Since coming to UMA two short years ago, United Motorcoach Association President and Chief Executive Officer has been on a mission to ensure relevancy and transparency of all UMA offerings and services.
One of the more obvious changes has been in the makeup of the leadership of UMA. From bylaw changes to new policies and procedures, the organization is introducing new energy as well as new faces into its leadership. Bus & Motorcoach News recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk about some of the changes UMA has made and the benefits the members are realizing because of them.
You are two years into your service as president and CEO. UMA has seen a lot of outward- facing changes, from the facelift of Bus & Motorcoach News and organizational brand imaging to adding new, forward-thinking educational programs like the Sales Summit. What has been happening internally?
As important as outward changes are, changing what we do, they mean little if we are not also changing how we take care of our business. Internally we have revised governing documents and processes, like our bylaws, to create opportunities for new leadership and new voices to engage with committees and serve on the Board of Directors. This included establishing term limits so that we can ensure introduction of new people, new thoughts and new energies as we create future strategies and plans. As boring as some of these documents seem, they become the foundation of how we operate and how we can, and sometimes cannot, engage.
How do these changes really help the membership and bring value?
The industry has been going through a level of disruption over the past few years from consolidation and mergers to new regulations and technologies. When we have regional leaders who are actively engaged in how to make these changes work for the industry, it becomes easy to create greater value in helping the entire membership navigate the disruptions and change at hand. It has also allowed us to find ways to get our elected leadership engaged within the regions they represent through hosting regional town halls that allow dialogue on issues related specifically to their local markets, as well as national issues affecting the entire industry.
In an industry that is not always readily accepting of change, how have you helped the leadership facilitate these changes?
We are so fortunate at UMA to have a volunteer leadership group that is committed to a healthy future for the association and the industry. The role of president and CEO is not necessarily to come up with the new programs and offerings as much as it is to facilitate strategic conversations among industry leaders that allow us to identify the disruptors to the industry and determine next best steps to address them to keep UMA relevant to today’s operators. Then the role at the staff level is to execute those programs and services.
I have also been fortunate enough to connect with a number of our next-generation leaders in the industry through the 40 Under 45 program. This is a dynamic group that readily embraces technology, change management and creation of a future they can navigate in their own businesses. By creating advisory groups outside of the Board, we have been able to offer data and analysis to ensure the best decisions for the greater membership.
Speaking of the leadership, what processes are now in place that would allow someone to obtain a seat on the Board? How about if they wanted to ascend one day to becoming an officer or Board chair?
This is an incredible time to engage with UMA. We just completed our annual call of Board nominations. To be considered for the Board, it is just that easy—let us know you are interested. Then there is an application process that eventually leads to having a place on the ballot, which is where the regional elections happen. Being a member of the Board requires attendance at two in-person meetings each year, one summer-time meeting and one in conjunction with EXPO. Additionally, Board members are active on committees, in facilitating conversations within their region and participating in update video conferences about the association at least every 60 days.
Once on the Board, we have also created a process where any Board member interested in leading the UMA Board can apply to be considered for an officer position which can eventually lead to moving through those roles to becoming Board chair. Having a transparent process in place allows any member of the Board who is interested to have a fair opportunity to serve.
We welcome anyone and everyone interested in serving in a leadership role to start by being part of one of our active committee groups and assess their next level of interest from there. If you are interested, please reach out directly to me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.