USRowing Planning for the Future
By Patrick McNerney • July 11, 2018
With the Summer Olympics returning to the United States in 2028, the rowing community has a unique opportunity to reshape rowing and ensure its future relevance in the United States.
In order to maximize this window of opportunity, the Board of Directors has established a Strategic Planning Initiative and appointed a Strategic Planning Committee to address the following objectives:
- Create a shared (membership, board, and staff) understanding of clearly defined strategic priorities.
- Foster collaboration and commitment to mission and vision for rowing in the United States.
The Strategic Planning Committee is designed to represent a broad and diverse set of rowing’s constituencies and includes the following individuals (see bios below):
- Anita DeFrantz – IOC Executive Committee
- Tom Darling – Director, Para-Rowing
- Kate Johnson – VP, Head of Global Marketing Sponsorship, VISA
- Charlie Haight – Chair, Strategic Planning Committee/USRowing Board of Directors
- Amanda Kraus – Executive Director, Row New York
- Matt Lacey – Executive Director, Pocock Foundation
- Bill McNabb – Chairman, Vanguard
- Meghan O’Leary – USRowing Board of Directors
- Jimmy Sopko – USRowing Board of Directors
- Lisa Stone – USRowing Board of Directors
In addition, the committee includes the following Ex-Officio members:
- Marcia Hooper – Chair, USRowing Board of Directors/Co-Chair, National Rowing Foundation
- Jamie Koven – Co-Chair, National Rowing Foundation
- Denise Parker – VP, USOC NGB Services
- Patrick McNerney – CEO, USRowing
The committee will engage multiple constituents throughout the process and will begin by distributing a survey directly to all members on July 11 to obtain additional input. This initiative will be transparent and will include periodic updates via throughout the process.
At the conclusion of this process, the Board will establish clear and measurable long-term objectives that will be presented to the membership at the Convention in San Diego.
Strategic Planning Committee Members
Charlie Haight – Committee Chair, At-Large Director
Charlie Haight began his involvement with rowing as a coxswain at Poughkeepsie High School and continued pursuing the sport as a masters oarsman at New Haven Rowing Club. Haight has had a long, successful career in fundraising and alumni affairs for institutions such as Yale University, Hobart University, and William Smith University, and also has served as the senior associate dean for alumni relations at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Thomas W. Darling
An accomplished athlete, Tom Darling was a member of the U.S. Olympic rowing teams in 1980, 1984, and 1988, winning a silver medal in the men’s eight at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, Calif. Darling has maintained his involvement in the sport as USRowing’s Director of Para-Rowing, serves as membership chair of the Syracuse Alumni Rowing Association (SARA), and as a volunteer with the adaptive rowing program at Community Rowing, Inc.
Anita DeFrantz captained the U.S. women’s rowing team and rowed in the eight that won a bronze medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. DeFrantz later served as vice president of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and was elected to IOC membership in 1986, making her not only the first African-American but also the first American woman to serve on the committee. DeFrantz is currently a member of the International Olympic Committee and the IOC Executive Board. She serves on the legal affairs commission and on the finance commission of the IOC.
Kate Johnson is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she was a three-time, first-team All-American, as well as Big Ten Rower of the Year in back-to-back seasons (2000 and 2001). She later competed for the United States internationally, winning a silver medal in the women’s eight at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. She is a 2002 world champion and an Olympic and world record holder. Johnson currently serves as the vice president and head of global sponsorship marketing at Visa. In her role, she oversees the global portfolio of sponsorships for Visa, including the company’s 30-year partnership with the IOC, FIFA and the NFL.
Amanda Kraus has a MA in education from Harvard and a BA in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she was captain of the women’s crew team and a member of the Division II national championship boat. Krause founded Row New York in 2002 in an effort to make the sport of rowing, paired with top-notch academic support, accessible to young people in New York City. Krause is a recipient of numerous awards, most notably the 2012 Community Leadership Award winner by President Obama’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, as well as USRowing’s Anita DeFrantz Award in 2011.
Matthew Lacey began serving as the executive director of the Pocock Foundation in 2012. In that role, he sets the vision for all staff, manages the broad scope of resources held by the Pocock Foundation, and serves as a voice for the sport of rowing in the Pacific Northwest. Lacey received his master’s in public administration from Seattle University in 2007 and began his work as the director of the Pocock Rowing Center in 2008. His 27 years of rowing and coaching in the Pacific Northwest have given him a passion for the life-changing power of the sport.
William McNabb III (Bill) serves as the chairman of Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup Foundation. The mission of the Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup Foundation is to promote and educate about the sport of single scull rowing on an amateur level among the general public, particularly youth, by hosting annual competitions, educational programs and scholarships. McNabb has been the chairman of the board at Vanguard since 2010 and served as Vanguard’s CEO from 2008-2017. He also is chairman of the board of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia and a board member of CECP: The CEO Force for Good.
Meghan O’Leary – Athlete Representative
Meghan O’Leary first picked up the sport of rowing during the fall of 2010 at a learn-to-row at Riverfront Recapture Rowing Club in Hartford. A year later, she was invited to train at the USRowing Training Center in Princeton, where she trained for two years before moving to Oklahoma City. She is a six-time U.S. National Team member (2013-18) and represented the U.S. in the women’s double sculls at the 2016 Olympic Games. In 2017, O’Leary won a silver medal in the women’s double sculls at the World Rowing Championships. O’Leary joined the USRowing Board of Directors in January 2014 as the Female Athlete Representative.
Jimmy Sopko – Athlete Representative
Jimmy Sopko attended the United States Naval Academy where he captained the lightweight team his senior year. As a member of the Navy Sports Program in 2009, Sopko raced in the U.S. National Team lightweight men’s eight at the 2009 World Rowing Championships. When Sopko left the Navy in 2010, he began training full time with the U.S. National Team. Since retiring from rowing, Sopko has worked for Pinterest, Athos, and Google Cloud, leading operations and/or sales teams at each venture.
Lisa Stone – Northeast Region Representative
Lisa Stone is an Olympian (1976) and a two-time world championship bronze medalist in the women’s double sculls. Stone also is the long-time head coach at the Winsor School and a coach with Charles River Scullers. Stone has been active as an athlete, coach, member, and board member of many rowing organizations on both coasts including Lake Merritt Rowing Club, Piedmont High School, University of California, Berkeley, Long Beach Rowing Association, Radcliffe College, Cambridge Boat Club, and C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints. Stone is currently the Northeast Region Representative on USRowing’s Board of Directors.
Marcia Hooper – Board Chair, Female Vice Chair
Marcia Hooper has been involved with rowing since the mid-1970s when she helped launch the Brown women’s crew program. She has served as president of the Friends of Brown Women’s Crew, as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Athletics, and as an officer of the Brown University Sports Foundation. Hooper has served as co-chair of the National Rowing Foundation since 2012 and also serves as a managing director and board member of the Head of the Charles Regatta. Hooper is currently president of HooperLewis, LLC, an entrepreneurial consulting and angel investing firm, and serves as senior advisor to Bowside Capital, a private equity firm.
Jamie Koven was a member of the U.S. Olympic rowing teams in Atlanta and Sydney and is a two-time world rowing champion. He also is currently a steward of the Henley Royal Regatta and of Brown crew. Koven serves as the senior managing director of OEP in New York and is a member of their investment committee.
Denise Parker is currently the vice president of NGB services with the United States Olympic Committee. She accepted this role after serving nine years as the CEO of USA Archery.
Patrick McNerney is the current CEO of USRowing.