Fall is now upon us, which means the winter season is fast approaching, and what a season we have ahead. From the 2019 Snowboard, Freeski and Freestyle World Championships here in Park City from 1 – 10 February to Lindsey Vonn’s potentially world record breaking season, our athletes and events have an incredibly exciting season in front of them.
While our core focus is, as ever, on working to help our athletes be Best In The World, we are continuing to make good strides in a number of other critical areas of the day to day running of our organization, and I wanted to give you an update on where we are with our work in transparency, culture and athlete safety.
We are concentrating significant resource, time and effort in making U.S. Ski & Snowboard as transparent and open as possible, in particular in explaining how the finances of our organization are structured. Brooke McAffee and the leadership team have been conducting multiple meetings, with athletes, staff, Trustees, donors, sponsors, media (in particular Ski Racing magazine which has just published an in-depth feature about our finances, with our full and open cooperation) and associated organizations, to explain in detail how our budget is created, where our revenues are generated and how we allocate spending across the whole organization and with individual teams. We have a document that provides a simple budget overview, updated each time new revenue comes into U.S. Ski & Snowboard, that we are taking all our stakeholders through in person.
Communicating this important information is critical to our goal of being as open and transparent as possible, and that is never more true than for our athletes. We have begun, and will continue, to run athlete update sessions, face to face with our athletes, and online so those not in Park City can still join in, and this initiative will continue, through winter, spring, summer and beyond. We want the athletes to be able to ask questions about anything they want, and the feedback we have already had is positive, but we will not rest on our laurels. We will keep improving and if you have any suggestions or ideas about how we can do a better job, please let us know.
The culture of any organization is a critical component of success. We have, for some time, been focusing our energies on changing and improving the whole culture of U.S. Ski & Snowboard to ensure that we are a High Performance Team in every sense of the term, from athletics to Foundation, marketing to membership, Athlete Career and Education to finance, and everything in between!
One of our primary tasks has been to create a safe environment for everyone associated with U.S. Ski & Snowboard, not just in terms of athlete safety, but also in creating an open, honest environment, enabling people to offer critical insights and ideas without any repercussions or negative feedback.
The athletes have been pushing ahead with this initiative, both with and without input from the team at the Center of Excellence, and they have seen good success already, in particular when they work with Jack Jefferies, a hugely valuable resource that is open to our whole team. Jack has been conducting sessions with a range of groups, aimed at driving change in the way we all behave and interact. Jesse Hunt, our Alpine Director since spring, has been a strong proponent of the value of these sessions and has been rolling out that program with the alpine teams, both in the USA and while they have been training in Chile. Fundamentally, improving the culture of our whole team is key to putting athletes on podiums, and we will continue our work in this area indefinitely.
Finally, I want to talk again about athlete safety and our relationship with the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
Ensuring that our athletes can train, compete and live their lives free from the scourge of hazing, bullying and sexual misconduct of all kinds is and always will be a main priority for everyone involved with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. We are forging ever-closer links with the U.S. Center for SafeSport, the independent body charged with education, reporting, investigation and adjudication of matters related to athlete safety, and we will never cease to dedicate resources, budget and effort to this subject. Recently, personnel from the U.S. Center for SafeSport visited the Center of Excellence to conduct education sessions with our staff and athletes, and we have continued to enhance our communication about expectations and needs in this area from our member clubs. We have rewritten, published and distributed updated guidelines to all our members, people and organizations, and as the U.S. Center for SafeSport updates its own policies and guidelines, we will continue to spread the word in our world, whenever and however we can.
I will continue to update you on these important topics, and I remain at your disposal should you ever wish to discuss anything related to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
On behalf of our athletes, staff, supporters and the whole U.S. Ski & Snowboard family, thank you for your support.
President and CEO