Name: Chris McGiffin
LMSC: New Jersey
Nominated for: BOD Member from Colonies Zone
Chris McGiffin, candidate for At-Large Colonies Zone Director. USMS member since 1995, held volunteer and leadership positions at the Club, LMSC, and USMS organization levels. Committed to working with the USMS Board of Directors in promoting the organization’s missions, objectives and goals to serve the USMS community.
Response to Questions
Why are you interested in this position and why do you believe you would be a good candidate?
I am interested in participating in the activities of the Board of Directors to help contribute to the fulfillment of the recent goals set by USMS - to continue to provide meaningful volunteer experiences, to grow membership, and to help pursue the targets of increasing the USMS Endowment. I believe that I bring the skills and experience necessary as a candidate to represent the Colonies Zone and actively participate in the strategic planning that will be crucial to achieving the objectives over the next two years.
What do you consider to be the major issues facing USMS now and in the future. As a person holding an elected position within USMS, how would you address these issues?
In my view, one of the biggest challenges the organization has is recruiting and retaining LMSC volunteers. We are just beginning to work through the changes associated with a transition to a staff-based National Governing Body. Having observed and participated in the governance initiatives that helped to streamline the organization, I feel that we need to be careful with the pace of changes expected to occur, and I would re-emphasize the message and rationale for change will likely require patience, an encouraging tone, and in some cases, direct assistance to help affect the changes expected.
The LMSC Minimum Standards adopted by the HOD last year, seeks to achieve a standard operational structure, and by extension, an ability for LMSC’s to provide a common level of service to all members. I think we realize that compliance with the guidelines is a worthy objective, but I feel that USMS will need to help some LMSCs meet the minimum standards. The weakness seems to lie mainly in the realm of recruiting and retaining enthusiastic and energetic volunteers to fill required positions and lead their respective LMSCs toward fulfilling the other policies stipulated. This needs to be done in a manner that promotes positive reinforcement rather than a perception of imposing rules and risks of penalties for lack of immediate compliance. I do not wish to alienate the volunteers we have in place, who serve local members with passion and dedication. Rather, I recognize that each LMSC may progress toward achieving the minimum standards at a different pace. I do not doubt that the will to meet the standards exists, but I feel that we need to engage the LMSCs who have compliance gaps individually in a way that fosters a strong working relationship with mutual benefits for all involved.
The transition to a professional staff-based organization from a mostly volunteer-run is still underway. I would work on solutions that focus on the objective of full LMSC compliance, but I would do so in a manner that best suits the circumstances of each LMSC, understanding that most face a shortage of volunteers, and that this shortage has a major influence on the ability to meet the minimum standards.
Please list USMS committees on which you have served. Include the dates you were on the committees and the names of the committee chairs under whom you served:
USMS Legislation Committee member (under Rob Copeland and Sean Fitzgerald): 2005 - present
USMS Marketing Committee member (under Tom Boyd): 2006-2007
USMS Marketing Committee Chair: 2008 - 2009
USMS LMSC Development Committee member: 2010
Please list any other experience that relates to your qualifications for the position.
USMS Member since 1995: Berkeley Aquatic Masters, Berkeley Heights, NJ
- National Top Ten finisher
- LMSC Record holder
- Planner for Annual Holiday Party
- NJ LMSC Chair: 2004 - present
- Facilitated LMSC bylaw updates
- Implemented LMSC Membership Promotion Campaign
- Developed an LMSC Membership Recognition Awards Program
- Helped to create an Annual LMSC Awards Banquet
- Led efforts to Sanction the first LMSC Open Water event
- Club Development Workshop: Mentor program (Dallas, TX) attendee/graduate