Welcome TICA Members!

As the end of October approaches, TICA members are getting ready to cast their ballots and make their voices heard in the upcoming TICA Presidential election.

Voting 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. 

We think it's so important that we created two special "Ask the Candidates" issues of the TICA Newsletter to help give you a clearer picture of where the candidates stand on issues that impact you the most. In this newsletter we ask the candidates for Vice President a series of 8 questions and provide their responses so you can review and compare. A second issue of "Ask the Candidates" highlighting responses from Presidential candidates will be sent later this week, so check your email!

It should be noted, that each candidate only had 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. 

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

Meet Your TICA Vice Presidential Candidates
As listed in alphabetical order

Location: Lisbon Falls, Maine USA

Club affiliation(s): Nauticats

How long have you been a TICA member: Member since 1995

Previous TICA leadership positions:  Northeast Regional Director
Previous experiences (both in & outside of TICA): 
Although I am a candidate for Vice President, I have 6 years experience as NE regional director along with 20+ years of managerial experience in the private sector.  Through this experience I have the necessary skills to run a business effectively by proper management of personnel and resources.  

Name : Anthony Hutcherson www.jungletraxcats.com/tica-vp

Location : Maryland, TICA Mid Atlantic Region

Club affiliation(s) : Capital Cat Club, Mid Atlantic &  Pennsylvania Pet Lovers, Junglelovers Cat Club, Central Jersey Cat Club, Lehigh Valley Cat Club

How long have you been a TICA member : 22 years

Previous TICA leadership positions:  2017 elected TICA Mid Atlantic Regional Director  08, 2011, 2014 elected Chair, 02-07 Member TICA Bengal Cat breed committee                                  
Previous experiences (both in & outside of TICA):
  • 25 years raising & registering BG, TG, OC, AB
  • 22 years TICA, IW in 2 breeds, RW in 4 breeds
  • Exhibited in 11 TICA regions 
  • Rep TICA @ Vet Conf, Nat'l Pet Policy Mtg. & Genetics Conf
  • Rep. TICA in NY Times, Wash Post, CBS News, Today Show etc.
  • Represented BG w/ US Fish & Wildlife and Dept. of Int.
  • Produced Board of Dir mtgs for Non-Pft and Fortune 500 Execs. in US, Canada, Caribbean, France, Monaco and Spain.
  • Directed pub outreach for largest US private need based college scholarship
  • Animal Sci. degree, DNA & RNA workshop certification Univ of MD
  • 02-2014, Assoc. Dir., HA Awards
  • 06 Madrid, Spec Asst Event Prod. US Amb. to Spain
  • 07-2010, Asst. Dir., Huizenga MIA Dolphins Scholarship 

Location: Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Club affiliation(s): Evangeline Country Cat Fanciers, Shadow & Light Cat Club (Paris, France; formerly, Honorary President)

How long have you been a TICA member: Charter Life Member since 1979

Previous TICA leadership positions:  South Central Deputy Regional Director; TICA International Liaison; South Central  Treasurer

Previous experiences (both in & outside of TICA): 
  • Deputy Regional Director under four South Central Regional Directors since 1979
  • Regional Treasurer for TICA's SC Region for the last 10 years
  • TICA International Liaison for Larry Paul and Kay Devilbiss
  • Accountant, Masters in Business Administration (MBA)
  • Registered Nurse, Masters in Nursing Science (MSN)

Location: Pine, Arizona - SW Region

Club affiliation(s): Coatimondi Cat Club, Founder & Current President

How long have you been a TICA member: Since 1979, Charter Life Member

Previous TICA leadership positions: TICA - Judging Administrator - 11 years, Vice President - 8 years, TICA Judge - 35 years. 

P revious experiences (both in & outside of TICA)
  • TICA - Judging Administrator - 11 years
  • Vice President - 8 years 
  • TICA Judge - 35 years 
  • Outside of TICA - President of non-profit organization Pine Strawberry Business Community - 2 years
  • Secretary of same non-profit, 5 years.

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

Francine Hicks:
  1. Retain current members by addressing their issues and concerns.  Get input from all members regarding what works for them and what is not working.  Happy current members then in turn recruit new members.  They are the best advertising for becoming a TICA member. 
  2. TICA needs to give our clients ease of use including a website in all languages.  TICA has to make it easy to do business with us.  This also includes working with the home office evaluating current procedures and make them more efficient.
  3. Seek new markets and promotion and education of our association and what it does.  Many people do not know that the Cat Fancy exists.  Let's change that and make TICA the "ONE" to join.  Making TICA the best product, attracts new members and exhibitors.  Coordinating with youth groups to make TICA part of their program goals.

