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Newly Elected Board to Focus on Needed Change, Communication

On Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at the annual meeting of the American Kennel Club in Newark, N.J., AKC delegates voted to fill the vacancies on the board of directors created when terms of the four members of the Class of 2013 expired. That class, elected in March 2009, was comprised of Alan Kalter, sitting chairman of the board, Dr. Robert Smith, Lee Arnold and Carl Ashby.

Alan Kalter was elected to his second term as AKC Chairman of the Board. Photos courtesy AKC.

Dr. Smith resigned from his post as vice chairman of the board, while Kalter, Arnold and Ashby ran for new terms. All three were reelected, along with Harvey Wooding, delegate to the Westminster Kennel Club. Kalter serves as delegate from the American Bullmastiff Association, Arnold from Southern Colorado KC and Ashby from the U.S. Kerry Blue Terrier Club. In addition, Kalter was reelected chairman of the board and Dr. William R. Newman, delegate from the Mastiff Club of America, as vice chairman.


Harvey Wooding, delegate from the Westminster Kennel Club, is serving his first term on the AKC Board of Directors. He’s pictured with one of his English Setters, Rodney.

Best In Show Daily asked the new Class of 2017 to share its thoughts following the election, as well as their goals for the coming year. All of the gentlemen acknowledge appreciation for the support and trust of the delegate body and the opportunity to serve the American Kennel Club and the sport of purebred dogs. As the only newly elected member, Wooding, who has been a delegate for four years, said the decision to run was not one he approached lightly. “Having made the decision to run and now having gone through this process, I am gratified by the support I got,” he said.

Regarding what he would like to accomplish in the coming year, Wooding’s point of view is one shared by others in the sport: that change is inevitable and must be welcomed. “AKC is an evolving organization,” he says. “It needs to continue to change in order for the sport to grow, and to allow it to expand its position as the advocate for the dog.” Encouraging that evolution is a challenge he’ll embrace. “My goal is to develop an organizational culture in which change is viewed as a good thing. It is the way to success,” he says.


Lee Arnold was reelected to a second term on the board.

Lee Arnold wants to continue to get the word out about what the sport of dogs can offer individuals and families. “One of my goals for the next four years is getting our message out to the millions of pet owners who have no idea who we are or what our sport has to offer them and their families,” he says. “We have an incredible brand to market, and a wonderful story to tell.” And it isn’t just the activities AKC offers for dogs that he wants to trumpet. “We most of all are dedicated to the health and welfare of our dogs,” he says, and that is one of the primary messages the AKC must take to the public.

Ashby wants AKC to turn its challenges into opportunities. “In many ways the past four years was a period where the board and staff began a process to understand the changes in the dog-owning marketplace,” he reports. AKC “undertook market research to understand the attitudes and needs of not only the fancy, but the dog owning public.” He believes that the current AKC staff and board have the skills necessary to help AKC become market- and customer-driven, where what was learned in the market research will be turned into “actionable initiatives,” he says. “The momentum is building, and I believe there are exciting times ahead!”

Carl Ashby was also elected to a second term on the board.

The views of these three board members appear to be right in line with those of Chairman Kalter, who plans to focus on what he calls three critical issues: innovation, activation and communication.

His plan is to implement “innovative ideas that will drive our sport, help our clubs, and expand our base of breeders, owners and participants,” he says. And he plans to activate those ideas in ways that will be supported by AKC’s constituency and, as the ideas are put into action, will have “real-world success. We will communicate better about the desirability of purebred dogs, the passionate commitment of our responsible breeders, who we are, what we do, and importantly, communicate with each other.”

Written by

Christi McDonald is a second-generation dog person, raised with a kennel full of Cairn Terriers. After more than a decade as a professional handler’s apprentice and handling professionally on her own, primarily Poodles and Cairns, she landed a fortuitous position in advertising sales with the monthly all-breed magazine ShowSight. This led to an 11-year run at Dogs in Review, where she wore several hats, including advertising sales rep, ad sales manager and, finally, editor for five years. Christi is proud to be part of the editorial team for the cutting-edge Best In Show Daily. She lives in Apex, N.C., with two homebred black Toy Poodles, the last of her Foxfire line, and a Norwich Terrier.