Sun, 06/13/2021 - 9:59pm

Question of the Week

Should the American Kennel Club continue to have its board and delegate meetings remotely?


Diane C. Stille

Hudson, Colorado

I think most of us in the business world have learned over the last 15 months how much can be accomplished via remote meetings, saving participants travel expenses as well as travel time. By continuing to hold meetings remotely, this might also open up delegate positions to those who have something to offer the fancy but could not afford the expenses and/or travel time.


June Guido

Lewisville, North Carolina 

Delegate, Forsyth Kennel Club

NO. Let’s go back to in-person meetings. We get so much more by sharing with our fellow delegates.


Polly Smith

St. Stephens Church, Virginia

Yes, the June and December delegate meetings could be held remotely. I would say possibly three or four of the board meetings could be held remotely.


Dr. Sophia Kaluzniacki

Green Valley, Arizona

Delegate, Canada Del Oro Kennel Club

My personal preference is having in-person meetings. Seeing and having meaningful conversation with others face to face or observing how others interact with each other tell me much more about their opinions, beliefs and how they deal with each other than attending Zoom meetings or just reading what others have to say. If you were picking a breed either for a pet or for competition, would you be happy with just reading the standard or looking at a picture, or would you prefer to see and look at it in person? 

I certainly find that there is more speaking out and opinion stated at an in-person meeting. There is not as much discussion happening on Zoom. That said, Zoom certainly has some obvious advantages. Expenses for clubs, delegates and AKC is only one of them.

Having an option would be ideal. Perhaps one or two Zoom meetings a year or maybe a hybrid version where delegates could choose which way to attend. It is somewhat akin to how businesses today are handling their workers. Working from home has had advantages for both businesses and their work force. However, there are advantages to working and interacting with others in person. Many have therefore gone to, or are considering, a hybrid model ... perhaps we should also.


Karen Mull

New Holland, Pennsylvania

Yes, it would save the clubs a lot of money.


Jay Phinizy

Acworth, New Hampshire

Delegate, Scottish Deerhound Club of America 


While it may be beneficial for those delegates who are unable to attend in person and who might benefit from monitoring a meeting, there is nothing quite like face-to-face interaction. 

After serving in the legislature for 10 years with 400 other senators and representatives, and having been an AKC delegate on and off since 1981 (the first stint for 22 years and, more recently, the last four or five years), it is important to be able work with others closely and in person. Electronic means of communication, which has been valuable due to the pandemic, cannot replace this type of person-to-person interaction.

Moreover, too much can be steered and “managed” by a few were the meetings to be “electronic.” I have seen this in both instances, particularly with the legislature during this pandemic. To avoid that problem and achieve the best results, the best way to ensure a suitable outcome for all is to meet in person. After all, the AKC is a club of clubs, which some seem to forget. 

Carole Raschella

Northridge, California

I'm always in favor of remote meetings. Now that we all know how to Zoom, it's a wonderful option for the folks who can't attend in person. Not just AKC, but in general. The pandemic forced us all apart, but also brought us closer together.


Marylyn DeGregorio 

Hartsdale, New York

Delegate, Taconic Hills Kennel Club

Member, Delegate Advocacy and Advancement Committee

I believe we should return to "in person" meetings as soon as they can be arranged. Zoom meetings of delegate committees are actually webinars; there is no opportunity to comment on committee proposals by the delegate body at large at the time of the meeting. In fact, these Zoom committee meetings amount to little more than a live presentation of the information shared in committee minutes.  

We are back to holding dog shows (even in New York!). As delegate, I represent my club first and then I represent the fancy to the AKC and the AKC to the fancy. I do not believe I can be as effective serving as a delegate from behind a keyboard. I need to be out at shows, companion and performance events ... and I need to interact with other delegates in person. I work in health care, and I live and work 10 miles from New York City’s Ground Zero. I never stopped seeing patients, so perhaps I am insensitive to those who stayed home, but I see no reason to continue virtual meetings.


Kathleen Riley

Minnetonka, Minnesota

Yes, AKC should continue remote meetings. Breed clubs should consider that, too. 

* More cost effective 

* Worldly connection for participants 

* Diverse information sharing

* Increases inclusivity 

* Platform functions enhance meetings

* Better for the environment 

* Recordable for easier record keeping

* Ease of sharing information via share screen and share files 


Jo Ann Emrick 

Pasadena, Texas

Whatever is less expensive!


Gayle Bontecou

Tequesta, Florida

Certainly helps to keep costs down .... How about annual meetings in person and others remote? Possibly have the board room available at AKC for anyone who is going to be in the city.


Barbara Miller

Brookville, New York

I’m not a delegate, but firmly feel all but the March meeting should go remote, eliminating delegates from flying to and from their homes to attend in-person meetings. And the committees? Well, that’s another story.  


Delores Burkholder

Rockton, Illinois

Having the AKC meetings remotely is safe and cost effective.


Douglas Holloway

Lake Wales, Florida

Are they gonna get a building with a discounted rate, seeing as everyone is working from home? Are the employees going to get a discounted salary? That would be great if those things come into effect.


Marcy L. Zingler

Ringwood, New Jersey

Delegate, Sun Maid Kennel Club of Fresno

Some people like the Zoom meetings because they don't have to travel or spend money, but it can never replace the ability to speak personally with any number of the 500-plus delegates, or several simultaneously, or the benefit to hear, even by chance, an offhand comment from a conversation or person near you that can help you form important decisions.

Zoom is needed during Covid, but is not meant to provide maximum long-term benefit for many hundreds of people who are meeting about so many different things that affect a sport this broad. As good as the tech people are, at this last meeting nearly every time someone wanted to ask a question, there was a problem with Zoom. And of course, you can't ever actually talk to another delegate.

