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Kamden H

Kamden Hoffmann, a candidate in December 2012 for president of the Pittsburgh Triathlon Club.

Background[]

  • Triathlete in Pittsburgh


Inisights[]

Bio from when running for president of the Pittsburgh Triathlon Club in 2012[]

My dreams and your dreams are only an action away: Bio and Platform for PTC President

I moved to Pittsburgh two years ago and one of the first things I did was join the Pittsburgh Triathlon Club (PTC). Eager to get involved with the club and to find new training partners led me to my first monthly meeting which was to be held at OTB. However, upon arriving at OTB I discovered that the meeting had been moved and was actually being held at the Pittsburgh Triathlon. While some new members may have been thrown for a loop I believe this happened for a reason.  I met another woman who was also new to the area, was interested in getting involved with triathlon and we decided to explore Bud Oval cycling. That day at the oval, I bumped into a bunch of women from my former cycling team, Velo Femme, and realized that Pittsburgh is very small and how wonderful a small community can be when you have been in a big city for a while.  In the end not knowing up to date information based on a website mistake led to new friends, training partners, a cycling team, and an exploration of Pittsburgh.

I’m originally from New York. Long Island, or Strong Island, as we call it. You wouldn’t know it as I lost my accent a long time ago due to traveling all over as an Army brat, the Peace Corps, followed by about eight years of international health work, mostly in Africa. New Yorkers get things done, and they let everyone know it! However, I have learned a lot from working overseas and my chosen profession (Health Behavior)—first and foremost—when you come to a new place, you listen first. How can I provide technical assistance if I don’t know the culture or the local needs? How can I ask for you to vote for me as President unless I first listen to your needs?

So, why do I want to run for Board President? Like most of you I love multi-sport and how it keeps me balanced in the rest of my life. I am very involved in the clubs I join. I join them for a reason. I am passionate about their mission. I strongly believe that there is untapped potential among our members and should be better leveraged so the members can tap into to all the opportunities within this amazing city.  I want to ensure that everyone in the club has a voice, that we are 100% transparent, that we continue to support members racing and training, and increase our involvement in charitable endeavors, which also includes increasing the participation of younger athletes.

Why am I qualified for this position? As previous President of the George Washington University School of Public Health Alumni Association, I rejuvenated a stagnant club, developed the by-laws, redesigned the board structure, fostered relationships with other alumni organizations within the school, held at least four social events per year including at least two charity events, coordinated group teams for races, and developed an Immediate Past President role for an advisory non-voting position, which allowed for a smooth transition and to ensure institutional memory. I received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award for this work, and was the youngest alumni to ever receive this award. During college, I was Charity and Social chair for AOPi at Tufts University. My experience in strategic development for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID, 2004-2009) broadened my skills in long-term planning through five to ten year plans for child health globally. I served as Vice President for Public Relations Chair for the Peace Corps Alumni Foundation for Philippine Development (PCAFPD, 2004 – 2007).  Through this role I was able to continue to expand support for Filipino students and use my interpersonal and cross cultural skills to help young students reach their goals of attending college. I took numerous trainings and intensive courses in leadership during my time at USAID. I was also awarded best service to the field for Mali and Rwanda based on my leadership under the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). Bottom line—I know how to lead, plan strategically, and I know how to prioritize both short and long term goals. I have developed interpersonal skills through all these experiences and I know that this skillset can help to foster additional relationships and sponsorships beneficial to our club. Yes, I was in Peace Corps too (1998-2000), in the Philippines, so I know how to build a toilet, but moreover, learn an entire new culture, a new language, listen to others, and build long lasting relationships with people that I still talk to today over 10 years later.

What is my vision and mission for the club? First and foremost, I would like to revise the by-laws so we have the opportunity to make all these things happen! I want to add additional or revise current board position roles (depending on the organizational chart) so that responsibilities can be more effectively delegated; each position should have a clear job description and these should be posted on the website. A short bio for each board member and other volunteer positions along with their respective contact information with a picture should be included in the Forum and on the Website!! People have a right to know who is leading the club and understand their responsibilities and how to contact them easily. The club organizational chart should be posted on the website with current filled positions and positions we would like to see filled in the near future along with position descriptions. In my previous leadership experience, we had Board Members at-large who could represent the views of the general membership at meetings. I propose at-large positions and committees, such as a marketing committee and a new members committee. These positions and committees will allow PTC to grow new activities and get more people involved. There is no reason not to consider a smaller committee that could be formed to delegate all the requirements of various roles.  And since we do live all over Pittsburgh-there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Board conference call when people are traveling! This was very effective in keeping communication channels open and activities flowing for our membership.

