Speers To Take Over As New NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner
NAGAAA announced on its official Facebook page today that Assistant Commissioner James Williamson has stepped down from his position effective immediately. Per NAGAAA IOG, the Executive Board voted to elect a replacement and that person is Keith Speers.
Speers is a NAGAAA delegate from Columbus, Ohio who currently heads up the NAGAAA Ethics Committee. Although it is unclear if he will continue to head up that committee given his new position, one thing is for sure, Keith has a lot of respect for the job that his predecessor did as Assistant Commissioner. “I have worked with James for a long time, so hearing his decision to step down caught me off guard. Accepting the nomination was one way in which I felt as a colleague and close friend I could support him in what had to be a difficult decision,” said Speers.
This new-found role for Speers will not only change the look of the NAGAAA Executive Board, but it also prompted some changes in projects he was already instrumental in assisting with. Keith is giving up his position on the 2015 GSWS Executive Committee to avoid conflicts per the NAGAAA IOG. “I gave Dallas Aldridge, the Columbus GSWS Executive Director, a heads up in advance of the meeting, because I wanted to know that I had his support, ” added Speers.
Having to step away from the planning and execution of an event as big as the 2015 GSWS would scare most people, but not Speers. “The Marketing, PR and Communications Committee is so strong that I am confident they will move forward without any interruption. Look for great things from them. Their quality was never reliant upon my leadership. I picked incredible people who are skilled marketers and put them in a room together. The magic took over from there,” said Speers.
While conflicts of interest have been taken care of and the nomination to the position has been accepted, many will agree that the Assistant Commissioner position comes with big shoes to fill, including Speers. “It’s emotional. James is one of my best friends, and I know stepping down was a difficult decision for him. He has been a pioneer in NAGAAA and LGBT softball across North America, ” Speers said.
Williamson has been a steady leader and innovator while in the position of NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner. Williamson played a huge role in making positive changes to the MyGSWS website that is widely used at Series to afford participants and fans information regarding scheduling, scores and bracketing. “James expanded and refined the functionality of the website. It’s hard to imagine an individual who is more suited for the Assistant Commissioner position,” added Speers. Williamson also championed having Friday night games at Dallas Series 2014 to showcase some of the best talent at the Gay Softball World Series in ‘prime time’. “He had the vision. I sat in the stands and watched as the B teams from Atlanta and Minneapolis competed. The energy was palpable. It was electric! It was exactly what he hoped it would be. James had the vision of what it could be and he made it so. It was amazing,” lauded Speers.
Speers realizes that there will be a learning curve ahead of him in regard to his new role. “First and foremost, I want to finish what James started. I have promised to move forward with any commitments that James made,” said Speers. The newest member of the NAGAAA Executive Board also understands that there is much work to be done for the future of NAGAAA. “Aside from getting my feet under me regarding the day-to-day work, I would like to see if there are ways to improve the ratings system. Of course, that is going to require a lot of collaboration and input from the Council and Member Cities. We will see how this goes, but I am hopeful,” added Speers.
This decision by the NAGAAA Executive Board makes sense and should be applauded by the NAGAAA national delegation. Speers brings integrity and a steadfast fairness to him that the organization needs to keep the transparency that its Member Cities deserve. This appears to be the proverbial “home run” hire and with this hire the Board is saying that they are ready to build on Mr. Williamson’s outstanding work by bringing in someone with a proven track record of making real and quantifiable change in the organizations that he has been a part of.
The DD wishes a sincere good luck to Mr. Speers in his new position and would like to personally thank Mr. Williamson for his years of service and his openness to allowing media at the NAGAAA Summer Meetings. Without James Williamson’s foresight and ability to understand that Member Cities being able to get more information about the goings on within the organization they are a part of is a great idea, the Diamond Dish would most likely not be here.
*Special thanks to Keith Speers, new NAGAAA Assistant Commissioner and to NAGAAA Commissioner Chris Balton for their assistance with this article.*