Hello TICA Members!

Welcome to part II of our "Ask the Candidates" special issue. 

In this newsletter we focus on TICA's Presidential candidates. We asked each candidate the same 8 questions that were asked of the VP candidates. Their responses are provided so you can review and compare each candidate.

It should be noted, that each candidate had only 700 characters, which is the equivalent of about 4-5 sentences, to answer each question. So responses are quick and to the point.

Voting will begin at the end of October and results will be announced in December. Remember, a high turnout makes TICA more representative and ensures a strong and solid future for the organization.

Your vote is an important, meaningful way to advance the issues you care about and a chance for you to choose the representatives you think can best achieve the results you want to see within TICA. 

And if you still haven't checked out last week's "Ask the VP Candidates" then you can do so here

Let us know what your comments and feedback on the this special issue at  newsletter@tica.org

Meet Your TICA Presidential Candidates
As listed in alphabetical order

Name: Jamie Christian (read his campaign letter here)

Location: Toledo, Ohio, USA
Club affiliation(s):
Great Lakes Cat Consortium, Inc. (Great Lakes)
Glass CiTICAts (Great Lakes)
Jazzy Cats (Mid Pacific)
First In Flight (South East)
Flying Felines (Great Lakes)
Viking Cats (Denmark)
How long have you been a TICA member: Since the early 2000's
Previous TICA leadership positions held:
Elected Great Lakes RD 3 times. 2005-2012
Clerking Exam Administrator - 5 years
Previous experience (both in & outside of TICA):
  • Past GM of businesses, both corporate & private.  Managed over 100 people, & controlled large budgets. Responsible for financial reporting & forecasting. Have held both regional & national positions. Also, a regional trainer, developing talent for higher positions
  • TICA judge since 2012, judged on 5 continents, & guest judged for 5 associations
  • Managed cat shows in 5 states, including 2 On Safaris & the 2012 TICA Annual
  • My cats have earned multiple RW, IW & LA awards in both pedigreed cats & household pet class
  • Great Lakes Member of the Year 3 times
  • Shows voted Great Lakes Show Of The Year 6 times
  • Produced Best International Catalog of the Year 1 time
  • Clerk Recertification Exam administrator for 5 years
  • TICA's International Judge Of the Year 2017

Name:  Vickie Fisher (read her campaign letter here)

Location:  Albuquerque, New Mexico

Club affiliation(s):  
Treasurer for Enchanted Cat Club
Yellow Rose Cat Club
Romo Cat Club

How long have you been a TICA member:  30+ years, Life Member

Previous TICA leadership positions held:  
2-term TICA President
Regional Director, Southwest Region
Current Treasurer
Past Finance Committee Chair

Previous experiences (both in & outside of TICA):  I bring deeds, not words.  

The TICA President is the Chief Executive Officer, responsible for day-to-day operations.  My career background is in finance, management, and policy development.  

During prior terms as TICA President, I created the first business plan, refined a financial reporting and budgeting system, brought about operational cost savings, introduced online business services, oversaw worldwide growth, introduced online voting, integrated TICA into the multi-billion dollar pet industry, wrote marketing strategy, developed TICA's social media presence and achieved nonprofit status for TICA which returned an immediate refund in excess of $70,000. 
TICA is stalled.  I'm ready to take TICA "Back to the Future"!

Name: Fate Mays (read his campaign letter here)

Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
Club Affiliations:  
The International Feline Showcase (TIFS) 
Central Jersey Cat Fanciers 
Jazzy Cats
How long have you been a TICA member: Since 1980
Previous TICA leadership positions held: 
Persian Breed Chairperson
Member of the TICA Legal Committee
Board member of The International Feline Foundation, which promotes research on feline health issues
Licensed Master Clerk
Approved Allbreed Judge
Ring and School Instructor
Former Regional Director
Current TICA President
Previous experiences (both in & outside of TICA):  Master's degrees in Criminal Justice & in Counseling, licensed as a Professional Counselor & a Chemical Dependency Counselor. Retired Deputy Director of the Adult Probation Dept. after 30 years. At the department, I wrote the grants to develop and run the Pretrial Services Unit & a 96-bed Adult Boot Camp. Managed annual operating budgets of over a million dollars & supervised the staff of over 30. Also, Deputy Director of Supervision, where I supervised over 75 officers, who supervised 8500 offenders.  Served as the Public Relations and Media Contact Officer. With those I supervised, I was responsible for the hiring, training, & discipline following all state and federal guidelines. 

