Leader, Member Advocate, Visionary – Nancy Michelman Is Mourned
On October 7, 2011, we lost an important member of our BoatUS family. BoatUS President and the Publisher of our magazines, Nancy Michelman, 60, lost her courageous battle with cancer.
This loss is a poignant one for our Association and for the Members whom she loved and worked for. Many of you have known Nancy through her letters to you, through meeting her at boat shows, and through our magazine, where she wrote a personal message to you in the front of every issue.
We’d like to tell you a little more about Nancy as the vibrant person whom we have been proud to call our colleague and friend. She was a rising star at the American Automobile Association (AAA) before she burst into our lives two decades ago, in the spring of 1989. From that moment on, Nancy became a vital part of an energetic team of young idealists who built BoatUS into the great boaters’ advocacy organization we’re all so proud of today, managing the growth of membership from 350,000 to 650,000, as we created the largest group of boaters in the world.
Nancy personified passion in everything she did – sailing and boats, theater, music, golf, writing, her family and friends, all things Spanish (she was fluent), and especially in her devotion to her adored husband, Laurence.
Nowhere, it seemed, was she more passionate than here at BoatUS, where she was a magnificent leader and mentor. In her role as President of BoatUS, she oversaw our Membership and Government Affairs Divisions, our magazines, and our website.
Nancy was a great public speaker, she loved reaching out to the industry, and meeting Members one on one. As she did with colleagues, she could make every Member feel like they were a really important part of something extraordinary, and that they were very special to her personally – because they were!
We pride ourselves on member service, the hallmark of BoatUS For Nancy, no question from a Member was too small, no concern too insignificant. She answered every single letter and email from Members. If someone wrote to say they disagreed with anything we were doing or saying, she often picked up the phone and called that Member to hear their perspective first hand. It wasn’t unusual for Nancy to call a few members at random and talk to them about policy issues or changes we were contemplating. But here’s the truly amazing part. A few months later, she often called them back, to let them know how the whole thing had turned out! She had the gift of that personal touch, and it was genuine.
In one of her editorials in the magazine last year, she even shared with Members that she had cancer, and used her own story to encourage them to live their lives to the fullest. Many of you shared your own stories and encouragement back to her, for which she was very grateful.
One of her most visible accomplishments can be seen in our flagship publication. As Publisher, her vision for BoatUS Magazine, our primary voice to our Members, was to make it even more dynamic, more personal, and more aspirational, believing that a strong magazine was critical to keep Members informed, and excited about their boating lives.
Another of her great legacies to BoatUS is the cadre of highly competent and creative managers who will lead our Boat Owners Association of The United States to greater success than even she imagined. She taught her team well, believed in them, and inspired excellence. They are in place, carrying on what she started, and will always be here for you.
An Unexpected Journey
By Nancy Michelman From BoatUS Magazine December 2010
December is always the time when we reflect on how the past year has gone, and our hopes for the future.
BoatUS, we’re thankful to have survived the economic ups and downs, the Gulf oil spill, the hurricanes and tornadoes, the government rules and regulations, the list goes on — many challenges, yes, and at the same time, much for which we’re grateful.
I’ve been on a journey of my own this year, one I hadn’t planned embarking upon — as I battle a rare cancer for which I’m receiving chemotherapy. Read More...