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Post Time with Dan Gall

Post Time

As we head into the final month of 2018, I thought that it would be fitting it I provided you with a bit of a year in review as it pertains to the association.

Standardbred Canada has been re-defining itself for our board and its members. This has required asking tough questions and hearing, at times, tough answers. One thing that has emerged throughout the process is a stronger, more clearer path forward as the association prepares to reset itself based on the various inputs of our stakeholders.

The 2018 strategic plan was designed to put key principles and tactics in place for the ongoing evolution of the association which were identified and underscored to support the five long term objectives of the organization; Customer/Member Value, Technology, People, Industry Growth & Stakeholder Relations, and Financial.

In addition, Standardbred Canada also initiated a major undertaking to renew and revise the 5 year strategic plan which involved an incredible amount of research, meetings and input from the board of directors, management, employees, members and stakeholders. This was a very worthwhile exercise as it allowed some of the original authors of the of the 2015 Strategic Planning committee to reconvene and re-visit the plan to ensure its validity for the organization going forward.

Standardbred Canada achieved some important initiatives in 2018 but the organization also had some areas that limited the association to capitalize on its identified goals and objectives. A key learning from 2018 is the importance of executing the plan in a timely and a realistic manner.

The following highlights and summarizes the 2018 strategic plan.

1. Customer Member Value

Execute Fee Enhancements Management did a thorough review of Standardbred Canada fees compared to our counterparts south of the border. In addition to reviewing fees, we also reviewed programs like TrackIT, and made changes to late start eligibility, and multiyear memberships. Based on this review, management was able to present to the board a thorough and comprehensive report.

Develop and Launch a Member Loyalty Program We also developed and launched a Membership Value Program ("MVP") that offers membership discounts at selected businesses across the country.

It was important that we created and branded a program that spoke clearly to our members on just what the program is about. We believe that the SC MVP underlines to our members their MVP status to the association.

The SC MVP has already created positive impact with members sharing that they have already received savings because of the program offered.

2. Technology

Gaitway Project The Gaitway (system upgrade) project is close to nearing the finish line.

Throughout 2018, Janet Cookson and her team have been doing their utmost in managing this mega project while overseeing day-to-day operations of an IT-data driven business.

Complete a Cyber Security Review Standardbred Canada conducted an application and penetration systems test and developed a plan to address all findings on a priority level.

Develop and Execute Transition to Micro-Chipping The Breeders committee and the board have approved management's proposal and plan for transitioning from freeze branding to micro-chipping.

After extensive research working with various stakeholders, and securing proper approvals, SC has developed a communication and training strategy to begin executing changes to the horse identification program effective January 2019.

3. People

Execute Governance Review Recommendations The following is a summary of Recommended Governance Review initiatives completed:

o Communicate with members to clarify their understanding of the mission and learn what they wish SC to be;

o Continue with the review and update of current strategic plan;

o Work with the full board to review and discuss current Vision, Mission, and Mandate;

o Develop a revised strategic plan 2019-2023

o Board Skills assessment was conducted reviewed and presented to the board.

o Governance committee presently reviewing Nominations and Recruitment process for board review and approval.

o Developed a policy document on the role of the chair and provide candidates for the chair position with resource material specific to chairing a not for profit association.

o Ongoing Bylaws Committee Review

o Clarifying Executive Committee powers, e.g., a sounding board not a decision body;

o Review of Terms of Reference of all committees addressing issues such as committee membership, attendance, mandates, relevance, annual goals, reports, monitoring, and role of a committee chair.

Implement Updated HR Practices During this past fiscal, senior management have developed and updated all job descriptions relevant to the organizational structure. In addition to the job descriptions, competency definitions and a rating skills matrix have been created for all future performance reviews for employees.

Execute New Organizational Structure During this past year, and with the support and input of the board and management team, Standardbred Canada has reviewed and focused on capitalizing on our existing talent base while realigning certain talent and skills to areas that have been underlined as high priorities for the organization in the revised 5 year plan.

4. Industry Growth and Stakeholder Relations

Standardbred Canada began a new program hosting a national teleconference with the standardbred horse associations across the country. These quarterly teleconferences have been very productive which have resulted in sharing best practices with each region, discussing issues and concerns shared by the associations, getting input and ideas for SC initiatives and discussing health and welfare concerns each jurisdiction is faced with.

As a highlight and result of this effective communication forum, SC assisted the facilitation and rollout of National Caretaker Day across the country which was received extremely well by the associations, racetracks and industry.

Rules Committee The goal of creating a national Rules of Racing rulebook is nearing the finish line. We have had tremendous support from each jurisdiction and have reviewed all sections of the rule book pertaining to on-track racing.
Standardbred Canada now has the permission of the jurisdictions to summarize all agreed-to language in a rule book document for the regulators to review and discuss with their stakeholders in each jurisdiction.

The committee is in agreement that the Rules of Racing rulebook should be able to be launched in Spring 2019.

Government Relations This work has been ongoing as continued direction is being offered by the Government Relations sub-committee resulting in revised Terms of Reference and a more focussed approach.

As a result of some of these efforts, SC has been involved in robust discussions on a plan to address taxation within the equine industry amongst all disciplines and is also working on a Taxation Focus Group with SC members to seek input and understanding on the taxation issue as related to the membership and industry.

SC has also been involved and provided input on a national impact study seeking funding through the Ministry of Agriculture for the equine industry and specifically for the standardbred breed.

5. Financial

Business Plans

o Self Serve Capabilities: This plan has been created and adopted for possible implementation in the F19 strategic plan including; Electronic Mating Certificate, Horse/Freezebrand/Microchip Search, Ownership Transfers, New Membership, and Online Testing for Licensing.

o Member Relations Program: The recommendation is that as the association focuses more on member retention and acquisition, our efforts will be focussed on understanding the member data that we have, and build processes and policy regarding communicating effectively and efficiently with the current database and internal tools that we have.

o Develop plan for website redesign, ensuring mobile compatibility and regulatory compliance.

A plan has been created with recommendations for management to move forward with the intention of implementing the recommendations in fiscal 2019. This has been started with the reorganization of the communications department to accommodate planning and management of the project.

The above are some of the highlights that Standardbred Canada has worked on and accomplished in 2018 and it has been extremely gratifying to see positive steps in moving the association forward.

Although there have been difficulties and roadblocks, there is still much more to do which has been articulated and addressed in the revised 5 year plan, and more specifically in the F19 Standardbred Canada Strategic Plan.

I would like to thank the management team and the board for their ongoing support, input and hard work in achieving a very robust and aggressive project plan throughout 2018.

It has been a pleasure and an honour to represent Standardbred Canada and our staff, members and stakeholders this past fiscal year.

Happy Christmas and Best Wishes to you and your family in 2019.

Dan Gall, President & CEO, Standardbred Canada
[email protected]


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