By the time you read this message, NEDA will have a completely new website that is better looking, easier to navigate, and full of cool functionality that will make it easier for you to know what’s going on, sign up and participate. I had no idea what a mammoth undertaking this was to be, the only hint being the diffi culty we had for several years finding anyone willing and interested to take on the project for NEDA. But in the end we assembled a crackerjack team that has been working on this since January practically nonstop. Technically I have been a member of that team, but all I ever did was to make sure the board was kept informed and the "I’s” dotted and "t’s” crossed. There are a few other board members on the committee who offered opinions when asked about aesthetics, access, priorities, and other policy and detail issues. They included Christine Shea, Kate O’Connor and Phyllis LeBlanc, with varying degrees of technical expertise. But the group that really rolled their sleeves up and went to work with tremendous enthusiasm and expertise was rather small. I’d like to call them out here for special recognition and thanks.
I’ll start with Shawn Walker, who chairs the committee. She serves on the NEDA board as a member-at-large. This means she has no portfolio but can take on ad hoc projects and fi ll in to help others as needed. What an ad hoc project this was! Shawn runs her own business and is an avid rider. She broke her ankle and couldn’t ride for six weeks, so she thought she could fi nd the time to take on this project while she was in forced rest. Ha! That was way last winter. But she has stuck with it and helped the team make good decisions about vendors, direction, ease of use and updating, and kept the project on track, long after she was fully mobile and back to her more than full life.
Four other members of the team deserve special mention. Tammy Paparella has been NEDA’s membership assistant and web manager for several years, and she jumped into this with both feet and hands and has been responsible for most of the data migration from the old site to the new. Board member Beth Jenkins has been managing the Fall Festival section of the website for years and has a lot of technical depth as well as a sense of history. Her input and active participation added breadth, depth and a strong sense of history to the work. Elizabeth Preston and Jennifer Wuorinen both have tremendous expertise in this area and volunteered in response to a board call for help that appeared on Facebook and in e-newsletters last fall. They have work, personal and horse lives but have made the time (it has been considerable) to dig in and help design and build our beautiful new website. Not all are pure volunteers, but even those we paid for contract labor have put in many more uncompensated hours on conference calls with committee members and designers.
We have tapped Elizabeth Preston to be NEDA’s new technology coordinator on the Board of Directors. Hopefully, with a brand new website up and running, that job won’t be as much work as it has been so far. And Shawn can go back to being our memberat-large, waiting for the next opportunity to jump in and take over a new project down the road. I love that this is the way NEDA works. It’s a lot of work sometimes, but the rewards are tangible, the teamwork satisfying, and the outcomes outstanding.
The mission of the New England Dressage Association is to promote and support the Art and Sport of Dressage to the equestrian community for the purpose of fostering individual and collective growth by providing leadership, education, exhibitions, publications, competitions and to enhance greater public awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the discipline of Dressage.