Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Perspectives: Why NRPA? the Association's New Chief Executive Officer Reveals Her Plans for Her First 100 Days on the Job. Front and Center: A Return to Relevance

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Perspectives: Why NRPA? the Association's New Chief Executive Officer Reveals Her Plans for Her First 100 Days on the Job. Front and Center: A Return to Relevance

Article excerpt

Upon accepting the invitation to serve as NRPA's new chief executive officer, several of my colleagues and friends asked, "Why the National Recreation and Park Association?"

Frankly, I was a bit surprised, as the answer seems so obvious. Who wouldn't want the opportunity to ensure that public parks and recreation continues to be among the country's most crucial resources for future generations?

I am honored and humbled to have been selected to lead this dynamic and vital organization, and am equally respectful of the challenges ahead of us. Although I am not a park and recreation professional by trade, my commitment to the future of the movement is sincere, and I am convinced that NRPA's successes reflect the nation's collective responsibility.

Perhaps former NRPA Executive Director Sal Prezioso said it best in 1965:

   The future of NRPA will be made, not
   by historians, but by people like our
   founders who were concerned enough
   with NRPA to make its founding unique:
   Professional leaders willing to put their
   faith in lay leaders and to work together
   to strengthen the National Recreation
   and Park Association. Our founders were
   the trail-blazers. Our future rests on the
   continued cooperation of professionals
   and laymen, and on the retainment of talented
   personnel interested in environmental
   quality and the enhancement of
   the quality of life through parks and
   recreation.

I grew up in a military family, spending much of my youth in the Carolinas. For me, outdoor recreation was the sole form of diversion, both from an experiential and pleasure point of view.

As a result, my interest in and devotion to conservation was resolved. I have fond memories of exploring the swamps (much to my mother's dismay) and water-skiing in alligator-infested rivers. My love for the outdoors continued as I chose to attend the University of Arizona based solely on my desire to experience new topography and wildlife in the desert.

I finally ended up in Washington, D.C., and began my association career. Serving most recently as the CEO and president of the Electronic Retailing Association, I represented an international membership that included companies such as Google, eBay, and QVC, all of whom have implemented "green" initiatives.

Much of my time at ERA was spent on Capitol Hill and working with regulatory agencies. …

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