Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is deeply saddened to announce the passing of President and Publisher Nancy Michelman, who died on Friday after a year-long battle with cancer. A selfless leader with an infectious laugh and the gift of inspiring others to get together and do their best, Nancy's courageous fight was marked by her optimism and energy.
BoatUS President Nancy Michelman
Michelman was a self-described 'Jersey Girl' who began sailing at summer camp in Maine as a child, and grew up with a love of boating. In 1989, as a rising star with the American Automobile Association (AAA), BoatUS Founder Richard Schwartz was impressed with her energy and intelligence. He hired her immediately to run the BoatUS membership department, manage partner relationships and grow benefits and services.
Over her tenure BoatUS membership grew from 350,000 to a record-high 650,000 members. In addition to the President's role, Nancy became Publisher of the association's flagship publication, BoatUS Magazine, in 2008, making it more dynamic, personal, and aspirational, believing that a strong publication would keep members informed and excited about their boating, fishing, and sailing lifestyles.
'Nancy was from a cadre of professionals who built BoatUS into the organization we are so proud of today,' said BoatUS Chairman and Founder Richard Schwartz. 'With her it was always about generosity, passion, engagement, and loyalty - and having the most fun while you are at it. She encouraged our staff to work on common goals, and never forgot that helping members was our number-one responsibility.'
Michelman's relationship with members was personal. She often picked up the phone to hear a member's point of view. This personal touch was genuine, even sharing the story of her illness in one of her editorials in BoatUS Magazine, inspiring members to live their lives and passions to the fullest. For months afterward, members shared their own stories and words of encouragement.
'As she did with colleagues, Nancy made every member feel part of something extraordinary, as though they were very special to her personally, because they were,' added BoatUS CEO Bill Oakerson.
'As stellar as Nancy's leadership and business results were, her greatest gift is that she opened her heart to others, and taught us through her own optimism that joy can be found all around us - in our work, friendships, and aboard our boats. Part of her enduring legacy and vision is that she put a top management team in place - in Government Affairs, in our Membership Division, and in our publications - that carries on her good work, her dedication to the needs of boaters, and her standard of excellence.'
An online memoriam is located at www.BoatUS.com/nancy.