Anthony Hutcherson:
  1. Making "genetic registry" an accurate description w/ ongoing integration of contemporary science;
  2. Creating benefits and value to TICA Membership and participation such as provide accruing incentive points for attending shows, putting on shows, serve on committees, screen for health or attend feline education. 
    • Social Media - fewer leave home to reach public, "likes" increase in value while titles decrease. Social Media can fuel disputes perpetuate "Culture of Complaint" OR create new interest, broaden appeal, increase awareness & participation.
  3. Laws & Regulations limiting or eliminating the ability to own cats or raise pedigreed cats.

Steven Savant:  Today's issues affecting TICA and the cat fancy include:
  1. Security of our registry database: our registry database was hacked and our data stolen
  2. Emerging Markets: ineffective support for integration of China market which lead to disciplinary actions
  3. Infrastructure support: improved architecture of processes and personnel
My experience includes designing and developing computer programs, managing and supporting databases design, analysis and reporting, and identifying and implementing performance improvement plans for these programs and policies.I feel my experience will contribute to move our organization forward. I want to ensure TICA is around providing the services and opportunities to our worldwide membership for many years!

Bobbie Tullo:
  1. IT Projects - TICA lags in providing online services. I will work with and support the President and Board to move TDS to a more stable, secure platform and ensure that our services are offered through that system.
  2. Aging of the cat fancy - The cat fancy, especially in North America, is aging. Elsewhere, young families and professionals are interested in our hobby.  We need to learn from them.  TICA's Junior Exhibitor Program is a valuable way for us to share knowledge with young people. 
  3. Understanding other cultures - As TICA grows outside North America it becomes more important to learn from the cultures we bring into TICA. We cannot expect everyone to understand our way. We need to be flexible and willing to learn from them as well.  Translating our rules and having TICA members willing to help with first shows, are necessities. 

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?

Anthony Hutchinson: The President and Marketing Dir. have my engagement and assistance. I've been fortunate to see the amount of work required to solicit, engage, utilize, report and sustain business relationships to be only successful because of the passion of TICA's staff and volunteers. I would work to create greater continuity between communications mediums, advocate for investment in compelling content & design of interfaces (website, TREND, newsletter etc.) and SHOW UP where the pet industry is to encourage them to participate in TICA.
New corporate partners have been generated specifically because my cat was present and engaged positively with new people.

Steven Savant:  Ideas that attracted us lead many from ACFA, CFA, FIFe, CCA, UCF, and independent registries to join TICA to create an environment that promoted the cat and responsible pet ownership, a judging program to recognize quality based on merit without prejudice, and resources to create the registry that tracked genetic inheritance.We need the infusion of capital that allows us to fund the next chapter of this wonderful experiment. We need to capitalize on the work that has been done over the last decades to attract this type of support.
Business development supports us moving forward?
  • Building our brand using business development expertise 
  • Partner with pet expos international and subsidize clubs through the efforts of the business development group
  • Network & develop new contacts as business development partners 

Bobbie Tullo: Again, as VP I would have one vote on the Board and I would pledge to support this department. I feel one of the most important things we've been able to do in the last few years is go to the Expos and Vet Conferences to talk "Cats". The addition of Coloring Books and Exhibitor Guides has also helped not only with our branding but with our recognition.

Francine Hicks:  Working along with the President and BOD, I would encourage advancements in our IT.  We need a user friendly website with fully functioning, easy ecommerce. Registrations etc need to be obtained easily, yet securely, and efficiently.  Giving the IT department the equipment and personnel necessary to achieve our goals is paramount.

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?
Steven Savant: Show halls in the USA, Europe, and elsewhere reveal the "graying" of the US showing population, one notes more of a mix between the established and the newly initiated Euro cat fancier, and in China there is no gray haired exhibitor. But, in all these age groups it is inescapable the common thread...love of the cat, the competition, the camaraderie. Communication using social media brings the pet owner to the responsible breeder, the local cat show, and personal contact using tica.org, FB, twitter, cell phones, email and other platforms.

Bobbie Tullo: This is a big challenge that all fancies face. Education, interaction and "Adopt or   Shop" as Vickie Fisher says is something we need to work on. We have many opportunities to interact with the public.  At the cat shows Judges can talk about cats and the cat fancy. At Expos the volunteers can talk about pedigree cats and the cat fancy. We need to include the younger generation in our "culture" and teach them that both ways can work together.

Francine Hicks:  First we need to let them know we exist.  Have a presence in malls, colleges and schools as well as 4H groups, scouts and other youth organizations.  Establish a group of individuals in each region that would be responsible for holding clinics at fairs, meetings and pet stores addressing feline welfare.  The introduction of fun apps would also attract a younger generation.  Apps that would engage in participation in showing. 

