On June 10th, 2018 The American Kennel Club held the its first AKC Education Summit at the DoubleTree Hotel in Newark, NJ, just ahead of the quarterly Delegates Meeting. There were over 300 attendees representing various Parent and All-Breed clubs from around the country to learn valuable information that they can take back to their clubs and engage in dialogue about issues of interest in the dog community.
Conducted by the AKC Education Department, under the leadership of Leslie Fetzer, attendees participated in presentations that ranged across several topics by experts in each area. Dennis Sprung, President and CEO of the AKC gave opening remarks to kick off the Summit. Doug Ljungren, EVP of Sports and Events, gave an engaging presentation on the evolution of dog shows and events and the importance of reaching new generations of audiences. He focused on how societal trends and current trends in purebred dog ownership should inform decisions that contribute to the future of the sport. AKC Director of Event Operations Support, Glenn Lycan and Guy Fisher, Manager of Development addressed the current state of All-Breed dog shows and held an open panel discussion with club members about effective strategies they have used to take their events to the next level.Mark Dunn, EVP, presented on breed preservation. He incorporated registration data contrasting the growth in numerous breeds against the decline of others. He also facilitated an open discussion on vulnerable breeds with several Parent Club representatives that are focused on breed preservation.
Mari-Beth O’Neill, VP of Sports Services, discussed adding Juniors to club membership and providing opportunities for Junior participation with a panel of Junior Handlers to provide insight on how they feel about the sport and participation among their group. Vice President of Public Relations and Communications, Brandi Hunter, presented on Club Communications and how clubs can effectively represent themselves via public relations and social media engagement. Ashley Jacot, Public Education Manager discussed ways that clubs can get involved with their communities and panelists shared successful community outreach and ideas. Vice President of Government Relations, Sheila Goffe gave attendees a presentation of the current efforts of the GR team to protect the rights of dog owners and Dr. Diane Brown, CEO of AKC Canine Health Foundation, gave an overview of the work being done to advance canine health through scientific research and the dissemination of the health information to prevent, treat and cure canine disease and disorders.
Each presentation was designed to give attendees the skills and information they need to integrate the suggestions and strategies given by the speakers. Continued education allows for growth in the dog sport in an ever-changing society, the perseveration of the sport and its history and maintains the dedication to invest in the health and well-being of all dogs.
The Education Department would like to thank presenters and staff whose hard work and commitment to excellence made this education summit a possibility. They also thank attendees for their overwhelmingly positive feedback.
Video for those who were unable to attend is now available on https://AKC.TV.