The website is currently being revised, and I plan to work with the developers to this end, but most importantly I believe the membership is seeking detailed training guidance and useful information at their fingertips: local pools, tracks, Masters Teams, North/South/East/West training venues, blogs for race reports that are easily uploaded for members to read, and definitely a suggestions box!  I also see the forum as a great tool, and there are inexpensive web based applications/add-ons  that could be incorporated into the forum so members can be notified when a new dialogue are started and if a member is involved or interested in a particular dialogue they can be notified when other members comment.

Pittsburgh Triathlon Club is growing, and is visible throughout Pittsburgh. How can we further get ourselves on the map? Discussions around expanding our outreach at events and other venues began; I’d like to have a publicity/outreach member on our board that has talent in this area. Business cards were suggested by some members, and I propose to have them not only for board members, but for ALL volunteer positions in the club.

As we grow, we need to balance our reach. Discussions began regarding satellite training for different regions in the area, closer to where club members live, as well as how we can still unite as a single club. There is no reason why we cannot learn from other models as some members have suggested like the Western PA Wheelman club that had rides from different locations and then two big rides with a BBQ a year where everyone gets together. Let’s keep the creative juices flowing, but as efficiently as possible so we can all continue to balance our limited time to train, gather socially, while balancing our professional lives and of course family!

What more can we do for a new members so they know what the club is about and what we have to offer? Each new member will get a personal welcome from the club leadership, and if they are on FaceBook, I will ensure they are invited into the FB forum and have a cheat sheet on how to navigate the new website/forum. As new members introduce themselves at meetings, I will be sure to talk to every new member, and introduce them to other members as I have done during the group swims, rides and runs I have organized to remove any feelings of isolation, and people feel welcome and will want to keep participating. We also need additional venues to socialize and I propose that once a month we have a rotating social event, whether a simple happy hour or dinner, for those that cannot make the 6pm Thursday track workouts or chill runs, Wednesday night swim drill sessions or the Monday Spin workouts due to work or other commitments. These socials will rotate and I will try to be at as many as I can.  As President, I want to see all our members and get to know you as best I can.

I want to provide a “starter pack” for new triathletes to the club that includes a PTC water bottle, sticker, tech shirt, a list of sponsors/discounts, and upcoming events or meetings. The cost to provide a packet of this type is minimal, and previous clubs I belonged have always provided some sort of Team SWAG to new members!

Some ideas that have come from members recently that I’d like to explore include:

  • Workout soundtracks developed by PTC and available to PTC members through Spotify;
  • A “New Triathlete” group, with a mentor/buddy system to help new triathletes improve;
  • Out of this new triathlete group, have a competition for “rookie(s) of the year”—these triathletes would be recognized by his or her progress over the year. Progress could be measured in many ways, race results, involvement in the club, volunteer involvement at local races; the new group decides what the measurements could be used for their group.  Finally,  past Rookies of the Year could help organize the next new triathlete rookie group for the following year;
  • Ensure we have training activities at ALL levels of experience, so that more members have opportunities for group training events. For example, “A” and “B” rides that are led by separate people on the same day/location, or an out and back course so everyone can ride/run at a pace that they are comfortable;
  • “Training triathlons” during  the off season to keep people motivated especially during the holiday season when there is more holiday days than racing days!
  • Get our 2013 race coordination calendar up and running again!!! We need to know who is racing when, coordinate lodging, travel, lodging and equipment/bike transfer and most importantly so we can expand upon our tradition of being there to provide support for other fellow club members!!

There are things that are important to keep just the way they are. The group swims, runs, and rides have been successful over the last year, and they need to continue, including those large events for charity. I propose to have a Board retreat to review what we’ve done over the past 2 years, keep what’s working, fix what’s not, brainstorm on what we want to prioritize and develop an action plan with roles and responsibilities to make that happen. This will be shared openly with club members for feedback and suggestions. If I become President I propose to have an immediate past president board role (non-voting) as an advisory position to maintain the institutional memory flowing towards a smooth transition. Sponsors-we need them! Keep who we have if the relationships are mutually beneficial for the club, and continue to explore new sponsors. We are the primary triathlon club in Pittsburgh region-we need to use this to our advantage! AND out of state members have expressed that they are still members based on our discounts. Let’s keep this going!

Lastly, I am a USAT Level I certified coach. I am a personal trainer. I teach group exercise classes. I am a PhD Candidate in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. I am a daughter of two wonderful parents. I am a girlfriend. I am a triathlete. I am human. And I have dedicated my life to the health and wellness of others. 

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