CEO's Blog

CEO Blog – Planning the Future of Your ATA

We have big plans for your ATA, and for attracting new participants to the sports we love.
Photo Credit: Matt Kormann

Author: Matt Kormann

Your ATA Board of Directors, several ATA members, and key ATA staff met July 30 to Aug. 1 in Minneapolis to continue work that began in April to build a plan for increasing archery and bowhunting participation while charting a course for ATA’s future.

During the past three months, five teams from those groups designed over a dozen strategic priorities from hundreds of initial concepts. During the next year your Board of Directors will hold ATA staff accountable to specific goals that cover as much as five years.

We knew from the start that we had to define your ATA’s identity and where we’re headed. Allison Jasper, ATA’s director of marketing and communications, worked with Justin Gorman, Steve Baird, Mike Luper, Blake Shelby and Wayne Piersol. They quickly identified a need to focus on our mission, vision and core values. They made it clear to your Board that we’re responsible for inspiring growth, increasing participation, and preserving the legacy we inherited from those who built archery and bowhunting. Who will the ATA be the next 10 years? That depends on collaborative R3 efforts, advocacy on behalf of our members, and preserving benefits gained from our industry’s rich history. We’re eager to share more during #ATA2019, along with an updated look at who your ATA is, which is the heart of our efforts.

The board heard a clear call to ATA's future: that the ATA must become a set of resources, services, and benefits to each of its members. Photo Credit: Matt Kormann

Based on feedback from a survey in April, we knew our members feel strongly about government relations. Dan Forster, ATA’s vice president and chief conservation officer, partnered with Randy Walk, Jeff Adee, Darrin Hogan, Derek Phillips and Dave Parker to assess our current efforts, and made some immediate recommendations to the Board. Although government-relations work must always have a long-term focus, this team of passionate experts identified several areas where ATA could have immediate impacts.

I worked with Jennifer Mazur, ATA’s senior director of outreach and education; Scott Einsmann, ATA’s digital manager; and Ben Summers, Rob Kaufhold, Teresa Williams, Jeff Adee, Drew Arnesen and representatives from several member organizations to hone in on increasing archery and bowhunting participation. We presented recommendations for mentoring, academic archery, and community archery programs.

When most people talk about their ATA, they mention the Trade Show. Therefore, Maria Lewis and Becky Lux of our Trade Show office worked with James McGovern, Todd Vaaler, Deb Colgrove, Jimmy Primos, Rod Hartl and Jen Kresser-Campbell to begin a process to evaluate not only #ATA2019 and each subsequent Show, but also how your ATA will fund efforts to expand our industry’s participation and influence. One vital element they designed is a work group to review strategies and make assessments annually, ensuring that our Trade Show evolves with our industry and members.

Perhaps most importantly, your Board heard a clear call to our future: Your ATA must provide resources, services and benefits to each of our members. Wendy Lang, ATA’s membership manager, worked with Mark Copeland, Randy Phillips, Gary Kinard, David Fee, John Betker and Kurt Smith to craft detailed recommendations for Lang’s staff to become the primary driver for ATA membership.

Surveying the membership as to ensure your opinions are central to ATA's decisions. Members will be truly represented as the ATA evolves. Photo Credit: Matt Kormann.

Who we are and who we’ll become won’t mean much, however, if we don’t communicate effectively with you. That fact is a cornerstone of everything in our strategic planning process. We’re taking deliberate steps to ensure you know why your ATA membership benefits your business. Our goal is to ensure that when you think of your ATA, you know and value all your membership benefits. We’re designing more effective ways to communicate these efforts to you. Structuring that communication effort is vital for each of these areas, and we’re striving to ensure we succeed.

When we met in late July, it would’ve been easy to sit inside a room and make decisions in a vacuum. Instead, we made sure the process reflected the inclusive nature of ATA’s membership. Several folks beyond the Board and ATA staff contributed to the work, which is reflected in the areas where we’re focusing for the future. We also made sure to seek your thoughts. That’s where we launched the process, and it’ll continue. We’re surveying ATA members to ensure your opinions shape our decisions. And we’ll keep asking for your input to ensure we represent you and your business needs as we evolve your ATA.

The ATA is unique because manufacturers and retailers hold seats at the ATA table. The process we followed in Minneapolis could’ve been easily been broken by diverse opinions, but we never got close to that. Our members talked collaboratively, which helped us focus on designing solutions instead of protecting separate interests.

There’s a lot of discussion around what the trade show will look like in the coming years. The ATA has a clear path for its government relations efforts. Big plans are in the works for what your ATA looks like and how we’ll attract new participants to the sport you love. Photo Credit: Shannon Rikard.

If one word could describe the attitude at our meeting, it would be “synergy.” We had five teams working concurrently for three months after we initially met in April. When we got back together, it was impressive to see so many supportive recommendations interlinked, even though those teams never met to ensure they were aligned.

As we prepare to share the strategic planning results in the months ahead, we want you to be part of the discussion. We’re excited to work on increasing participation in archery and bowhunting. There’s much to discuss regarding what our Trade Show will look like in the future. We also have a clear path for our government-relations efforts.

We have big plans for your ATA, and for attracting new participants to the sports we love. Beyond those efforts, we must ensure your ATA membership delivers a broad range of benefits. If you run into a staff member or Board member, ask us! We’d love to discuss what these past three months will offer our future. Send me an email or connect with me on Facebook.

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