Sam and Han were new members last year who quickly assumed leadership roles on the club executive this year. We asked them to share some of their views and experiences.
How and when did you discover Trakkers?
Sam: I wanted to stay in shape in the winter months when I am not cycling, so I thought cross country skiing being a great full body workout would work for me. Also, the group of folk I cycle with are very competitive so I imagined myself dropping them on early season group rides! That was good motivation to get out of bed on cold Sunday mornings.
Han: I discovered Trakkers through Sam. At that time, we were both looking for something fun to do in the winter. Since we were both absolute beginners, we thought it would be great to learn something new together.
How and why did you did you decide to take roles on the Executive?
Han: Jen approached me during a trip and asked me if I was interested in helping out with the club. The Publicity Director position was open at that time, and I thought I could give it a try. I had worked in the advertising/marketing industry for many years and I also come from an art and design background. I thought I could leverage my skills for this executive position with the hope to improve the publicity of the club. It would also be a great opportunity for me to get to know more people in the club.
Sam: I spoke to some of the board members on the ski trips we went on, I thought they were all a wonderful, hard-working and motivated group of volunteers. I felt I could bring some changes to the bus captain’s duties by automating certain tasks so I decided to join the executive team.
Can you give an example of something you have worked on to improve the club?
Han: Having worked as a brand strategy consultant for many years before, the first thing I proposed to the board was to update the look and feel of the club. The logo, website and other marketing materials looked good, but they couldn’t capture the passion and vitality of Trakkers. The old look was also a little weak in distinguishing our club from other ski clubs. So the first project I did was a redesign of the brand identity, including Trakkers’ logo, key visuals, illustration, posters, and other brand applications. The board approved the design right away, and I could use the new brand look for my other publicity work.
Sam: We have changed the morning passenger checking-in process. The old paper-based process was done manually, verifying four data points per passenger and then entering that data, again manually, on to a computer file to update the database. It was a cumbersome process. Now we have tablets with a Microsoft Office 365 application that automates some of the verification process, and colour codes items, which makes boarding 50 people on a bus in about 20 minutes while managing cash and forms much simpler.
How have these experiences been of benefit to you personally?
Han: As a freelance designer, it’s always great to work for a client who is open-minded. Working on the design project for Trakkers did not entail a traditional designer-client relationship. I was able to express my own experience with Trakkers in my design and tell my story without too much external restriction. This kind of design experience is very rare and I truly enjoyed the creation process. Most importantly, the fact that the new brand look was liked by many Trakkers members was very rewarding to me.
Sam: I got a chance to meet a group of fantastic volunteer executives who dedicate their spare time to offer the people of this city a chance to ski every Sunday from January to March, regardless of age and experience. I have made many friends in the process, improved my technical abilities with different software and learned how to encode videos when uploading them to YouTube. That’s got to come in handy some time soon!
What would you say to newer members who are interested in getting more involved in the club?
Sam: The eagerness, dedication and love for the outdoors of the volunteers keeps this club thriving. We have over 200 members this year and we have been skiing on weekends when other Toronto area clubs have cancelled trips, and that’s thanks to the volunteers at Trakkers. At the end of every Sunday ski trip when members say they had a good day of skiing, it puts smiles on the faces of the people organizing the trip. To members who want to be more involved with the club, I will say, you will get a chance to meet more like-minded people, make new friends and be a part of this wonderful club.
Han: Becoming an executive member is not just about work and responsibility. It’s the best way to engage and benefit from the Trakkers community. Trakkers stands for so much more than just Sunday Trips and other events. It’s the people behind the scenes that truly make me understand what Trakkers means. I was so impressed by the sheer amount of passion, commitment and devotion exemplified by all the board members. Being part of this lovely community and getting to know so many excellent individuals are the true gift for joining the board.