A Day in the Life of the USMS VP of Local Operations
One terrific middleman
Julie Heather, current U.S. Masters Swimming Vice President of Local Operations, has extensive experience as a passionate volunteer and uses her background and organizational skills to help our LMSCs work effectively and efficiently. Julie, a staple in U.S. Masters Swimming governance, will wrap up her reign as a member of the Executive Committee in September. She spent some time helping us understand her role and concludes with some sound advice for our next VP of Local Operations... could it be you?
Ashley Gangloff, U.S. Masters Swimming Marketing Coordinator, interviewed Julie.
Ashley: What made you want to run for VP of Local Operations?
Julie: With the change in the governance structure of USMS, and the introduction of the position of Vice President of Local Operations, I felt that this was an area in which I could make a difference. I was chairman of Pacific Masters Swimming in the 90's, and have been registrar in Southern California for the last eight years, so I have a lot of experience with the business of LMSCs.
Ashley: What does "VP of Local Operations" mean?
Julie: The VP of Local Operations is responsible for overseeing the health of our LMSCs. I am also the liaison to the Records and Tabulation, History and Archives, and Recognition and Awards Committees, in addition to being the chair of the Zone Committee.
Ashley: What are recurring tasks/projects in which the VP of Local Operations engages?
Julie: Elections - the Zone Committee is responsible for collecting the nominations, slating the nominees and running the elections. Working with the National Office to make sure that all LMSCs have turned in their minutes from their annual meeting and annual financial reports.
Ashley: Who do you work most closely with as VP of Local Operations?
Julie: I work closely with the staff in the National Office, since they are often the first to know that there is a problem developing in an LMSC. I also work with the chairs of my committees to keep their tasks relevant to the mission of USMS; to interface between the committees and the USMS Board of Directors, the Executive Committee and the staff; and to facilitate their carrying out the goals and objectives for their committees.
Ashley: How much time per week/month do you spend doing VP of Local Operations work? What type of work is this?
Julie: It varies depending on the time of year, but I've probably averaged 10 hours per week. Most of the work involves communication. It may be conference calls or phone calls, but is most often emails. The workload has decreased since we now have an executive director, since he is also working with LMSCs. This also includes the time I've spent on task forces, which is not a required part of the job of VP-LO.
Ashley: What is your best memory from serving on the Executive Committee?
Julie: Working with everyone who is so passionate about Masters swimming.
Ashley: What has been your favorite project during your term?
Julie: It would have to be leading the Club Development Task Force to writing a strategic plan. The volunteers on that task force were very passionate about Masters swimming, and the strategic plan would be very valuable if it is put into action.
Ashley: What skills are vital in the success of the role of VP of Local Operations?
Julie: The ability to communicate effectively is definitely a vital skill! Anyone in this role needs to be able to manage floods of email. I have found that lots of folders for sorting emails as I have dealt with them is the method of choice for me. In order not to overlook emails that need a response, I leave those in my inbox until I have dealt with them.
Ashley: What do you hope to see in the future for the position of VP of Local Operations?
Julie: The ability to be more proactive in addressing the needs of LMSCs, rather than being reactive and mostly interfacing with LMSCs when there are problems or issues. We are working towards this by developing a set of minimum standards, so that USMS and LMSCs will be able to quickly identify areas in need of attention.
Ashley: Why should someone run for this position?
Julie: If you are interested in strengthening Masters swimming at the local level, and aren't afraid of getting in the middle of the inevitable squabbles that sometimes occur, run for VP of Local Operations!
Ashley: What advice do you have for our next VP of Local Operations?
Julie: Plan on doing the work, but also have fun! USMS volunteers can be very passionate, and although this is usually very positive, it can also create some problems. Keep your perspective on the big picture and the health of our organization.
If you are interested in running or would like to nominate someone for the position of U.S. Masters Swimming Vice President of Local Operations, please click here to read about the qualifications, candidate criteria and nomination and election process. All nominations are due by April 30, 2009.