Q. 1 - What do you consider to be the top 3 issues facing TICA today  and what is your plan to address/rectify these matters?


Jamie Christian:
  1. CHINA: We need to support the growth we are experiencing in China, with translated rules as well as direct support. This is a major growth area for us, & we cannot be hands-off. We also need to make smart decisions regarding alliances in new areas. 
  2. ONLINE SERVICES: Efficiency & speed of service are very important to our members. Website & programming have been issues for a long time. We need to have a robust & user-friendly site. We are not just turning away dollars, but we are currently turning away exposure.
  3. SUPPORTING OVERSEAS CLIENTS: International areas are key to the future success of TICA. Each of our overseas areas have unique challenges for both growth & support. We need to evaluate each area individually & determine the path to assist in the development of TICA in that specific area.

  Vickie Fisher:
  1. TICA is a business.  Business processes must be strong to support growth.  Our lack of online service capability is becoming critical.  I will assess our current automation, determine needs and develop a plan for Board discussion and budgeting. 
  2. We must attract new members.  Our hobby must grow or it will die.  I would increase the interest in cats and the cat fancy by supporting TICA's presence in the arena of the worldwide pet industry and by looking for opportunities to advance knowledge, health research, and excite people to appreciate and embrace our fabulous breeds. 
  3. We must retain members.  We must increase the opportunities for members, all over the world, to be heard.  Concerns and issues may be unique in different parts of TICA's world.  We must be flexible to address issues in areas with different demographics and culture.  

Fate Mays: 
During my tenure, we have increased the IT department with the recommendations of an appointed Computer Committee to build a secure server room & address security issues.

TICA's Marketing Director has increased our corporate sponsorships, & has increased our visibility with increased participation in vet conferences & pet expositions. Having marketing assistants in all regions to help attract new corporate sponsors for the association & to assist clubs with the increased expense of show production has been discussed.

To increase the numbers of entries at shows, I will again propose that TICA should award more finals: 1 award for every 15 above 25, up to 15 if 100 are present and competing. 

Q. 2 - TICA's most recent business development activities have been very successful in bringing new revenue into the organization, allowing us to fund special projects and help TICA grow. What are your plans for the future of this department?

Vickie Fisher:  Bigger, better! 

Corporate partners give TICA amazing opportunities to advance its mission.  After I left the position of President, I became an active member of the Marketing Committee.  I've been able to work on and realize many of my dreams - a full color breed poster, a coloring book (now two) for kids (in English and Spanish),  to be a respected educational exhibitor at professional conferences, to be a part of TICA's return to Meet the Breeds (Meet & Compete),  and be the "cat presence" at Expos.  These very visible activities are important for the future of our hobby. 

Partner dollars help us support existing clubs, new clubs, and opportunities for new ventures. We need to find these opportunities all over TICA's world to provide status and security for both TICA, as a premier cat organization, and our members who are part of it.  

Fate Mays:   TICA's Marketing Director, along with volunteers and their cats, have been successful in promoting TICA at pet expositions and vet conferences. This department has also increased the number of corporate sponsors and has increased the financial support for TICA from these sponsors. 

All regions could have members that approach prospective vendors to encourage them to contact our Marketing Director for future involvement with TICA in various regions. This support should help clubs continue to offer quality shows as venues continue to become more costly. These vendors would in turn attract new exhibitors and spectators to the shows, thereby benefiting the sponsor and the club.  

