOC senior director of NGB marketing & business development, shared insight on the launch of the Olympic Channel. USA Volleyball continues to be the No. 1 content provider on the USOC's digital platform (website), and he shared that the USA Volleyball Girls' and Boys' Junior National Championships were among the best events with digital streaming on the platform.

Melissa Dawson-Ricketts, president of Molten USA, discussed the launch of a continued charitable initiative where Molten will have an on-site presence at each USA Volleyball Junior National Qualifier to promote the sales of an event-specific ball with proceeds going to a local charity. Molten, which extended its partnership with USA Volleyball through the 2020 Olympic Games, announced an official ball partnership with the Southern California Volleyball Association (SCVA) for all events including the SCVA Junior National Qualifier starting in 2017.

SafeSport continued to be a main focus of the Board as USA Volleyball continues to participate actively in the evolution of SafeSport on a national level among Olympic and Paralympic sport governing bodies. The Board welcomed new U.S. Center for SafeSport CEO Shelly Pfoal and heard updates from its chief operating officer Malia Arrington. The U.S. Center for SafeSport, which will be based in Denver, is expected to be fully operational by February 28, 2017.

The Board welcomed Tamari Miyashiro, a 2012 Olympic Games silver medalist, as the newly elected USOC Athlete Advisory Council volleyball representative. Chris Seilkop, a member of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team, will support Miyashiro on the AAC. In addition, three-time Paralympic medalist and 2016 Paralympic Games gold medalist Katie Holloway was recently elected as vice chair of the USOC’s AAC leadership.

The Board approved a new Diversity Committee, an ad hoc committee of USA Volleyball, to be led by Board independent director Kenneth Shropshire. Jason Thompson, the USOC's diversity and inclusion director, gave a presentation including a report card among the 47 NGBs. Thompson will serve on USA Volleyball's Diversity Committee, which includes representatives from various interest groups addressing diversity and inclusion from many perspectives and representing beach, indoor and sitting volleyball constituencies.

The USAV Board will have five positions up for election in 2017: Indoor Male Athlete Director, Coach Director, Beach/Indoor High Performance Director, Beach Development Director and Independent Director.

The USA Volleyball Board elected a new slate of members to the USA Volleyball Foundation and will form a joint task force, including Davis, to redefine the mission, purpose and administrative structure of the Foundation moving forward. The new USAV Foundation Board announced includes:

  • Scott Fortune (Foundation Board President, Olympic Bronze Medalist, and acting Chair)
  • Stew McDole (Foundation Board Treasurer, Associate Chair of USAV Audit, Finance & Budget Committee)
  • Ken Cain (Member, Regional Volleyball Association Assembly Chair)
  • Shannon Davenport (Member, SCVA Operations Director, USAV Governance Committee Member)
  • Linda Murphy (Member, 1964 Olympian)
  • Brent Rasmussen (Member, Paralympian & USAV Board Personnel Committee Member and Paralympic Athlete Representative)
  • Todd Rogers (Member, 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist, USAV Board Audit, Finance and Budget Committee Member, Male Beach Athlete Representative)

The United States will have five individuals serving as delegates on International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) commissions for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic quad.

  • Peter Diamond, President of Communications Commission
  • Karch Kiraly, Member of Technical & Coaching Commission
  • Lori Okimura, Member of Beach Volleyball Commission
  • Pat Powers, Member of Rules of the Game & Refereeing Commission
  • Kerri Walsh Jennings, Member of Athlete Commission

“I hope to focus the attention next on the succession planning for the Board and lay leadership,” Okimura said. “As the organization evolves, it is important to maintain institutional knowledge, expertise in our sport, the athletes' collective voice and to expand areas for representation among emerging groups. We will also revisit some initiatives from the past year that were put on hold pending the arrival of the new CEO. We have a very engaged group of Board members with a vast array of expertise that are about ready to term out of their positions and have an interest to mentor new members or find other ways to continue serving USA Volleyball. We cannot afford to lose that institutional knowledge base, which Jamie has already identified as an invaluable resource to his on-boarding process.”