Anthony Hutchinson: Young cat lovers want to learn more about cats, talk about how much they love cats and show off all their cat stuff.  Young people have been exposed to science and genetics. When TICA embraces the idea of genetic registry we diminish the "old cat fancy" and become an innovative cat org.  If we include ways to; Learn more about cats, appreciate the unique combination of genes of every cat, apply genetic registration to breeding your ideal cat, apply genetic registration to reducing or eliminating health problems; TICA transcends "cat pageant" to THE place for cat lovers who want to do more for cats. Benefit to participation creates potential for growth in all ages.


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

Bobbie Tullo: Education through cat shows, Expos and visiting classrooms. Encourage more people to get involved with the TICA Mentor Program, make better use of TICA U to have fun things and educational things for people.

Francine Hicks:
  1. Address the members concerns.  Get input from current members, as stated above, regarding what is working and what is not. TICA members are our greatest asset and this needs to be protected.  The members must be heard. 
  2. Greater inclusiveness of the members.  Being involved is being engaged.  Bring back the excitement of participating in TICA by having the best product available.  
  3. Again, education.  Making sure the public knows we exist and then being the best.  Make TICA the go to organization by using our greatest asset, the members, to our advantage.  The members of TICA lead by example and can pass on their positive experience to others.  Encourage the breeders through incentives to get kitten buyers to show.  This is already happening in the Northeast and it has worked.  

Anthony Hutcherson:
  • 2008 I was elected BG Breed Chair w/ 600+/- Section members.
  • 2017 BG section is 1560+, largest in TICA's history.  
  1. Auto email in May, July & Aug. for any TICA Member who has not renewed 
  2. Create & Increase Member only benefits - good information, valuable resources, financial incentives and benefits that only come when you join and participate.
  3. Create and support benefits for participating in TICA events.  For example, clubs get grants to include educational speakers that any cat lover will be interested to learn how to improve their cat's life, owners get "Frequent flyer points" for exhibiting that can be used for TICA services or partner discounted products. 


Steven Savant: How do we provide value to our members? This is the pathway to increasing loyalty and TICA membership. 
  1. Identify and understand the pitfalls of the current TDS process
  2. Plan to create a user friendly process that delivers value, examples:
    • Online pedigree
    • Easier registration process
    • Registration in real time for pet and other owners
    • Recognizing owners of co-owned cats in streamline process
  3. Test the plan and implement, always with the understanding that improvement processes are not the enemy.

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

Francine Hicks: I see TICA as the number one registry in the world and as the foremost for feline welfare and knowledge. We get there by being the best.  That includes our ecommerce, our members and our shows.  We continue putting on shows that attract fun and fellowship.  Expand our presence to become a household word and we make our transactions seamless and our customer service the best bar none.  We enlist the best and the brightest, our members, to get us there. We make our website user and mobile friendly, geographically and demographically.  We develop APPS for tracking our cats, shows and pedigrees.  We establish planned growth in new areas of the globe.  Establishing TICA in new markets along with an increasing presence in current areas. We need to share ideas and incentives that have worked in other areas so that we all may grow.  

Anthony Hutchinson: In ten years TICA is the apex of insight, understanding and aesthetic appreciation of all cats. How?
  1. Enlighten the membership about the financial, scientific, medical, aesthetic, political and legal benefits of utilizing and applying genetic screening.
  2. Engage the scientific community to validate the existence of purposely bred cats because of scientific (and social benefits) to provide a legal and political counterpoint to anti-breeding efforts.
  3. Empower Members with the expertise of scientists, the support of a larger pet industry, the clarity of outreach/website/TREND and demonstration of their leaders to put it all together to make things better for them and their cat.

Steven Savant: My vision is TICA becoming THE registry, THE show, THE titles of choice in today's Cat Fancy.
  1. Be responsive to the needs of the membership
  2. Revisit the show license fee structure for clubs
  3. Support changes to our scoring and show entry process that supports increased entries

Bobbie Tullo: My vision of TICA over the next 10 years is to be the "go to" place for anything cat. Things that I think will help with this are Cat Shows, Branding/Education and Expos. I think we are on the right track but we need to stay more focused on the end result.

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? 

Anthony Hutchinson:  A serious look at restructuring TICA to maximize the donations of resources by volunteers, engaged skilled staff to execute operations and empower the board of directors to be fully immersed in the strategic planning, policy making and broad oversight of the organization.  As Vice President I can be fully present and engaged on behalf of TICA, TICA Members and the President where there is benefit for Members.  I want to engage the media, local communities, government officials, academia and industry about the benefits of cats and TICA.  
TICA and the President need an assistant and someone they can trust to advocate on behalf of how much better a cat's life and a cat lover's life can be through greater understanding and appreciation. That's TICA's sweet spot and I can help.  

