Jake Fish, US SAILING Communications Manager
A Discussion with Charlie Leighton on US SAILING in 2009
As the heart of the sailing season winds down, US SAILING, the national governing body of the sport, looks forward to reflecting on achievements, honoring sailing enthusiasts, announcing future leadership, and sharing ideas with US SAILING’s Board of Directors (BOD), House of Delegates, Committee Members and Staff at the 2009 Annual General Meeting, hosted by the South Shore Harbour Resort in League City, Texas (southeast of Houston) this week on Oct. 21-24.
US SAILING’s Executive Director, Charlie Leighton, explains why the Annual General Meeting is so important to the organization. “The staff at US SAILING looks forward to meeting with our members to discuss ways US SAILING can create value for the sport we all are so passionate about.”
Leighton is a former Chairman and CEO of the CML Group Inc., a NYSE listed company; Chairman of the NYSE Listed Company Advisory Board; Director of MetLife; President of the Harvard Business School Alumni Council and currently a Trustee of the Lahey Clinic. The former Commodore of the New York Yacht Club spoke about how his experience as a CEO and Chairman of a NYSE listed company prepared him to lead US SAILING, a non-profit organization. “The discipline I learned from running a for-profit company with stockholders and analysts who look carefully at results has been very helpful,” he said. “The key to success, whether the company is for-profit or non-profit, is attracting and motivating good people.”
There are plenty of reasons US SAILING is confident about the current status of the organization, and optimistic about the future. US SAILING is on track for a fifth consecutive year of operating with a surplus. With over 40,000 memberships now, US SAILING is on pace to surpass 2008 totals. The organization continues to expand fundraising efforts, including the growth in Medalist commitments for the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics.
“Since no membership dollars are designated Olympic sailing, fundraising is critical if the U.S. is to make a strong showing in sailing at the Olympics,” Leighton said. “Thanks to a major gift, we now have a meeting area and boat storage facility at the 2012 Weymouth (England) sailing venue. We did not have such a facility in China and this was at the top of our team’s wish list for the 2012 games.”
US SAILING has introduced many new membership options and benefits including an online organization renewal feature, membership store discounts on great new products, and a new college pass membership that supports a new generation of young sailors. US SAILING was proud to launch a new website featuring improved user-friendly navigation that promotes ease and speed for visitors.
“We now have a dedicated four person Information Technology Department to bring us into the 21st century,” added Leighton.
US SAILING plans to make several key announcements at the Annual General Meeting including the Board of Directors election results from the “Rock the Boat… Vote!” program. US SAILING will post a video stream of Gary Jobson’s presidential inauguration speech at www.ussailing.org following the BOD meeting on Saturday. Also, several significant contributors to the sport will be awarded for their accomplishments.
“Having an effective Board of Directors is critical to US SAILING’s long running success,” added Leighton. “Gary’s knowledge of sailing and his ability to communicate with an audience of sailors will be very helpful as a spokesperson.”
Besides his busy schedule, Charlie continues his love of racing and is a former overall winner of the Marblehead Halifax Race as well as numerous other east coast races.
For more information on the 2009 Annual General Meeting and “Rock the Boat… Vote!” programs visit: http://about.ussailing.org/US_SAILING_Meetings.htm and http://about.ussailing.org/Directory/BOD/Board_Election.htm
Click on the following link to read the 2008 Annual Report to Members: http://magazine.skipressworld.com/doc/Skipress-us/USS_2008_annual/2009062301/
About US SAILING
The United States Sailing Association (US SAILING), the national governing body for sailing, provides leadership for the sport in the United States. Founded in 1897 and headquartered in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, US SAILING is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. US SAILING offers training and education programs for instructors and race officials, supports a wide range of sailing organizations and communities, issues offshore rating certificates, and provides administration and oversight of competitive sailing across the country, including National Championships and the US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics. For more information, please visit www.ussailing.org.