Jamie Christian:  TICA's business is the registering of cats, and all of those activities which support that. My first priority will be to do a thorough evaluation of the programs in place now to be certain that they are supporting this goal. We must not lose sight of our basic business plan, and all activities must lend support to it. Without registrations as the heart of the business, we become a different business, and must re-evaluate our future.

Q. 3 - How do you plan to attract a younger generation of members and those who did not grow up in the Fancy? How would you also reach out to those who grew up in the "Adopt Don't Shop" age of pet ownership?

Fate Mays:  Everyone expects user-friendly technology to assist them obtain needed services in a timely manner. Updates to TICA's website & TDS encourages awareness & the availability of services.

TICA promotes the Household Pet and Alter classes. Increased public awareness of these classes promotes the "Adopt, Don't Shop" philosophy. Clubs working with shelters also encourages the growth & interest in the cat fancy. For those that adopt, clubs could offer membership in TICA, & offer a decreased entry fee for the next show. Educating the public on the alter class also promotes our recognized breeds.

Our Junior Exhibitor program encourages the involvement and participation of families with children.

Jamie Christian:  This only comes from education & exposure. Becoming THE referenced association for cats, & educating the public that we believe in responsible breeding & pet ownership, & that  if someone decides to adopt a household pet, they are equally valued in TICA. They compete for the same type of awards that pedigreed cats do. We need to teach people that ALL cats are important, but part of the reason people select breeds is because you have a general idea of how the cats' personality, health & grooming requirements will be.
I see a great future in promoting our HHP programs directly through shelters. Offer a kickback for every adopted cat that is registered from their shelter. Encourage shelters to build the cost of registration into their adoption fees. Issue the "refunds" to shelters once or twice a year, during the EO's slow times.

Vickie Fisher:  Many activities compete for a young person's attention. The cat fancy needs to be interesting and fun. We must focus outreach activities towards children and young families. We must find activities which expose younger folks to "TICA's World of Cats" and the value of cats as companion animals. We must be visible. Some of my fondest memories come from seeing children smile when they pet a "kitty" at a public event. 
The harder task is keeping young people engaged in the cat fancy.  We need to review and revamp our Junior Exhibitor Program, integrate modern technology into our hobby, and make sure we have sufficient support and levels of award to motivate and encourage young folks to share a passion for cats through the cat fancy.  Most of all, we need to listen to this demographic, be flexible and respond.  


Q. 4 - Please provide 3 examples of how you plan to maintain and increase membership at the exhibitor/breeder level? 

Jamie Christian: 
  1. Members first: We need to remember that we are a member-based association & that they direct the future of the association. We need to listen to the members, involve them in the association at every turn possible & hear what they have to say.
  2. Provide incentives to encourage registration: Tie in with partners who provide expertise in areas where we do not have direct control: discounts, testing, etc. Make TICA membership more valuable through partnerships.
  3. Make shows fun again: Having a good time at shows, feeling your cat received a thorough evaluation & civility from competitors. Impartial judging is also key. Bring back the pageantry and fun of shows from the past. I want member involvement on how to bring that back. It starts with feeling like a valuable part of your association.

Vickie Fisher: 
Other questions address attracting new people, so I'll comment on retention.  I will:
  1. Represent myself and TICA in a professional manner - provide good service, earn respect from businesses and professionals within the "pet industry" and make our Members feel proud to belong.
  2. Engage Members throughout TICA's world. Create a Member Retention Committee to define ways to retain members and welcome new exhibitors, matching them up at the local show level and at the TICA corporate level with the things they need - information, contacts, education, mentors.
  3. Communicate. The President is the official spokesperson of the Association.  I will ensure that Members are informed about what is going on in TICA.  I will hold online "Town Hall" open forums and briefings with membership.  I will respond to correspondence from Members.  

Fate Mays:  TICA breeders could encourage the new owner to become a member, register their kitten,  and perhaps even try exhibiting. Clubs that work with shelters could encourage  membership and offer reduced rates for first time household pet entries. Many clubs have  sign-up sheets for their next show. Pet expos and vet conferences might encourage TICA  membership, and they could display info on membership, responsible breeding, and  exhibiting. I think new exhibitor rings held before a show starts, and club's pairing a new  exhibitor with a mentor encourages membership and future entry in a show. Finally, the  Board could approve a reduced fee for new TICA memberships for the first year.

