Thirteen candidates with wide-raging skillsets, both professionally and within the sport of disc golf, have filed for two open positions on the PDGA Global Board of Directors.
They’re all ready to help take disc golf to even higher heights.
The PDGA Global Board of Directors is required for nonprofit status and mandated by the PDGA bylaws. In addition to semi-annual summit meetings, the board conducts monthly teleconferences with staff to accomplish its varied goals, such as setting PDGA policies; hiring and supervising of the executive director, who is responsible for headquarters, staff and ongoing operations; financial managements, including an annual budget; identifcation of responsible future board members; and representing the membership’s visions for the future of the sport and the association.
Two at-large board member positions will be elected this year during a month-long election throughout the entire month of July.
The two candidates that receive the most votes will serve three-year terms from September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2025. For additional information, please see the PDGA Elections page.
Here are the 13 candidates who have stepped up and are ready to help take the sport of disc golf to the next level, along with their background information and statements of intent. Stay tuned to PDGA.com and the PDGA on social media throughout the month of June as we get to know these candidates even more.
2022 Board Candidates
- Conrad Damon, #2450
- John Belty, #11582
- Tim Petrea, #34756
- Joseph Brown, #41057
- Robert Harris, #43412
- Laura Nagtegaal, #44969
- Michel Munn, #70774
- Logan Staton, #97730
- Caleb Franklin, #100331
- Nicholas Engleman, #108432
- Jordan Adams, #144078
- Anthony Davis, #147833
- Phillip Mills, #151411
- Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
- Education: Computer Science & Psychology
- Occupation: Self-employed
Biography/Candidate Statement: Laura is a self-made woman with a can-do attitude.
She’s a solar, inspirational, strong, and empathic human.
She speaks four languages, lived in two different countries, and travels the world for her job; rather than considering herself a Dutch or European woman, she considers herself a global citizen.
She is a proud parent of an amazingly talented and headstrong kid.
In 2016, she finally learned to accept herself for who she truly is, and shared with the world that the doctors made a mistake with far-reaching consequences when they assumed & assigned her “a boy” at birth.
Until then, if she even got described at all, adjectives like apathetic, arrogant, aloof, invisible, facts-driven, clinical, and robotic were often used.
2016/17 was a “tear it all down and rebuild from the ground up” period; necessary and inevitable to rise from her own ashes like a Phoenix.
Since, she’s landed in her new life more and more, and where her emotional and social footprint used to be 0.3 (even smaller just wasn’t possible), she’s now proudly and fiercely taking up 1.4. In that personal growth, she now not stands up for herself, but does so for you too.
“Representation and visibility will, inevitably, lead to awareness. Through awareness, the path to acceptance can be found, and followed.”
Campaign key points Laura is advocating for are:
*More diversity, equity & inclusion on the fairway*
Disc golf is still mostly a sport played by white men, in the USA.
More efforts need to be made to attract, engage, and retain under-served, under-represented, and under-highlighted groups of people, most notably women, BIPOC, and people outside of the USA (but more on that later), but efforts absolutely should not stop there.
Disc golf claims to be for all, and we need to move from “action” to “deed”, to follow through on our words.
In any case, the time to say “well, if you insist, you may join” is past. That does nothing but “othering” and disenfranchising already underrepresented people even more.
*Further professionalisation of the sport*
In order for the sport to grow even more at the grassroots level, the elite level of the sport needs to be elevated more, made more elite, so that more will see the what makes the sport so appealing to all players of all levels.
Tour Standards, Competition Manual, qualification methods and thresholds are powerful dials in helping achieve this.
Ways to reach this would be:
* raising the event standards & qualification thresholds, which means catering to fewer, but objectively better, competitors.
* Standardising the competition calendar, allowing competitors, hosts, and sponsors, to structurally and dependably deliver their best for the spectators and fans.
Obtaining (more) mainstream sponsoring from outside our disc golf community is crucial in this. Without it, outside money, entropy within the closed sport bubble increases.
*Focus more on globalisation*
That means explicitly keeping our global community in mind in our branding, imaging, and policymaking.
Being the global disc golf association, too often, the sport focuses a lot on the USA and its reality. Granted, 80% of PDGA members are USA-based, but the disc golf community is global.
In messaging, policies, and marketing, the global appeal and reach, and international standard needs to be a base level where to depart from, not a special feature that is added.
Just like there’s not any single reason why more women or BIPOC don’t play disc golf, there’s no reason why the same proportion of the global population wouldn’t play (associated) disc golf.
The PDGA have the tools and means to help enable or achieve this.
Professional Experience: Initially, she sank her teeth in IT, as that was what she always assumed she was meant to be doing. Luckily, in the mean time, from the late ’90s on, her passion for behind the scenes work in the live music industry got kindled into a full flame. She made it her full-time self-employed job in 2002. The first day that job feels like a “real job” still needs to present itself. Most-used job descriptions for her work are “guitar technician” and “tour manager”, but the best one may simply be “safety net”.
Since 2019, she’s also a volunteer counsellor for gender-questioning and transgender folx. This may very well be a combination of pay-it-forward and retro-actively applied self-help.
After her transition, and with the pause button being pressed on the live music industry, she has intentionally become very active (both on an activistic and philosophical level) in advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion in life in general, through her being politically active, and her live music industry & sports networks.
Disc Golf Experience: Currently she’s serving her second term as a global PDGA Board of Directors member; she doesn’t feel her job is done. It’s her intention to serve for at least another term, striving to make the sport even more enjoyable for even more players.
On the fairway, her experience, aspiration, and goals have almost exclusively been focused on beating/improving herself (ie. “play above her player rating”), and possibly the course. It wasn’t – and won’t – ever be about beating others, let alone about winning events and trophies.
Playing fairways ‘not her own’ is a constant motivation in her career.
47% of the sanctioned events she played were not in her home country.
Abroad, she played 2 continents, 11 countries.
20 of these events took place in the USA, across 7 states.
Many in the disc golf community will probably remember her from when she became disc golf’s first openly transgender world champion in 2019.
What will hopefully be the lasting imprint she leaves on the sport, however, is all she did behind the scenes, and how she advocates for “diversity, equity & inclusion”, “globalisation”, and “further professionalisation of the sport and its highest profile events”.
Within months after starting playing disc golf, she started climbing the governance ladder. In less than five years, that evolved from being asked to serve as Chair of Workgroup Disc Golf for the Nederlandse Frisbee Bond (The Netherlands’ national flying disc association), to being appointed (and elected twice) PDGA Global Board of Directors member.
In Europe, she quickly became a well-respected provider, facilitator, and knowledge base, whether as PDGA EuroTour Manager, PDGA Europe Interim Administrator, or being on-site in an official role at many of Europe’s highest profile events between 2014 and 2018, including two European Majors, two European Championships, and Pro Worlds 2017.
Almost at the start of her career, she was awarded a PDGA Europe Volunteer of the Year award, which she reluctantly but proudly accepted as “prematurely handed-out lifetime achievement award”.