Many people do not understand that most clubs do not pay the way for their delegates. There are also several ways for a club to offset these expenses, such as club fundraisers. Numerous clubs pay some designated portion, or set aside a specific amount toward the delegate's expenses, perhaps enough for travel to one meeting. Some clubs do not require the delegate to attend every meeting. 

Human interaction can never be equaled or replaced.


Barb Ewing

Las Vegas, New Mexico

Covid is not over. Meetings should be conducted remotely. If they save the AKC money, they should continue remotely forever. 


Victoria Marks

Jacksonville, Florida

Delegate, Jacksonville Dog Fanciers Association

I would like to see it go two and two – two in person, two via Zoom. I think the December meeting should definitely be an in-person meeting and maybe the June meeting. It would make it less expensive for the clubs. 

Since they are during the work week, it's hard for me to take off for them. 


Dr. Carol White-Moser

Dallas, Texas

Absolutely. Have one grand in-person meeting a year and the rest remote. Save some money, time and effort. These are work sessions, not party time. 


Ann Lettis

Staten Island, New York

Delegate, Grand River Kennel Club

There are pros and cons relating to both in-person meetings and remote meetings. Personally, I'm in favor of options, which would be a compromise. Some clubs are unable to pay travel and expenses for their delegate to attend meetings; therefore, the financial burden falls on their delegate. Those delegates might choose to perhaps attend two meetings in person and two remotely. Then there are personal circumstances, some even last minute where the ability to remotely attend would be extremely helpful.

Additionally, attending in-person committee meetings limits delegates to just a few such meetings, all held in one day with frequent conflicts on what a delegate wants to attend. However, as we have experienced remotely, delegates can attend many more committee meetings as they are spread out over a week, rather than one day at in-person meetings. While some have raised the fact that attending committee meetings remotely eliminates interaction, that interaction is not always possible. There are times that the agenda of a committee is lengthy, totally understandable that discussion with attendees is not always feasible. However, there is a delegates list where a variety of topics is discussed, and ideas exchanged, including what has been presented at committee meetings.

I find it odd that there is a law (which has been told to delegates) stating that non-profit groups can only use remote communication until some time in December, I believe. Somehow this doesn't even seem logical. In New York State, businesses have been using Zoom meetings long before the pandemic to conduct business, so I don't understand why a dog club can't. Seems that this needs to be looked into, as there is nothing in the AKC charter or bylaws that states meetings must be held in person. 

Within the AKC charter/bylaws it does state, "special meetings of the Board may at the discretion of the Board be conducted by telephone conference or similar communications technology.” Why would technology be acceptable in that scenario, yet not allowed for delegates to attend meetings remotely?  

We tend to focus on what we as individuals prefer, rather than thinking outside the box about what is beneficial to "all" the delegates. Providing both in-person and remote attendance seems to be the perfect compromise, as it offers a choice.


Luis Sosa

Madisonville, Louisiana

Delegate, Louisiana Kennel Club

Yes, Board and the June and September delegates meetings should be remote. December and March should be in person.


Susan Shepard

Deltona, Florida

For the economic savings it represents, yes. Perhaps one in-person meeting at Royal Canin yearly. 

Timothy Reese

Shelley, Idaho 

Yes, I believe that the pandemic has shown us that we can conduct business “as usual” by using the technology and tools provided in this day and age. Plus it is much less expensive for the delegates to participate in remote delegate meetings (maybe not as much fun, but effective overall). As for the Board meetings, I see no reason that remote meetings cannot take place as well and save the AKC a fair amount of money as well. I’ve seen personally just how effective these can be.


Zane Smith

Maryville, Tennessee

Yes. Everyone flying to New Jersey or Florida is a complete waste of money and resources when it can all be accomplished online!


Barbara Burns

Freeport, Illinois

Delegate, Rockford Freeport Illinois Kennel Club

I prefer in-person meetings. It allows active, accurate and immediate communications with other delegates and the board. It also allows networking with fellow delegates as well as sharing of ideas in all aspects of the dog world. The State of New York allowed Zoom meetings due to the pandemic, which is why it happen during that time. I highly doubt it would change the law after this pandemic is over. I do think the AKC board should look into the possibility of allowing those who cannot always attend in person be allowed to attend via Zoom. Even if they can't participate in the meetings in person, they would have access to information to take back to their clubs, thus fulfilling their obligations to their clubs.  


Sharon Chesnutt Smith

Temple, Georgia

As a former delegate of 10 years, I believe meetings should go remote forever.

First, it would save clubs lots of money.

Second, it would not be so inconvenient. Seems like meetings are always a problem, getting in the way of whelpings, showing, judging assignments, etc. As a delegate, it takes three to four days, not just one.

Third, the meetings of delegates to discuss upcoming votes could also be held online.

In short, I think it would make it more accessible to all interested in becoming a delegate. In my humble opinion!


Edy Dykstra-Blum

Ocala, Florida

I really think they should keep it remote. The pandemic is NOT over. Many people might think so, but it is not the case. Many delegates are also older and more vulnerable to becoming seriously ill. Many people are not vaccinated, for whatever reason.


Cindi Gredys 

Omaha, Nebraska

Yes, I think having the meetings continue to be done remotely is the only sensible thing. This will open the position to more people who couldn't get away for face-to-face meetings or afford it. We need to make a bigger tent for all people involved in the sport, not just the independently wealthy, executives or retirees.  


Wyoma Clouss

Meridian, Idaho

Yes – if your club only cares about spending no money.  

No – if you expect your delegate to gather broader information to share with your members. Much of the information I gathered as a delegate came from meeting other people across the wide spectrum of breeds, events and types of clubs, learning issues others faced, how they solved problems, hearing inspiring ideas and general discussions of all things “Dog.” 

Does your club understand what your delegate can and should be doing for you?


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