Steven Savant:  TICA has in place an experienced office manager and established reporting structure. Addition of an operating officer would allow support of all TICA processes while maintaining the current efficiencies of the Executive Office and improving processes that increase accountability and efficiency.
I do not believe the premise of this question is accurate. While Georgia Morgan was in office after moving the Executive Office to Harlingen, the office was managed remotely while it was in California. The President and BOD providing policy and expecting accountability can maintain effective management of the Executive Office. An operating officer would insure enactment of board policy and determine the details of implementation. 

Bobbie Tullo:  I believe that TICA can be managed remotely with scheduled visits to the office. The key is to have good office staff and an Operations Manager overseeing the office. Strategic planning is a very important function of the President and one of the 3 yearly meetings can be dedicated to planning with the Board.

Francine Hicks:  In this day and age, we should be able to run the office remotely without too many visits to the home office. Day to day business of the office should take place without any assistance from the board or officers. The manager of the office needs to be given the authority and the tools to run the business based on the protocols and procedures that are set forth by the President, Vice President and the BOD.  This allows the President, Vice President and BOD to focus their attention on bringing TICA forward.  


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? 

Steven Savant:  In healthcare, I have worked with huge databases of patient data to determine trends and possible performance improvement opportunities in patient safety and identification of various risk events including sentinel events and nosocomial infections. Once identified, performance improvement teams were established to analyze the data, plan for improvement including the development of solutions, implement the solutions, monitor solutions for effectiveness, and modify solutions until the identified outcomes were attained. 
This use of a scientific approach to performance improvement is used in industry to analyze, identify, and implement process changes. I want to bring this approach as a change agent to TICA to accomplish the process improvement our membership deserves and expects.

Bobbie Tullo: My plan is to support the President in moving us forward. I do agree TDS is a project we need to focus and prioritize as #1 on the "To Do" list.

Francine Hicks: We have been throwing money at our computer issues for too many years.  This has been a topic of discussion and annoyance for the Board and the members.  The time is long overdue to solve this problem quickly by putting in place the proper technology to make this seamless.  Our website should reflect a professional association.  

Anthony Hutchinson:  Consider more engaging, proficient and rapid ways to do current functions and expand those.  The data breach reminds us that security is also a key component.  Encourage all decision makers to use ecommerce portals of other registries of all species for comparison.
  1. More direct linkage between the website and TDS, such as "Want to know more about Cats? Click to join TICA. 
  2. Create an online "what color is my cat" for HHP owners that allows people figure out what their cat is and with a direct link to register it on TDS.
  3. Sit down with whomever is making changes to register a litter and a kitten so they understand the process most of us do frequently and how to make it faster and more engaging.

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? 
Bobbie Tullo:  Translations of our materials should be very high on the list of things to do. Asking members outside North America to serve on committees. Be aware of the differences in cultures and work with the members to understand them better. One size does not fit all. 

Francine Hicks:  Increased access to our services through fully translated materials.  The website should automatically recognize host language of the location of where the IP address is registered and load in that language or at have buttons on the site for all languages that we serve.  We need to make it easy for people to access us and have a very welcome presence.  
Increase the involvement of members from outside of the US through appointments to committees and encouraging their participation in running for office.  Evaluate the current Board structure to reflect true representation of the members.  
Through greater access to our office through ecommunication, we can establish a better sense of belonging.  Provide materials that are available in the US to our clubs to all clubs and become a better resource for new clubs and old.  

Anthony Hutchinson: People all over the world should feel like TICA is for them if they want to better understand and better appreciate their cat. TICA is a US non-profit, not a family, expecting professionalism and integrity from members and staff.  

  1. Participate in every region over the year, offering a "State of TICA" presentation on the mission & history of TICA as well as current activity and LISTEN to members
  2. Empower Members & Clubs to engage with the scientific and academic communities where they are. Wherever scientific understanding and aesthetic appreciation come together that is where TICA is 
  3. Proactively depict the diversity of breeds, Members and languages 

Steven Savant: The "I" in TICA has been overlooked for many years. The experiment embarked upon in 1979 has brought us to this international organization and created loyalty in countries on nearly every continent. Representation has been ensured through our Board of Directors and based on membership in defined regions. We have a truly representative board for the membership. Now is the time to hear from the membership and determine exactly what their needs are. Is it establishing satellite TICA offices to ensure timely response to questions in closer time zones? Why not? Is it equitable distribution of capital to encourage participation in events that broaden our Brand? Why not? This is what the BOD determines and it should be based on the best interests of TICA in response to the needs of the membership. Let's hear from you!

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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