Q&A with Candidates 2023 — 2 of 2

Question 1: How would you deal with a situation where you have a strong opinion on a topic/issue brought before the BOD for a vote and the majority of the board disagrees with you?

Dana Nichols: This is a regular part of working as a board or committee.  I have often had opinions that were different than the rest of the NAFA board, or of other committees I have served.  I think it is important to effectively voice your opinion and point out all issues and consequences for topics.  Part of that role is also to make sure the language of any rule change or other issue adequately addresses consequences.  But at the end of the vote, you may be personally against the Board’s decision.   That’s why there is a vote and what makes our organization strong.  Not everyone is going to agree on every issue, but ultimately there is a process for a decision, whether that be a vote of the Board of Directors or even a vote of the membership.  Then it is our responsibility to abide by that decision. 

Actually, I find it to be a harder situation when everyone agrees on an issue.  We still need to take the time to consider all possibilities, think about how the language of the change might affect other issues, and be mindful of other opinions even when they aren’t being brought to the table.

Differing points of views is what truly makes a board strong.  It means having respect for your fellow board members to be able to have a civil discussion even when you don’t all agree.  We are responsible for all of NAFA, not just our own region, team, or personal views.

Emily Neal: I would (professionally) argue my case and hope that the others listened, but at the end of the day majority rules so I know I will not be in the majority of every decision and that is ok.

Paula Johnson: This is all part of participating in a board environment. Supporting what has been decided by the majority is essential. Continuing to work with the board members to find common ground is part of the role. Also, often it is not an all or nothing scenario. There can be pieces of a decision that you might agree with and can perhaps work to see if there is opportunity down the road to make minor adjustments. In the end however, it is critical that everyone is willing to support the decisions of the board regardless of their personal preferences.

Cindy Henderson: This has actually happened in my tenure on the board.  What I have done is state my opinions as logically, rationally, and calmly as possible with the reasons for my opinion.  I would listen to the alternating views.  Assuming my opinion is unchanged I would vote based on my opinion even if I am the only differing vote.  Once the vote is completed even if I “lost” the vote I would accept the decision of the board professionally and move forward.  NAFA is not about what one person wants or only one person’s opinion.  It is about what the community at large wants and I would do my best to try and represent the people in my home Region as well as around the entirely of NAFA – sometimes that may mean doing what the majority wants not what just I want.

Jonathan Bescher: First, you need to make sure to voice your opinion on the call.  Everything that the board decides you may not agree on, but if you don’t voice your opinion, or those that you have heard from, then what is the point on being on the board.  The board doesn’t need a group of followers, it needs those with new and fresh ideas.  If the vote happens and my opinion is not on the popular side, then you take the decision and you support it.  It is not giving in, but the board needs to have the backing of every member.

Jackie Alcott: Not everyone is always going to agree on a topic/issue. However, I am willing to listen to facts, data, and information that might be different from what I believe on any topic/issue. I will then take all of my collective knowledge and base my vote on what I feel is the best for the sport, dogs, handlers, and organization.

Question 2: NAFA has these Standing Committees – Disciplinary, Election, Finance, Judges, Marketing, Rules and these Special Committees – NAFA Blog, Technology, Communications. Which Committees do you think you would be most interested in serving on?

Paula Johnson: Given my background in marketing and communications those are both obvious committees where I see myself being able to make a positive contribution to NAFA. I do however have a real interest in Rules and Judges. I like working on wording and details with regard to rules that helps to create clarity and feel I would be able to assist in this area. Being a relatively new NAFA Judge, this area is also one where I think I could provide assistance. The recent work that has been done in education and training of judges is one I would love to continue to grow and develop.

Emily Neal: I would be interested in the disciplinary, judges, rules and technology committees. I feel my background and strengths would be best served on these committees.

Dana Nichols: The Rules Committee will always be my favorite and, if elected, I hope I get the opportunity to serve there again.  I love the challenge of drafting just the right language.  During my past terms on the NAFA Board, I was chair of the Rules Committee most of those years.  I also love the aspect of making sure that the rules are readily available to all competitors, judges, and regional directors.  Education on rule changes is an important part of implementation.

I also enjoy Election and Judges Committees.  I helped transition NAFA to it’s currently online voting process.  And, although I am now retired as a NAFA Judge, I also really enjoyed my work on the Judges Committee and would be honored to work with them again.

I am also happy to serve on any other committees where I am needed.  I think work on committees is an important part of making sure the NAFA organization functions well.

Jackie Alcott: I would be interested in working on various committees for NAFA. Rules, Marketing, Elections, Communications, and Technology.

Jonathan Bescher: I currently am the head of the Judges, and because of that I am on the Disciplinary and Rules committee.  I would also be on the Technology committee, since I have helped in this area of testing the new light tree(What we call the Thomas Tree), and with the APES and Heat Trackers that you see at CanAm and other tournaments.

Cindy Henderson: I have served on the Finance and Judges committee and enjoy both and would love to continue to serve on these committees.  While not a formal committee I also have enjoyed being part of the AKC/ESPN Invitational Event planning and CanAm planning.

Question 3: Open – Anything you would like to add as a closing statement for your BOD Candidacy?

Jackie Alcott: NAFA is an organization that I have enjoyed playing in for ten years. I would like to give back my time and abilities to continue making the organization a fun, safe, and exciting place to come play Flyball with your dog.

Jonathan Bescher: I have enjoyed my three years on the board, although a majority of that has been dealing with COVID and how do we come back from a pandemic.  However, I think the past three years has been very productive, and I would like to help NAFA keep growing the next three years.  Thank you for your time and support of NAFA.  I look forward to trying to meet as many people in the lanes as possible.

Cindy Henderson: I have been playing flyball for 23 years all as part of NAFA.  This is a sport that I love because I believe it is for everyone – all breeds of dogs, all speeds of dogs, and a wide variety of competitors including families and juniors.  The community spirt among flyball is like no other dog sport in my opinion.  I am dedicated to growing this sport and would like to continue to serve on the board for another term to help in this regard.  I am proud of the progress we have made – new measuring system and training program for judges to help ensure consistency and transparency, new box size limits, new jump width size, AKC/ESPN broadcast of CanAm and the Invitational event, our handling of the sport during COVID, and so much more.  There is still more work to be done and I hope to be able to continue the work as a member of the board however commit that even if not elected I would like to be involved helping on committees and in other ways to help grown and give back to the sport that has given me so much over these 23 years.

Paula Johnson: I think that at the heart of any organization such as NAFA communication is the key to success. That means communication at all levels including within the Board itself, Regional Directors, and of course our members. I have heard over and over again that this is an area that needs improvement. There is no such thing as too much information being shared.  I also think that finding ways to hear from our members more often is needed. If elected to the board this would be a priority of mine.

There are so many exciting things happening for NAFA, but we need to keep momentum going in order to insure the health of our sport and our organization. I would love to be a part of this and feel I have the skills and time to make a difference.

Thank you for your consideration of my nomination.

Emily Neal: My view of flyball is simple: the competition and close racing is fun, but that isn’t the point of flyball. The point of flyball is to play a game with your dog (and with your friends). At the end of the day, this is a game, a reminder that I think every single one of us has needed at some point in our careers.

Dana Nichols: I have served on the NAFA Board in the past and know how much work is involved.  I enjoy contributing to our organization to make flyball better for everyone.  It takes a lot of folks to run such a big organization.  I currently serve as a regional director and club owner, but I’m willing to step up and serve on the Board of Directors again.  It’s a big responsibility, but one I am willing to shoulder.  If I’m not elected, I’ll continue to work diligently for NAFA and would be happy to contribute in any way that I can.