Things I’m Going to do Before my Term Begins in September…And Answering Some Questions from the Community

To the members of the American Fencing community—

Nearly 24 hours after learning I’d have the privilege to serve you, I’m still giddy with excitement! In my ongoing commitment to transparency, I wanted to write a quick post on my priorities in the next few months and what happens now.

My Message to the Community

I posted this video yesterday, but I realized after posting it I forgot to include our Special Board Member Selina Kaing and Treasurer Sam Cheris. It goes without say, but I’m very excited to serve with you both!

Some Questions I’ve Heard from the Community Since Getting Elected

What is it you do here?

Okay, maybe you voted, but you don’t really know what an At-Large Director is, and at this point, you’re too afraid to ask. About a year ago, I did a blog post on the functions of USA Fencing Governance (the Board) vs. Operations (the National Office Staff). The “too long, didn’t read it of that post,” is that the National Office is the ship, and the Board is the compass. We set the strategy, we advise, and the National Office executes. That post is a bit of a read, but I think it’ll give you all some more background on all the moving pieces of the organization and how they all connect.

How Long is the Term and why is yours Longer than some of the Other Board Members?

My term will begin in September 2023. It’s a three-year term that will end at the same time in 2026. Why Is this a three-year term, but we have another election slated for 2024 that will be a two-year term?

Recall that last summer, the Governance Task Force (GTF) presented a number of amendments to the bylaws that were voted on and approved by the Board.

Among those amendments was the (very welcome) decision to ultimately transition At-Large Directors to four-year terms with a two-term limit. Further, in order to minimize the burden on our Election Committee and you as our members, a decision was made to have all At-Large Director positions on the same election cycle beginning in 2026.

So in short, it’s going to look like this for the next few elections:

ElectionTerm LengthWho’s Up for Election
20233 Years (to conclude in 2026)Seats won by Lehfeldt, Salem, Lee
20242 YearsArias, Burchard
20264 Years (all terms will be this length from 2026 onward, with a two-term limit)All At-Large Directors (Five Seats) – Lehfeldt, Salem, Lee, and the two winners of the 2024 Elections

Oh, and someone else asked me if this was a paid position. Nope! All Board positions are volunteer. I always accept a chicken tendie or ten though as a form of payment.

You have Three Months Until Your Term Begins. What’s the Gameplan?

Even though my term doesn’t officially begin until September, I’ve got a whole lot to do starting right now.

Meet and Greets- In the coming weeks, I will be scheduling brief meet & greets with my fellow election winners, the current members of the Board (Arias, Marcil-Holmes, Burchard, Alperstein) the current athlete directors (Bratton, Holmes, DeLuca, Prescod), Independent Directors (Rice, Jacobs, and Nguyen who will presumably be confirmed in the June Board Meeting), Special Board members (Selina Kaing) and Treasurer (Cheris). The purpose of these meetings is simply to make acquaintance with my future peers, understand their goals/priorities, and discover more about what’s worked well and what hasn’t in the past.

I will also begin my Board onboarding next Wednesday in a session led by Phil Andrews, CEO.

Listening Sessions- When I posted my election victory video, I put out an offer to reach out to me at if you wanted to talk. Already about 10 people have taken advantage of that in less than 24 hours! So here’s my offer to you: if you’re an athlete (youth athletes, I’m more than happy to chat, just please copy a parent or guardian), parent, coach, referee, volunteer, etc., I want to hear from you. I don’t care if your feedback is good or bad, I don’t care if you voted for me or not, I simply want to understand your needs and how I can better support you as a member of this Board. I am really fired up to be serving you, and though my term doesn’t begin for three months, my support of you begins this very moment.

Become a Bylaw Nerd- I’ve read through the bylaws on a number of occasions, as that’s what governance nerds and pedants like me love to do. But with the departures of our resident legal gurus in Marcil-Holmes and Alperstein, it’s important that our incoming Board members have a strong understanding (almost to memory) of the bylaws. In the coming weeks, I’m planning to write some “annotated bylaw” blog posts so you as members can get a cliff’s notes version and become more well-versed in all Board/membership matters. I think writing such posts will also help for my own edification. I promise, I’ll make them less bland than the source material!

Get Acquainted with Roberts Rules of Order- If you’ve ever attended a Board meeting, you’ve probably heard a lot of parliamentary jargon that may be a bit confusing listening from the outside in. The manner in which we run meetings is through the procedures established by Roberts Rules of Order (as stipulated in section 11.6 of the bylaws).

What is Robert’s Rules of Order, you ask? It’s the methodology with which we structure and run meetings, and more importantly—what we use to accomplish work and pass motions.

Robert’s Rules can be befuddling at times (which is why we have a Parliamentarian on the Board, Judge Peter Barton in order to keep us honest!) Last summer, I attended a Board meeting in which there was a motion to bifurcate an amendment to an amendment. In that moment, my ADHD brain was tossed into a blender filled with hot sauce and I found myself in a state of confusion.

I’ve already got a copy of Robert’s Rules 12th edition. It’s a 700-page tome. Homeboy loved his rules. I’m going to make sure I’m well-versed before things get going in September.

Fair Warning: I’m Going to Likely Miss my First In-Person Board Meeting…The Board will have its annual retreat in September in Denver, Colorado. It’ll be the first meeting of the newly elected Board. But fair warning, I won’t be there, and it’s the only in-person meeting I’ll likely miss over the duration of my term. I assure you, I have a valid excuse. Assuming he arrives as scheduled, my future son will be four days old when that meeting kicks off. Phil has assured me remote options will be provided, but family first, always, especially when it comes to the chaos of a newborn! 

Members, please let me know if there’s anything else you would like me doing between now and September. I’d love to here from you, and please feel free to reach out to schedule a listening session. Thank you all again for your faith in me to lead this community.

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