Q. 5 - What is your vision for TICA over the next 10 years and give 3 examples of how you plan get us there?

Vickie Fisher:  My vision for TICA is that it is known throughout the world as the premier cat registry and the authority for all things "cat" and that TICA is truly about the motto I crafted some years ago:  "TICA, for fabulous felines, fun and friendship."  My plan:
  1. Build a strong business structure to deliver great service and to support us as we grow. Manage our resources so that they are pulling together in a common direction and we are not wasting money. 
  2. Promote cats and the cat fancy through outreach activities to attract new breeders and exhibitors and promote "Shop OR Adopt, TICA has a place for you."
  3. Support current members and clubs, and respond to the unique needs of our diverse, worldwide association.
Our success will ultimately depend on us all working together to promote cats, the cat fancy and TICA.

Fate Mays:  We have many members that communicate in a language other than English. All of our publications and forms should be available in these languages. We are updating our forms with contracted employees & should encourage similarly the translations of our forms and publications in other languages.

To lessen the complaints heard by the Board, mediation could be offered by a TICA legal committee to lessen the numbers that eventually reach the Board level.

Also, the number of breeder disputes could be lessened with a contract provided as a base point to new breeders and buyers of cats. This sample contract, of course, could not guarantee the health of the cat or kitten involved. 

Jamie Christian:  Embrace being an INTERNATIONAL association.
  1. International: We must be hands-on to be successful. We must listen to our members in these areas, as each presents its own set of challenges, be they legislative, competitive or business.
  2. Online Services: We are not meeting the needs of clients in a timely or easy way. Our services should be easy and quick to order.
  3. USA Regrowth: Make TICA fun again in the USA. Experienced exhibitors have left, while many newbies don't last past their first show. We need to bring back the fun & camaraderie to shows.

Q. 6 - The office of TICA President and VP were originally created as a full-time, in-office position of Chief Executive Officer. How do you plan to oversee TICA operations while supervising staff and volunteers as well as remain focused on strategic planning and management? 

Fate Mays:   The TICA EO is a two hour drive from where I live. Being in this proximity, I have been able to drive there to meet with the staff of 18 and attend meetings as required. I have been to the office from one to two times per month, and have kept up with other matters by phone or e-mail. The EO has a staff of dedicated individuals, many of whom have in excess of 15 years tenure with TICA. All staff have received cross training in the different units at the EO enabling them to assist other units as needed when staff are ill or on vacation.
The time I have spent with the EO staff in Harlingen, being part of my duties, has not detracted nor conflicted with my other duties as TICA President.  

Jamie Christian: Being the President of TICA will be my full time job. Overseeing the day-to-day operations of the association is imperative to the future of the association. While the office should be set up to run itself, the President needs to review staffing, procedures and processes in order to ensure efficiency. As for the committees, the old saying goes "put aces in their places," which means selecting the proper people for the proper jobs to ensure the maximum efficiency. This is where volunteerism comes into play. Our members have a wealth of knowledge and skill and are prepared to use it to move the association forward. They just want to feel a part of the association.
Detailed plans are laid out on my web site at jamie4TICA.com.

Vickie Fisher:  I instituted the use of online meeting tools to manage TICA's business and to hold online Board meetings. Operationally, all relevant parties can join in for planning and conversation.  With periodic office visits, this provides the opportunity to bring employees and contractors together for face-to-face discussions and operational planning. I will sit with employees to understand and analyze processes, practices and procedures. 
The Executive Office is only one important element of our business.  Outside the Office, we have marketing, website, communications, information technology, investment, committee and volunteer functions.  The President's job is to coordinate all our resources to make sure we are all advancing in the same direction and carrying out the policy direction of the Board and Members.


Q. 7 - TDS is our e-commerce portal to the world and sadly for many years now it has not been very robust or does a fraction of the things it could, leaving thousands of dollars of revenues unrealized each year. What is your plan to push TDS forward and what is your timeframe for this project? 

