MEET THE NEW PRESIDENT!
I am deeply honored to be elected as president of NEDA. NEDA is a wonderful organization made up of people who are passionate about dressage. We have a long history of bringing extraordinary education to our members and producing world class competitions. I have big shoes to fill following Kathy McHugh’s six years of exceptional leadership. It has been a privilege to work with Kathy and I will miss her counsel, but she has positioned us well for the future. Thank you for serving NEDA so capably for the past six years Kathy.
I am delighted to be working with seasoned pros on the board as well as welcoming some new board members who will bring a fresh perspective. Because our lives are so fluid these days we always seem to have one or two positions to fill on the board. If you have an interest in exploring becoming more involved please let us know.
Because of my many years in the equestrian world, both personally and professionally I feel like I already know many of you, but for those of you I have not yet met I will share my background. I am an adult amateur rider who has competed through fourth level and made it halfway to my Silver medal before retiring my dressage horse last year. I do not currently have a competitive dressage horse but am fortunate to be riding a lovely retired dressage horse and hacking around the fields and trails near my home.
My career is almost as much fun as riding. I am CEO and owner of Harbor Sweets, a mail order gift chocolate company based in Salem, MA. You may be familiar with our Dark Horse Chocolates which appear in competitor’s packets and are given to volunteers at the Fall Festival through NEDA’s robust sponsorship programs.
When I am not playing with chocolate and horses, I live in Bradford, MA with my husband, Bob and our two corgis, Sandi and Oliver. In addition to my work on the board of NEDA I have been the Massachusetts state representative for The Dressage Foundation, served on the boards of The House Of the Seven Gables, Salem State University Assistance Corp., Salem Boys & Girls Club, and the Salem Chamber of Commerce.
When I joined the board of NEDA over 10 years ago I had no idea what went into running the organization. All of my experience with boards had been with organizations that had paid staff, and NEDA is run almost entirely by volunteers. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into making all of the things happen that we enjoy as members. Volunteers that you see at the horse shows come immediately to mind, but there are so many people volunteering their time and talent to the organization to produce and edit the Tip of the Hat and The Salute, manage the website, produce Tweets and Instagram posts, manage the finances of the organization, raise sponsorship revenue, and organize horse shows and educational events.
One of the most remarkable things in all of the work that gets accomplished is the friendships that are formed and the joy of sharing your passion for dressage with people equally as passionate about the sport. It is that joy and passion, fun and friendship that fuels the work of NEDA. I encourage you to join the fun by getting involved in any way you can.
NEDA is your organization, entirely dependent on the membership. We want you to be involved and enjoy the benefits of a robust and exciting dressage organization. Please contact any board member or our Volunteer Coordinator, Karin Swanfeldt to learn how you can get involved. I look forward to meeting and working with you during my term as president.