Events VP Annette Royle resigns from USSA
Annette Royle, who built the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's Events Department from a one-person operation into one of the most successful among national governing bodies, has resigned as vice president of events to become president of a major nonprofit organization chapter, USSA president and CEO Bill Marolt announced.
ANNETTE ROYLE, who built the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's Events Department from a one-person operation into one of the most successful among national governing bodies, has resigned as vice president of events to become president of a major nonprofit organization chapter, USSA president and CEO Bill Marolt announced.
Under her leadership, he said, USSA has undergone a complete transformation of how it manages events and become one of the most respected event organizers in the Olympic movement. "Annette's one of the most knowledgeable persons in her field and has done a fabulous job for us, not only helping improve existing events but developing some events — and series — from scratch," he said.
Royle, who leaves June 8 to become president of the Utah chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Salt Lake City, is a former director of constituent services for U.S. Senator Jake Garn. She came to what was then-U.S. Skiing in 1993 as coordinator of special events for the U.S. Ski Team Foundation; two years later, she became assistant director of events and was named vice president of events in 1996.
"This has been an extremely hard decision for me," she said, "but I have a great opportunity. I truly will miss our staff and partners, who have helped USSA develop great events for our athletes but which also brought value to our sponsors and event organizers."
She added, "I've worked with some absolutely awesome people — on my staff and throughout USSA — and it's a little bittersweet to be leaving. But change can be good. I'm proud of what we've been able to do, proud of the way our Events Department has become more professional … and now I'm excited about my next opportunity. It's going to have some of the adventurous feeling from when I started at USSA."
Ironically, she said, the biggest moment in her 14 years with the organization wasn't something she helped organize. "It was 2001 when Daron Rahlves won the gold medal [in super G] at the World Championships in St. Anton. I was in the finish area, and to hear the Austrian crowd go silent and you could hear a pin drop … I had nothing to do with it, but I really think that marked the turning point for USSA in a lot of ways. It's been a lot of fun and satisfaction," Royle said.
Royle, a graduate of the University of Utah with a master's degree in public administration from Brigham Young University, has been involved in helping organize a wide variety of events, from World Cup and World Championships competition to pre-Olympic events, various U.S. championships and alumni gatherings.
She was involved in a variety of levels in event coordination with the International Ski Federation and helped facilitate the bid and organization of the 2003 FIS Freestyle World Ski Championships at Utah's Deer Valley Resort as well as its successful bid for the 2013 worlds.
"In the past decade, Annette has overseen a complete transformation of how our organization conducts major domestic events," Marolt said. "Her work has created tremendous value for our stakeholders, including athletes, sponsors, TV and media, and our event organizers."
While Royle has developed the Events Department into its premier status, he said, many forget she got her start with USSA in coordinating ski balls and other fundraising events. In her first year, her organizational approach and guidance helped increase funds through special events by 75 percent, according to Marolt.
"Annette grew her department from one person to being one-of-a-kind among NGBs. We've been able to leverage the value from events rights to further focus on USSA athletic programs and develop internationally renowned event properties."
In her first year heading Events, Royle played a major role in developing the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix as an elite American snowboard tour, which has become vital in qualifying riders for the U.S. Olympic team. Since snowboarding joined the Olympic schedule in 1998, U.S. riders have won 15 medals, including nine halfpipe medals. U.S. riders swept halfpipe gold at the 2002 and '06 Olympics.
She helped develop Olympic-qualifying competitions for U.S. skiers and riders at each of the last three Olympics in addition to the 2001 pre-Olympic test events at Utah venues. She also was instrumental in 1998 in negotiating USSA's first long-term international broadcasting and advertising rights agreement.