Jamie Christian:  Here is the plain fact. TDS online should be as simple and user friendly as Amazon. Or even eBay from 10 years ago, for that matter. We offer limited services there, and then overcomplicate those with system rules in the name of control and protection. Frankly, we have no choice but to get this program either fixed or replaced. We owe our members a 2020 experience. Frankly, we are losing money due to complications like the ones you are talking about, and we are losing ground against other registries with every IT misstep. That is completely unacceptable. This is a very high priority on my list!

Vickie Fisher:  TDS (TICA Data System) Online is a service I began while I was President. Before I left office, the plan was to build the capability to conduct transactions online, moving all services currently listed on the TICA Price List into TDS Online.  I had also begun a project to move the website to a more flexible platform.  TICA has stalled, has gotten farther behind, is still depending on old database software and is now without an IT Coordinator. 

It is my priority to move TICA into a modern, efficient environment of delivering services.  At this point I'm not in a position to create timelines, but I would bring our Computer Committee, staff, and other experts together to determine "where we are", craft a plan, and present a budget to the Board for discussion and approval.   

Fate Mays:  In the last few years, a computer committee has been appointed to recommend updates to TDS at the EO. We have hired a programmer, who resides outside of Texas. A Harlingen-based Systems Administrator has also been hired, who has updated our server room, making it a locked, temperature-controlled room. Security issues have been addressed and updated.  Our current platform has been reviewed, and we are considering migrating to another platform with a Cloud-based functionality. As technology continues to advance, changes will need to be updated.  But, the business of TICA does not allow service to members to wait while massive changes are made making this an on-going project. 


Q. 8 - TICA is an International Association representing more than 23 countries. While the U.S. continues to host the most shows, many other countries are quickly growing & increasing their number of shows annually. Since TICA is headquartered in the U.S., please provide 3 examples of how you plan to make the regions outside the USA feel they are a bigger part of the TICA family? 
Vickie Fisher:  TICA's advance into the international arena is "relatively" new but we must remember that there is an "I" for "International" in TICA.  We need to ensure that ALL members feel a part of this organization.  I will:
  • Ensure that our business systems make it easy for members around the world to do business with TICA.
  • Work to increase support to clubs (worldwide), engage our members in opportunities to market their passion for cats through involvement in public events and participation in professional activities and develop corporate partnerships around the globe to benefit our members. 
  • Listen to what members think will make them feel more a part of TICA, realizing that the cat fancy and TICA's involvement is different around the world.  When I wrote our motto: "Wherever you are, you're in TICA's World!" I meant it!
More questions and answers on my Facebook Page:   https://www.facebook.com/Vickie.for.TICAPrez/ and

Fate Mays:  TICA's international presence continues to grow. Two of our annuals have been in Europe, and the Board recently approved two international regions, EN and ES, to be on the rotation for future annuals. Several of our meetings have been in other international venues. Having international winners, including some of our bests, continue to encourage growth in these regions.

More of our judges and trainees in the judging program have recently come from our international regions, which also encourages growth in our international family. 
Having our forms and publications available in languages other than English will increase the inclusiveness of our international members. 

Jamie Christian:  While the facts cited in the question are not entirely correct, part of our largest opportunity as an association is indeed overseas. We need to look closely at each region and developing area and see how we can best support them, as each have different needs. As we open new areas to the cat fancy, we need to understand that there are unique challenges in each area, and we need to be willing to be flexible enough to meet those needs, within our rules. While TICA in the USA is the backbone of the association and needs attention to get back on track, we also need to understand the importance of TICA overseas to the future of the association. 

How to Vote
This year, TICA elections will be handled by Election America, a full-service election management organization. They have managed complex elections on six continents with millions of votes processed annually. 
Voting will be done by secret ballot and counted only by Election America.
Ballots will be mailed out by October 31. Voting will end 45 days after ballots have been sent out.

Additional information on the election process can be found here.  

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