NWTA Board of Directors Update

Every year, NWTA has an opportunity to welcome new individuals to serve on our Board of Directors. Tomorrow, January 24 at 6:00pm, two current Board members, Nell Stamper and Scooter Sutterer, will be presented for re-election; and we’re beyond excited to present to our membership three additional Board members for our all-volunteer, working Board: Chloe Hammond-Bradley, Will Heiberg, and Charlie Kohlmeier. 

We also thank Colin Marthaller and Owen Rodabaugh, who are concluding their time serving on the NWTA Board. We look forward to their continued volunteer work with NWTA moving forward, and seeing them out on the trails!

As our membership has grown significantly over the recent years, many questions have been raised about serving on the Board. Board elections for all nonprofit organizations are governed by adopted Bylaws, and NWTA is no exception. Here’s a quick summary of some recent questions about NWTA’s process, along with more ways to be involved in various leadership roles at NWTA.

What are the different opportunities to participate in leadership at NWTA?

There are many different levels of leadership within NWTA including the Board of Directors, Local Stewardship Teams, and committees to name a few. 

The NWTA Board of Directors, as with all nonprofit organizations, plays a key role in making decisions on behalf of an entire organization — guiding the organization’s purpose and mission and providing financial oversight. Each board member must put the interests of the organization before their personal and professional interests when acting on behalf of the organization in a decision-making capacity.

NWTA also has Local Stewardship Teams that focus on the day-to-day work at each of our trail systems. The role of Local Stewardship Teams varies greatly at each trail system, as each system has different land managers with different processes we are beholden to follow under our agreements. Ride leaders and coaches are great ways to be more involved with NWTA. These are the folks out in our community leading social rides, teaching and spreading the stoke. Expanded committee opportunities are also on the horizon.

How do you become a member of the Board?

This past year, NWTA created a Board service application, thus providing a publicly advertised path. A Nominating Committee, as set forth in the NWTA Bylaws and made up of both existing Board members and members of NWTA who are not on the Board, reviewed the applications and presented a slate of candidates to the full Board for approval. This slate is then elevated to the members present at the January meeting for final procedural approval.

Is the Board election process new?

No. Previously there was no large, general public call for applications. The voting process has been the same since NWTA incorporated from PUMP in 2009.

Can I vote even if I can’t attend the meeting in person?

Unfortunately not. Currently we are restricted to follow the Bylaws set forth from 2009. This includes a provision that voting must occur at the January membership meeting. In 2009, NWTA had less than 100 members. We recognize the limitations this presents now that our membership numbers over 5,000 people in a larger geographical area. The process of amending a nonprofit’s Bylaws is not a simple task, and one that will be set forth in the near future. 

Wasn’t there a recent staffing change at NWTA?

Yes! We recently hired our very first full-time Executive Director. This is the first full-time, paid position that most growing nonprofit organizations will implement. The role of an ED is to lead an organization in executing their mission, vision and values. The role can include developing strategic plans, ensuring compliance to internal and external laws and regulations, and leading staff or volunteers in all departments of a nonprofit; including marketing, fundraising, program development, and HR management to name a few.

NWTA would not have been in a position to hire their first full-time Executive Director if it weren’t for Bob Lessard. After his tenure as President, in 2020 Bob stepped up when the organization needed to fill a hole by acting as a temporary part-time Executive Director. He led efforts like membership management and sponsorship prior to current staffing. Bob is now transitioning back to NWTA volunteer. Our entire organization is immensely grateful for his dedicated and tireless work during this time that allowed NWTA to accomplish so much.

I want to know more details about the work of NWTA. How is this reported?

Every year NWTA gives various recaps of the work we do and the impact our members, sponsors and donors have in making this work happen. This year, NWTA will produce their first ever Annual Report, detailing this impact even further.

Have you ever done a membership survey?

We are working on a member survey now. With over 5000 members, this information will help the staff and Board as they guide the organization. We expect to get the survey out to members before summer 2023.