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Communication to ASHA Membership Changes to Committees and Board Selection Process

Published Date: Sep 14, 2020

The ASHA and its Board of Directors are always looking for better ways to serve the breed and its members. While ASHA has been fortunate to have some outstanding representation on committees and the board, we have been struggling to achieve the diverse representation required by our policies and bylaws.

“This is perhaps the most challenging aspect of seating committees and a board -- achieving a balance that represents all Saddlebred disciplines and geographies,” said Marty Schaffel, president of ASHA. “With the growing complexities of promoting our breed, growing our participation and helping our members achieve their goals, we need more committee and board members who represent a broader swath of interests and locations.”

“Currently, for instance, the board has no representation west of Texas, and does not have true diversity,” said Joe O’Brien, chair of the Nominating Committee of Directors.

ASHA also need deep expertise in various areas, including communication, finance and organization. This diverse representation helps the ASHA keep current and address challenges. In reviewing current best practices for populating not-for-profit boards, the Nominating Committee for Directors of the ASHA agreed unanimously to ask the board to:

  1. Amend the bylaws so that the Nominating Committee nominates 6 candidates (or the precise number of open seats) plus two alternates to the Board of Directors for ratification.
  2. General membership will nominate candidates, who will be vetted through an application and interview process.
  3. From those nominations, six candidates and two alternates will be selected to fill vacant seats on the board.

This process is consistent with the USEF approach to selecting a representative and diverse board.

These are the requirements for consideration from the current bylaws, which remain unchanged:

The Nominating Committee will include consideration of the following criteria in reviewing and selecting its recommended slate of nominees:

  1. The geographical representation on the Board of Directors in relationship to the concentration of members in a given geographical area. 
  2. Representation on the Board of Directors of both amateur and professional horsemen and horsewomen.
  3. Membership in horse associations in addition to the Association, such as the United States Equestrian Federation, United Professional Horsemen’s Association, ASHA Charter Club, or ASR Prize Programs.
  4. The prospective nominee’s level of participation in horse activities, such as whether the proposed nominee is an officer or director of a charter club or futurity; activity in Association committees, Grand National, youth clubs or futurities; activity in USEF committees; membership on horse show committees; ownership or operation of a breeding, training, or riding lesson program; current service as a USEF judge or steward; and current owner, breeder, or exhibitor of American Saddlebreds. 
  5. The Nominating Committee for Directors should give special consideration to the following attributes:
    1. Ten or more years’ involvement in Saddlebred activities.
    2. High level of expertise in financial, organizational and communication skills or other areas needed by the Association, taking into consideration the skills and experience of current Directors.
    3. Experience in innovative programs for American Saddlebreds.
    4. The financial ability, availability and desire to attend Board and Committee meetings.
    5. Significant volunteer experience (in both Saddlebred and non-Saddlebred areas).

For the committees, the ASHA Board passed comprehensive changes to committee structure and policies that will help increase visibility and transparency for members to get involved.  These changes include:

  1.  New annual committee application.
  2. New committee charters with annual goals that will align with the ASHA strategic plan.
  3. Addition of three new committees (Diversity and Inclusion, Operations and Research).

 “We believe these changes will help ensure the viability and sustainability of the breed we love and the members we serve, not just in Kentucky, but across the nation and beyond. These changes will give members more opportunities to get involved and give members a true path from committees, to committee leadership to the board and then to board leadership,” said David Mount, executive director and CEO of ASHA.

The nomination process is now open for directors. To nominate an ASHA member fill out the board nomination form or call David Mount at 859-259-3888. If you are interested in serving on an ASHA committee, fill out the committee application and return it back to the ASHA office.

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