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Thread: Bio - F. Zimmermann for USA Fencing President

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    Bio - F. Zimmermann for USA Fencing President

    Hello everyone. I've been waiting for US Fencing to post my bio and thought instead of waiting, I would post here. Please contact me if you have questions and or comments: felicia@gousafencing.com


    Felicia Zimmermannís foray into fencing was over 25 years ago, when her father brought her to the Rochester Fencing Center. She was immediately hooked. Thus, began her involvement in our sport that continues to this day and one that Felicia would now like to elevate to the position of President for USA Fencing. Felicia is uniquely qualified for this role; her core competencies, along with her fencing and professional experiences, are unmatched by any other candidate.

    As a club owner, Felicia understands the critical needs of the club and the recreational fencer first-hand. Along with her sister, Felicia is responsible for the daily financial and key operations of the club, including teaching and designing classes for beginners to competitive, growing the business, and managing the finances. This intimate knowledge of club management closes the circle of fencing experience that no other candidate possesses.
    As a fencer, Felicia has competed at the highest domestic and international levels; Two-time Olympic team member, 10-time World Championship team member, and 2-time NCAA Champion are just to name a few of her achievements. This sustained competitive excellence speaks to a level of commitment and discipline that is needed in guiding our sport through its next developmental phase. Moreover, Feliciaís name is well known in international fencing circles and will bring a new level of respect to the position of President, USA Fencing.

    As an administrator, Felicia spent eight years as a Board member of USA Fencing, four years as an Executive Committee member, where she was exposed to extremely sensitive issues, led various committees, and authored policies to encourage positive changes for our organization. Felicia also served eight-years as the Athleteís Representative to the USOCís Athleteís Council and three years on the USOC Board of Directors. Through that experience, she cultivated relationships with many influential people, relationships she has maintained to this day.
    Professionally, Felicia has used her Stanford degree to gain a position with Booz & Company, a global management consulting firm where she learned organizational design, corporate strategy, financial accounting, business planning and public sector governance. In 2010, she left Booz and accepted a position in her hometown with Xerox. As a Director in Technology Services, Felicia has an inside look at the way outsourcing can permit a business to focus on its core capabilities and mission.

    Never one to be satisfied only with the personal benefits of her success in fencing, Felicia has always given back to our sport and now asks for your support that she may bring all of this experience to bear as she continues to serve.

    REACH OUT to Felicia with questions, concerns or ideas at felicia@gousafencing.com
    edew, ysbadadden, gladius and 2 others like this.

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    Welcome aboard Felicia, and thanks for posting. Presumably, most of the US fencing world is familiar with your remarkable, groundbreaking competitive CV (although I would advise you not to take the institutional memory of the USFA membership for granted). However, you are a tabula rasa when it come to the big political issues the organization faces. IMO, that gives you a real advantage out of the box, since you are not tainted by any negative associations or past performance.

    I would ask that you review and respond to the same questions we posed Don Anthony on the Election Candidates thread. Hopefully, you will be willing to define yourself for the electorate so we can make an informed choice.
    MdA likes this.

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    As a Director in Technology Services, Felicia has an inside look at the way outsourcing can permit a business to focus on its core capabilities and mission.
    This seems like an interesting thing to say about suitability for USA Fencing. What kinds of things are suitable for outsourcing for USA Fencing and what aren't?

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    So someone tell me--if the NC can only nominate two candidates for President, why was Felicia, with that amazing CV above, the one who had to petition to run? Why not Don?

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    You might want to ask who was on the nominating committee to begin with. Incestuous self-selection can be habit forming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pillow View Post
    So someone tell me--if the NC can only nominate two candidates for President, why was Felicia, with that amazing CV above, the one who had to petition to run? Why not Don?
    Perhaps because at some point when comparing candidates who exceed the criteria it is just a guess? Hence the petition system.

    Or, they figured it would be a good way to troll fnet.

    Or, because they hate you.

    More seriously I'd be curious to an answer to KD5MDK's question as the sentence in question does stand out.
    PeterGustafsson likes this.
    au revoir

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    Quote Originally Posted by heretic View Post
    you are a tabula rasa when it come to the big political issues the organization faces. IMO, that gives you a real advantage out of the box, since you are not tainted by any negative associations or past performance.
    Quote Originally Posted by gousafencing View Post
    =
    As an administrator, Felicia spent eight years as a Board member of USA Fencing, four years as an Executive Committee member, where she was exposed to extremely sensitive issues, led various committees, and authored policies to encourage positive changes for our organization.
    Mhm. Perhaps I am missing something.
    PeterGustafsson likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KD5MDK View Post
    This seems like an interesting thing to say about suitability for USA Fencing. What kinds of things are suitable for outsourcing for USA Fencing and what aren't?
    Thank you for the question. As you may or may not know, the operational realm of the office is really the role of the Executive Director. As the President, I would be able to leverage my knowledge but more so my network of relationships in the outsourcing industry and in the sport world to educate and encourage the outsourcing or combining of back-office type work that is common to all sport federations. For example, a possibility to combine back-office resources or IT infrastructure to significantly reduce costs.
    mattacox likes this.

