Showsight December 2017

Lines From Linda: Candid Candidates Part II


I was President of Ketchum Global Corporate Practice (Ketchum was the fourth largest public relations firm in the U.S.), with offices in major cities in the U.S., Europe and Asia. (1994-2000), have 40+ years experience with major (“Fortune 500”) corporations as senior executive responsible for communications (public relations, mar- keting, community relations, et al) and as president of my consulting firm Amen & Associates, Greenwich, Ct., with major corporate clients in various industries and Chair- man of the Board, National Investor Relations Institute, Washington, D. C. (now McLean, Virginia), a professional organization comprising some 3,000 members.

focuses on a significant issue or event, it can generate enormous positive momentum.

7. Bringing and retaining new people into AKC sports and is essential if our sports are to survive. How would you address this challenge? The first challenge is to retain our primary audiences— exhibitors, breeders, clubs and their members—and expand this core group. At the same time, we must attract new families into our AKC universe—as buyers of our “products”—from searching for a puppy on the AKC web site, to registration, to training resources, to our sports and other products and services. I believe that the strategy of moving into new products (AKC Link Smart Collar) and important services (AKC ReUnite ID Micro- chips) help the AKC strengthen its brand. We also need to focus on one or two major objectives, achieve some “traction” and then broaden strategy. Rally grew as an adjunct to obedience; hunt tests was derived from field trials. Tracking and nose work led to Scent Work, which has just been launched by the AKC. Scent Work is a sport that took three years for staff to put together; but it is catching on quickly with at least 260 judges already approved and over dozens of trials already in the works. It is an extremely exhibitor friendly sport that is easy to learn; dogs love it and so do their owners. What a great way to get new families into the AKC universe. 8. How can we improve AKC’s image among its core constituents and owners of AKC registered dogs? As I said above, our core constituents are key, and we must retain their loyalty, interest and support. Programs like Breeder of Merit and AKC Bred with H.E.A.R.T. are designed to highlight those purebred dog breeders who meet the qualifications for achieving high health standards for their breeding program; as a follow-up, they can use AKC Marketplace to help sell their puppies. AKC breeders can also take advantage of AKC Online Record keeping and AKC Breeder EZ Reg. The AKC fancy benefits greatly from the AKC Gov- ernment Relations programs: legislative alerts, which identifies important legislation nationally and locally, has been a great source of information to dog owners. The Legislative Action Center tracks these bills, initiates actions where necessary and offers support to interested parties. These activities also are important in enhanc- ing our image with current and prospective owners of AKC registered dogs. In its efforts to attract and retain new dog owners, the AKC offers training information, responsible dog ownership promotions, a broad variety of sports and events for dog owners and a wide range of titles and certificates to maintain the dog owner’s inter- est in our world of canine activity. I think we might do more to recognize and publicize the work of AKC Canine Health Foundation, and AKC ReUnite’s work in Lost Pet Services and disaster relief. We need to keep publicizing our activities and successes in these areas. Another new indirect opportunity for improving the AKC’s image involves the move of the AKC Museum of

4. Share significant highlights of your professional career and how they will complement your AKC Board service.

I had prior service as AKC Board member, 2011-2015, including being Chair of the AKC Audit Committee (2013- 2014), was President of Ketchum Global Corporate Prac- tice: responsible for corporate public relations, employee information, investor relations, “Reputation Management” programs throughout Ketchum network major offices were in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London and on Board of Directors, National Investor Relations Institute (1986-1990). Active in educational seminars and related activities organized for professionals throughout the U.S.

5. What role should AKC play in years ahead, and do you believe AKC it is on track to accomplish it?

The AKC has realized that its core “community”— estimated to be about 400,000 people—is insufficient to maintain growth in its sports and key role as “The Dog’s Champion”, so it has been searching for new avenues of revenue. While focusing on our primary constituents—clubs, breeders and the fancy, we must also reach out to the public by maintaining our leader- ship in activities related to canine health, responsible dog ownership and AKC ReUnite. These programs can provide significant contact for the AKC with the public. We want to remain the “brand” that represents all things canine. 6. What is your motivation for wishing to serve on the AKC Board of Directors? First, I want to continue the work I began in my prior service on the Board from 2011-2015, by contributing my experience in Obedience, Rally, Agility and Tracking to the boardroom. Second, I think my 40 year career in pub- lic relations might be useful as we continue to strengthen the AKC brand, move into new markets, and broaden our presence in the New York City area with the opening of the AKC Museum of the Dog. I would also like to see us gain more recognition for AKC ReUnite and its unique Pet Disaster Relief program. I believe the recent outpouring of donations from AKC clubs and individuals demonstrat- ed a deep commitment to helping pets and their families when disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires occur. As important, it showed that when the AKC core family


Powered by