By Greg Feeler, President, BMW MOA
A great leader is made when a good leader is faced with challenges matching his or her skills. A successful leader overcomes those challenges and in doing so prepares the ground for a new leader whose different skills are suited to a new set of challenges. We speak of that next person as a successor, rather than a replacement.
With that perspective, last November your Board set the goal of finding a successor to our outgoing Executive Director, Ray Zimmerman. This was a very important task because of the importance of this position and because today our club faces a new set of challenges. Among them are the facts many more enthusiast groups now exist and the BMW motorcycle family is much more diverse. Additionally, our current and prospective members have higher expectations for the quality, quantity and delivery of news, information and community. As these challenges have developed, we have responded with new media tools, new events and greater visibility, a recommitment to our volunteer tradition and increased commitment to our strong local club community. We sought to find a new Executive Director who could not only exploit these advantages to meet our challenges but who also would provide the innovation and vision to partner with the Board in charting our future growth and success.
To find such a person, we elected to take a slower but very comprehensive approach. We contracted with an executive search firm with extensive experience with non-profit organizations. They partnered with the Board to assess the strengths and needs of our club, refine the position requirements, develop a fair and objective evaluation process and then take our search to a large audience beyond our membership. Our objective was to find the best person we could for this complex and challenging position from whatever source.
After a 60-day solicitation period, the Board was presented with the top 10 candidates. These were all highly qualified people with extensive experience and the background required for this position. However, we needed to identify the top of the top for in-person interviews. After extensive analysis and discussion, five were selected, any one of whom could have been a good Executive Director. But in the end we had only one position to fill.
Although confidentiality requirements prevent me from naming names, you should all know the caliber of these applicants speaks volumes about the positive image and perceived potential of your club; we all owe these people our thanks for their commitment to, and faith in, what we are and can become.
After another round of assessment and extensive discussion, your Board selected Mr. Robert “Bob” Aldridge. We expect that name will be familiar to many of you. Bob is a longtime BMW MOA member and has been serving the last year as the President of the BMW MOA Foundation. He is an active participant in MOA and local club activities, and many of you have seen him this past winter manning the MOA/Foundation booth at the International Motorcycle Shows. He also served as Rally Co-Chair of our 2012 40th Anniversary International Rally in Sedalia, Mo. There is much more to know about Bob, which will be presented in the June Owners News. But for now, let me say that he brings the skills, talent, vision and passion necessary to meet our future head on. Please join your Board in welcoming Bob as our new Executive Director. He began his duties on April 9 and can be reached at our headquarters office.