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President’s Letter Rebuilding Athlete Trust The USA Shooting Execu-

tive Committee has reaffi rmed Robert Mitchell’s appointment as the USAS Executive Director and CEO. The Executive Commit- tee completed an arduous and sometimes divisive six-month long review that was concluded with its meeting in Chicago on Sunday, April 30. The committee decided that Mitchell was best positioned to continue to move the organization forward on the very successful path that it has already established under his leadership.

After a series of allegations

were made against USA Shoot- ing’s leadership, the Executive Committee authorized the ap- pointment of an Investigation Task Force. The Executive Com- mittee received a 44-page re- port on the investigation and 100-plus pages of documents produced by the investigation. Much of the report covered fact checking done on the allegations and complaints that were iden- tifi ed.

Many of the allegations

turned out to be seriously fl awed, false, exaggerated or misrepre- sented and the Executive Com- mittee had to make its decisions based on what remained of the allegations and complaints after the verifi cation process. In making its decisions, the

Executive Committee gave se- rious consideration to USOC evaluations of USA Shooting and to the record of success that USA Shooting has achieved under Mitchell’s leadership. USOC leaders reported that USA Shooting “was very stable, well- managed, had great fundraising,

was one of the NGB’s that was easy to work with and wins med- als.”

USA Shooting’s record of

success includes: *Finishing No. 2 in the 2012 Olympic medal count, for the second Games in succession; in- creasing its income and expendi- tures for athletes and programs an average of 10% a year over the last eight years;

*A remarkably successful direct marketing program that produced record returns in 2012 in an adverse direct mail environ- ment;

*USA Shooting’s very positive relationship with USOC that has yielded signifi cant increases in USOC support;

*The consistent conduct of successful competitions and the production of impressive com- munications. The Executive Committee also

gave serious consideration to complaints that dealt with ath- lete communications and trust. The Committee recognizes that some of these complaints led to anger and distrust for athletes. They decided that an “enhanced communications program”


athletes must be developed and implemented. Given the state of affairs with- in USA Shooting and the athlete relations problem we have cur- rently that is greatly affecting our culture and ability to progress as an organization, it is incumbent upon all of us to look creatively at solutions for change and im- provement. Looking at an orga- nizational phenomenon known as “Authentizotic,” we hope to adopt its principals with regard


to athlete relations moving for- ward. Authentizotic is for sure a

weird word, however, it has a strong and deep meaning. Man- fred Kets de Vries, a renowned Clinical Professor of Leadership Development,

has merged two

Greek words: authenteekos and zoteekos. The fi rst conveys the idea that the organization is au- thentic, which means worthy of trust and reliance. Authenticity implies providing a vision, a mis- sion, a culture and a structure. The second, zoteekos, means ‘vital to life.’ Implies a sense of balance and completeness as- sociated with a cognition and learning. Gaining back the trust of our athletes won’t happen overnight, but to begin with, we have to have an organization- wide adoption of this Authenti- zotic behavior, and it must start now.

USA Shooting’s AAC Repre-

sentative Mary Weeks is serving as a strong and articulate spokes- person for athlete concerns and will play a lead role in developing a program that will include: *Increased responsibility for

the AAC Rep (she already serves as a voting member on the Ath- lete Stipend Program Commit- tee);

*Activating the USAS Athlete Committee (elected members and alternates on the USAS Board);

*The creation of a “unity

council” for resident athlete rep- resentatives to work with Director of Operations David Johnson to identify and respond to athlete complaints more quickly;

May 2013 | USA Shooting News 11

*A formal complaint proce- dure that is clearly understood by athletes and that requires feedback responses to these complaints.

The Executive Committee is

concerned that the process of examining and evaluating these allegations and complaints must come to an end so that USA Shooting can refocus all of its energies and resources on train- ing and supporting athletes who will represent the USA in compe- titions leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games. The Committee strongly believes that retaining Bob Mitchell with his proven re- cord of success is the best deci- sion for moving the organization forward. Now is the time to put any past divisions to bed and to bring our organization together. We are preparing specifi c plans to implement the en- hanced communications plans for athletes and a report on les- sons learned from the allegation and complaint process that we hope will set the stage for mov- ing the organization forward. Thanks for your patience dur-

ing this investigation and for your desire to help put this behind us and move toward practical solu- tions for a better organization.

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