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    Thank you for the kind words. I would be happy to answer the same questions posed to Don Anthony and will do so. I didn't realize there was a thread of Election Candidates. I'm quite new to the forum but not new to fencing.net.

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    Yes, it is true that I served on the Executive Committee as well as spent time on the Board, however, I was the Chair of the Athlete Committee, working on protecting the rights of athletes. I have been exposed to the inner workings of the Board, but the Board make-up is quite different now as well as its members. Currently, I serve on the Athlete Protection Task Force, helping address issues and creating policy regarding a safe sport environment and the maltreatment of athletes.

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    Thank you, can you please let me know where the thread is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gousafencing View Post
    Thank you, can you please let me know where the thread is.

    Hello!

    First off, hitting "reply with quote" on each post you're replying to is helpful, it means that we know who exactly you're responding to when you post a specific reply.

    The thread about election candidates is in the "Fencing Discussion" area, much like this one, and it's pretty popular so it's been near-ish to the top for a bit now, although under the "sticky" threads. Here's a direct link---> Election Candidates

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    Quote Originally Posted by gousafencing View Post
    Yes, it is true that I served on the Executive Committee as well as spent time on the Board, however, I was the Chair of the Athlete Committee, working on protecting the rights of athletes. I have been exposed to the inner workings of the Board, but the Board make-up is quite different now as well as its members. Currently, I serve on the Athlete Protection Task Force, helping address issues and creating policy regarding a safe sport environment and the maltreatment of athletes.
    Great you are here on f.net, but it can get a bit messy. Remember, it's always personal, never just business. So, can you tell us:

    1. Are you saying that your position on the Board for an 8 year period ( I don't know the specific years) did or did not overlap chronologically with the previous administration's outrageous financial mismanagement? Or are you saying that your job on the Board
    was somehow isolated from that problem? It would be hard to imagine that if you were on the EC, regardless of your duties, that
    the mistakes that led to the previous slap on the wrist by the USOC were not well known to you. Could you elaborate please?

    2. As far as your role as Chair of the Athlete Committee, can you please explain how the International Department and the HP Director situation became so screwed up. Why has the HP Director job gone through Jim, Mike, Andrea (Acting), Sach, and now Lord knows who has this position currently?--- I gather it is under the "real" control of the Executive Director. Can you explain how the National Office staff went through Corinne, Jeanna, Andrea and Karen? What is the fundamental problem in your view as past Athlete Committee Chair that has prevented continuity, competence, and trust from being the standard for both the HP Director position and the NO International staff?

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    I am very glad Felicia is willing to take on this task, as I am sure she has many other opportunities with her excellent education, work experience, and work ethic. It is nice to see someone trying to make a difference who has a comprehensive understanding of fencing as a great fencer, club owner, and athlete rep. She is is very focused, bright, a hard worker and succeeds in everything she does. Go Felicia, I know you will make a difference!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gousafencing View Post
    I have been exposed to the inner workings of the Board
    Good grief, I hope you didn't catch anything!
    hello? likes this.
    Use the Shift key, people! Keyboard manufacturers everywhere are ineffably saddened when you ignore what they made just for you!

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    Checking the USFencing website, Felicia's picture is now posted, but no bio. Curious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pillow View Post
    Great you are here on f.net, but it can get a bit messy. Remember, it's always personal, never just business. So, can you tell us:

    1. Are you saying that your position on the Board for an 8 year period ( I don't know the specific years) did or did not overlap chronologically with the previous administration's outrageous financial mismanagement? Or are you saying that your job on the Board
    was somehow isolated from that problem? It would be hard to imagine that if you were on the EC, regardless of your duties, that
    the mistakes that led to the previous slap on the wrist by the USOC were not well known to you. Could you elaborate please?

