Last week Mark shared his top ten on the field “10 Moments” for 2014. This week he shares his proudest accomplishments off the field.
Welcoming our best board ever.
The “Play Rugby USA 1st XV”: fifteen new board members started on January 1 and have already made an incredibly positive impact on the development of Play Rugby USA. We’re thrilled to boast 88% board member attendance at meetings and considerable activation across numerous initiatives and events which has resulted in a broader support network and new private funds being secured. We look forward to welcoming Greg Sigrist as Chairman in January 2015, enabling me to focus on the C.E.O. role.
Presenting at Inter American Development Bank conference on Sports for Social Change
I enjoyed participating in a panel discussion alongside other leaders in the Sports for Development space including senior executives from Nike and Grassroots Soccer – an amazing HIV prevention program that has positively impacted hundreds and thousands of participants in Africa.
Team Retreat, Hunter NY
In August our office staff enjoyed a team retreat up in Hunter NY, courtesy of board member BJ Weber. In addition to some 2014-15 business planning, the team enjoyed bonding through some professional coaching, BBQs, lake-side recreation activities and some adult beverages!
Introducing Pod Play
Off the back of our Team Retreat we introduced a “Pod” system in the office. Our pods represent functional mini-teams themed around Fund Development, Culture Keeping (program design, delivery, development, evaluation, coach ed) and Operations. Combined with our professional coaching and strategic objectives, the pods have been designed to improve inter-personnel support, communication and feedback mechanisms to maximize performance towards our purpose.
Breakfast of Champions
A new initiative led by board member William Looker – we enjoyed hosting a series of events for both the 6 Nations and Fall Rugby Internationals across multiple bars throughout NYC and (on occasion) San Francisco. In addition to engaging with hundreds of rugby fans, raising awareness for our cause and broadening our network, we were also able to raise $10,000 in donations through our increasingly successful “Pick a Score” competition. We are already excited for the 2015 RBS 6 Nations Tournament to kick off in February.
10 Moments are events that inspire us and memories we cherish. They provide a benchmark and context within which we can review our outcomes and plan our future progress. As we look back on 2014 here are my Top Ten, “10 Moments” – both on and off the field, at Play Rugby USA. These set a high benchmark which we’re really proud of but I’m confident we’ll surpass as we Go Forward into 2015.
Introducing Industry Networking Nights
Another board initiative lead by Jack Springate through which we introduced initially with a “Hedge Funds Support a Sporting Chance” event in March. A broader Wall Street event was enjoyed in October. These events raised our awareness among a strategic network who like to support NYC youth.
Growth in Presidents Club
We added 8 members to our exclusive “President’s Club” this year – a membership club for our $5k+ donors. Proceeds from the President’s Club this year exceeded $150k, including relevant board contributions. The President’s Club members are invited to two exclusive events each year and work towards a vision of becoming “the most influential rugby club in the world”.
3D Sports Life Coaching Certification
After approximately 150 hours of reading, study, workshops and practical peer coaching, I enjoyed graduating with a great group of peers in May through Patterson Sports Ventures. Implementing the course content both personally and professionally has enabled me not only to optimize my own performance but also to support our staff in enriching their own work experience. We are also excited to have co-designed a new professional training workshop in partnership with Patterson Sports Ventures, designed for corporations and academic institutions to kick off their own team-building / culture / change initiatives.
2014 Spring Cocktail Benefit
Testing out a new venue – the Manhattan Loft Apartments was a resounding success, as was our students’ Q&A presentation. I’m even more excited for our 2015 benefit, given we’ve already formed an amazing committee and confirmed an even more impressive venue. Watch this space!
USA vs All Blacks Activations
We hosted a series of networking events in both Chicago and LA around this historic international match on November 1. In addition to engaging with and building awareness among 150 prospective supporters, we raised $15k and have a real opportunity to establish our program in Chicago as early as September 2015.