From Rider to Regional Director

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By Carolynn Bunch

Do you remember, back in high school, when you had to take career assessments? No? Well, the high school I went to made us take them, and at the time I thought, “Well that is wrong, what a waste of time!” What did the assessment tell me? It said I would like to work outside or be a CEO. Flash forward to present day, I work outside at the horse shows and run two of my own businesses. So, maybe adults do know more than 17 year olds.

How does this fit into being Regional Director? Well, there’s that CEO prediction again. It was a journey to get here. I started with USDF and dressage, as many of you did, as a rider. I rode and showed through most of my teens, and into my 20’s. One of my instructors, Wendy Meyers, was the President of Equestrians Institute. As most volunteers can tell you, it all starts when someone you know asks if you would consider doing something for an organization. Looking back, ordering awards and designing one of the early Equestrians Institute websites is where my road to becoming a Regional Director started.

Then, I traded in working on the Equestrians Institute website for their auction. At one of my last Equestrians Institute auctions, Donna Longacre, Region 6 Director at the time, came up to volunteer and mentioned she was looking for a Regional Awards Committee person. My thought process was “Wait, awards? Well, I already have a working knowledge of awards! Well sure, I can do that.” When you take on a committee role, they tell you that it is best if you can attend the annual convention, in December. Then I thought, if I was going to convention, why shouldn’t I run and carry votes as a Participating Member Delegate? At times (honestly, most of them) we had a hard time finding enough people to run and go.

Carolynn on the trail

So now I call my “vacation” the Adequan®/USDF Annual Convention, and I get to see a new airport almost every year! All joking aside, I also get to see friends, meet new people, and expand on those relationships every year.

So what is it like to be Regional Director? Is it what I thought it would be?Well, the jury is still out. I’ve only been in the role for about six months right now. Some weeks are slow, and I almost panic thinking I’m not doing enough, wondering what I’m missing, as I’m sure I should have something to do. Other weeks are so busy I wonder if I’ll ever have time for my own business again. As a new regional director, I try to sit in on all the conference calls that I can. Those calls, that I’m silently listening to, have happened in a wide range of places, and I have gotten a lot of odd looks while roaming the aisles of JoAnn Fabrics, Costco, and my quilting class!

Carolynn at the 2012 Adequan®/USDF Convention in New Orleans with AnnaLucy Keller (left) and Emma Dye (center).

My main role is to think about what is best for USDF, and my region as a whole. From the time I started voting as a PM delegate, I have thought of all the members in my region as “mine”, to try to care for. Whether we had met or not, I am determined to do my best for you. Now, as Region 6 Director, I truly think of the membership as mine, to put an arm around and point in the best direction, whether it is educational, showing, or otherwise. I enjoy the successes, and feel sad for any setbacks. It’s about looking out for the organization, both financially and what USDF stands for. So, like the other regional directors, I realize that means making decisions that not everyone is going to like, but still trying to do the best I can. I look forward to seeing how USDF and my region grow going forward in the coming years.

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