    2. As far as your role as Chair of the Athlete Committee, can you please explain how the International Department and the HP Director situation became so screwed up. Why has the HP Director job gone through Jim, Mike, Andrea (Acting), Sach, and now Lord knows who has this position currently?--- I gather it is under the "real" control of the Executive Director. Can you explain how the National Office staff went through Corinne, Jeanna, Andrea and Karen? What is the fundamental problem in your view as past Athlete Committee Chair that has prevented continuity, competence, and trust from being the standard for both the HP Director position and the NO International staff?
    1. ) I was on the Board from 2004-2008. I was a member during Stacy Johnson's administration and then in Nancy Anderson's administration. I will never tell you that I shirk responsibility as you are correct in intimating that the role of a member of the Board, is also a fiduciary responsibility. You can ask anyone who was a member of the board at that time as to how many probing questions I had asked and poked at. For example, a motion was introduced to increase the referee payments from $40 to a band ranging from $40-$120, I immediately stood up to call out that more analysis needs to be done before going ahead to accepting such a change without at least understanding some of the impact. I never questioned that the referees should get reimbursed more or a greater honorarium, I just questioned the total amount and wanted more information on the overall impact. The refs have a very difficult job and I really don't envy them standing up on their feet all day getting squeezed to the bone. Anyway, at that time the Board was nearly 30 people. I was 1 of 6 athlete members that would consistently show up, while the majority of the Board were referees. You can imagine how the vote ended up. From 2008 until now, I have disengaged completely from the Board and to be honest, towards the end of my tenure in 2008, I had already transitioned many of the duties as I was preparing to work more in my role at Booz and Company as well as take more overseas assignments. I was also not part of the USFA/USA Fencing when they 1) Changed their name and 2) Changed the composition of the board, so you will have to excuse me when I don't know what you refer to when you mention "slap on the wrist."

    You should know that Fencing is viewed as a Foundation Sport within the USOC and that is solid positioning in the movement. We as many other sports have our weaknesses and strengths, but being a Foundation Sport is a big deal and one we should be proud of.

    2.) To address item number 2. I was around when Jim Page first came to the USFA as the High Performance Director. I left my role to others when Michael Pederson came on as the HPD. I really cannot comment as to the inner workings within the office, but I can comment that while I was away I was asked my counsel about the HPD position and various candidates. I think the problem is a systemic one and one that the Executive Director needs to solve. As a potential Board President, it would be my job to set targets and performance indicators I expect the ED to achieve. I cannot force how he/or she does the hiring. But, if we take a step back, I can speak to the systemic problem, which is often we hire people without giving them the right tools and processes to succeed. I can relate it to my corporate job and that I have mentors and people above me to provide guidance and direction. In many of the cases, we (meaning USA Fencing we) think we can just stick someone in without the right training or guidance and expect them to create miracles and often in vacuum of information. I have a lot of thoughts, I know I can guide in the right way, but I am not willing to do things without collaboration and hearing other opinions and perspectives. I may know some answers, but I will be the first to admit I don't have all of them.

    I have been calling many club owners, coaches, and other people that are part of the fencing movement and getting their insights in to what are their pain points and what is working and what isn't working. I know how to deal with financials, bottom line, and revenue targets,but what I need to hear is from the community first. I don't want to take something away that is working, and I want people to feel free to reach out and be heard. I'm listening. I promise I am a woman of action and accountability - that you don't have to worry about - but I need to listen first. You can ask my sister about the way we run our business, we do get in to some heated debates, but at the end of the day we need to work it out and make sure it is a win-win financially as well as for the business overall - this includes coaches, parents, athletes, etc.

    felicia@gousafencing.com

    By the way, you have a lot on your mind, please feel free to email and drop me your phone number so we can talk one-on-one or I can host a conference call / town hall - to field questions but to also listen. Often email/ written words can be misinterpreted so I welcome a phone call to be sure that you and I are clear.

    Thank you for your insightful questions.

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    Thank you very much! I cannot do it alone. It really takes a village and I'm hoping to garner support from all corners as we need everyone to help!

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    If Felicia Zimmerman claims she is ready for this position, then I pray we find a way to put her in that position.
    SabreMom1 likes this.
    Take your time. Read carefully.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gousafencing View Post
    Currently, I serve on the Athlete Protection Task Force, helping address issues and creating policy regarding a safe sport environment and the maltreatment of athletes.


    One thing you can be sure of is Felicia Zimmermann is true to her role on the Athlete Protection Task Force. On behalf of my son, a fencer with a disability, Felicia contacted the FOC to let him know that a fencer with an auditory processing delay would be competing at the JO's. As a result of his auditory processing delay the refs would need to be notified that they would need to use clear hand signals for the "Ready Fence," as without this my son is at a clear disadvantage. As if that was not enough, she also worked with my son, and taught him how to respectfully and appropriately let the referees know that he would need them to use clear hand signals for the "Ready Fence." Now when my son reports to his strip and the ref checks his equipment, he lets the ref know he needs clear hand signals. My son has gone from a mediocre tournament fencer to top 16 at the last NAC. I will be forever grateful to Felicia for all she has done for my son, and the rest of the USFA Members can be certain that only good can come from electing her as the new Board President! Felicia continues to take the sport of fencing to a higher level, and she is the change we need for the future!
    edew, gladius, wakeup and 1 others like this.

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