USA Rugby Board Meeting Review: September 2018

LAFAYETTE, CO. - USA Rugby's Board of Directors have concluded their September meeting at the USAR offices in Colorado. Board Chair Barbara O'Brien and Interim CEO Ross Young led the meeting, with SRi and other constituents providing updates on key organizational activities.

O'Brien began with the introduction of newest director on the board, Agustin Pichot. Currently serving as Vice Chairman of World Rugby and President of Rugby Americas, Pichot expressed his enthusiasm to see rugby grow in the United States. He pledged his expertise and support wherever it can benefit the union and the support of World Rugby in these efforts.

New Chief Financial Officer Eric Gleason was also introduced and provided an overview of his approach to stabilize the union's financial operations. Interim CEO Ross Young spoke about the vision for Gleason and how the role will serve as an integral part of USA Rugby's future.

Young continued discussions with an update on each functional area of the national office. Positive feedback from the National Championship Series events, growth in Regional Development Officers and the success of senior national teams were highlighted as significant contributors to the growth of the game. Young also gave an overview about the plan to lead the national office forward by reorganizing and developing a clear-cut structure of operations. A dialogue surrounding the relationship with Major League Rugby and the expansion of the women's game were explored, as well, with the search for a new Women's Eagles Sevens Head Coach underway.

The Board of Directors (BOD) spent time reviewing Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018, citing the many benchmarks met across youth legacy programs, digital/social engagement and viewership to evaluate current and future opportunities.

A significant portion of the meeting was directed to SRi who continued its governance review with a focus on USA Rugby's nominations process and bylaws as they pertain to seating open Director positions on the board. SRi representative Mike Squires and the Directors considered the process by which to develop a unified mission -- in collaboration with all stakeholders -- to ensure new board members would offer valuable expertise to the union.

The final topics of the meeting centered around the creation of an advisory committee and working groups to develop a strategic plan for USA Rugby. The Directors were keen to explore methods that both allowed key stakeholders to be included within the process and held community values at the core.

An analysis of diversity and inclusion closed out the September meeting, with members taking note of areas where both can be expanded upon and improved.

Following the meeting, Interim CEO Ross Young said: "Several key items were explored and discussed in today's meeting, leaving us more confident in our sense of direction and operations moving forward. We've gained considerable ground over the past few months and, together, continue to build a cohesive plan that supports the growth of rugby across the nation."

Board Chair Barbara O'Brien said: "As we continue to make progress in our governance review, we can use the successful delivery of Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 and its engagement of youth as a springboard in our vision for American rugby. With our community expanding to new regions every day, we'll prioritize increasing philanthropic support for our national teams, developing a sound strategic plan and building commercial partnerships to benefit all of USA Rugby. Collaboration and stability across all areas will maintain a strong foundation for the sport."

For more information about the USA Rugby Board of Directors or to view complete minutes of meetings, visit the Board of Directors page on USARugby.org.