In 2010, Larry suggested we join KCBS and take a judging class – he thought it might help him improve his own cooking skills. Unfortunately, unexpected health issues meant we couldn’t take the class until 2011. Led by Mike Lake, it was informative and fun – and we couldn’t wait to judge our first contest. We also made some good friends that day. The following year we took a Table Captain class, also taught by Mike Lake.
I continued judging several contests a year, hitting the 30 mark in 2012, earningMaster status in 2013 after cooking with a team, and reaching 100 this June. I have been a table captain numerous times, done the dreaded double duty more than once, and did whatever was asked of me to make a contest successful. For three years, I helped some friends who were organizing back to back contests by handling the judging applications – tracking date of entry, verifying CBJ status on the KCBS website, communicating with potential judges, and developing seating charts for each day. The latter makes me very grateful for computerized and/or chip draw seating. This experience taught me the necessity of communicating regularly with potential judges –it’s only courteous to let them know as soon as possible if they will be seated. On the other hand, I also realized that seating judges is dependent upon the number of teams who sign up.
In 2013, Dave Compton asked me to serve on the Philanthropy Committee, as he knew I had been involved in similar activities in my professional life and felt I could bring some expertise to the process. I was able to develop a scoring spreadsheet and a set of guidelines, so that the review process would be fair and transparent. We also established a 3-tiered ranking system indicating the total score an applicant would need to achieve in order to be awarded a scholarship – again, doing everything in a standardized manner so that there could be no accusations of favoritism.
This KCBS experience has been a wonderful addition to my life. I look forward to the fall when contests for the following year start appearing in the Bullsheet and on the website. It’s not until early spring that judging opportunities become available in our area and by then I’m ready to show my membership card, put on my apron and judge what I always expect to be great barbecue – and I’m rarely disappointed. And if the latter happens, I am fully prepared to use the complete range of available scores, as instructed by Mike Lake.
My decision to enter this special election came at the urging of several people who felt that my attitude and skill set would be an asset to the BOD. I thought long and hard about the amount of work that would be involved and the hours it would take and decided that it was something I wanted to do – a way to give back for all the fun and friendship KCBS has given me.
If elected, I will work diligently and transparently to represent all members - cooks, judges, reps, and organizers both current and retired. I hope to bring my organizational, administrative and problem-solving skills and experience to the table to ensure that KCBS continues to prosper and grow in a sustainable manner.
I would like to work with other board members to figure out how to encourage organizers to make continuous and effective communication with all judges the standard across all contests. I would work hard with the appropriate board committees to try to resolve the issue as lack of timely notification is a major concern on the part of judges.
Another area of concern is the perceived “loss of membership.” However, until the BOD analyzes membership records to determine why people are not renewing, we can’t definitively say there is a problem. Are memberships not being renewed because the member is getting too old to travel to judge or cook, is the member deceased, or are they just truly disgruntled? These are questions that need to be answered (and disseminated to membership) before the board can address the perceived problem.
A third issue would be to improve communication between the BOD, KCBS office staff and membership. Given the ease of email, I would hope that office staff could be authorized, with BOD approval, to send more frequent email blasts on areas of concern and what specific direction the BOD is taking. Also, send BOD minutes via email
I feel openness and transparency is important to convince membership that the BOD is working on everyone’s behalf, not just a vocal minority. While the BOD cannot and should not respond to every social media frenzy, direct, open and frequent communication might alleviate some of these concerns.
However, the most important point I want to make is the fact that I would come to the BOD with no preconceived ideas on how things should be. Since I have not been privy to the inner workings of the BOD, I would need to spend time learning about the history of decisions already made and what other members think about issues. I do not believe that one person should join a board with a specific agenda and expect it to be enacted immediately. A single member is one voice among many and needs to modulate that voice so the whole succeeds.
I see being a KCBS BOD member as a way to give back to the organization as partial repayment for fun I’ve had and the wonderful friendships I’ve made. It would also allow me to be part of moving the organization forward. As a member of a grant development team for over 30 years (and a single mother for longer) and a community volunteer, I have honed my organizational and administrative skills. I can handle multiple projects simultaneously, am detail-oriented, and always meet deadlines. One of my strongest attributes is the ability to problem-solve – to look at a specific situation from all angles, step back and figure out what the best way forward might be. I am never afraid to “not know the answer,” but am always able to figure how where to look for the information needed. Another asset is my ability to see all sides of situation; I try to achieve resolutions that are a win-win for everyone.
I joined KCBS in 2010, started judging in 2011, table captaining in 2012, earned Master status in 2013 and judged my 100th contest on 6/1/19. In 2013, Dave Compton asked me to join the Philanthropy Committee and I am still an active member. I led the committee’s effort to organize the application review process to be standardized and transparent so that students were reviewed fairly and consistently.
Cooks and judges are both equally important constituencies and we need to find a way to bring both groups together and enable them to understand the challenges each face. I also feel that greater transparency by the BOD is needed. While I understand that some board business needs to take place in closed session, in reading the minutes it seems as though this is happening more frequently which might give the impression that certain matters are being hidden. More direct to membership communication from the BOD might help remove this appearance, for example, send minutes via email as well as posting in the Bullsheet – it would be more timely and easier to access.
I feel that my problem-solving ability and creativity would be strong contribution to the KCBS BOD. I am not running with a preconceived notion that I will join the board and immediately fix all problems. Rather, I would sit, listen and learn before making suggestions. I am not fixed on one specific viewpoint/idea but open to many and willing to listen to all. And, frankly, I feel the board needs more female representation – I’m not sure what percentage of KCBS members are female, but we need more seats at the table.