Monday, January 05, 2009

GAMA Executive Director Job Hunt: Missed It by That Much!


The Game Manufacturer's Association announced the hiring of their new Executive Director this morning. For the position, they selected John Ward who brings a wide array of management and retail experience to the organization. To quote the GAMA press release, "Ward...has over 20 years of government service in the criminal justice field, most recently in the juvenile system as the state of Ohio’s Bureau Chief of Parole and then Bureau Chief of Community Facilities. In this last role, he supervised 12 small correctional facilities and managed revenue generation for Ohio’s juvenile corrections agency, as well as working with 12 governing boards in a variety of endeavors. He enhanced volunteer programs, developed data and outcome measures, and was able to assist them in operationalizing both economic and procedural efficiencies. He still serves on a national level working and consulting in the criminal justice arena."

I wish him the best of luck and it sounds like the GAMA board's selection process last fall has brought a worthy candidate to the organization. It is my sincere hope that John is able to expand the size and scope of GAMA and that by next year's GAMA Trade Show, his positive influence is readily visible.

What many of you may not know is that I applied for this very position last fall and made it through to the final stage of selection (the final four if you will). GAMA flew me out to Columbus, OH where I had the privilege of meeting with the current board members in an in person interview. I had already had a "long distance" interview with Michelle Nephew of Atlas Games (she is a current board member) and was excited to have the opportunity to be considered for the position.

The trip out was one of the most exhilarating and exhausting experiences of my life. I flew out of Los Angeles the evening prior to my interview, arrived in Columbus early in the morning, and flew back the same evening I was interviewed. It was a grueling 42 hour day. I don't recommend 42 hour days, but it is one of the disadvantages of living on the West Coast that trips back East make for life draining journeys. Thankfully, I made my Fortitude Save and was coherent throughout my interview -- if a bit manic.

I applied for the position because it was one of those rare occasions where interests and talents align in an almost perfect manner. I have 8 years of management experience with a small staff at a non-profit. I have also managed several large -- not in comparison to Origins or the GTS (GAMA Trade Show) -- annual conferences in Washington, DC (for approximately 200 students) and a number of simulation elections, town hall forums, etc. Combining this experience with my overwhelming love of gaming as a hobby, and this was an opportunity that I could not overlook.

I wasn't certain that I would get as far in the process and I did. I was actually surprised that I made it into the final four individuals being considered. Especially, adding to my resume that I am currently working on my MBA -- my Ph.D. studies (2 courses -- qualifying exams -- and a dissertation are what remain for my fulfillment) are currently on hold -- which was likely a liability. No one wants to relocate someone who is in the process of accomplishing a goal. I am certain that was one reason I wasn't offered the position.

That...and the fact that John Ward is an awesome candidate. Looking over his background, I feel even more honored to have made it as far as I did.

Thank you for the interview GAMA and good luck John. Hopefully, I'll be able to go to Origins in 2009 or 2010 and I can congratulate you in person.
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