Showsight December 2017

Lines From Linda: Candid Candidates Part II


Notably, my experience in both the for-profit and not- for-profit worlds allowed me to put AKC on the path to financial health; with the help of management and staff, I primed our organization for alternative revenue streams in licensing, sponsorships and affinity marketing which have generated millions and continue to earn revenue to this day. These initiatives permitted us to set financial reserves to secure our organization’s future. Moreover, even though I am by all accounts a veteran of the Fancy, I do feel it is important to point out that I came into the Sport as an eager and uninitiated dog owner with a puppy from an unknown breeder. Because of that, I carry with me a respect for our constituency at all levels and a fervent belief in our continuing need to embrace the general public. 4. Please share significant highlights of your profes- sional career and how they will complement your AKC Board service. Again, my professional background includes significant leadership roles in both for-profit corporations and not-for-profit organizations and these experiences have prepared me to contribute to the AKC as a board member in many ways. I have leveraged my professional experi- ence on behalf of AKC by instilling best practices in business management, team development and productiv- ity enhancements that have made our organization more effective for core constituents and staff. 5. What role should AKC play in the years ahead and do you believe AKC is on track to accomplish it? I believe AKC’s role is to nurture, recognize and serve breeders so they can be best equipped to achieve their goal of preserving and improving their breeds. Quality dogs bred by dedicated, responsible breeders are what we need to foster and maintain meaningful competition in our Sport. AKC’s first priority should be to these breed- ers and our clubs. I believe we are headed in the right direction and we know our priorities. We must continue to innovate in order to remain a viable, relevant organization and to continue to achieve our mission. Most importantly, we are doing everything we can to recognize and serve breeders, who are the backbone of the Sport. Numerous programs that have been instituted during my tenure have benefited breeders through recognition, awards and opportunities to compete. We consistently keep breeders at the forefront of our marketing and media strategies. Rising registrations and blue slip return rates have been the natural by-product of our pro-breeder philosophy and our organization has been better off for it. 6. What is your motivation for wishing to serve on the AKC Board of Directors? What difference do you hope to make? There are several projects that were initiated during my Chairmanship that will come to fruition over the next year and there is still work to be done. AKC is experienc- ing momentous changes and is going through a period of significant expansion and outreach. Therefore, I am



seeking a one-year term in order to see numerous impor- tant initiatives to their completion. Specifically, these projects include moving AKC’s headquarters to a new location, bringing the AKC Museum of the Dog to New York City, implementing our organization’s financial and succession planning, and enhancing the judging approval process with evolutionary improvements. It is an ambi- tious set of goals that can all be achieved with continuity, focused leadership and teamwork. A one-year term will allow me to make a difference by giving back to the sport that has provided me a lifetime of joy, fellowship and community. I consider this an opportunity to serve our organization during an exciting, transformative time. 7. Bringing and retaining new people into AKC sports is essential if our sports are to survive. How would you address this challenge? It is universally accepted that the youth are our future. So we should engage with exhibitors who are parents to learn what would bring their children into the sport if they aren’t already participating. Also, we should encour- age breeders who sell puppies to families to advocate for Junior Handling. We should provide these breeders with the tools to educate their new puppy buyers about AKC experiences for children. The breeder’s influence on the new puppy owner is not limited to nutrition and train- ing; it also relates to enjoying one’s puppy to the fullest. Breeders can mentor young families at shows, and the Juniors ring is a great place to start. In addition to developing the younger audience, I also believe that empty nesters represent a strong potential target as well. Dog owners who have fewer responsibili- ties to children at home and who are seeking leisure and social activities can be excellent candidates for AKC events. Implementing a marketing strategy for this demo- graphic would be one way to cultivate new participants. 8. How can we improve AKC’s image among its core constituents and owners of AKC registered dogs? Whether AKC has or has had an image problem is a matter of debate. We are less about tuxedoes and gowns these days and more about celebrating the love of pure- bred dogs with everyone. I believe the relaunch of the


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