COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Talented people in the world of USA Fencing aren’t just the ones who wear masks and hold epees, foils and sabers. We’re also proud of and humbled by the immense talent of our Board members — individuals who volunteer their time to help USA Fencing dominate international competitions, reach new prospective fencers and serve our members in the best possible way.
The latest example arrived just this month with the selection of two new independent directors to join USA Fencing’s Board of Directors.
Those skilled newcomers are Aimee Rice and Darryl Jacobs — independent directors who will serve terms that expire on Aug. 31, 2024. Their appointments were approved by a vote of the Board of Directors at their public meeting on Dec. 3, 2022. With their appointments, USA Fencing has voting gender parity for the first time.
While at-large directors are selected by a vote of USA Fencing members (with nominations being accepted now through Dec. 21), independent directors are appointed by the Board itself — usually to bring in people with specific talents that would benefit the Board and USA Fencing members.
“We’re lucky to have such diverse talents and perspectives among the 15 individuals on our Board,” says Phil Andrews, USA Fencing’s CEO. “And now we add Aimee and Darryl — accomplished professionals who will bring expertise, energy, enthusiasm and independent perspective to the Board.”
Aimee Rice of Pittsburgh, Pa., is an experienced chief financial officer who brings to the Board a unique ability to provide financial oversight and day-to-day management support. She excels at helping distressed corporations become more financially sound and has significant experience on nonprofit boards.
She’s also firmly embedded in the world of sports — both as a competing athlete herself at the Masters level in Olympic weightlifting, and as the parent of a national-level Olympic weightlifter.
“Sports have the power to inspire, to lift people up and to change the trajectory of a person’s life,” Rice says. “I’m thrilled to join the impressive leaders on the USA Fencing Board of Directors to help USA Fencing make smart decisions and grow.”
Darryl Jacobs of New York City is an ESPN college basketball analyst and the executive director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Rising Coaches, one of the nation’s top organizations for helping develop the careers of coaches — from grassroots all the way to the NBA and WNBA.
Jacobs sits on two nonprofit boards, hosts two podcasts (“Right Fit” and “Straight to the Point”) and previously served as a successful executive vice president for a sports technology company.
Before that, Jacobs spent more than 20 years in collegiate athletics as a successful athletic administrator and head men's basketball coach, leading several programs to conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances.
“It is truly an honor to have been selected,” Jacobs says. “I look forward to working with the board members in helping to promote USA Fencing and diversify the sport across the board.”
Rice and Jacobs replace outgoing board members Al Kidd and Cliff Bayer OLY — whom we thank for their leadership to USA Fencing throughout their terms on the Board.
Aimee Rice was appointed to the Audit Committee, while Darryl Jacobs was appointed to the Ethics Committee.
The Board made revisions to the liaisons assigned to several of USA Fencing’s Committees and Resource Teams. These liaisons — one staff member and one Board member — assist and support these groups however they can.
The Black Card Policy was amended to “adjust the probation period for a level 1 offense from ‘the reminder of the season plus 12 months’ to ‘12 months from the date of issuance’ and to adjust the probation period for a level 2 offense to ‘24 months from the date of issuance.’”
Rationale: “The current probation period impacts offenders disproportionally depending on when the black card was received during the season. The current policy could result in an almost 24 month probation for those offenders in receipt at the beginning of the season but only 12 months for those in receipt at the end of the season. This change provides a more equitable penalty for all recipients and adjusts to account for the severity of a level 2 black card.”
The USA Fencing Strategic Plan was amended to add a new Objective 7: “Position USA Fencing’s Paralympic Program for Optimal Success in the 2024-28 Quad.”
Rationale: Investment into the Parafencing program is needed to grow it into a force that can position USA Fencing to dominate at the 2028 Los Angeles Paralympics.
Objective 7 sets benchmarks designed to position the Parafencing cadre consisting of athletes, referees, and medical classifiers for success at the 2028 Los Angeles Paralympics. The proposed objective lays out benchmarks such as:
Developing 10 National Level Parafencing referees
Having a minimum of 3 IWAS (international) certified referees
Having a minimum of 1 IWAS certified classifier
Hosting a Parafencing World Cup at least every other year
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